Simplex
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Simplex

Adelaide, South Australia, Australia | INDIE

Adelaide, South Australia, Australia | INDIE
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It’s been a long time coming but finally Adelaide’s Simplex has dropped his debut solo album, which further proves he is one of the best hip hop all-rounders in the Aussie scene. The Terra Firma MC and beatmaker has always been well-respected but I don’t think anyone was expecting the upbeat and damn catchy summer vibes that rock his solo debut Audio Biography.

When Terra Firma released their last album Music To Live By, Terra Firma’s DJ Dyems joked to Onion that Simplex was keeping the best beats for himself. When you listen to Audio Biography, this doesn’t sound too far from the truth...

“Nah, I still got a whole heap of beats left over that I will probably keep for my next record,” Simplex (AKA Andrew Simmons) jokes. “I did keep a few for myself but there’s still a tonne of good beats I’ll give to Terra Firma.”

How does Simplex go about deciding which beats he’ll keep for himself, for Terra Firma or give away to another MC?

“If I’m really feeling the beat and I can write to it then I’ll write to it, so I’ll keep it for myself or keep it for Terra Firma. It depends what kind of mood I’m in. If I’m in a pissed off mood, I’ll look past all the happy samples and all the reflective samples and I’ll make an angry beat but if I’m in a good mood I’ll look for something that’s up-tempo. I’ve got a whole stockpile of beats and if people ask for beats like Brad Strut, you know what kind of sound Brad goes for. I’ll send him a whole bunch and he’ll go, ‘Yeah, I like that one, that one and that one’. You can sort of tell what sounds people like and I try to make everything, it gets boring if you stick to the same beats all the time.”

Originally scheduled to be released mid-last year, Simplex says a last minute panic attack and his day job meant he overestimated the release by eight months.

“I had a bit of a panic attack at the end and made a whole bunch of new beats so they’re the beats from all over the shop now, so a lot of them are newer.”

Why did he have a panic attack?

“I think everyone goes through it man when you think your shit’s shit, ‘Everything sounds like shit! I wanna change the whole album!’ So I started remaking beats and came up with new stuff that sounded better.”
Joints on Audio Biography such as I Have Nothing, Beautiful Day, Be Somebody, Schoolyard Politics and the Latino flavoured Worldwide are instantaneously catchy but despite their happy exterior Beautiful Day and Schoolyard Politics have sarcastic undertones.

“Schoolyard Politics is me blowing off a bit of steam about the scene and putting in a catchy song, it’s all full of underlying messages with a catchy hook.”

Probably the hardest beat on the album is saved for Opus Operandi, which features Delta, Motion and Alerts.

“I’ve always wanted to work with them. I’ve known Delta for a long time when I used to see him at the bus station, he’ll be catching the 721 to town and I’ll be on the 218 at the Flinders Hospital Interchange. We’ve been mates for a long time but we never made a track, you know what I mean? And Motion, I’ve loved his rhyming style for a while so it was good to get him on the track and Alerts is another dude I’ve been working with lately and it was good to get him on there as well to give him a bit of exposure.”
Aside from upcoming launch shows to be announced shortly, Simplex will be keeping busy in the next year.

“We’ll be starting work on a new Terra Firma thing once the guys get their life in order. With production I’m doing beats for Pegz’ new album and for Reason’s new album plus a whole bunch of things I forgot that I probably shouldn’t have,” he laughs.

Words: David Knight

Audio Biography is out now through Obese - Rip It Up Publishing


Page 29 - Street Press Australlia (3D World)


ADELAIDE rapper Simplex is a world-class talent.

His debut Audio Biography was written, produced and performed by Simplex himself.

The Terra Firma crewmember speaks in a hard-hitting, rich and thought-provoking fashion.

Dealing with big issues like identity, relationships and careers comes easily for him.

He writes about the realities of the world with an unbiased approach.

If his topics seem harsh, it's only because they are harsh.

An early highlight is First Things First rocking a cheeky guitar line, an organ drone and his crew on cameo vocals.

Beautiful Day shows off a lighter side of his personality over a tidy slice of piano and a head-nodding rhythm section.

His next musical trick is a tidy bit of flute action on Be Somebody.

Seems like he has something new to present for the musical backdrop on every track.

Play is good fun; it's a game of spot-the-classic-rap-sample.

The amusing interludes between songs are great - not over the top, just enough to give a nod to hip-hop's golden age.

5 stars - News Limited / Davies Brothers Pty. Ltd (The Mercury)


Most artists are perfectionists and hugely self critical, but Simplex may be the most self critical i've come across. In fact if we could get him to realise just how amazing an artist he is the onslaught of music sure to follow would make us all happy. His beats have helped lift Terra Firma's albums to be revered as classics, whilst his rhymes on his own music, as well as that of others, have always been rewind and digest material.

Audio Biography is fantastic start to end, whilst tracks such as First Things First and Beautiful Day will instantly pull your ears in, it's the reward that you get when you listen to the lyrics that will have you coming back for more. Opus Operandi is a pure hip hop heater, Delta, Motion & newcomer Alerts each ripping the track, while the global appeal of Worldwide could just about garner mainstream radio play. This album is exactly as good as you expect it to be. - Furst Media Pty. Ltd (Beat Magazine)


Andrew Simmons aka MC Simplex's calm voice crackles onto the line when I reach him to talk about his debut album Audio Biography. The new record, scheduled for a release later this month, gives the listener an insightful and frenzied take on the 32 year olds life. Each verse a concise and measured remedy to the modern existence we lead. "Audio Biography is a reflection of myself. Everyone that works with music has their own sound- production and lyric wise. I have developed my own sound and this album is a snapshot of my life in that point and time."

Simmons recollects that his childhood was an integral stepping stone into the world that would quickly consume him. There was always an eclectic range of music being played within the household and at the age of nine he started his first forays in beat boxing. With his father being an established musician, music quickly developed into a necessity, "Music has always been part of my life and I wouldn't know what to do without it, I hate silence."

1995 proved to be the first of many breakthrough's for Simmons when the Aussie hip-hop group, Terra Firma was born. The group, consisting of Simplex, RaphAL, Mic Lez and DJ Dyems went on to release their first album in 2003. The majority of the album was produced by Simmons, but he also grabbed a little help for a couple of tracks from Suffa and DJ Debris.

In 1999 a group of MC's got together, including Terra Firma and decided to drop Culture of Kings: The Australian Hip hop Compilation, volume two and three were released in 2002, 2004, respectively. The originally Culture of Kings album provoked the forming of Certified Wise, simply because the MC's from Adelaide all wanted to ride under the one banner. The crew began with 13 MCs and three DJs, now there have 20 MC's, including newcomers Funkoars and Vents.

For all these years Simplex has kept his day job whilst continuing to pursue his musical dreams. His work boasts a long line of productions including perfecting beats for the Hilltop Hoods, Drapht and Downsyde. 2011 became the first opportunity for Simmonds to work on and release his own solo work, "Now seemed like the perfect time, the guys in Terra Firma have just had babies and have new work opportunities. I thought I would get it done whilst they are pre-occupied, before we start working on the next Terra Firma stuff."

Some may think it's strange that Simmons decided to drop his album under Melbourne based Obese Records rather than Adelaide based Golden Era. But, to him it was simple "I showed Pegz a few tracks I had been working on and he really dug them. So he asked if I wanted to sign with him and I said 'Why not?' We had known each other a long time and we shared a mutual respect."

The first single, Beautiful Day is a firm stance against the complacency and apathy of a generation. A counter attack at the mundane lives we can settle for and the 'keeping up with the Jones's' mentality that drives us. "The government is controlling us to buy new cars, have mortgages, go to work and own massive flat screen televisions because the next door neighbour has one." Simplex predicts Work for a Living will also be a hit amongst fans; it talks about why he hates working and why he turns to hip hop.

Me Vs World , is a consummate example of everything falling into its place, Simmons modestly shares, "Candice happened to be in Adelaide one night. She came up with some lyrics, we changed the whole beat and then recorded it to that, and it was so spur of the moment. As for Motion and Delta, I have always wanted to work with them."

Finally Simmons gives an insight into his thoughts on the future of hip hop, "Some camps are staying true to themselves and some are branching a bit. I don't mind because you need different elements in hip hop. Like, I can't just listen to Atmosphere or one of two artists all the time - I need to balance it out and that's what is happening in Aussie hip hop." Simmonds pauses before continuing, "I hope the scene doesn't turn too bling or pop, but if people stay true to the scene and true to where they live then hip hop has a bright future in this country."

Audio Biography by Simplex will hit stores on February 18 through Obese Records.

Samantha Charlton - Furst Media Pty. Ltd (Beat Magazine)


As soon as you push ‘play’ on Simplex’s debut solo album you know it’s going to be something special. ‘Audio Biography’ comes across as just that: a summation of the Adelaide producer/ emcee’s unreleased material thus far.

But the record is also a biography in another sense. Tackling issues of identity, relationships and careers, ‘Audio Biography’ is one part blazing rap record and one part true confessional as Simplex catalogues his attempts to apply the human condition to the modern world.

“It just felt like snippets of my brain during the last 15 years,” he explains from his Adelaide home.

“Whether people agree with it or not, a lot of it’s just me. All the shit I wanted to get off my chest I got off my chest. Instead of just doing battle stuff I wanted to explain a bit more of how my psyche works. Hopefully my friends and my girlfriend will understand me a bit better!”

With this he laughs self-deprecatingly, but it’s easy to sense that underneath the humble and shy exterior Simplex is deadly serious. The album is a step away from his work with Adelaide crew Terra Firma, but this more reflective side has always been there.

“I’ve always wanted to do it. I’m not a big talker, unless I’m drunk! Out of all my friends I’m the one that talks the least. They never shut up, man,” he teases. “My girlfriend as well, she’s the one who tends to do all the talking and I tend to keep it pretty minimal. So this is probably the way that I release everything, you know what I mean?

“All of my early tracks were solo recordings. ‘Be Somebody’ [the fifth cut off the album] – that would have been started nearly ten years ago. The tracks really range from ten years ago to maybe a week before mastering!”

It means ‘Audio Biography’ is an assault on your sensibilities, and Simplex has cleverly braced it with some robust beats, eschewing live instrumentation in favour of the fattest samples he could lay his hands on.
“There’s a bit of beat boxing and a little bit of synth and stuff like that, but the majority of it ended up being samples. A lot of the beats I typically use feature live instrumentation and that didn’t really work with this album, so I kept it to a minimum, and I’d done it a lot on the last record so I sort of just wanted to keep it sample-based and back to where my craft was when I first started off, you know what I mean? Going through records and picking out drums and trying to get as big a sound as I could.”

It’s a theme that keeps coming up: the idea of Simplex respecting his roots and visiting the places where he started off in rap music. The man probably underestimates himself as an emcee, but there’s no doubt production is what caught his imagination when he started out in hip hop.

“Beatboxing, followed up by emceeing and then production. Like when I was young I used to play guitar and always wanted to make my own beats. I used to buy these drum crazy records and just play guitar over it while I pressed record on the tape player,” he laughs. “But I loved production, man. As soon as I started doing it. I used to go round to a mate’s house and just jump on his MPC and try and make beats there… It wasn’t long before I’d taken up Logic, and then I started learning more and working more and just loved it, man. It’s my favourite thing to do.”

Simplex also talks enthusiastically about making another solo record, but first things first, he’ll soon be strapping up along with Motion and Miss Karleena, bringing ‘Audio Biography’ to the masses as he tours throughout Australia.

“We’ve got 11 dates that we’re working on. Seven of them have been confirmed and the rest we’re still locking in. But we’ll be hitting Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney and Perth, Adelaide of course, and also some regional stuff as well. For the rest of the year we’re just gonna try and tour as hard as we can. It should be good fun, dude.”

‘AUDIO BIOGRAPHY’ IS OUT NOW THROUGH OBESE RECORDS. STAY TUNED FOR LIVE DATES. - Junior Media Pty Ltd (Scene Magazine)


Discography

DISCOGRAPHY:
ALBUMS
• • •
Waking The Past (2003)
Music to Live By (2008)
Damo- Declassified Files

GUEST VERSES
• • • • • • • • • • • • •
Chopper Read – Interview With A Mad Man (2006)
Cross Bred Mongrels – Restore Your Faith (2006)
The Defenders – Self Defense (2004)
Culture Of Kings 3 - Compilation (2003)
Straight From The Art (2003)
Hilltop Hoods – The Calling (2003)
Jolz – Down Pressure (2003)
Obesecity – Compilation (2002)
Cross Bred Mongrels – World Domination (2002)
Suffa – Suffering City (2002)
Culture Of Kings 2 – Compilation (2002)
After Hours – Different Rules Apply (2001)
Culture Of Kings – Compilation (2000)

PRODUCTION
• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
Terra Firma - Waking The Past
Terra Firma – Music to live by
Culture of Kings 1
Culture of Kings 2 ( 2 Tracks)
Culture of Kings 3 ( 3 Tracks)
Suffering City
Obesecity ( 3 Tracks)
Straight from the Art – Warner music compilation
Drapht- Brothers Grimm
Cross Bred Mongrels- World Domination
Cross Bred Mongrels- Restore your Faith
Reason- One step Ahead
Defenders- Self Defence
Chopper Read- Interview With A Madman ( 4 Tracks)
Hilltop Hoods- The Hard Road
Hilltop Hoods- What a Great Night Single
Co4sure ep
Brad Strut – Rejuvenation

Photos

Bio

Simplex has been the central member to Terra Firma, a driving force in the Adelaide Hip Hop music scene, since 1995, as both producer and emcee of the outfit.

Recognised and highly respected by his peers nationwide as one of the hardest working & gifted Hip Hop producers this country has to offer, his discography and guest spots read like a who’s who of the Australian Hip Hop landscape including the Hilltop Hoods (of which he is a fellow member of the Certified Wise Crew), Drapht, Brad Strut and Reason. International artists including the revered C Rayz Walz from New York have also requested his unique production sound.

In February 2011, Simplex will be releasing his debut solo album on Obese Records which will be accompanied by a national tour in late March/early April, spanning Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia, ACT and Western Australia.

Simplex’s most recent work with Terra Firma debuted in the ARIA urban album charts positioned at number 8 and received significant radio & music TV network support, which helped underpin strong sales. This new partnership with Obese Records however, will mean that in 2011 Simplex will be on everyone’s lips as they get a taste of the next phase of quality Hip Hop artists that are making noise from South Australia.