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“An intellectual says a simple thing in a hard way. An artist says a hard thing in a simple way.”
— Charles Bukowski
With raucous guitar riffs, velvety vocals and hook-laden melodies, Simplified has been hailed as one of music’s most interesting and, ironically, most complex bands on the circuit today. Fusing elements of reggae, funk, and calypso, the rollicking quartet has not only stunned critics with its intricate songwriting and versatile stage show but also managed to create a sound all its own … a sound that appears to be stimulating the masses.
In fact, in just seven years since the band’s inception, Simplified has not only performed more than 2,000 shows and been hailed as a “Band on the Rise” by Relix Magazine, but it has also earned the respect of such renown artists as O.A.R., whose saxophone player Jerry Depizzo helped produce their latest album. But don’t be fooled. Simplified’s journey hasn’t always been an easy one. The band has done everything – from the writing, recording and even distributing of their four albums — completely on their own.
“We are proud to have released three studio records, one live album, an E.P. and even two music videos without the help of a record label,” said Simplified Guitarist Chris Sheridan.
That’s not the only thing the band has done on its own. They’ve also managed to continue to reinvent themselves with each and every new record – a feat not often seen in today’s sedentary music scene.
“When we started the band back in 2004 we had more of a ‘jam’ rock kind of thing going on that incorporated everything from funk and country to soul,” said Vocalist Clee Laster. “Yet, for our new album, we’re definitely taken on a more rock-driven sound. It wasn’t a conscious decision to look for a certain sound or style. It was just the band members, their individual styles, and their influences that make our sound what it is.”
Their latest release Brighter Days is a testament to the band’s musical evolution. Calling it “honest and organic rock,” Simplified’s newest effort embodies a bolder, more defiant sound than the previous albums and marks a focused vision for the band. Part of the shift in direction was, in part, due to the all-star team of engineers that were brought in by Depizzo, including Jeff Juliano (Dave Mathews Band, Jason Mraz, John Mayer, Train) and Brian Lucey (The Black Keys, O.A.R., Sami Yusef).
“We are all very proud of our new album, says Sheridan. “It’s the best project we’ve done so far and we are excited to get it out for people to hear it.”
What the band should also be proud of its dedication to its loyal fan base. Since forming more than seven years ago, Simplified has always made themselves accessible to their audiences. In fact, at each and every show, members of the group can often be found hanging out with fans, shaking hands and taking pictures with those that helped them get to where they are today. They also pride themselves on staying current and keeping in touch with their fans through social networking sites and good old fashioned personal interaction.
“We love to interact with friends and fans, said bass guitarist Chris Lynch. “It’s important to us to let people know how much we appreciate them. After all, it’s them who make it happen for us.”
For the band that started as an acoustic duo in 2004 and has quickly become one of the industry’s top emerging rock bands, it’s safe to say that Simplified has evolved into a true tour de force thanks to its one basic belief — hard work, great music and a genuine passion for what they do. And there’s nothing simple about that.