With more than a decade of experience on both sides of the glass as a producer as well as an artist, Johnny Simmen brings a diverse skill set to any project. His wide range of experience has given him the tools to work with his clients on a deeper level than most. Simmen understands the minds of musicians, songwriters, and recording artists because he himself has played all of those roles. In the studio Simmen’s focus is on achieving the artist’s goals and bringing their vision to life. And in the event that the artist is still finding their vision or sound, Simmen prides himself in having the musical instincts to guide the artist where he thinks they want to go.
In 2015, his first year as a full-time producer, Simmen produced two Toronto Independent Music Award (TIMA) winning EPs - "The Fifth" by Birds of Bellwoods (Best Folk or Roots Album 2015), and "Beauty Fools" by The Naked Wild (Best Indie Album 2015). He also produced an irresistibly catchy track for Maddy Rodriguez, called "Fascinated" which won the Grand Prize (in the country category) and the Lennon Award at the John Lennon Songwriting Contest 2015. His heartbreaking production of "Sky" by Birds of Bellwoods, was also a finalist for the Folk category at the John Lennon Songwriting Contest 2015.
One of Simmen’s most impressive achievements was recently being selected to participate in the prestigious “Mix With The Masters” seminar in France in 2014. Only 15 emerging producers around the world are accepted to this seminar. During his two weeks in France, Simmen had the opportunity to work with world renowned producers Michael Brauer (Coldplay, John Mayer) and Joe Chiccarelli (Jason Mraz, U2, Elton John) who was very impressed with Simmen’s talent: "He has a unique artistic vision and is capable of many different musical styles. I was very impressed with our collaboration".
In the earlier years of his development, between 2008 and 2014, Simmen toured extensively with various bands (These Silhouettes, Colour Color, and Patio People) focusing his energies towards his goals as an artist-writer, musician, and performer. The rest of his time was spent producing other acts. Although he was only producing part-time at this stage in his journey, he still managed to produce successful records for Toronto acts such as The Little Black Dress (songs from their EPs produced by Simmen, have appeared on national television shows such as HBO's The Right Hand), Maddy Rodriguez (her self-penned song "Animal" produced by Simmen played on secondary market radio stations across Canada, and "Friends" also produced by Simmen went viral on Facebook).
Simmen’s is an intuitive approach, characterized by his treating every project with the same care as he would if it were his own. “Whatever their goal is I can suggest ideas to help them get there, but I always try to understand and zone in on what they want out of their songs instead of taking a cookie cutter approach to sessions. It’s not just about making great music that I like, it’s about taking the time to truly understand artists' needs, their vision, and to encourage artists to excel as performers, players and songwriters long-term.”