Australian-born Pop Star Cody Simpson isn’t the Cody Simpson he was two years ago. After exploding onto the international seen at a young age, Cody would go on to experience heights few musicians ever could. Collaborating with Justin Bieber kind of heights. But that wasn’t enough.
Now staring down the barrel of his early 20s, Cody has shaken off the shackles of Major Label life to pursue art that not only makes him happy, but art that has the potential to help. Following a period of deep, internal exploration, Cody has emerged with a band, under the banner of Cody Simpson & The Tide. With a clear and defined path to share his thoughts on environmentalism and conservation, the group have released their debut EP Wave One.
We caught up with Cody to learn more.
The Neversphere: A lot of time and work went into Wave One…Before we get too carried away, how has it all gone down so far?
Cody: Overall, it’s been received quite positively, in the sense that I had initially intended. But even if they didn’t, I’d feel good about it anyway because it’s a very honest step for me as a musician, and as a person. I’m moving out of my teens and into my 20s – I turn 21 next month – and to be releasing stuff, and representing myself in the way that I truly intend to be represented. It’s nice to be in control of my image, and my work.
The Neversphere: There’s so much language around you levelling up as an artist and a human with this project and release. What went down? Was there a specific situation that this was a reaction to? Or is this just growing up?
Cody: I think it was a bit of both…It was a combination of intended work towards artistic and musical improvement, as a guitarist, a vocalist, a writer, a lyricist and writing poetry. But it was also an expansion of perception. I spent a lot of time down in Venice, doing a lot of internal work too. Now, I guess, seeing things as they are I’m wanting to shed light on the most important issues in today’s world. Those being environmentalism and ocean conservation which I think gets left out of the daily mass-media conversation we’re having. Whether that’s because people don’t want to address it, or think about it or they’re just blind to it; I’m not sure, but it’s the least I can do to involve that in my work.
The Neversphere: This means you’re making a stand. Whenever artists take a stand like this, there’s always that negative reaction from people who cry out ‘Just stick to the music’…Is that happening to you?
Cody: Yes, for sure. And it will continue, too. I’m not a particularly political person, I’m not interested in politics. I don’t think I’m starting any revolution in any sense of the word. These are things that, in pieces, they press on my daily conscious. It was just inevitable that I would interweave the topics.
Generally, music and the lyrics are focused on romance, love and all those things, but I don’t think that’s very exciting. I think that’s a very typical thing to write about and I’m not interested. I’m interested in freedom, the environment, rebelling against the general way of doing things. I left my label, I went out and I fucked off. You do get a backlash for going out on your own, and for talking about things that actually matter. The messenger with the message that people don’t necessarily want to hear will never be the most popular one. But, it’ll always matter in the end.
The Neversphere: Talk me through this perspective change…what did you realise? I understand that might be are too simple way to question it, but what was your main takeaway from this time you spent reflecting on these issues?
Cody: That’s a good one. For me i was doing a lot of transcendental meditation. I was reading a lot, reading different kinds of philosophy, and things that would help me broaden my perspective on things and help me break out of the conformist, almost indoctrinated view on the way we think we should be living. It’s so false in many aspects. Stuff that was about taking a left turn, and encouraging others to do the same. Things like caring, you know? Personally, I think the days of not giving a fuck are over. It’s not cool to not give a fuck anymore. It’s much cooler to give a fuck about something now.
The Neversphere: A lot of people will find that overwhelming. It’s a lot to accept that individually we can actually make a difference. Not everyone will have access to the same kind of stuff you have access to, TM for example. Is there an easier way for people to gain new perspective?
Cody: Yeah, do acid [Laughs] No, no, I’m just kidding. It comes to you at the time it’s supposed to. I’ve been blessed with a chance to share it with people. I’ve noticed a positive influence it’s had on different people just by talking to them about it. I don’t want to assume any kind of role as some sort of public speaker on important issues, it’s just one something I felt was necessary and I felt obligated to involve it in my work.
If it came down to it, all I want to do is share my perspective in the most raw and true-to-life sense; as openly as possible whether that’s through music or my poetry or public speaking.
The Neversphere: Once you start pulling threads things start coming down all around you. Now that you’ve opened your perspective to these environmental issues, do you think you’ll look for new things to address, or have you had your fill now, and keen to get back to the romance stuff?
Cody: [Laughs] To be honest, I don’t know. I’d like to expand on the ground-level foundations I’m laying. But some of my favourite music and vocalists are guys like Frank Sinatra and other people that were solely romantic vocalists. I love them to death and I sing them every day. But, in terms of my unique and original message I would like to keep expanding on it. It’s hard to say where it’ll take me, but all I can hope to do is keep improving as a writer so I can properly explain these things.
The issue that a lot of people have is they have these visions and these perspectives on things but they aren’t able to describe them or share them with people. So, I want to do as much reading, as much research as I can do to be able to articulate these issues properly.
I don’t want to get too corny and Zen about it…
…But I feel optimistic about what we’re doing.