Born: 09/18/83 In: New York, NY Is: Musician
During the photo shoot for this story, Amazing Baby co-founder (and guitarist) Simon O'Connor had a This Is Your Life type of moment. After engaging in some herbal recreation with fellow cover star Kid Cudi, O'Connor headed downstairs. The elevator doors opened on the third floor and instead of going a few floors, O'Connor miraculously went a few years. "It was the fucking place I used to work at!" O'Connor says incredulously, during what sounds like a monsoon on the phone from England. "I didn't realize it. I basically had to walk around the office with my boss who'd never paid any attention to me, giving me a tour of the new office, and I was stoned to the bone."
Much has changed since the last time O'Connor was required to show up for work at ringtone factory The Orchard. O'Connor -- along with fellow former co-workers Will Roan and Will Berman -- hatched the idea for Amazing Baby on a lunch break from the drudgery of turning Reggaeton hits into 30-second ringtones. Ironically, it was O'Connor's desperation to get out of the music industry that ended up bringing him success. A musician since he first touched a cello at the age of six, O'Connor had played in a lengthy succession of bands before ending up at a desk job. He started his first band, Aneurysm, at 11, before quitting to pursue punk music with Social Disease, then Thulsa Doom, who enjoyed some success and garnered a spot on tour with the Casualities when O'Connor was 15. The native New Yorker started the band Stylofone after college, and when that band imploded, O'Connor felt drained by the prospect of trying to make it as a musician. "I almost gave up," O'Connor says matter-of-factly. "All of my other bands were so calculated. Like, 'OK. This is about to happen.' Being a little bit scared to do your own thing, and trend-predicting. With Amazing Baby, I didn't give a fuck anymore."
Post-work evenings were spent with lead singer Roan, working on the songs that would make up last year's Infinite Fucking Cross EP. Within days of O'Connor and Roan putting the EP up on MySpace, the band was flooded with offers of shows and fandom, and it's not difficult to see why. Girl-group meets psych-rock album opener "Headdress" contains one of the most hypnotic guitar lines ever, and "The Narwhal" sounds like the best song Led Zeppelin never wrote.
At Amazing Baby's inception, O'Connor may not have given a fuck anymore, but he was far from unprepared for the success the band's enjoyed. Since well before the release of their full-length Rewild, the band has been playing shows around their native Brooklyn, and recently toured extensively, opening for Phoenix and "absolute fucking homeboys" MGMT (O'Connor attended Wesleyan with the duo). After rattling off a dizzying tour schedule that keeps him off American soil for weeks and takes him everywhere from the Netherlands to Japan, O'Connor says he's unconcerned about the pace and the trappings of fame. "I own one of the best collections of rock 'n' roll documentaries [on] VHS, [and] between Kurt Cobain and Behind the Music, the post-grunge generation understood -- you spend all your money on drugs and girls, you're not going to make any money."
With the first 25 years of his life accounted for, O'Connor has the
next few pretty well laid out. There's a horse farm in upstate New York,
a recording studio therein, and a wife and kids that'll get moved back
to the city once they are teenagers. "The next ten years I'm obviously
going to have to rock my ass off," he says. "But after that, I'd like to
rock my ass off a couple times a year."
Wears: a blazer by Z Zegna, jeans by Topman, necklaces by Giles & Brother by Philip Crangi