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Feature

The Musician: Lena Simon

Photo by Megumi Shauna Arai

 

Lena Simon got her first tattoo last summer. Inked onto the inside of her right forearm is a series of concentric diamonds—the same geometric shape that adorns the cover of the EP she released under the name Kairos last year.

“This is kairos: the defining moment, the opportune moment,” she says, referring to the Greek origin of the word. “It reminds me to take time to do Kairos, which is my own thing, and be apart from other projects and focus on myself.”

Kairos is Simon’s electro-pop project; on the EP she sings and plays guitar, bass, drums and keys. In its elegant complexity, Kairos reflects Simon’s years of formal instrumental training, studying orchestral percussion, classical clarinet and jazz drums at Los Angeles High School of the Arts and songwriting and composition at Cornish College of the Arts.

In La Luz, one of Seattle’s brightest rock bands of recent years, Simon plays bass. She joined in late 2013 and spent most of last year with the band touring the United States and Europe. (A tour high point: crowd surfing for the first time at a performance in Montreal.) She and the other three women of La Luz are working on the follow-up to their debut for Hardly Art, It’s Alive, due for release next year.

“There’s a vision in Kairos,” she says. “In La Luz it’s like, ‘What’s my part?’”

In Thunderpussy, her newest endeavor and second all-female ensemble, she plays drums. With its overt Sapphic sexuality and revved-up blues-rock swagger, Thunderpussy rides the borderline between horndog performance art and real band.

“Yeah, it’s a real band,” Simon laughs. “Thunderpussy is just more in-your-face about everything.”

Three distinct, contemporaneous projects, one multitalented musician—basically anything Simon is involved in kicks ass.

“I’m in a weird segue,” Simon says. “I used to be more in the singer-songwriter realm, writing on guitar a lot, and then I dropped almost all of that in the making of the last Kairos record. And I started doing music for dance [with choreographer Kate Wallich] that was all on the computer. I’ve never written like this before—it’s frustrating but it’s exciting.”

Simon has to stay busy, she says, to stay sane. But she does so with kairos in mind.

“Since joining La Luz, my life has been such a whirlwind that I’m not taking anything for granted,” she says. “I feel like all my time is valuable and I’m trying to experience every moment of it.”

Age 24
Hometown Los Angeles
Karaoke Song “Gold Digger” 
by Kanye West
Proudest Moment Crowd surfing 
while playing
Skill You Wish You Had Ability to finish a book

Return to the complete 2015 Future List

Return the the complete 2014 Future List.
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