When Aaron Zimmer felt that relocating to the big city was best for his music career, his new start coincided with the start of a new year.
On New Year’s Day 2004, Zimmer left Lincoln, Neb., in his tour bus. After a brief stop in Nashville, Tenn., to drop off the bus at a consignment lot, he rented a U-Haul and drove to Manhattan’s East Village, arriving Jan. 3, 2004.
He’s been in New York ever since, and Zimmer vividly remembers his early struggles.
“In the beginning, I paid rent late, a lot,” the pop/rock singer recalls. “I took any job I could find. I worked in a little ice cream shop, sold guitars, waited tables – anything I could do.
“I remember feeling really frustrated that I worked all of the time but never had any extra money to put into my music. They say that on average it takes about six months to acclimate to New York City life. For me, I think it was about a year. I stayed in, ate lots of ramen and brown rice and focused on finding a job that was going to allow me to put more energy into my music.”
Eventually, Zimmer landed work doing freelance Web/graphic design. And after meeting producer Christian Cassan sometime in 2005, he began work in Brooklyn, N.Y., on his second full-length album, Live Wires, due in stores Jan. 20.
“I had heard some stuff he was producing through a mutual friend, and his mixes were just out this world,” Zimmer says of Cassan.
Together, they tracked almost every instrument on Live Wires. Zimmer says recording the song “Save Myself” proved to be a challenge.
“I think we started that song over from scratch twice,” he says. “We tried tons of things – made it slow, then made it fast. Made it soft, then loud – and nothing seemed to work.
“We almost canned the song altogether. You can hear a lot of experimentation, particularly at the end. We figured since we didn’t really know what we had in that song, that we could try anything.”
Appropriately enough, Zimmer will celebrate the release of Live Wires in New York with a show at the Annex on Jan. 17. Once the album is released and there’s reaction at radio, his plan is to “pile in a van and hit the road.”
— By Chris M. Junior