From being a jazz drummer, tabla player, singer and producer, to playing a plethora of instruments on his debut EP, Ian Sims seems like the perfect definition of a multi-faceted musician. His debut EP Vanishing Point under the moniker Run Child Run is absorbing, meditative, and an avant-garde take on what minimalist music needs to be. Touring across Europe with the iconic electronic producer Nicolas Jaar, recording and performing with drone/stoner rock group Queen Elephantine, collaborations with Indian sitar players, Ian Sims’ musical career looks like an assortment of colourful musical genres that are poles apart from each other.
Ian’s musical journey started out at the piano next to his mother and listening to blues and jazz music his father always played in the house. “My mom always loved to play the piano, she still does and I used to imitate and watch her hands as she played Mozart and Beethovan. I played most of the sonatas by ear and never really took to reading music,” Ian recollects.
Ian then joined the Providence based stoner rock band Queen Elephantine and went on to record albums such as Kala & Sacrab, playing drums & percussions on the songs as well as taking on production duties.
Nicolas Jaar & Europe
From his relatively simple beginnings, Ian Sims’ musical career took a turn when he was invited to play drums & percussions in the live band put together by Nicolas Jaar. “Until that time I had considered myself only a Jazz drummer which I was pretty straight about. Nico kind of opened a whole world of electronic music to me, his approach to music was so different in using sampling and computers to create dance music,” says Ian speaking about the influences of Jaar on his own music. An influence that seems to have followed him through to Vanishing Point.
After touring all over Europe, the band recorded a session covering an Abdullah Ibrahim track ‘Ishmael’ for BBC that made it to the compilation album Don’t Break My Love. “The chance to go to Europe on tour was life changing, I had never experienced an audience who cared so much about music which is very different from America. Their festival season is phenomenal and every little town celebrates music,” Ian fondly remembers.
Ian and India
Vanishing Point opens with a soothing Tampura on the track ‘Darbari’ and his Indian influence runs through the EP. “It’s cool to know that you hear the Indian influence because it wasn’t necessarily my intention to put that in there. It just happened organically through the fact that I was living & playing a lot of Indian music and being around a lot of Indian musicians so that kind of seeped in this project in many ways,” says Ian when quizzed about the Indian influences on the EP.
Not surprising given that he spent a lot of time playing the Tabla in the US with Indian musicians as well as an extensive trip around the country with his long time collaborator in Queen Elephantine, Indrayudh Shome.
“It took me a little time to get the courage to start playing the tabla. I am so grateful for the three teachers I have had – Ajit Acharya, Anindo Chatterjee, and Shouri Lahiri. They have each in their own way taught me so much about music and the drums,” says Ian.
“I went to Kerala first and then to Indy and his mom in Kolkata. Then I went to Ahmedabad to visit Srinivas Reddy whom I had met through Indy. Then we made it through to Hampi and finally to Bangalore,” Ian says about what he calls a life-changing Indian trip. He also joined Srinivas Reddy on sitar and Indy on acoustic guitar to perform as a trio, Bismillah, at IIT Ahmedabad.
After an exploration over his own sound that lasted nearly 5 years, Vanishing Point was released in February, 2018 to rousing critical acclaim. The EP got due credits after being picked up as featured album of the week in Bandcamp weekly. Despite it being an electronic album, Ian ensures to retain live elements intact throughout by using wonderful looping techniques and live instruments wherever possible.
“There is some Tampura and a little hand held harp that I found abandoned. There’s a wooden recorder, bass guitar, electronic drums, Yamaha Keyboards and my voice looped back in. It was a meditative process making it, I sat on it for several nights just marinating on the sounds,” say Ian about the EP’s recording process.
Ian now embarks on shows around the US promoting the EP and soon plans to head out to Europe, North America, India and other Asian countries in the near future. Going by what we have heard, this would be a show that must not be missed if given the chance.