One of the greatest aspects of this project is the fact that I get to connect with so many inspiring individuals along the way. Then there are the rare times I actually get to sit down and ask one of them a few questions. Well, one such opportunity arose earlier this week, when I got to pick the brain of the rapper known as, SIMS.
For those following along, you’ll know the Minneapolis hip-hop scene is one of the many reasons I chose this city as one of my stops. And a big part of said scene is the collective known as, Doomtree—of which SIMS is a part of, along with the likes of POS and Dessa. Alone, they’re rappers, writers, producers and entertainers, each with a unique flow and personality. Together, they’re an unstoppable force of talent and perseverance. But I think most importantly, they’re friends who decided to forge their own paths, helping one another succeed along the way.
That’s why it’s a true honor to bring you this short interview I did with SIMS:
I know you’re about to release your new album, Field Notes, on September 2nd. I have to ask, when writing new music, how do you manage to stay so creative on a deadline?
Honestly, I think I become more creative when on a deadline—or at least more decisive. When there’s no deadline, it allows for ideas to fully develop, but sometimes that makes things sort of overthought and stale. Being on deadline makes me stick to an idea then move on to the next thing, which can lend an overall cohesion to the thought or expression.
That makes perfect sense. So, when you're writing new material, where do you normally find your inspiration?
Really everywhere—music, conversations, literature, etc. I usually sit back with a new piece of music and envision some type of color, shape or image for the beat. Then I write about the things associated with it.
How has social media helped shape your success as an artist?
I strongly dislike using social media. It feels really needy, self-promotional and self-congratulatory to me, yet it’s a necessary thing. The best accounts seem to subtly or subversively sell you their stuff. I don’t have the mind for that or the desire to do it. So, I pretty much just post links to my new shit and leave the rest for the people who are good at it.
My whole project is about opening people’s eyes to what’s out there and showing everyone that you can do things a little differently and still succeed. What advice would you give to anyone out there trying to go their own route?
You have to be honest with yourself and decide what is important to you. For some people that’s art and for others that’s security. It can translate to personal satisfaction or an equal dissatisfaction. Really, there’s no wrong way to do it and no matter what direction you choose, there'll always be an upside and a downside. So, I suppose being honest with your priorities is key.
I know with Doomtree you individually shoulder a lot of responsibility. Are there any tips or tricks to succeeding at being your own boss?
You not only have to handle the obligations you have for today, but you also need to decide what 6 months from now will look like.
I just have one last question. I know there are a lot of people out there, who aren’t sure what they want to do in life. What would you say to anyone still trying to figure out his or her calling?
Callings come and go. I say, just do what you’re feeling and let the rest sort itself out.
I truly want to thank SIMS for giving me a piece of his time and I highly recommend everyone out there pick up his new album on Sept. 2 (here's a taste). Sims—and Doomtree as a whole— is a true inspiration for anyone looking to do their own thing and succeed at it.
This Saturday, I'm actually seeing SIMS perform at the world famous First Avenue in downtown Minneapolis. Billed as AstroSims 2, he'll be taking the stage with another of the city's finest, Astronautalis. So, chances are this isn't the last you'll be hearing about these two.