UK Collective Simon & The Astronauts have released a new single “I Have A Name”. This track is in collaboration with vocal powerhouse, Rachel Haden (That Dog, The Haden Triplets).
The 90s rock-inspired anthem, “I Have A Name” is the song that the 20s so desperately needed. Rachel Haden’s vocals shine through on the track and effectively hit on the catchy chorus. Haden has such a captivating power to her voice, that it makes you want to have the song on repeat.
Anthems similar to “I Have A Name” are becoming a norm in today’s music. Bands are reaching out to connect to their audiences by empowering them through lyrics and sounds. These act as a call to action of sorts, getting their listeners to stand up follow their hearts, and stand for what they believe is right.
“The song is for everyone; we all have a right to be heard but we all need to listen. For too long a few people make the decisions and expect the rest of the planet to follow. It’s time for change. Be it Greta Thunberg and the climate, civil or religious unrest, or the problems that have never been addressed and ignored.
The video opens with a photo of an old lady, part of society that sometimes gets forgotten. The elderly suffered greatly through the pandemic. The TV screens show how the world is hung up with conflict and forgetting to improve the world for everyone. There is a Nirvana, ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ homage with Monica Pop playing the caretaker, cheerleader, and her best Kurt Cobain as the video progresses. It just felt right to put a little Kurt in the mix for the music and the energy he gave to us growing up.”Simon Wells, from Simon and the Astronauts
Beginning life as a collaboration between songwriters Simon Wells and Ben Hewerdine with producer and musician Chris Pepper. They followed their introduction by Ben’s father and Simon’s mentor, acclaimed English songwriter and record producer Boo Hewerdine. ‘Simon and The Astronauts’ have already been creating music together for several years. Along with an impressive list of collaborators, the trio released their debut EP ‘The Entertainment Suite’ in 2019. Following this, they released their self-titled debut later that year. The same album that spawned the unlikely viral hit “I’m Just A Cat”.
As the trio set about recording their second full-length album, they decided their group was missing something crucial. After soul-searching, they reached out with what they thought was a shot-in-the-dark request to a musician they hugely admired; Rachel Haden. Haden is a founding member of That Dog and The Haden Triplets, not to mention, a respected solo artist. She is also a collaborator of artists including Jimmy Eat World, Weezer, Anais Mitchell, Todd Rundgren, and many others. With her iconic voice in mind, the band set about writing an album of songs to perfectly suit Rachel.
Working remotely between Pepper’s studio in Cambridge and Haden’s based in LA, the group began their international collaboration. Through this collaboration, they wrote and recorded a collection of 12 new songs. An ambitious and sonically varied record, this new album effortlessly shifts from the classic alt-rock of ‘I Have A Name’ to the gorgeous balladry of ‘Lost In London’ all the way to the crushing guitars and cinematic atmospherics of the first single ‘10 League Boots’.
The album features additional contributions from LA studios Sea Grass Studios & Spirit Kid Sound. English musician Boo Hewerdine and Swedish multi-instrumentalist Gustaf Ljunggren also pitched in on the album. The album features lyrics inspired by Haden’s Jazz legend father Charlie Haden, and the blessing of Weezer frontman Rivers Cuomo to interpolate their song ‘Surf Wax America’.
Overall, this album is a tribute to the possibilities of the global sharing of ideas. Each track bounced between different countries and continents, heading to its next destination richer and more developed. Though an unlikely cast of characters that hail from a wide variety of musical backgrounds, and traditions, “Simon and The Astronauts” show that it can make a richer and more unique experience for music altogether.
Simon Wells said: “The album has always been a pleasure for me. They can be a mystery that can start with the name of the band, a track on the radio or just the artwork. ‘Dark Side Of The Moon’ is an obvious example for me. Or ‘Kid A’ or ‘Universal Human’ by Weezer. For this recording, I wanted to capture the album’s mystery and for everyone involved to be part of the ride. It had to be about playing side A and turning the vinyl to hear the rest of the album and finish the journey/story. This all begins with the songwriting process through to the mixing and mastering. People always make the difference and the joy from hearing Rachel sing with such emotion made the songs complete.”
The collaborative group released their album, appropriately titled: ‘Simon and The Astronauts Featuring Rachel Haden’ on 22nd April 2022 via the band’s imprint. It is available to stream now, with a couple of music videos on YouTube.
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