Enter the realm of C.O.DEAN, where controversy meets compassion in a fusion of thought-provoking Hip Hop and Metal. We take a deep dive into the passionate journey of self-realization and empathy within his boundary-pushing music with an exclusive interview.
Can you tell us about the origins of your project and how you got started?
The C.O.DEAN project came together as originally a more Midwest Emo Hip Hop/ Trap Metal project in about 2018 but started releasing stuff in 2019 on the platform SoundCloud and then evolved into a limitless genre grouping from those original genres to now include Deathcore, Metalcore, as well as Pop Punk. It is just me (Michael Simon) at this time but looking for members to fill the slots.
What's the story behind your projects name?
The story behind C.O.DEAN is sort of a multi play on the word. So since the project started off more a sad emo rap kinda of deal C.O.DEAN comes from two main sources. First I used to partake in recreational and illicit substances such as codeine and more. I've been clear of anything crazy like that since Feb 14th of 2018, which is a few months prior to me getting life a bit more on track after I was hospitalized with multiple issues and Doctors giving me uncertain diagosis and length of time before I could have died from the previous lifestyle choices. Secondly I used to stay out in Colorado and the C.O. in the name was always joked about as if I was "Colorado Dean" by my CO native friends.
How would you describe your music and style in a few words?
The words I'd describe my music as would be
What are some of your musical influences and inspirations?
As far as my musical inspirations and influences they are very vast. As far as the Metal/Core genres side of things the bands that come to the mind first are: Veil Of Maya, Oceans Ate Alaska, Attila, Born Of Osiris, Chelsea Grin, Asking Alexandria (2010 era AA), Attack Attack, and many more. As for Hip Hop & Rap/Trap Metal influences The Big 6 would be: Stitches, Kevin Gates, Ghostemane, Tom Macdonald, Juice Wrld, and Lil Peep. I've actually done drum lessons with the listed above bands drummers Cameron Losch (B.O.O.), Sam Applebaum(VOM), and Chris Turner(Oceans)
Can you share some memorable moments or stories from your journey as an Artist?
One of the very memorable moments I have from this journey is when I first flew out to LA in Feb of 2020. That was my first time flying ever and I went to a studio off Hollywood Blvd. and recorded "GLITCH" and "The Motto". That was the first time ever being in a professional studio as well and got me interested and when I knew I needed to be in the field of sound engineering.
What's your songwriting process like?
For me songwriting is relatively simple as long as the intrumentation conveys an emotion. I think about my core values, and life experiences then see how that correlates with the tone of the music needed to tell a story or capture a moment in time.
Do you collaborate on lyrics and music, or does one member take the lead?
As far as the lyrics I write 100% of my lyrics. As for the instrumentations, if it's a beat for more Hip hop/ etc. There's many quality producers I know who are able to provide me with those as well as I've written a few beats for songs. As for the metal stuff all my current songs were a collaboration with talented musicians. Call to Arms and U & I were with one guitarist, and then all the other songs were with another individual. Both of them are separated by distance and have familys/ jobs/ etc. that don't allow them to commit to more in the project.
Tell us about your latest album or project. What can listeners expect from it?
The newest album was called "Speak Your Mind" and that was released in the end of June 2023 and the newest single was dropped on Oct 27th called "Pick A Side". All the songs off S.Y.M. range from topics of growth and developement through self realization, empathy, and optimism to very controversial thought provoking topics aimed at bringing up things that some may take for granted, not think about regularly, and open up ones mind to a perspective that's different from their own.
Are there any specific themes or messages you aim to convey through your music?
Some themes that one can take from my music are:
-Never giving up
-Following your goals, and believing in yourself to make your dreams reality
-Getting one to think about someone else's point of view
-Calling out any indivdual who lies to themselves and avoids self realization
How do you approach live performances and engaging with your audience?
For live performances I have my backing tracks at this time to have all the instrumentation there for my songs since I don't have the members and for me once I'm on stage, that's where I feel at home. I come to every single show to provide people with an experience that they would have never expected from one individual. Whether that is talking to the crowd to know I am there for them and the expression of creativity or whether its me giving every ounce of energy I have to put on the best show from technique to choreography.
Any upcoming tours or gigs fans should look out for?
After a charity event for veterans on 11-18-23, I have nothing else booked for this year and into next year. I am currently on the lookout for any promoters or booking agents to get on any line up I feel has the best interest for the C.O.DEAN message.
What do you hope people take away from your music?
If anything I hope people can take away a fresh perspective on the lives they live, and realize once we become self aware of ourselves and what's going on around us only then can we really embrace each others differences and take the step to understand one another.
Are there any artists or bands you'd love to collaborate with in the future?
Well I recently collaborated with Chris Turner of Oceans Ate Alaska on one of his songs off the Steezy album. That song is called "On Impulse" and came out Sept 12th 2023. I am working on trying to do collaborations with Chris Fronzak of Attila, Cameron Losch of BOO and a few other individuals but those are still in discussion.
Can you share your thoughts on the current state of the music industry and any challenges you've faced as a band?
A lot of the music industry could seem this way or that way. I am uneducated in some aspects because I truly don't know what goes on behind the scenes but if I did have to put anything out there. Sometimes it can feel like unless you ultimately sell yourself in some fashion it's hard to make an impression in the world with all the social media and the way things are potrayed. That being said I stay true to who I am and with hard work, staying genuine & true to myself, filling up the roster for the instrumentalists and acquiring better marketing as well as building more of a catalog I feel there will not be as many issues moving forward in the industry.
What's the most important piece of advice you'd give to aspiring musicians or bands?
Truly it's never giving up. Finding yourself doesn't happen overnight. You have to try things you never have, make mistakes not getting stuck in the habit of making bad choices, and experiencing all you can to see what you really like and dislike all adding up to help pave the path for your dreams.
Share a fun fact or an interesting tidbit about yourself.
A fun fact about me is I love health and nutrition and love helping educate people about their body and what helps fuel them to success.
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