Paul Kalis A&E Editor
The Pioneer recently spoke with singer-songwriter Keaton Simons who is releasing his second full-length album, Beautiful Pain, on April 30. Keaton has had his music featured in several television shows and feature films including Private Practice and NCIS: Los Angeles. He is a longtime friend of David Duchovny, of Californication, who also often plays and writes with Simons. You can follow Simons on Twitter @ KeatonSimons.
The Pioneer (TP): Your sophomore album “Beautiful Pain” releases April 30. What can you tell us about your writing process for this album?
Keaton Simons (KS): For this album, I went into the studio with a few songs written that I knew I wanted to record, including “Beautiful Pain” as well as “Is There Any Other Way,” which I wrote with Jason Mraz. I also spent a few weeks writing at Revolver Studios, Mikal Blue’s gorgeous spot, with some amazing people like Shari Short, Josh Zegan and Glen Phillips (Toad The Wet Sprocket).
(TP): Which of the new tracks is your favorite and why?
(KS): I have a terribly difficult time choosing favorites. If I were forced to choose, I’d probably have to go with “Beautiful Pain” because it’s extremely close to my heart and represents many of my deeper beliefs about love and life.
(TP): The album includes co-writes with friends and peers Jason Mraz, Jason Reeves, Glen Phillips and Mikal Blue. What was the collaboration like?
(KS): Every collaboration is different and that’s what I love about it. Collaborating provides an opportu- nity to create something that neither party would create on their own.
(TP): Where do you find your inspiration?
(KS): Inspiration is everywhere. I just allow myself to be open to it and it finds me.
(TP): Your music has been featured on shows such as “Sons of Anarchy,” “Private Practice” and “NCIS: Los Angeles.” How does it feel to hear your work on the small screen?
(KS): It feels amazing. Music and cinema bring things out in each other that I find absolutely fascinating and exciting.
(TP): This season, you are guest staring in the season finale of Showtimes’s “Californication.” Tell us about your role and experience on set.
(KS): I play the role of “Rocker Dude,” a stretch, I know. They had me shirtless with fake nipple rings and a leather vest. We filmed the episode at The Greek Theatre and I got to perform in front of thousands of people. It was awesome.
(TP): What advice do you have for college students who want to get ahead or break into the business?
(KS): The best advice I can give anyone is to follow your heart and do what you love to do. Remember why you do it and don’t allow yourself to get caught up in all the crap.
(TP): If you were not performing, what would you be doing professionally and why?
(KS): I’m sure I’d be doing something artistic or scientific. Not sure exactly what. It’s really hard for me to imagine doing anything else.
(TP): As a send off, tell us about one of your YOLO moments.
(KS): I was recently on tour in Taos, New Mexico, and had the opportunity to check out some natural hot springs right next to the Rio Grande. The springs were lovely, warm and placid while the Rio Grande was freezing and roaring. So what did I do? I jumped out of the spring and took a dip in the deep freeze. My heart almost stopped, but it was well worth it. YOLO.