Simon O’Connor spends his days as the lead guitarist of KUROMA, but that wasn’t always the case. When he first met William Flynn and Jim Carroll at guitar camp at the age of 15, he was going by the name “Simon Doom” (a nom-de-plume courtesy of his then-band, THULSA DOOM). Many years and many bands later, O’Connor would be calling on Flynn (formerly of ST. VINCENT) and Carroll (HOPE CONSPIRACY) to not only help him become SIMON DOOM again, but to invite them to play guitar and bass in his new band of the same name. Rounded out by longtime friend and musical collaborator Will Berman (MGMT, KUROMA) on guitar and drummer Brandon Collins (APSE), the band played their first show in the winter of 2014 at Brooklyn’s now-defunct Grasslands Gallery.
Shortly thereafter, THE REPLACEMENTS' Tommy Stinson and MGMT‘s Ben Goldwasser separately brought the band into the studio to record tracks that would end up on their debut self titled EP, which was released in the summer of 2015.
The band’s latest offering, the 3-song Negotiate With the Monkey EP, literally found its way to Axis Mundi Records through the wall that its founders' studio shares with Simon's. The label's founders, so enamored with the music that they decided to put it out immediately, were pleased to discover much more music recorded and ready to be shared. Be on the lookout for new EPs and a full-length later this year.
Negotiate With The Monkey loosely takes its title from a poem by Jim Carroll (the poet, no relation to Simon Doom’s Jim Carroll) about dealing with addiction. The EP showcases the group’s nuanced blend of classic power-pop, halcyon-days punk rock and even a touch of melodic hardcore, resulting in what O’Connor terms “‘pop-punk’… if ‘pop-punk’ didn’t mean ‘pop-punk.’” The band recorded the EP themselves, but sought out Ayad Al Adhamy (PASSION PIT, TEAM SPIRIT) to do the mixing. The lead-off track, “Roseate” (a song about O’Connor’s childhood trips to New York’s Museum of Natural History) is prominently featured in the Michael Shannon-starring film Frank & Lola (Universal Pictures), which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival to much acclaim.