Cody Simpson & The Tide
One summer in Venice Beach, inspiration washed over Cody Simpson like a force of nature. Between early morning surf sessions, reading and writing poetry under the bright California sun, and jamming for friends and passersby at midnight rooftop gatherings, he experienced the kind of season Bruce Brown immortalized in The Endless Summer. As with any season, change came along with the passage of time. Following the release of his 2015 independent full-length Free, the singer, songwriter, and guitarist underwent a series of creative and personal revelations that inform his new band Cody Simpson & The Tide and its 2017 debut EP ‘Wave One.’
“This was a transition in so many ways,” he admits. “I came out on the other side feeling quite liberated. I spent my childhood listening to folk, country, and acoustic, and I ended up working on Free with guys like Donavon Frankenreiter and G. Love & The Special Sauce. After all this time on the West Side, I moved up to the Sunset Strip in 2016. Soon, I found myself listening to a lot of sixties music from the psychedelic era and embracing rock ‘n’ roll such as The Doors and Elvis. My voice and guitar playing have developed. This is the next natural step for me. I pulled out for a while and let all of this manifest in my mind. Now, it’s fulfilling to see everything take form.”
Joined by drummer Adrian Cota and bassist Shareef Addo, Cody wrote the four songs comprising Wave One. For the first time in his career, the multi-talented artist hopped behind the board and personally produced and recorded the set at studios in Santa Monica, Newport Beach, and Hollywood, preserving the vision’s integrity in the process. In order to give audiences the full scope of that vision all at once, he releases the project in its entirety during the fall of 2017, eschewing a standard single plan. On the EP, opener “Waiting for the Tide” rides a crest of robust guitars and breezy beats as he carries a powerful and provocative hook before breaking on the refrain, “I’m just out here waiting for the tide.” “Sun Go Down” directly “invites the listener on a journey” powered by a sun-kissed surf rock gallop and his upbeat and undeniable delivery. Elsewhere, “Tell Me Why” shuffles on a rhythmic cadence punctuated by irresistible energy. Finally, there’s “Ramona,” which touts a sixties-style call-and-response between riffs and vocals before spiraling off into wild acoustic seduction.
“The majority of the music started with riffs I was writing,” he recalls. “It was different for me. ‘Waiting for the Tide’ began as a poem that I wrote about the sea level rise and humanity’s attitude towards environmental issues. ‘Tell Me Why’ is really the most vulnerable I’ve ever been, and ‘Ramona’ hinges on this really crazy transition. Every song speaks to a different side of who I am.”
In many ways, Cody Simpson has been working towards the Tide for his entire career. 2013’s Surfer’s Paradise bowed in the Top 10 of the Billboard Top 200 and boasted fan favorite collaborations with the likes of Ziggy Marley, Asher Roth, and more. Between touring the states and Europe as direct support for Justin Bieber, he penned a popular official autobiography, Welcome to Paradise: My Journey [Harper Collins]. In 2015, Free garnered praise from Rolling Stone, Billboard, Nylon, MTV, and others, while he recorded “Reach Up” for the World Games and carried the torch for Australia at the 2016 World Olympics in Rio. Moreover, he’s graced the small screen on shows such as The Today Show, Live! with Kelly, Late Late Show with James Corden, and The Ellen DeGeneres Show.
In the end, the Tide represents Cody at heart.
“The reason behind the name was I wanted this body of work to be an audio replication of what the Tide is as an element of nature,” he leaves off. “During that one summer, I had so many revelatory experiences. I wanted to be an exemplar of the Tide’s flow. It was about taking people back to that primitive innocence and being able to appreciate that. Music is the best vehicle to do so.”