IT has been great speaking with Franklin and Rebecca of Samana…
about their formation and what sort of music drives them. They speak to me about their new track, Beneath the Ice, and what it was like putting the video together. I ask if more material is coming and whether there are any tour dates approaching – they recommend some rising artists to look out for.
Samana talk about their favourite memories and what they have planned for next year; what sort of music they grew up around and how they spend time away from music – they end the interview by each selecting a great track.
Hi, guys. How are you? How has your week been?
Very well, thanks. Our week has been considerably wet, having spent the past week on top of a mountain, in our van, in the Welsh countryside in Storm Calum. We didn't bring a radio or a means of gathering the news, so had no idea what we were in for.
For those new to your music; can you introduce yourselves, please?
We are Rebecca Rose and Franklin Mockett from Samana.
The music video for Beneath the Ice is out. What was it like putting it together? Do you have a lot of say when it comes to concepts?
Beneath The Ice is a psycho-emotional improvisation; a poem that in the act of its creation, navigates the subconscious through the intensity of loss into a deep, eternal exhalation. This song is an ode to the moulting cycle of the poet, to the expansion of solitude; to the twilight that one lives inside, between the silence of stillness and movement. It was a pleasure to put the video together, being an amalgamation of impulses and instinctive ideas.
I believe you have a single coming out soon - in the prelude to the release of your first album?
We do indeed! Keep your eyes and ears peeled.
How did Samana get together? Have you known each other for a long time?
Samana was born in Austria during a year-long trip the two of us took in our van as we travelled through Europe after we fell in love. We went out with the sole intention of exploring freedom in its purest form to us. During the two weeks we spent by an alpine lake, upon our return from a long walk we'd taken - where we'd stumbled upon an old woman's small rickety house in the forest where she fed us apple cake and cider - we decided to venture forward together; fusing our inner-worlds of thought, dreams and creation to form Samana.
Which artists did you all grow up around? Do you have any personal musical idols?
Franklin: I grew up to the sounds of Kraftwerk, The Stone Roses and Boards of Canada reverberating through the tiled floors of my childhood house over the years, if only to name a few. I've a lot to thank my father for. He more or less shaped the inner-musical fabric of my mind while my mum, who'd play The End by The Doors while she was pregnant with me, must have woven Morrison into my heart.
Rebecca: Whilst my mother was pregnant with me, she played me nothing but African music - it still has an overwhelming effect on me to this day. I grew up with a very eclectic mix of music. I have many musicians that inspire me greatly - most of whom pay huge attention to the power and significance of the poetry within their music and words.
What do you hope to achieve by the end of 2018?
Franklin: A means of heating a house this winter...and to share the music live of course.
Rebecca: To continue journeying down the path we're on.
In that same vein; do you have plans for 2019 in terms of what you want to accomplish?
With the release of our debut album, our hearts will be set on taking the music to the people and, in doing so, we hope for a powerful year of connecting, sharing and learning.
Have you both got a favourite memory from your time in music so far – the one that sticks in the mind?
Franklin: Playing in a Munich park, we brought a large number of people together from all walks of life who listened to each song in silence. At the very front were two homeless men, both of whom were arm in arm, dancing and swaying silently to the music with their eyes closed for the whole hour we played. Afterwards, we spoke to a number of people in the crowd and every single one of them from the area had said that, over the many years the two men had lived in the park; never had they come within two yards of one another without fighting. It was a small but significant moment that lined the path of our travels with many more instances that changed us and our music forever; something we seek to obtain and imbue in ourselves and those we share our music with.
Rebecca: There have been so many. One example would be when we played in the Montpelier opera house. After our set, a young man approached me with his hand on his heart, barefooted. Franklin and I always play barefooted - as it earths us. After some very poignant and deeply touching words, he left the opera house barefooted as a symbol of his understanding and connection to the music. This image has stayed with me ever since.
Which one album means the most to each of you would you say (and why)?
Franklin: It's very hard for me to say as every album means so much for such different reasons. However, I guess if I was to strip them all down to their purest forms as I understand them, I'd have to say If I Could Only Remember My Name by David Crosby. It's the most human album I've ever heard in its construction and implementation and roots me to the ground and to myself whenever I hear it. I love how impulsive it is, how free it is and, with such boundless energy, how it draws rich and raw breaths with every word Crosby gifts.
Rebecca: I think, to the day I die, I would never be able to provide a definitive answer to this question. Albums are like a geographical map of the heart; each to be paired with a significant state of emotion, time or experience.
If you could support any musician alive today, and choose your own rider, what would that entail?
Franklin: I'd probably want to support Bob Dylan before he goes, just to hear his stories first-hand before it's too late. I'd take a bottle of the finest malt whiskey, a packet of Sobranie and a chesterfield by a fireplace to be sure he'd entertain me.
Rebecca: Alive today? Patti Smith - as she has shifted so many seas and I respect her greatly. The concert would be held in a building of significance - probably a beautiful old church. I'd go for an autumnal forest walk in her presence beforehand, with a flask of black coffee to listen to what she has to say.
Can we see you on the road this year at all?
We are disappearing next month to live in the south of France for six weeks to compose and transpose the album live; so any shows we'll be looking to play would be early-December, looking to next year. We are arranging some very interesting, boutique shows around London in the New Year so keep your eyes peeled.
What advice would you give to new artists coming through?
Franklin: Know that the only thing that will really serve you along the long, twisted and windy road is passion. You can more or less leave the rest at the door, for it will seldom come in handy and only weigh you down.
Rebecca: Follow your gut instincts and intuition; they will always serve you on your path.
IN THIS PHOTO: Mesadorm/PHOTO CREDIT: Sarah Cresswell
Are there any new artists you recommend we check out?
Franklin: The best new artist I've heard is Aaberg. The music speaks entirely for itself so I've very little to say other than it moves me to the core. A song from another new artist which I've fallen for is Mesadorm's Yours and Not Yours...a bit like Roxy Music's Mother of Pearl; It introduces a rather grating and uncomfortable theme before dropping into complete bliss that you really feel after being dragged through the thorny bushes.
Rebecca: Seabuckthorn - poignant music.
IN THIS PHOTO: Seabuckthorn
Do you both get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?
Franklin: We live and breathe our music and creations but I must say I feel constantly unwound through life; I guess it comes back to that word, passion. I have however spent more time recently working with really wonderful composers and musicians for my analogue mobile recording studio, The Road Records, which has given me objectivity and inspiration since the twenty-hour days we'd spend incessantly putting the album together. The two of us also spend large parts of our days wondering the countrysides and exploring country roads.
Rebecca: As well as poetry, hot baths and forests.
Finally, and for being good sports; you can each choose a song and I’ll play it here (not any of your
music - I will do that).
Franklin: Pilots by Goldfrapp. For me, it conjures a thought of flying through the sky to a John Barry piece I've dreamt up; if only I could have remembered it first!
Rebecca: Something on Your Mind by Karen Dalton