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Meet Tommy Simpson of Macro/Micro in Manhattan Beach

Today we’d like to introduce you to Tommy Simpson.

Tommy, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
Macro/micro is my music project which officially “began” in 2016 when I released my first EP “Metempsychosis”, but the roots of my musical journey go back to my earliest memories.

From the age of five, I trained in many different instruments through private instruction and school orchestra (including piano, violin, contrabass, marimba and percussion) and began writing and recording my own songs at the age of 13. After going through various iterations of musical projects with friends and by myself, the Macro/micro “era” probably began 2012 when my instrument of choice solidified as “the laptop” and my “studies” became entirely of my own volition as opposed to external instruction. This has its pros and cons, but my thirst to improve my production and recording skills (in order to more deeply explore the vast emotional landscapes that music can reveal) has proved to be my best motivator.

In the last six years, I’ve released two albums and two EPs, scored and licensed original songs for films, composed and performed live original music for contemporary theater and have worked for Trent Reznor/Atticus Ross as a studio assistant and engineer since January 2019.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
My biggest obstacles have always materialized in my own mind. Thoughts/fears of inadequacy and ineptitude started to keep into my sense of self in teenage times and clouded my mind for many years after that. I knew I wanted my own version of what David Lynch calls “The Art Life”, but even though I knew my passion for it was authentic, I still felt like an imposter, or like a deluded moth flying vigorously towards a lightbulb, flopping maniacally against it as if it would find salvation if it could just get on the other side of the glass. I could muster just enough inner-courage to follow my path in private, but as soon as I was to try and share what I was up to with others, I would feel so naked and hideous that I’d go running back to my rabbit hole.

Frankly, maybe that was a good instinct at first because it’s not like the music I was making back then was going to change the world. There definitely was an element of realizing I was after a crazy dream and I was not close to reaching it at that point in time.

The most important thing is that I kept making marginal improvements day by day and kept experimenting and not only falling back to comfortable habits of music-making. Time would go by and I’d have realizations “wow, I’m making better music than I was a year ago, and WAY better music than I was five years ago”. With that came the smallest bits of earned self-confidence, which in turn gave me more energy and passion to practice and improve.

I think I’ve come to a relatively healthy relationship my imposter syndrome — just enough that it is one component of motivation to always improve, but not enough that it overcomes and paralyzes me.

We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
Macro/micro is difficult to talk about directly in a nuts-n-bolts kind of way. What’s most important to me about the project is the aim to take the listener on sonic journeys articulating the great mysteries of consciousness and reality (realized and possible). If I can help others feel the bliss, selflessness and wonder I’m feeling while making whatever piece I’m in the middle of, then mission accomplished.

So, what’s next? Any big plans?
Mostly to continue my journey and to reach a wider audience. A few big desires to jump out to me though:

Once the world has come to a new normal in regards to Covid-19, I’ll be eager to get back to live music, as an audience member and as a performer. I think outdoor music experiences will be the first types of concerts to come back, and to me they’re also the most inspiring. I’m very interested in doing different types of music for different settings, like doing an ambient show in nature during a full moon, or a dance show on a rooftop.

I also really want to work with daring directors or video/visual artists to create really ambitious audio/visual works of art.

Contact Info:

  • Website: www.macromicromusic.com
  • Email: tommy.simpson@macromicro.us
  • Instagram: @macro_micro
  • Other: spotify:artist:2zMrlbR7qbwXrqTnaAQVM7


Image Credit:

Main photo and photos 4/5/6 from next page (head shots) by John Crawford. Logo work by Zhanar Serikpayeva. Desert photo by Dasha Simpson.

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