Rory Simmons runs Fringe Magnetic, plays regularly for Jamie Cullum and is also a member of the Loop Collective.
We’re two of many musicians living on South East London and hope to collaborate on a project next year, celebrating new music and improvisation.
Could Catford be the next ‘place to be’ for Jazz in London?
Catford spawned the career of Billy Jenkins I think. That’s a good accolade for any suburb of south east london. Apart from that, we have a giant plastic cat looming over our shopping centre, this architectural triumph is a constant inspiration to my music.
How many different instruments have you played with Jamie Cullum’s band?
Mainly I just play trumpet and guitar with jamie, although there is the odd bit of keyboards, aux percussion and backing vocals too. The tambourine fill I play in one tune is a key part of the set.
You must have met quite a few interesting characters on your travels…
Meeting Clint Eastwood in LA was definitely an amazing moment. It was brief but great to meet such an iconic character. Meeting Dave Douglas as a wide eyed young trumpet player was great too. Another great character was Jeff Garlin, Larry’s manager from ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’. He was at our show at Newport Jazz Festival in 2010, I am a massive Curb fan so ended up chewing his ear off about the show for most of the night. My girlfriend got very bored with this……
The loop festival gets bigger every year, will it run to a week next year?
I hope so, some times its hard to cram in all the great new projects we have from members of the collective as well as guests we want to invite. Some of the highlights this year are some great guests such as ‘kindergarten’ from france, arthurs/hoiby/ritchie and jeanne added. Every night is going to be packed with great music. We are doing a extended fringe magnetic special featuring alex bonney and jim hart. Also, I’m playing with the jim hart and ivo neame project duo plus, which features me and oren marshall. Looking forward to this alot.
Being a fan of string quartet music myself, could you tell us a bit about the quartet music you’ve been writing recently?
The music I have been working on is a mix of contemporary classical sounds (that phrase is massively over-used now!) And electronica-ish noises. It came about through writing some string quartet music whilst getting into the programming thing and thinking more about a cinematic approach to the production, but still really thinking about it as a piece of music rather just a textural gesture. Been listening to nicolas bernier and max de wardener- that’s influenced it a bit I guess, as much as all the obvious classical composers!
Have you had any defining moments whilst listening to music or listening to an inspirational musician speaking about his or her experiences?
Everytime I speak to Barak Schmool about any music I’m listening to or working on, he always says something insightful. He is definitely someone inspirational who always opens up my ideas about different elements of music. Listening to Bjork, Tom Waits, Dave Douglas, Christian Wallumrod, and many others are always a massive inspiration to me. But always the music around me from musicians of my generation in London is massively inspiring. Hearing the music of bands like Outhouse, Troyka, World Sanguine Report, Gemini and many others makes me realise what a great standard of music there is in the city at the moment.
Do you have a dream project you’d like to put together at some point in your life?
I would love to work with some of the great electronic musicians I listen to, like Hudson Mohawke, Flying Lotus, Mira Calix. Something collaborative with them would be very exciting. Possibly something with Fringe Magnetic at some point…. who knows. I have a new trio with Chris Montague of Troyka and Jon Scott of Karios 4tet. Its called ‘Monocled Man’, and I have ideas of wanting to do an album with some guests with that band at some point in the future. Watch this space…..
Rory plays at the Loop Collective Festival on Thursday 17th and Saturday 19th March at The Forge…