Sturgill Simpson Pretty Much Hates the Music Industry, But He Loves Chris Stapleton and Frank Ocean
In a new interview with Uproxx, Sturgill Simpson takes aim at his record label and unleashes his (ahem) sound and fury on the music industry as a whole, but he has kind words for fellow artists Chris Stapleton and Frank Ocean. He also explains how he quiets his mind with car racing and trips to the gun range.
Simpson is a big fan of Stapleton's Traveller, the 2015 album that helped launch the singer-songwriter into the spotlight, but, Simpson admits, he prefers the songs when Stapleton does them in concert. “Chris is a phenomenal talent, but live it’s just so much more pleasing to me than what sonically that record was. His voice is amazing,” says Simpson, who also took aim at Dave Cobb, who produced Traveller, during his interview.
The praise for Stapleton doesn't stop there, however: Simpson says that of all the mainstream talents he’s met during his time in the music business, Stapleton has been “incredibly kind” to him. He's "truly one of the people I feel like has genuinely tried to be a friend,” says Simpson, who appeared by surprise with Stapleton when the star was the musical guest on Saturday Night Live in early 2018.
Simpson also talked to Uproxx about his love for R&B singer-songwriter Ocean, who is as media-averse as Simpson himself. Both Simpson and Ocean don’t particularly market themselves when they have new music out, which isn’t the music industry norm, and Simpson’s admiration for that particular trait is only matched by his admiration for what Ocean creates in the studio.
"[Ocean's 2016 album] Blonde sort of floored me because texturally and tonally, those guys, just the tools that they use, it’s so different than what I do. A lot of the time, I don’t understand what I’m hearing or how they achieved it, and that’s fascinating to me,” Simpson says. “I think he’s a genius.”
In his Uproxx interview, Simpson talks quite a bit about quieting “the static,” whether that's the static in his head, the static from the pressures of the music industry or simply the static from being burnt out from touring without days off. As a form of self-care, he’s picked up some new hobbies and creative outlets that help him stay grounded as he navigates the uncertain waters of the music industry.
Simpson reveals he's been writing screenplays, including a “punk-rock” reboot of An American Werewolf in London, and giving acting a try (he's already appeared in Queen & Slim, The Dead Don’t Die and The Hunt). He’s also taken up car racing and going to gun ranges as a way to unwind, especially when he’s on tour. Simpson says these activities help him unwind because they require a certain amount of focus.
“Anything that allows or demands total concentration, and shutting off the static, as I like to call it,” he reflects. “I’m trying to get into yoga. I don’t know enough about it, but I think if I can stick with it it might actually save my life. But driving real f--king fast, I’ve found, is extremely therapeutic."
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