THE video for his new single, Share Your Stone, sees…
Sam Way handing out flowers to Londoners – an experience, as he explains, that was met with a combination of smiles and confusion. I talk to the model-turned-songwriter about the song and what compelled it. He discusses his week and how his forthcoming mini-album, Archetype, is coming along. Way provides access to his creative process and the people he has been working with; the music that has inspired him the most and how he has evolved as an artist.
I ask whether it was easy to transition from modelling into songwriting – and whether he gets recognised a lot – and what message he would give his legions of adoring fans.
Hi, Sam. How are you? How has your week been?
Hello. I’m good, cheers.
Well….this week, I’ll be in the studio for pretty much all of it.
On Monday, I swear we were recording ‘shakers’ on one of the tracks (on the new album) for three hours. It was depressingly slow progress.
Tuesday was a random one: I ended up partying in a small room with thirty other young creatives - as a ‘director' (he was a very loud man) shouted over the music - as he instructed, not only us - the unsuspecting cast of misfits that we were - but also a cameraman to create what must have looked like the best house-party of the year.
Wednesday; I was suitably hung-over and back in the studio, but my cellist was taking the reins that day - and has really brought some beautiful lines to the track. It’s starting to sound pretty exciting...
For those new to your work, can you introduce yourself, please?
My name is Sam Way. I’m a singer-songwriter, hailing from Devon (why did that feel like I was standing up at an A.A. meeting…L.o.L.). I like ninjas and dragons - in equal measure - I play the guitar and piano - and am just about to release my new mini-album, Archetype.
Share Your Stone, your new single, is getting a lot of praise. What was the inspiration behind that song?
I’m so happy that Share you Stone is moving people and I was overjoyed that Clash premiered the music video.
It’s a deeply personal song about loss and solidarity in the face of pain. I won’t go into it specifically (anymore) but I’m sure, if you hear the song and listen to the lyrics, you’ll get it and you’ll relate.
Its video sees you walking around some of East London’s most noticeable sites spreading the love. What was the shoot like and did you enjoy working with Andrew Richardson on it?
Andy is a rising star and a friend of mine - which is a bonus.
He was great to work with and I’m so happy with how the video turned out. It was a gruelling process in a way: I was so done with giving out flowers at the end of the day!
In the video, you see loads of people being open and receptive - but I’m sure you could have watched even much more footage of me being refused!
That’s just Londoners for you: we think everything comes with a catch.
The song follows Pretty Liability and your earlier E.P., Architect. Would you say you have matured and evolved as a songwriter since those releases?
The evolution is constant, I’d say - but not linear.
I also (just) find it interesting to work with other people and see what they bring out of you. I look back and smirk at my older recordings - though, I stand by them totally, too.
I feel like the best is yet to come...
Archetype is your forthcoming mini-album. What kind of themes and subjects do you address throughout?
They are a collection of stories - some of the ‘archetypes’ that exist in me and, I believe; in others, too. Relationships and conflict are always up there for me, as the things that inspire my words - and that is reflected heavily in the release.
Is there a standout song/moment that, in your mind, defines the album?
The last chorus of Half a Heart – pretty much nails it as a moment for me – as it’s maybe the most honest, saddest; most-conflicted instance of the album.
What was the recording experience like? What was it like working in the studio and seeing the music take shape? Tell me a bit about, in addition, some of the producers and people that helped bring it to life?
Cherif Hashizume was the principal producer of the record, with composer and producer Edward Abela producing one the other tracks on the release. We had Sam Thomas on drums; a four-piece string quartet; Sam Vickary (from The Cinematic Orchestra) on the double bass. It was such a joy to work with all this outstanding talent and seeing the record being brought together.
It’s always a process: sometimes it’s great; sometimes it’s challenging. I’m just happy we got there in the end.
I know a lot of the songs came together throughout last year. What was going on at the time that compelled prolific songwriting? Does the album mix personal insight and reflections on the human condition?
Songwriting is so much a part of my process; my emotional sounding-board – I know what was happening for me – but, I guess, it’s up to anyone that listens to the release to see if it echoes in their hearts...I feel they will.
So much of my heart is in this record.
Many might recognise you from modelling campaigns. What was the reasoning behind coming from modelling to a life in music? Do imagery and the aesthetic play a big role in your current endeavours?
I have been known, yes, and the relationship is totally linked...
Without a career that, effectively gave me the time and the ammunition to start writing, my music and songwriting would have never been able to develop. It would be fair to say that, since a late-teens imagery and aesthetic have had such an overemphasis in my life, image was so tied to my sense of worth and success.
As I’ve grown up, I’ve moved into myself more; developed something that feeds my soul. I’m really happy and I think it’s important that my music can stand up on its own.
You have a large following on social media. How important is the love of the fans and what message would you give them?
I fuck*ng love my crazy fans!
What tour dates do you have approaching? Where can we come and see you play?
I’m supporting Ships have Sailed on their London date in October - and have a few other private and charity dates in late-September (around the release).
IN THIS PHOTO: Phoria
If you had to select the three albums that mean the most to you; which would it be and why?
The Prodigy: Fat of the Land
I grew up devising weird theatre and drinking cider (underage at the Rugby club) listening to this.
Fat Freddy’s Drop – Based on a True Story
For me, this is their seminal album…and the album I like to make love too… (*awkward grin*).
Ludovico Einaudi – In a Time Lapse
Just incredible compositions from this genius. When I first listened to this, I think I had nothing else on in my headphones – and was at home for a solid two weeks. I find this album an insight and an inspiration - whenever I hear it.
What advice would you give to artists coming through right now?
Just do it - and keep on doing it.
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).
Phoria – Saving Us a Riot
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