Simon. Simeon. Sime On. Toast. What does that all have in common? Well, nothing. But Simon “Sime on Toast” Welch might disagree.
Simon graduated from MSU with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in metal-smithing and print making. Although he loves working in 3-dimensional art, it wasn’t practical for him after graduating so he taught himself how to use editing software and landed a job as a graphic designer. He continually stretches himself and enjoys learning new ways to create art.
One of his latest lessons brought him back to his first love of 3-D art. Simon started working with a 3-D printer to create sculptures. In walks toast. Simply explained, “I like the shape of old toasters. Every artist has their thing, I just picked toasters and went with it.” So, he uses the image of retro toasters and gave them personalities. Good and evil toaster. He points out how we tend to project our emotions and excuses onto inanimate objects. It’s with that idea that he brings toasters to life. Sime on Toast.
Currently Simon is working on a collaborative art show that will take place this year, but he isn’t willing to share details concerning the event. He has also recently started a podcast, “Two broke guys selling art”, with a friend from Austin, TX. And although Simon has rocked it out in an acapella choir and a barber shop quintet, he plans on sticking to visual art and leaving the music to his wife.
Nicole (aka Polly Pocket) takes the concept of creating music to a whole other level, a level very few individuals reach, a level few individuals have the patience, drive, or intelligence to reach. She composes electronic music on a variety of instruments, and when she doesn’t have the instrument she needs to accomplish her mission she simply creates the it. Polly Pocket is usually pinned down behind her instrument setup and, as she put it, “there’s this charismatic performer dying to get out.” So, she decided to create a mobile unit. Nicole is currently creating a new instrument that she has dubbed “The Synthtar”. Perhaps the image of the infamous 1980’s Keytar creeped into your thoughts, but that is way too basic for Polly Pocket. In fact, I’m not sure I have adequate intelligence or vocabulary to even describe it.
She started with a solid body electric guitar, stripped that down and took it apart. She put some doo dads and whatchamacallits on it and attached some calculator looking items to the neck. She called them “Teenager Engineering Pocket Operators”. I’m not sure what that means. This Frankenstein monster of an instrument that she is creating has stirred the interest of her online following. When she originally posted a composite of her idea it was almost too outlandish to believe that she was being serious about building such a contraption, or that it was even possible. But with subsequent posts of her actually making progress on the piece the interest of her online following was peaked. Nicole plans on finishing and debuting The Synthtar before the end of this year. Although she doesn’t consider herself to be a visual artist like her husband, she is clearly creating a musical sculpture that just happens to create music.
Nicole isn’t new to the music scene. She began her musical as a young child playing piano. Her palette for music is broad. In the early days of her musical journey she created a company called “Babies! Productions”. In this venture, then nicknamed, Polly Pocket produced shows at the American Legion. “I started hosting local shows, booking local and national bands, designing event flyers, and filming promo videos. I really started making music using my old moniker during and after college.” She booked these shows for about two years before the inevitable happened. The one show that is most remembered was a “terrible incident where the crowd went crazy and tore down the ceiling. They stopped having shows for a while, even though I paid for the damages. I shouldn’t have named it Bloodfest”, Nicole recalls.
It was after this that the Polly Pocket persona evolved from event promoter to the headlining act. Over time she has added more and more instruments to her arsenal. And when she can’t buy one, she just makes it. Polly Pocket has been playing more shows lately and can usually be found performing downtown during the After Hours Artwalks. It was at one of these art walks that her latest opportunity arose.
Eric Crosslin, the host of That City Show, saw Polly Pocket performing on a commercial promoting a downtown event, and then again at an art walk. Eric, also being a think outside the box type person saw an opportunity and snatched up Polly Pocket as the music director for his show (If you haven’t seen the show, you need to). She brings a new dimension to the already comical program.
As for the future, Nicole plans to finish her Synthtar and continue pushing her limits. She is taking life one show at a time, posting her jams on her YouTube channel, and just enjoying life.
Together, these two misfits make the perfect team. It makes one wonder why they didn’t get together sooner. Nicole says, “we were both born and raised here and didn’t meet each other until just the right time.” When they first met each other sparks didn’t immediately fly, well at least not the love sparks. “We met the old-fashioned way – at Toby’s while DJ MF Maniac was spinning. The song “Cameras” by Matt & Kim was playing and I was describing its awesome music video to a friend when Simon interrupted to correct me. You can imagine the silly, hipster reaction I had to that,” Nicole recalls. Simon readily accepts his folly. “I love Matt & Kim, but their songs do start to all sound the same,” he defends.
A friendship was born and several months of video game playing passed before Simon asked Nicole out on a date. The two have a lot in common and bond around music. “Very rarely do we say ‘what the hell are you listening to’”. Nicole claims Toro Y Moi, Janelle Monae, and Minus The Bear as her current favorites while Simon claims Metric, Gorillaz, and Bloc Party.
This April the duo will celebrate three years of marriage. “Married life is like a nonstop slumber party with your best friend.” They plan on growing and learning together, while collaborating and helping one another. Simon creates visual art for Nicole’s projects, and she returns the favor with music for his podcast.
Visit them online at @pollypocketmusic and simeontoast.com