Sturgill Simpson: ‘Sound & Fury’ Came From ‘Therapeutic Indignation’
Sturgill Simpson, a private and individualistic person, struggled with the sudden fame and pressure to keep on making country music that followed the success of his Grammy Award-winning 2016 album A Sailor’s Guide to Earth. He handled this unease, he shares in a new interview, by writing more songs without falling in line with perceived expectations.
“I knew I had to cathartically process it all and get it out,” he says in a new New York Times feature. “And a really, like, laid-back country record was not the way to do that, you know? I needed to purge a lot of emotion that I’d been carrying around.”
Simpson describes the creation of his rock-oriented, anime film-accompanied new album Sound & Fury as “therapeutic indignation.” The singer-songwriter admits that he passed on easy money when he pivoted toward making a rock 'n' roll album that doubles as the soundtrack to an anime film that cost around $1.2 million to make.
“I could’ve very easily probably made the same record five times by now and just gone right down that middle lane and played it safe, and I’d have $80 million in the bank,” Simpson admits. “And I’d probably be hanging from a [expletive] rope on one of these trees over here by now, you know what I mean? So it’s not worth it.”
Simpson, his bandmates -- Bobby Emmett, Chuck Bartels and Miles Miller -- and co-producer John Hill created Sound & Fury at Waterford, Mich.'s McGuire Motor Inn. “I wanted it to hit like a Wu-Tang [Clan] record," the artist says of the project, a 10-song record that's due out on Friday (Sept. 27).
Simpson describes the accompanying anime film, created in partnership with writer, director and Kamikaze Douga animation studio founder Jumpei Mizusaki and character designer and Afro Samurai creator Takashi Okazaki, as well as Koji Morimoto, Michael Arias, Masaru Matsumoto, Henry Thurlow, Arthell Isom, Shunsuke Ochiai and Hiroaki Takeuchi, as the 1961 samurai movie Yojimbo "set in a dystopian future." The plot covers "hegemonic structures, politics, corruption, greed — you know, things that usually lead to really [expletive] music."
Simpson will celebrate the release of his new album with six small-venue shows to benefit U.S. Army Special Forces soldiers. The concerts are scheduled for small venues in California, New York, Washington, DC and New Jersey, and will run from Sept. 29 through Oct. 8. In addition, he has also scheduled screenings of Sound & Fury at Hollywood, Calif.'s ArcLight Cinema on Sept. 26 and New York City's IFC Theater on Oct. 3.
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