Initially broadcast in July, ‘The Simon Neil Experience’ presented a deep dive into the Biffy Clyro frontman’s varied musical passions and influences. Now there’s another chance for listeners to catch its inspiring mix of iconic artists and underground favourites with a repeat run on BBC Scotland. Each episode will be transmitted at 10pm each Wednesday, starting tonight, and every show will also subsequently be available globally via BBC Sounds.
“I did this show because I wanted to share the music that was helping me get through this pandemic,” says Simon. “It was a creative process of sharing with people the music that helps me get up in the morning or that gets me through my moods.”
‘The Simon Neil Experience’ encompasses the following episodes:
September 8th – Episode 1: Rock
Simon speaks to Joe Talbot, vocalist for the critically acclaimed, Mercury Prize nominated IDLES. He also presents a diverse mix of rock’s evolution, taking us from Ike & Tina Turner to Guns ‘n’ Roses and Nirvana, right up to St. Vincent, The Armed and Porridge Radio.
September 15th – Episode 2: Pop
Always one to keep an open mind when it comes to genres, Simon’s selection of pop favourites features all-time classics and some more surprising choices. It includes his recent collaborator, Laura Mvula, alongside big contemporary names such as Frank Ocean, FKA twigs and Kacey Musgraves. And what pop playlist would be complete without Whitney Houston or David Bowie?
September 22nd – Episode 3: Experimental
This week’s guest is Faith No More frontman Mike Patton, whose myriad projects span avant-garde genre-hopping (Mr Bungle), deconstructed film themes (Fantômas) and leftfield hip-hop (Nevermen). There are also further explorations into unconventional sounds, including the full-throttle rush of Anna Meredith, Arca’s hypermodernity, and original outsider pop pioneers The Shaggs.
September 29th – Episode 4: Heartbreak
Simon is joined by Julien Baker, whose remarkably raw and self-excoriating songwriting has made albums such as ‘Sprained Ankle’ and ‘Little Oblivions’ cult favourites. The episode spans the spectrum of heartbreak, from love and loss to depression and despair, with cuts from Frightened Rabbit, Nick Cave and Big Thief.
October 5th – Episode 5: Soundtracks
When it comes to soundtracks, who better to speak to than Clint Mansell? Best known for his work with Darron Aronofsky (‘Requiem for a Dream’, ‘Black Swan’), the composer’s talents have been called upon by directors including Park Chan-wook, Duncan Jones and Ben Wheatley. After Biffy Clyro recorded the soundtrack to ‘Balance, Not Symmetry’ (co-written by Simon), his adventure in cinematic sound takes in Danny Elfman, Mica Levi, and Angelo Badalamenti.
October 12th – Episode 6: Heavy
Metal’s big hitters Metallica, Black Sabbath, and Slayer feature in Simon’s pick of all things heavy, but this episode proves there’s much to the genre than the stereotype suggestions. From the visceral hardcore of Gulch to the expansive post-rock/prog of O’Brother, the varied approaches are united by unrelenting intensity. And surely no mainstream radio station will play anything like Napalm Death’s split-second ‘You Suffer’.
The return of ‘The Simon Neil Experience’ follows the announcement that Biffy Clyro will release the surprise new project ‘The Myth of the Happily Ever After’ on October 22nd. The record is a homegrown project that represents a reaction to their #1 album ‘A Celebration of Endings’ and a rapid emotional response to the turmoil of the past year. It is the ying to the yang of ‘A Celebration’, the other-side-of-a-coin, a before-and-after comparison: their early optimism of 2020 having been brought back to earth with a resounding thud. It’s the product of a strange and cruel time in our lives, but one that ultimately reinvigorated the band.
After headlining Reading and Leeds, Biffy Clyro will also play further large-scale outdoor gigs this summer at Cardiff Bay and Glasgow Green, followed by the intimate ‘Fingers Crossed Tour’ in October/November. Plans for 2022 are also taking shape, with a huge Sunday night headline set at Download. Please see the band’s official website for a full list of shows and ticket information.