Catching Up with Brighton’s Mara Simpson
“Ghosts” is the latest track from one of our faves, Mara Simpson! Have a listen below and get the deets on what’s been happening in her world.
T&D: It’s been so fun following your tour. And you just released “Ghosts,” which I love. Care to share a bit about the track?
Mara: Ghosts was written about the streets of Schillerkiez, a neighborhood in Berlin that boarders the old Tempelhof airfield, now turned recreation park. The former aircraft hangers have hosted the worlds leading fashion designers, stars of pop music and one of Germany’s biggest refugee camps. But Schillerkiez used to be full of drug addicts, marooned on the edge of a disused no-mans land. I moved onto Okerstrasse against the advice of German friends. The drug addicts are still there but now the young and beautiful from across the world weave around them in their playground that is now one of the trendiest parts of town, seemingly unaware of the ghosts in the streets.
T&D: Beyond your own work, what have you been listening to? Where do you find your inspiration?
Mara: Right now I’m at home listening to Schofield, Medeski, and Martin and Wood. I love Martha Mainwright’s new album too, I went to see her in concert the other week which was awesome. I draw inspiration from lots of different things, different places and experiences, our stories and histories, faces, gestures. I use the sea and practicing yoga to digest a lot of that.
T&D: How has the tour been? What have been some high points?
Mara: We played some beautiful venues. Kaltern Pop Festival, up in the Italian alps was a highlight. And shows in Rome and Catania were really wonderful. One of my favorite shows though was in a really tiny bar in Paestum. We were playing there to break up a long journey, it was bucketing down with rain and the room was so small that our drummer Freddie had to sit in a cupboard. The people were magic, we all sang, ate, and drank together. It was really special.
T&D: Low points?
Mara: Losing the wing-mirror of our tour car, discrepancies with a promoter, and finding out last minute that a show had been cancelled. All part of the territory! To be honest, driving 4,000 miles and doing so many shows… I’m amazed we didn’t have more disasters! We were pretty lucky.
T&D: I know you have some more shows coming up. Excited? Any big goals for these particular dates?
Mara: Yes! I feel honored that I get to travel and play music. Songs are like a passport through all sorts of doorways that lead to all sorts of people and experiences. When the industry is doing my head in, or I’m feeling knackered, I remind myself of this.
T&D: What else is on the horizon? Trips back to NY, perhaps?
Mara: I’m just about to disappear into a studio in the deepest darkest Cambridgeshire countryside with my band which I’m very excited about! As for NY, any excuse and I’m there! You have a very special city.