Simone Marie Butler

Simone Marie Butler: bass player for band Primal Scream, radio host, DJ and now Preen Line Diaries Miss February. We meet in the Fender showroom amongst a sweet shop of guitars and Simone’s energy for what she does is inspiringly clear from the offset. For tales of wheelie-bin crowd surfing and more please read on… 


Hi Simone, thank you for being our Miss February! What's your personal style in three words?

Past and present.

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When did you realise music was going to be your life?

Not to sound like one of those clichés you read in magazines but I guess music and art were always my things when I was a kid. I had a little Casio organ and fooled around on my Dad's acoustic guitar. I would watch all the music programmes on TV. Then at school I picked up piano, flute and violin and played in orchestras. So I was playing concerts when I was 12/13. It's funny when I look back on it now but music created this inner kingdom when I was young, and for me it was a pure emotional connection. I just liked it a lot.

My dad was a musician and my mum was a music lover so there was always vinyl being played. Elvis, The Beatles, John Lennon, Roy Orbison, Eddie Cochran. Always The Cure and Siouxsie and The Banshees coming from my brother’s bedroom.  I knew I wanted to do something in the music world but I didn’t know what or how. I mean I wasn’t listening to MC5 when I was 10 or anything, but the classical stuff I kinda stumbled on, so it was where I first discovered the emotional depth that music can provide. Then after that I realised you can get the same energy from stuff like The Stooges, or say Depeche Mode or New Order. That’s when I found my music home so to speak.

I also remember my dad giving me a Motown cassette when I was very young - so I discovered Otis Redding, Smokey Robinson, Curtis Mayfield. It had the song ‘The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face’ by Roberta Flack. That was the first time I had ever cried for no reason purely from listening to a song. I knew I needed to be around this energy, I didn’t understand it but I felt a kind of magic in it.

When I started getting paid for gigs - the odd £200 here and there - and I could maybe pay some of my bills doing what I love, that made me strive to really make it my life. I’ve always thought you should never turn down opportunities that will either scare you or make you better at what you do.  I worked loads of crap jobs while I was in bands so I could pay the rent just like anyone who’s been in a band has. We all need to connect with what makes us happy. Money or no money. 

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What makes a really great album?

Damn there's a good question! I don’t feel particularity qualified to answer such a big question to be honest. I’m not some hot shot producer or expert by any means. It’s hard to have a blanket answer for this,  I would say there’s no formula you can apply. I love so many albums for different reasons. An album that just connects, that speaks to you - that is gold. It’s also a very personal and indefinable entity. During some of the hardest times of my life when I’ve felt so entrenched in a situation that I can’t  even see what I’m thinking, then certain albums have spoken to me. They express the feelings we can’t iterate. That to me is the magic. Conscious intent you could say.

I think good lyrics are really important. I like the juxtaposition of a song sounding very pretty yet having dark lyrics. There’s a magic in lyrics, in the way a singer phrases words and lines. I love Nick Cave for his lyrical content. I don’t like things that sound way too polished and over produced. For me it has to have soul, y’know ? I want to hear the instruments or I want to hear the rawness. I want to hear the feeling in it. Stooges raw power is never far away from me for that reason. I also love the band Little Barrie for that. They really know how to use old and new recording techniques that don’t take over the vibe of the record. Same with an album like Ege Bamyasi by Can. I think they were all half living in a disused cinema at the time of recording, so it was a chaotic recording but nothing sounds like it. Bands have obviously been very influenced by their sound. 

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Best piece of advice you've been given but completely ignored?

Oh man another good one! Let’s see… I’d have to go with never mix your drinks. It stands to reason, but it’s caught me out many times. We’ve all been there.

If you weren't in a band, making music and being a DJ - what would you be doing?

I’d be a writer, possibly a journalist. I’d also being doing photography, music videos, art installations. I think film is a transformative medium and can change people’s lives just like music can. I’d like to do soundtracks for films too. I remember doing this thing when I was at school called jig-cal, and the results came back that I would be suited to being a dental technician. Needless to say I ignored that.

We talked a little bit about going on tour around the word, are there any stand-out moments for you?

So many, really.  I love playing live so much. Playing the pyramid stage at Glastonbury just before the Rolling Stones will always be a brilliant and surreal moment to remember. We watched them from the side of the stage while dancing like maniacs that night. 

Also when we played Mexico about two years ago. It was the night after Trump became president .  We arrived at the airport the night before - the mood was palpable. The next night we played and it was really intense, people were crying. After the gig when I spoke to some of the audience they said how much they needed to come out and exorcise this energy and anger they had. They were wild…  an amazing night.

One other time we did a festival and someone crowd surfed a wheely bin to the front. I mean you see blow up dolls and all kinds of stuff in crowds but I was pretty impressed with that. Those things weigh a tonne. 
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Where do you feel the most inspired?

Kind of everywhere. I love being in studios with other musicians. I love that exchange of ideas, you have to let your defences down to share ideas. I find that really inspiring and kind of scary at the same time. I find recording inspiring because you have to focus and it’s interesting what comes out in that moment. I carry my notes around with me - lines come into my head, little realisations I have can sometimes be summed up in one line. I also get really inspired from live shows. It’s pure life force.

If you could have on hour in anyone’s wardrobe - dead or alive - who would it be? 

Bowie, no doubt. He was and remains a brilliant untouchable artist, a force of nature I’d say.

What’s next for Simone Marie?

Well touring Australia, New Zealand and South America with Primal Scream which I can’t wait for. I love touring. I also do another band when I’m not with scream - I just like to keep busy. I have my radio show on Soho Radio which continues, so there’s more stuff happening with radio things which is cool. I also work with Doc’n’Roll festival every year hosting film screenings which I really enjoy. There will be more DJ gigs and there are some film projects coming up too which is exciting. miss february 9Finally - what are the top 3 tracks on your playlist right now?

Ty Segal - Main Pretender

Escape-ism - Almost No One

Crosby, Stills and Nash - Almost Cut My Hair 

Discover more from Simone Marie on Instagram - @simonemarie.4 on Twitter - @simonemarie4 and on Facebook - @simonemariebutler

Photography by the amazing Eva K. Salvi - @evaksalvi

Don't forget to follow @preenline on Instagram

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