With over 1.45 million YouTube subscribers, Simply Three is an inventive string trio that has made waves in their genre by putting a modern spin on classical music. We recently asked them about their musical interests and their newest album, All Amazed.
Who are your top three musical inspirations?
Zack Clark (cello): The Beatles is No. 1. Their music by far was the most eclectic, transformative, revolutionary, and boundary pushing of any other band I’ve heard. Second would be Prokofiev, and third I would pick Muse.
Nick Villalobos (bass): Russian-American violinist Jascha Heifetz, John Williams, and singer-songwriter Matt Bellamy.
Glen McDaniel (violin): Latvian violinist Arkady Fomin, Johann Sebastian Bach, and Michael Jackson.
What are three things people wouldn’t guess about your background?
Zack: I’m half-Italian, I was adopted, and I recently found my birth mother and found out I have seven siblings I never knew about!
Nick: I have three sisters, I don’t speak Spanish, and I’ve seen every single episode of Seinfeld multiple times.
Glen: I am of South Korean heritage, I love scary movies, and I’m a great cook.
What are three words you’d use to describe your music?
Zack: Experimental because we are constantly experimenting with sounds, styles, recording techniques, layers, and so on. Fun, because why else would we do this? And satisfying—for me as an artist it’s so fulfilling to see a big project come to life in a great way.
Nick: Emotional, innovative, and grandiose.
Glen: Honest, eclectic, and fun.
What are three of the biggest challenges of being a musician?
Zack: Never being satisfied. But that’s honestly part of the fun and what keeps me going too. It’s also hard when the thing you like isn’t what people necessarily want, and vice versa. It’s a tough balance juggling the business and popular stuff with your passions and artistry.
Nick: Lack of consistency in schedule, being away from family, and always hearing people say, “I bet you wished you played the flute”—because my large bass is a bit harder to transport than the small woodwind instrument.
Glen: Releasing the idea of perfection; learning the differences between practicing, performing, and entertaining; and understanding and accepting that learning an instrument is a slow burn.
What are three things you are most proud of with this album?
Zack: With this album we edited it very fast, including all the post-production. And the arrangements are just so awesome in this. Lastly, I personally love how our versions of these hymns are fresh and new and exciting and so different.
Nick: We presented hymns in a way no one has ever heard them before, with a much more cinematic feel. I thought each of us played with a lot of emotion on each track, and the songs are some of our best recordings yet. I never would have thought a hymns album would be my favorite album Simply Three has done, and yet here we are.
Glen: Very proud of accomplishing it at all, given the time frame. I’m also happy with the way we communicated artistic ideas with one another throughout the entire process, and I certainly believe we delivered a high-quality album that will speak to a large audience no matter their religious affiliation.