I don’t think you love me,
I don’t think you want me…
Splitting time between Phoenix and Detroit, Simulated Youth creates electronic music with a dark twist. The juxtaposition of his belligerent yet beautiful sound is driven by aggressive breaks, ethereal drops, and creative arrangements, in the vein of inspirations such as Alice Glass, Crystal Castles, Björk, Catnapp, Aphex Twin, and Die Antwoord. His goal is to balance the emotion of the track between bright and dark parts, ultimately providing a fun and original sound as listeners dance away.
His latest track, Money In My Tummy, is a satirical bop about commercial greed and the destruction it causes, both to the human psyche and to the environment. Its deceptively simple, uptempo refrain is a blistering attack on commercialism, ravaging of the planet’s resources, and the emptiness of retail therapy.
On the song, Zach from Simulated Youth explains:
“This dark dance track is about greed and wealth obsession around the world. Think of a handful of people out of nearly 8 billion that have more wealth and power than the rest of the planet combined. There is so much good that could be done in this world if people weren’t so greedy and obsessed with material things. Even on a smaller scale, one must ask themselves whether the $500 pen or $4,000 purse or $800 watch, etc. really make them a better person, or could they use that money for better things (self-development, personal security, or dare I say maybe donate a bit to help those less fortunate?).”
Simulated Youth is also a fan of international collaborations, with tracks featuring vocalists from El Salvador, Belgium, Russia, and the USA.
This latest track features a collaboration with NYC artist Rielle, who previously worked with Simulated Youth on “Digital Memories, and “Kill the Messanger”.
Post-Punk.com conducted an interview with Zach, the musician mastermind behind the project.
How do you think your music has evolved with the release of Money in My Tummy?
My earlier stuff was much more experimental for a couple reasons. I really had no idea what I was doing with mixing or mastering, and different parts of my songs would like instantly transfer to the next (so basically I also sucked at arrangements haha). I’ve still maintained the same sense of improvisation and not caring to follow the norms, but I’ve worked a lot over the past few months improving my technical skills and learning how to compare my music to more commercial releases to better judge if each song is ready for release. From a dark-but-I-guess-commercially-friendly perspective, Money in My Tummy is my best song yet.
Is greed for a lack of a better word, good?
Definitely not! The world has too many issues, to name a few: pollution, destruction of environments/humans/animals, drastically insufficient resources (AKA overpopulation or mismanagement of resources among large populations). All of these are a result of a supply chain built on greed. At the very top, the elites want money (which equals power). To get that money, they need to create an entire society based on constant advertising of things people don’t need, but after incessant reminders feel they require these things to “fit in” among others in their society. People then buy those things, usually when they cannot afford to, hence the incredible amount of private debt and published data showing well over 50% of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck (this isn’t an American only problem by the way – it’s a nearly worldwide problem). If we could eliminate this desire to fit in by overly consuming things that don’t really matter in the end, these above issues and many more would be resolved. Have you ever seen a hearse pulling a trailer? Me neither.
Do you think we have returned to the blatant materialism of the 80s, along with that the music? And do you think the two are linked by correlation, or separate?
I think materialism and consumerism today is faaaaaaar beyond anything in history. This is a combination of the amount of people consuming, the access to easily overconsume/waste resources, and the pressure to do so (like ads and the social pressure I discussed above). I do think highly commercial/generic music is definitely a form of consumption or materialism. It’s quite easy to just copy/paste some loops and call it a song, and sure I guess it sounds OK and maybe lots of people will like it. But, like, that isn’t really expressing yourself creatively or artistically or emotionally etc. It’s just copying/pasting separate things that sound cool which then of course sound cool together… So for some segment of the music industry, it’s 100% about “create as many generic songs as quickly as possible” so that they can keep selling people more or less the same songs over and over again (although many don’t realize it).
Do you think the digital and social media age has increased human avarice?
For sure! Especially in western society (I’ve spent well over 5 years living outside the USA, from China to India to Cambodia and beyond. Western society seems to worship the notion of being rich. Perhaps this is a result of incessant social media posts showing only the best of people’s lives. Lavish waste of wealth like rappers dropping $200k at a strip club, people buying $2 million cars, all of the pressure to buy cosmetics etc. to look like a movie star even though those people have like dozens of people working on their life/fitness/makeup/wardrobe etc. Standard are set too high. You know what’s cooler than blowing millions on dumb shit and/or keeping billions in stock and property? SOLVING PROBLEMS.
How did you and Rielle connect?
We met on the Indie Music Feedback Discord group. During a live review session, I complimented her profile picture which reminded me of a show from HBO called Euphoria. We then started chatting and decided to collaborate on something. She is VERY open to artistic expression, hence her starring role in my gruesome-yet-goofy music video for a previous track of mine called “Kill the Messenger.” After this, Rielle and I were talking about doing a vocal collab on a song. I told her my next track at the time needed both rap style and traditional singing vocals. She did a little rap freestyle in an Instagram DM and I immediately asked her to do the vocals for my track called “Digital Memories.” Money in My Tummy is now our third collab!
Will you work together more in the future?
100%. In fact, to keep some semblance of consistency among my tracks (while I always try to make each track quite unique in their own right), I don’t want to change singers too often. Aside from doing some vocals myself now and then, I plan to mainly just work with Rielle and another singer named Camoragi in the coming months.
What is next for Simulated Youth? What other themes and sounds are you interested in exploring with your music?
I’ve already finished the instrumental for my next track, called White Daughter, which will come out September 10. That one is a 50/50 “dark electronic” and “happy EDM” style track. I’ve also already confirmed Rielle to do a fully rap/pop style vocal version of Kill the Messenger. I used very experimental vocals in the original version, which I feel detracted a lot away from the instrumental which is quite excellent, in my humble opinion. Lastly for 2021 will be a very different track that will be like spoken word/country style rock with a surprise electronic ending. Vocals on that track will be my very first collab with skunkeater.
Listen to “Money in My Tummy” below:
Simulated Youth will continue releasing monthly singles throughout 2021, and work towards an album to coincide with live performances kicking off in 2022.
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