Sam & The Spacemen
IT has been rewarding speaking with…
Sam & The Spacemen about the awesome debut track, I Don’t Wanna Be Alone Forever. It is about moving to London (as Sam did) and being made aware of, and shocked by, the lack of connection and community – when there was hope of love and friendship. Sam discusses his sexuality and coming out; what the next step is for his musical venture; the way he mixes intergalactic sounds with more traditional measures – and what 2018 holds in store.
Sam talks about Kate Bush’s The Kick Inside and why – like myself – this album holds great weight; the music that inspired the young man – and a couple of new names worth a bit of our time.
PHOTOS: ZoZo ZH Luna
Hi, Sam. How are you? How has your week been?
Hey. It's been a busy one.
I've been working a lot to promote my music; it's been keeping me on the go - but have been loving every minute of it.
For those new to your work; can you introduce yourself, please?
Sure. My name is Sam & The Spacemen. I am a solo artist who writes and produces my own Synthpop music. The songs I make sound big with luscious strings and echoey pianos - and they often take on a big cinematic vibe to them.
I love adding layers of production that sound enchanting - but also haunting.
I Don’t Wanna Be Alone Forever is the debut single. What is the story behind the song?
I wrote this song about living in London for the last year...
I moved from the countryside and I think a part of me expected it to be easier here - to find friends and make new connections. But, I've found that there are more people but less of them are willing to open up and connect with you. So, I decided to write a personal song about how I felt. I didn't wanna be alone forever but as the lyrics say: "It's hard to settle down, the city keeps you going until you are all worn out". I'm saying, I'm finding it hard to build genuine relationships - when I'm struggling as it is to keep up with a city that demands you move a-million-miles-an-hour all the time.
It looks at the difficulty establishing relations and connections in a rushing city! Has that situation improved – or do you still struggle to find gravity?
I think I'm always looking for a connection - even if it's just smiling at a stranger for no reason. It's something I struggle with daily I'd say; that a lot of people are in their own zone; getting from A-to-B - and they just don't have time for much else. I'm still single and it saddens me a bit to see the way in which my age group date now. It feels like it's 'let's try you…ok, done that now; onto the next' type of thing.
It's like we have so much choice with dating apps and social media that it's becoming harder to actually stick anything out and build a relationship.
Is there going to be a music video for it and what could we expect from it?
Yes. I'm so excited!
The lyric-video is out now - but I have already filmed the main video across three days. I'm currently editing it and it's looking great! Very colourful, very cinematic; lots of flashing lights and rich overlays. I wanted to create a visual that lends itself to the message of the song - and I think I'm close to achieving that.
We will see...
How far ahead are you looking? Will there be more material coming down the line?
For sure. I have three more songs I can't wait to put out. They all have a similar theme and vibe: melancholic but slightly uplifting. They'll all be coming out as singles. I prefer to do it that way for now - and leave an E.P. or album for later.
Tell me about your early music tastes and the artists you grew up on…
Well. I grew up with my mum as a huge influence on me so, whenever she was cleaning, she would put on Duran Duran and Cyndi Lauper. I grew up loving all the 1980s New Romantic era. I loved the bright clothes; the flamboyant singers. I wanted to be Adam & The Ants and Simon Le Bon. I loved how confident they were.
It inspired me as a nine-year-old.
I know Kate Bush’s The Kick Inside holds a special place – it is my favourite album ever. What is it about that record that resonates?
You have excellent taste, Sam. Haha.
I remember being young and watching her on a retro version of Top of the Pops. She was in a white dress singing Wuthering Heights. I remember the moment she opened her mouth: I fell completely in love with her. As a closet gay kid; I was always searching for strong icons to help me push through - and she was that and more. Her words, the way she used her body to illustrate the songs - it was perfect. She had such a mature way of writing and she's so mysterious, and yet, so truthful: a fantastic juxtaposition.
That whole record makes me feel like I've fallen down a rabbit-hole into a magical surreal world that Dahli could have painted.
I hear some intergalactic sounds and personal lyrics mixing together. It seems someone like David Bowie is pretty key. Is he someone you idolise? Which albums of his do you take inspiration from – if any at all?
Yeah. The whole intergalactic sounds have been coming for a while - and now I'm embracing them. With Bowie; it's more of a state of mine I loved about him: his fearlessness to be who he was and to keep transforming and growing. I love that.
I try and take from that in my own way.
IN THIS PHOTO: ZoZo/PHOTO CREDIT: Timothy Ward
Which new artists do you recommend we check out?
ZoZo (Luna), for sure! She's one of my best friends and her new single, I Won't Leave Your Bed Tonight, is stunning! I have it on-repeat.
Little Boots is also continuing to make some really interesting songs. She always has a fresh perspective on subject matters I connect with - so I love hearing what she has to say. I'm also obsessed with Motorway.
Listen to it if you haven't.
IN THIS PHOTO: Little Boots
Are there any tour dates coming up? Where can we see you play?
Yeah, I can't wait! I'll be performing at Blueberry Bar – Shoreditch; Monday 27th November at 8:30 P.M. All-new songs with my own lighting production - it's gonna be epic.
Come if you can. It would be lovely to have you there.
If you had to select the three albums that mean the most to you; which would they be and why?
Ok. So; first up I have to say Years & Years – Communion
That whole album has gotten me through some really dark times. Olly has a phenomenal way of writing: it's like he knows what's going on in my head. He's also a prominent gay male musician and it's so refreshing to have someone like that in mainstream media: it gives artists like me, who are way down the ladder, hope that you can break through that glass ceiling.
The whole album oozes this cool slick vibe that Mikey and Emre do so well - and Olly's voice and words are the icing on the cake.
Second; I'd have to say either of London Grammar's records...I mean, there isn't much to say other then they are gloriously emotive. I can't listen to a single one of their songs without feeling complete emotion be it happy, be it sad; be it somewhere in-between where I don't even know what I'm feeling.
Their work is phenomenal. Someone give them a Grammy, already.
Last, but not least: Lana Del Rey - Born to Die (The Paradise Edition)
Like the other two albums; Lana puts me in this headspace where I feel like I'm in a movie, living life to its fullest. Her imagery and sound combine to create this landscape that is intoxicating. She is an outstanding songwriter that makes me feel sassy and troubled - and like a glorious deviant child sipping on Pepsi Cola. She also tends to write from a damaged ‘on the back-foot’ perspective, which I tend to do - so that resonates with me.
Adore Lana and this record.
What advice would you give to artists coming through right now?
I'd say: don’t let ANYONE tell you that you can’t make it.
Write as often as you can and KEEP everything you do. I currently am on hard-drive five - as I never delete a single song I've made. Go back and listen to those tracks - after some time has passed - and see what you can learn from them. Keep hustling and get out there playing live and networking. Everyone has to take their first step: don't be afraid...we've all been there.
Know that I believe in you.
Christmas is not too far away. Do you have plans already - or will you be busy working?
I'm going to be spending Christmas in the countryside with my family - and New Year in Rome with my Italian side. But, knowing me, I'll be working on my next release - because I love making things and can never switch off. Haha.
Finally, and for being a good sport; you can name a song and I’ll play it here (not one of yours as I’ll do that).
Ok. I choose Real by Years and Years - because it makes me feel a lot.
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