SB Art: Ansley & Chris Rimmer, Musicians
Between selling homes and working for a CPA, Ansley Rimmer, along with her husband Chris, take care of their 14-month-old son, Roscoe. Life is pretty busy, but they wouldn’t trade it for anything.
Things looked different four years ago. They were touring with their band. They had just spent time in Europe working on their album. Music was their life, and with spots on MTV and college radio stations, it seemed their hard work was finally paying off.
“That was the best time ever when we didn’t have any responsibilities, no obligations. It didn’t matter that we weren’t making money,” said Ansley, 28. “We had just started talking to the right people. We were almost there.”
Ansley and Chris are both a part of Hydrogen Child, who debuted on Shreveport’s music scene in 2011 as Super Water Sympathy. With catchy tunes such as Slade Was Made and You Us Hey, they toured all over the U.S. and began pushing their album to major record labels in Los Angeles and New York. As their music changed, and band line-up changed (eventually incorporating Chris, 30, as the guitarist who was and still is a part of local band Irene & the Sleepers), their name changed to Hydrogen Child.
“We’d get super hot with a label or a publicist or a manager or a booking agency, and that’s what we needed. But then they’d fall off the radar,” Ansley said. “We needed somebody who was going to put it in front of people who hadn’t seen us before, that gave us the larger numbers. We could tour all day long, but we wouldn’t make enough money for our bills, just enough to tour. When you play the same venues in front of the same people, it’s just really hard to grow.”
Their last show, as a full band, was in fall 2016 at 601 Spring. They had released their latest EP album two years prior and had toured as much as they could. No new music had been made even though both said many tracks sat on the back burner.
“I didn’t want to play without something new, at least,” she said. “I wanted three new songs. I was exhausted from pregnancy and I said, ‘OK, just one new song, it’ll take us two practices.’ And when we couldn’t even make time to get together for two rehearsals, clearly it wasn’t that important to anyone right now.”
The shift had been happening for a while. Band members were getting married and the time just wasn’t available like it used to be. Everyone was in a different headspace.
“When we tried to force things, that’s when it got bad,” she said. “We were beginning to judge ourselves. ‘It has to be better than Sirens.’ We would try to write and just get frustrated. When you’re uninspired, for any artist, whether you’re a visual artist or a writer, you can’t just come up with something out of nothing.”
Ansley said it was very emotionally trying during that year. It, unfortunately, caused tension in the band.
“We weren’t having arguments because we were having personal conflicts. We were just frustrated at the situation,” she said.
At the same time Super Water Sympathy was birthed, Chris was just starting in his band, Irene & the Sleepers. For fans of Shreveport’s mid-2000s music scene, Chris might be familiar. He was in a little band called Tyler Read who toured alongside artists such as Puddle of Mudd and Chevelle. Last year the band reunited for a 10-year album reunion.
“It feels like a million years ago,” he said, of first joining the band.
It was then that Ansley first noticed Chris, and as a self-proclaimed fangirl, she kept up with his band and made sure to see them when they were in town. It wasn’t until 2011 when they started playing shows on the same bill that they’d finally connect. Eventually, SWS would ask Chris to join their lineup and head to Warped Tour.
“There would be people, even in the band, who would say ‘I don’t know how you guys do it,’ but we always spent all day, every day together,” said Chris. “That’s just the way it was.”
They may have traded in being touring musicians for a quieter, family life, but don’t think they’ve stopped making music. Their plan is to finally make music for themselves and their loyal fans that want to hear it.
“It’s experimental,” said Chris. “It’s music we’ve never been able to do before.”
Their new project is called House Lalo and features John Adams from Lish Starshine (the spinoff of Irene & the Sleepers).
“I go through waves of feeling like ‘man, if I could just have three days in a studio, we could write something great,’” said Ansley. “I listen to Centenary radio and they play us like four times a day. They play all kinds of mainstream stuff, and I think it’s cool to hear The Weeknd, followed by Kyle Craft, followed by Lady Gaga, followed by Hydrogen Child.”
And while their music careers may be on hold, Ansley reassured she’s happy working for REMAX and Chris doesn’t mind his full-time job with Paul Sommerfeldt, CPA. Instead of getting in at 3 a.m. from a show, now they’re making sure their son has the best life they can give.
“I’m very satisfied,” she said. “I’m happy. It’s fulfilling to me to do what I’m doing and help others. I don’t need to be the top selling agent in Shreveport, I just want to give people the time and effort they deserve.”
You can check out their video for Sirens below: