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Interviews: Aaron Zimmer
Aaron Zimmer: Interview
June/July 2008
By: Lauren Jonik

With natural alternative rock instincts and infectious hooks, Aaron Zimmer appreciates bringing his sound to live audiences above all else. "It's a way to express your artwork that you've made. It's loud and it's fun to sweat. I've always had a really good time playing live. If there weren't that aspect of music, I wouldn't be into music at all, " he emphatically explains. Currently performing with his band that includes Arthur Lynn, Quinn Blanford and Pat Dougherty, Zimmer's mindset remains the same regardless of where they are playing. "photo of Aaron Zimmer copyright Lauren JonikOn the smallest stages and on biggest stages, it's the same thing- a loud rock show."

Originally from Nebraska, Aaron Zimmer moved to New York several years ago to pursue music and like many artists, quickly discovered that the breeding ground for artistic talent here is both fertile and challenging. "It's stiff competition and there's a lot of competition. You might be good, but there are fifty other people that are good that are playing at the exact same time as you are. New York is so streamlined, so everything you do has purpose. You can't waste time doing something that doesn't," he begins. "Living in New York definitely makes a person work harder just because there is so much opportunity and so much to lose if you don't."

Currently at work on his full length album, Live Wires , due to be released late Summer 2008, Zimmer explains, "All of the content is rooted in emotional introspection. There is definitely a theme to the record: figuring out what things suck and why they suck and if there is a way to fix them." Of the eleven tracks, Zimmer says that another constant is that "all of the tunes are unresolved. There's not really any finality in any of the tunes. I just felt like all of them were really different in context, but none had any resolution."

Indeed, the feeling of being unsettled inspires much of Zimmer's writing, as does paying attention to the emotions that arise as a result. "Most of my writing is about observations of myself at one particular time. I usually do better if I'm worked up, or mad or upset about something," he says before continuing with a chuckle, " I have a hard time writing or being creative at all if my life is great and happy-go-lucky. Then, I feel like sitting in a park as opposed to sitting in my dark apartment and brooding all afternoon."

Working with producer Christian Cassan on Live Wires has been a fruitful musical partnership on many levels for Zimmer. "Christian and I work really well together, but it's just he and I tracking everything, so it's a painfully slow process. He just doesn't strike out, he's great. The recording process is really interesting to me and I'm learning a lot about songwriting and arranging, particularly with this record with Christian."

Proficient on several instruments including guitar, bass, piano and French horn, Zimmer primarily writes on guitar, but has gleaned inspiration from many styles of music since childhood. "When I was really young, my dad turned me on to a lot of barbershop quartet stuff and when I was a child, I played French horn in a brass quintet. Then, I got into vocal pop music. I think the first CD that really hit me between the eyes was the Boyz II Men record Cooley High Harmony. I just loved how the voices sounded." It wasn't until later that Zimmer was drawn to the rock music of which his own sound is most reminiscent. "I didn't get into rock too much until the Seattle scene hit and then, it was over for me- from Nirvana on. That was what made me play guitar and be in a rock band. That influences me even still."

With an album almost completed and a regular performing schedule throughout NYC, Zimmer continues to look to the future, ever aware of why he's where he is. "I've got this big record that I've been working for two years on that will come out this summer. I feel like it's the best I can do. Nobody is here because they accidentally landed here in NYC. Everyone has come with a purpose." And, perhaps, Zimmer has found his.

Interview originally appeared in IndieSoundsNY (Issue #34 June/July 2008).