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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Monday, Sept. 1, 2014

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In Music

Mount Sims reaches new musical heights


Where does one go after "Ultra Sex"? For Mount Sims, whose debut carried that provocative name, the next step is "Wild Light," Sims' second disc, and first for German-based International DeeJay Gigolo Records.

Sims, whose birth name is Matt, has come a long way from The Pacers, that Milwaukee ska band in which he got his start here. But, then, even his next band, Citizen King, was a big step forward. When CK fell apart, Sims set up shop in Los Angeles and took some time off to cool out.

But it wasn't long before he reemerged as Mount Sims, a sex-talking electronica dance artist whose thumping music was as much rooted in early '80s new wave synth-pop as in funk and modern dance music. Part Prince, part Human League, Mount Sims' music is definitely a synthesis of style and in that sense follows in Citizen King's cut 'n' slice tradition.

Although the music on "Wild Light" isn't a radical departure from the tunes on "Ultra Sex," the recording of it was different. While the first was recorded alone in a closet over the course of a year, the follow-up was a less isolated affair, says Sims.

"It was a different experience. I worked with more people to develop a visual atmosphere that was inspired by one of my favorite stories/poems: 'A Season In Hell,' (by Arthur) Rimbaud."

And there were guests this time, too.

"David J (of Bauhaus and Love & Rockets), Roger Manning Jr. (Beck, Air), Benjamin White (Go Go Go, Airheart) were really inspiring to work with," Sims says. "They each brought a lot to the table."

Sims has no trouble finding collaborators after the success of "Ultra Sex," which outperformed all expectations, even Sims' own.

"I was really surprised it did what it did," he admits. "That record was more of a 'let's make fun of what's happening to music at the time' -- excluding a couple of sincere songs -- and a lot of people went with it."

The record really blew up big in Europe and found Sims on more than a few transatlantic flights to do promotion and performances.

"I ended up touring with LadyTron for a while, which was the best tour I've ever been on," he says.

Also going back and forth to Europe about five times during the year to do some festivals like The Love Parade, the Montreaux Jazz Festival, with Miss Kitten, Vitalic, Jeff Mills, DJ Hell, Zombie Nation, Cross Over -- lots of great music. "It's a rare opportunity that you actually get to tour with bands that you are big fans of."

And one thing leads to another. That success led to an extremely high-profile remix gig for Madonna.

"I remixed a song called "Nobody Knows Me," says Sims. "I did three remixes, and she accepted two of them saying that the third was too dark."

That has led to more mixing work, which, Sims says, comes with its own brand of satisfaction.

"It's actually helped me a lot with getting more work as a producer and remixer. It's really two different things, making my own music and helping someone else to realize their's. I'm into both; they're both magical. But it's a lot more difficult to deal with editing myself and my own ideas."

And ideas are not lacking up at the peak of Mount Sims. The singer, bassist, keyboardist, remixer and producer is now working on writing a play.

In the meantime, the perennial question returns. When will Sims get back to Milwaukee to perform?

"Good question," he says. "I hope soon."

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