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The story of lo-fi beatmaker and producer Simple Kid begins with Ciaran McFeely, a young man born and raised in Cork, Ireland. Growing up, he was influenced by British rockers like Led Zeppelin, the Who, and most notably T. Rex, which inspired him to join a group of his friends and form a rock band of his own. They became the Young Offenders, a neo-glam outfit that had one hit single in the U.K. and appeared on TFI Friday, Britain's answer to MTV's TRL. Subsequent attempts to recreate their success met with failure, and McFeely, who was frustrated with the local scene and music in general, opted for a change of scenery. Relocating to California, he spent several months hitchhiking along the West Coast and meeting people from all walks of life. One of them, a homeless man, became McFeely's intellectual and conversational foil; upon his return to the U.K., McFeely would use his experiences as inspiration for his songs, as well as his new stage name, Simple Kid.
Eschewing slick studio production for a stripped-down, back-to-basics approach, McFeely began recording songs in his apartment using a combination of eight-track or cassette tapes and a laptop computer, occasionally sampling and looping his own music. The result was a sound that fused McFeely's glam and rock roots to background beats evocative of Beck and Super Furry Animals. It was an approach that earned McFeely critical praise and a cult following on both sides of the Atlantic. Following the release of the "I Am Rock" and "Truck On" singles on indie label Fierce Panda in 2003, the full-length 1 hit the U.K. charts in 2004, later making its way to the U.S. via Vector Recordings. While the album met with modest success, touring and increased attention began to wear on McFeely, who quietly went on a musical hiatus (dubbed "The Great Hibernation") for parts of 2004 and most of 2005. Time spent working in a local video store cleared his mind and refreshed his creativity, and McFeely soon started writing songs again, the result of which was 2007's 2. After touring in support of the album throughout 2007, Simple Kid announced that he was entering the studio to record a third album in January 2008.