Simon Merle comes from Annonay, the largest city in the north of the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region of southeastern France. He used to play in a band called The Bankees. Ten years and one hundred songs later, he decided to play and record solo under his real identity. Now he is a philosophy teacher and musician, with three album under his belt: Brain Man – a psychedelic journey discovering the most mysterious and erotic organ: the brain – Vissenty – dedicated to the district of Annonay where his grandparents and his parents lived, and where he lives today – and Simon Merle, which was out in novembre 2021. His new album Simon Merle And Friends was out in September on Petrol Chips label based in Paris, born out of a collaboration with the musicians Noel Bingo-Belmondo on bass and backing vocals and Ray Borneo on guitars, keyboards and drums.
What He Says: “During the release of my last album, I was interviewed by Bingo, an editor in Valencia, who is also a musician and with whom I found enormous musical affinities. Also a designer, I asked him to draw my vinyl cover, and he offered to write chronicles. And then we started making music together. With Ray Borneo, musician and manager of the Petrol Chips label, we started making music together, Bingo on bass and Ray on keyboard, but a week before recording in the studio, I caught the Covid. Anyway, when we recorded I was overexcited, I couldn’t sleep, I finished the five intense days of recording exhausted, but it was a very enriching experience, it changed recordings in my kitchen, it also taught me patience, I had to adapt to the rhythms of others, but they also brought me a lot on recording, mastering. I became aware of my weaknesses“
His Mixtape: “My new album, Simon Merle and Friends, is out now on the PETROL CHIPS label and so, it is the right time to talk about friendship and great songs.
Pete Dello and Friends – It’s What You’ve Got (Into your ears album, 1971)
I really don’t know why Pete Dello’s songs mean so much to me, but I guess it is the simplicity and the warm tone which makes it the perfect Sunday morning album. I imagine the recording of this album as a sweet collaboration between a very nice guy who would soon become a car salesman, and a bunch of faithful friends, helping him to record all those sweet tunes.
Tony Molina – Song For Friends (In The Fade album, 2022)
Tony could be an old friend, because he always sings melodies which strike an unconscious chord in me, like he knew me or something like that. Maybe he has just listened too much to The Beatles, just like me. Love the dreamy vibe too.
Big Star – Thank You Friends (Third album, 1978)
You can’t do a lot without friends, and these song by one of my favorite band is the equivalent of this Beatles song With a little help from my friend, but in a darker mood and context. It’s just what happened with my new album : it would have not been possible to record these songs without the help of my friend Ray and Noel. You need people who believe in you, who support you and who push you in the same time, out of your comfort zone.
The Thrills – You Can’t Fool Old Friends With Limousines (Let’s bottle Bohemia, 2004)
Well I guess the music industry is sometimes so unfair. The Thrills were one of my favorite band fifteen years ago, I loved this voice and the energy. I don’t understand why they had not a big success with this album and I wonder what they became. I’m not exactly in the same situation because my music is much more confidential than theirs, but I sometimes consider the possibility to stop recording songs. What’s the use if people don’t listen to them? But maybe we just have to do useless things, and continue our quest for beauty.
The Zombies – Friends Of Mine (Odessey and Oracle album, 1968)
This is yet another incomprehensible failure story. But the Zombies have become cults and with time, the injustice has been repaired. This song is so touching, with these backing vocals singing the name of the group’s friends in the background of this obvious melody. Finally I wonder if friendship songs aren’t superior to love songs. They are less schmaltzy and more sincere.
Adam Green – Friends Of Mine (Friends Of Mine album, 2003)
I’m pretty sure Adam Green is a genius but he is sadly not taken seriously. At first glance, his music seems parodic, but on closer inspection, his melodies shine and the arrangements are both simple and brilliant. He may be a second rate crooner but he’s a friend of mine.
The Beach Boys – Friends (Friends album, 1968)
I don’t think the Beach boys were a group of friends, but I’m fascinated by the complementarity and osmosis of their voices. I am an optimistic melancholic and this song, like the album as a whole, brings together these two qualities, in a modest and immediately enjoyable format.
Simon Merle And Friends is out now on Petrol Chips. Look HERE for more information on Simon Merle.