Simon Vertugo is a prolific artist from San Jose, California that we have featured a few times on the site, our first encounter being his debut album “Kowboy” which really interested me. Since then Simon and I have talked on and off, but finally I had the privilege to interview this young, rising star and learn more about the man, this is Simon Vertugo.
Anthony: So what is your name sir
Simon Vertugo: Jaydin Donte Geer aka Simon Vertugo
Anthony: So Simon why don’t you tell me about the origins of your stage name
Simon Vertugo: My favorite film of the Noir era is Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo and I thought hmm, what’s a really white name that wouldn’t fit me at all. SIMON, then I changed the spelling of Vertigo to Vertugo. People pronounce it VER-TOO-GO which is incorrect, it’s VER-TI-GO
Anthony: Haha I did notice that when I tried to pronounce your name I struggled with the Vertugo. So tell me about yourself Simon.
Simon Vertugo: I’m 19 years old, I’m from San Jose California and I’ve been making music since about late 2014 early 2015. I actually started animation when I was younger. I originally wanted to be a animator and have my own cartoon (which will still happen) but when I got to high school they did not have any animation classes or programs. I ended up taking drama all 4 years of high school, doing around 12 shows in total, musicals and plays. For me i’m not one to shy away from different mediums of art. I can draw, animate, design clothes, write screenplays, direct, edit etc. I’ve never been one to like sports and shit, it was so lame to me, really sweaty and stinky. I was 12/13 when i played football for about 2 years, they made me running back because I’m fast or whatever. I’m pretty damn athletic but I just don’t fuck with sports, I’d rather ride bikes and skateboard. my earliest memory of art was when i was about 3 years old and my aunt gave me a pencil and paper and taught me how to draw a stick figure, that shit was so dope to me. I was bullied in elementary school up until middle school by this one girl who had a crush on me, shit was insane but honestly nobody really bullied me throughout middle school and high school. My confidence spoke volumes and I didn’t really fuck with a lot of people. I guarantee you a lot of people know my name (not trying to be cocky) but that’s just how i carried myself, very outgoing and just didn’t give a fuck.
Anthony: Haha I love it man, LOVE IT. So let me rewind the tape a bit and go back to the cartoon idea. What was your cartoon you were shooting for?
Simon Vertugo: Damn dude, I grew up on cartoons! Shit like Danny Phantom, Spongebob, Chowder, Ed, Edd & Eddy, Invader ZIM, Regular Show, Adventure Time, Bakugan Battle Brawlers, Dragon Ball Z. I can go on forever. A lot of the comedy from cartoon network shows in my humor today. I’ve always wanted this gigantic afro. There’s something about afros that look so sick to me. I had this humanoid figure that was basically me drawn with an afro and would go on impossible adventures. I can go on forever. A lot of the comedy from cartoon network shows in my humor today, shit that would never happen in our reality. Think of Regular Show if you’ve seen it or Courage the Cowardly Dog. Just shit that was so outta pocket that a 10 year old shouldn’t have been thinking.The shit I would say in middle school and the long thought out jokes we had could pass in a cartoon, we were some fucked up little kids man.
Anthony: Some mind fuck shit.
Simon Vertugo: Some brash comedy shit.
Anthony: Ay man I feel it though, Cartoon Network in the 2000’s was crack.
Simon Vertugo: THE BEST.
Anthony: I could see your character on Fosters Home for Imagery Friends in a way with the big fro and crazy adventure hook.
Simon Vertugo: BASICALLY SOME SHIT LIKE THAT.
Anthony: So what to you is the greatest cartoon show you ever watched Or personal favorite?
Simon Vertugo: FUCK that’s damn near impossible hold on bruh high key. If we’re talking realistically Spongebob’s first 4 seasons, if we’re talking personally, Invader ZIM.
Anthony: I feel that, realistically I am gonna agree with Spongebob but man, gotta say I always loved Ed, Edd n Eddy. Shit taught all the game for a youngling growing up.
Simon Vertugo: Ed, Edd n Eddy was so fucking funny. It’s up there for sure.
Anthony: So tell me about some of those musical and plays you did?
Simon Vertugo: Fuck Imma fucking geek to a certain degree when it comes to musicals and shows, my knowledge Isn’t GEEK ALERT GEEK ALERT I’m just like yeah I’ve heard of that I’ve done musicals such as Once on this Island, Bye Bye Birdie, 9 to 5, and I’ve done plays like Noises off ,To Kill a mockingbird and Spy School. I don’t have a clue and then our class would put on short productions for the winter and spring time.
Anthony: Oh fun, sounds like original plays.
Simon Vertugo: Some of them yeah.
Anthony: See i did Willy Wonka and was a umpa lumpa.
Simon Vertugo: LMFAO BRUUUUUUUH HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA THAT’S LIT i would’ve loved to be an umpa lumpa.
Anthony: Shit was tough cause i got kicked off set for a fight with Charlie.
Simon Vertugo: Fuck charlie bruh he came to take your job anyway #FuckCharlie2019.
Anthony:Exactly, haven’t done drama since cause Charlie started drama.
Simon Vertugo: there’s a lot of drama in high school drama bruh fucking ridiculous.
Anthony: So tell me about your inspirations more, I know N.E.R.D. and Tyler the Creator were two but any others?
Simon Vertugo: Shit, Tyler the Creator, N.E.R.D, Childish Gambino, Wu Tang Clan, A tribe Called Quest, Mac Demarco, The Peddlers, Kanye West, Asap Rocky, Joey Badass, XXXTENTACION, Bleached Sun, BROCKHAMPTON, Rico Nasty, Alicia Keyes,Erykah Badu, Gnarls Barkley, Skrillex, Biggie, Count Bass D. Frank Sinatra, Earl Sweatshirt, Stevie Wonder, Earth Wind and Fire. Micheal Jackson, Kendrick Lamar, MF DOOM………much more
Anthony: That is a list, why don’t you tell me some of your more influential inspirations, like who has really formed you?
Simon Vertugo: Childish Gambino, Pharrell Williams and Tyler The Creator. Those are my BIGGEST inspirations/influences. Childish has a way he goes about his albums to where you’re invested into a world when you listen. He has your attention. Pharrell has never put out a song I didn’t like. His chord/melody game is unmatched. That man can sing and build a sonic orgasm for your ears. Tyler the fucking Creator. What can’t I say about that man. Mans has done everything I’ve been doing since i was like 3. Being a free spirit, keeping away from alcohol and drugs, leading a generation of kids.That man has changed the way we view music and doesn’t get enough credit for it. Especially fashion and shit too. He’s my fucking hero. Track 11 off of “Kowboy” was written after I met him for the first time.
Anthony: Tell me about meeting him.
Simon Vertugo: When I first moved down to SoCal for school i would cost the golf store on Fairfax like every other day like a dumbass and was just hoping to see him in person about 3 Days before I met him I was on the phone with Bryon (from Bleached Sun) and I was saying how like I thought I was gonna meet him soon and shit. Like there was a weird energy can’t explain it but if you know you know. So I was meeting up with some friends to you have a photo shoot with and we just happen to meet on Fairfax, I wasn’t going to go into the store that day but some kids ran up to me and was asking if Tyler was inside the store. I shook my head and didn’t fucking know the kids ran up to the window and started screaming, my heart just sank I was like fuck he is in there. I met up with my boys, stood in line and we walked in, Tyler was sitting on the steps with his tall goofy ass and we talked for like 20 minutes it was dope. I got to tell him I’ve been listening to him since I was like 13. I also told him “WOLF” changed my life and Tyler seemed to be captivated in a way, like he looked at me dead in my eyes and was like “you were 13? I was 21 when “WOLF” came out that’s fucking crazy! He then proceeded to take photos of me and my friends like a weirdo and we just had casual conversation. He asked where I was from and shit, why i’m in LA, what I do. He ended up signing my jacket, I didn’t even ask him to but it was sick, since then I’ve ran into him like 3 more times, the second time I was just in the store morning my business and he came out of nowhere and stood hovering over me and fist bump me, shit was hilarious, yeah that’s about all I can say through text tbh. It’s better if I describe the story in person. I just hope one day we get to work together or he hears “Kowboy.”
Anthony: Hahaha, you would be so perfect for a collaboration with him.
Simon Vertugo: that would be sick RIGHT! I don’t care what it is man, I just wanna have another conversation with him like I did the first time.
Anthony: So tell me some more about “Kowboy”, how was recording for the album?
Simon Vertugo: “Kowboy” is my first album but 4th project I was working on it for about 2 years. 2017 – 2019, there are a lot of songs that didn’t end up making the final version. I may end up releasing B-Sides, honestly the album was recorded realistically in around 7 months and the instrumentals were pretty fresh. Most being made in late 2018.some verses were written when I was about 16/17. I wanted “Kowboy” to be the most emotional journey for people to relate to. It takes place between 2017 – 2019 basically describing this new adult life journey I have to endure, everything is from the heart. It’s hard for me to write something when it’s not from the heart I made sure you couldn’t predict what each song was gonna make you feel like but still cohesive. All of it was pretty much recorded in my dorm room closet. With a few exceptions to other vocals being recorded in my school studio and Melnicksons house. I just imagine myself on a horse roaming through a desert when i listen to “Kowboy”. Not to dickride but my own album is one of my favorite albums right now.What sucks though is that I’ve been working on album 2 just as album 1 was finishing and my production an vision is way more focused and concrete. That’s one thing I can say “Kowboy” lacked is a lot of focus in a lot of aspects I wish it was focused. Album 2 will follow up on all the mishaps album 1 had, probably being my breakout album. I’m giving myself about 2 years to grow as an artist and build this world for album #2. Album 2 will be my “Because The Internet.”
Anthony: Dope dope, so tell me what was your favorite song from the album?
Simon Vertugo: Track #8, “Honest”, that’s the most vulnerable I’ve ever been on a track.
Anthony: So why is it so vulnerable?
Simon Vertugo: I’m just very emotional worrying about the future and who I surround myself with the song explains itself pretty much. I’d rather not go into too much detail and let people listen for themselves.
Anthony: Now I did listen to “Honest” so I know what you’re talking about. Now tell me Simon where are you mentally? Also where do you wanna be with your music and self brother?
Simon Vertugo: Mentally I’m not stable, a lot of shit has been going on personally but that’s okay I’ll be okay. musically I want to have more shows around the West Coast. i need to step my production game up crazy. i want to find peace with the world and myself. i still have a ton of growing to do.
Anthony: I respect that and hope you do. My next question is where do you see yourself 5 years from now?
Simon Vertugo: On tour. A nice house. And a custom Tesla with Elon musk drinking an Arizona iced tea from a soppy cup.
Anthony: Ayy why Elon?
Simon Vertugo: Elon is a crazy dude, I just wanna talk to him in person before he takes over the world. He’s the only white man we can trust taking over the world. #FAX.
Anthony: Fact Fax, If the Musk takes over I ain’t gonna front like I’m mad, Elon is king.
Simon Vertugo: On god damn genius this man, he’s making the world a better place, eco-friendly and his knowledge on meme culture is impeccable GOD.
Anthony: Honestly Elon is just a saint in disguise.
Simon Vertugo: I need to get an Elon musk feature.
Anthony: So my brother, any final thoughts or words you wanna say to the people out there reading this interview?
Simon Vertugo: Follow your dreams. Do what YOU want to do. THINK for yourself. Spread positivity and make MORE art.Thank you Mr. Hippie!
Anthony: Thank you Simon Vertugo, hope to hear more music from you soon.
This has to have been a favorite for me, I loved speaking to my man Simon and learning some fun facts about him. “Thug” and “Kowboy” are currently out with more music slowly rolling out by Simon Vertugo, you can follow him on Instagram and Twitter, @simonvertugo to keep up with this rising star from San Jose. I am The Musical Hippie and this was a interview with Simon Vertugo.