EXCLUSIVE: Sid Simons Chats “Dead Ringer” and His Unique Artistic Approach

“Do you guys make music?,” the host of Discovering Artists IRL asks a bustling Washington Square Park. 

After a series of no’s, Sid Simons walks into the video frame. “I do, yeah,” he answers proudly.

Over 5 million people have discovered this New York-based artist’s unique alt/indie sound through his “viral” exchange. 

While it is tempting to compare Simons to his musical inspirations, which include Elliott Smith and Sparklehorse, he is individually distinct. His unique ability to put the observations from his travels into words sets him apart from his predecessors and the current music scene.

His latest commentary can be heard on his new single, “Dead Ringer.” 

We chatted with the standout artist about the inspiration for the single, his forthcoming album Beneath the Brightest Smiles, and more! 

What inspired your new single “Dead Ringer”? 

I was on a road trip traveling around America, and I stumbled upon a little town in Texas. It was a little neighborhood where every house looked the same, every car looked the same, all the people looked and seemingly talked the same. There was this eerie essence about the town – the song essentially wrote itself. 

What was the production process like? 

I started with the lyrics first before I even had the music; It was a poem that I had written. I was very inspired by the beat generation at the time. There were no stops or periods,  just one long run-on sentence. I had no intention of turning it into a song, until I came up with this riff and it immediately made me think of the poem I had written. And the two just worked really well together.

What inspired the concept for the video? 

I connected with a director named Jack Cohen. I told him the story and the concept behind the song. He took that idea and metamorphosed the song into his own story. It’s his take on what a Dead Ringer is. 

There can be so much monotony in music. How are you making yourself stand out from the other Dead Ringers? 

A little foreshadowing here, but there’s a quote I’m really trying to live by at the moment. I believe staying true to oneself is the key principle in avoiding becoming a “dead ringer.” In music especially, I’m trying not to write anything with commercial success in mind, and I’m definitely avoiding pandering to any sort of audience.

If you could set up fans in the perfect environment to listen to “Dead Ringer,” what do you imagine it looking like? 

Driving through the countryside at night with the windows down, blasting it in the car. 

How does this song tie into your upcoming album Beneath the Brightest Smiles

There’s light and shade to the album. There’s wit and also vulnerability all through the record. I really believe “Dead Ringer,” both sonically and lyrically, encompasses those aspects of the record really well. 

You’ve lived everywhere from NYC to Sydney, Australia to Shanghai, China. How have all those places influenced you as an artist? 

While living in each of those cities and countries, I was forced to adapt to different environments. In Shanghai, I couldn’t even speak the language. How I adapted in those situations, some good and some bad, are memories and stories I carry with me today. And those stories are turning into songs. 

What can fans look forward to next? 

I’m writing a ton of new music right now, and I’m aiming to release as much as I can in 2024. Beneath the Brightest Smiles won’t be my only project released next year, I can tell you that.

What is one quote that you have heard or that you go by that you want to ECHO out to the world? 

This quote from Oscar Wilde: “The moment that an artist takes notice of what other people want, and tries to supply the demand, he ceases to be an artist.” The quote goes on, but that first line is guiding my artistic approach at the moment. I’m making music for myself, and I’m really enjoying it right now.

Featured Photo Credit: Nicole Galinson