A Conversation With MLIMA Saxophonist Zach Simms

Denver, Colorado has become a hot bed for up-and-coming musicians from all over the spectrum. One of the most recent and notable examples is MLIMA (pronounced-Mmm-Lee-Ma), who fuses jazz, jam and funk to create a self-described and verifiable “mountain groove”sound. The six-piece has played some of Denver’s most exciting venues and has even shared the stage with forces like Shpongle and The Disco Biscuits at Colorado’s Red Rocks Amphitheater as an opener, and supported acts like Praang (featuring members of String Cheese Incident), Nigel Hall of Lettuce and many more.

Recently, Show The Show got to chat with MLIMA saxophone player and vocalist Zach Simms about the band’s recent release of their self-titled album as well as what is to come for the band this fall and early next year.

STS: First off, how did this project come to be? Was there a goal in mind when you all started playing together? We know most of you play in other groups, but what makes MLIMA so special for your group?

Zach Simms: The group started by our percussionist Jackie Breitenbach in 2012. He had a vision to make some music and have some fun. The current line-up has been together 2 years, that’s when I joined. Things have really started heating up in the last 6 months even.

STS: Was it like playing music in a market like Denver and Colorado? Do you find there to be a healthy competition among other local bands? Your band name we’ve learned comes from the Swahili word for “mountain.” What made that name so appealing and how/does Colorado influence the music you put out?

Zach Simms:  There is healthy competition, lots of our friends play. Any given night there are numerous shows from the local to national scale, so you have to throw an enticing event to score a crowd. Jack picked the name because he was jamming with some percussionists from Africa, asked them how to say Mountain and he liked it. We like to think of our sets or even songs as a journey. We’re hiking the mountain through our groovy music. Hence-MLIMA the #MountainGroove. Colorado is a very positive and energetic place and I think that definitely influences our music.

STS: You just released your first studio record, can you give us a little idea what went into the making of it? Were these tunes already tested in the live setting or did you come to the studio and just write and record all fresh material?

Zach Simms: We had been playing these songs around at our shows for about a year. Then we went into Lance’s [Croucher] basement to record. We did all our recording there and took our time with it, then we went to the studio to edit, mix, and master.

STS: Where or who do you personally draw inspiration from? What are your influences?

Zach Simms: We recently heard we sound like Parliament Funkadelic mixed with The Meters, and a taste of Allman Brothers. I think everyone in the group has very different tastes and that influences our collective sound. We all love funk, rock, jam, hip-hop, metal, and electronic music. We all have played in classic rock, metal, and even EDM projects, we’re very eclectic. Having that wide range allows us to do anything I think.

STS: Finally, will we be seeing you out on the road more in support of the new record? We know you have several Colorado dates on the books as it stands now.

Zach Simms: In 2018 we plan to head on a 2 week Hawaii tour/busking on the beach and recording. As of now our upcoming dates are all Colorado, 10/13 at The Stage Stop, 10/27 at Cervantes’ Other Side, 11/3 at Crossroads Pub, and 12/30 at The Bluebird Theater with Fox Street and Analog Son.

MLIMA’s self-titled album is available now and can be streamed via Spotify, iTunes, or Soundcloud found below. To get your tickets for MLIMA’s upcoming run through Colorado, visit the band’s official website here.

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