THIS is already shaping up to be a varied…
and wide-ranging week in terms of music. I have been speaking with Sapienn about his track, This Time. I ask whether there is more material coming up and the artists/albums that have affected his own songwriting – he tells me what tour dates are coming up.
Sapienn reveals what the vibe is like in Glasgow, where he is based, and why he got into music fairly late in life; if he grew up around a lot of music; how he spends his time away from songwriting and performing – he ends the interview by selecting a classic cut.
Hi, Sapienn. How are you? How has your week been?
Quite busy gearing up for a single release and launch party. Played a record store, an open mic and a small outdoor festival over the weekend.
For those new to your music; can you introduce yourself, please?
My name is Scott Simpson, making music under the name ‘Sapienn’. I'm based in Glasgow and play as solo acoustic act.
This Time, your new single, is out. What can you tell me about it?
The current single is a transitional thing...
I'm releasing it off the back of a full-length album that was pretty full-on and difficult on a personal level. This new release is a stopgap until I move onto something new and more positive.
Do you think more material will arrive later in the year? Are you in a productive and inspired mood right now?
I've already written another E.P., which I could probably put out before the end of 2018. Beyond that, I have the bones of another album that should be ready by early next year.
Scott. How did the moniker and identity of ‘Sapienn’ come about? What, to you, does the name represent?
If I'm being honest, there's no real meaning in it. The name doesn't really matter to me - just as long as the songs represent something. I knew it had to be a single word with the initial 'S’: ‘Sapienn’ just sprung to mind. The additional 'N' is to help optimise search results!
Glasgow is where you are based. How important is the city and its people? Do you take a lot from the history and music of the area?
I've only lived in the city for five years and I've spend most of that time looking inwards rather than outwards. The last album I released had a confessional and insular style of songwriting. I tend to write songs at home with the curtains drawn, instead of sat on park benches. My new material will be more open and living in Glasgow will, no doubt, be a part of that.
You started taking vocals lessons at the age of thirty – some might say it is quite late. You have made up a lot of ground and worked tirelessly since. Do you look back and see how far you have come?
It's not cool to say, but I listen to my own recordings often. It's helpful in gaining perspective. Assess what you've done in the past and find ways to improve on it.
Did you grow up around a lot of music? Which artists compelled you to go into the industry?
Music was my favourite thing in school and I learned lots of different instruments but I didn't start going out and playing in bands until later in life. Frank Turner has been a big influence in recent times - not necessarily from a songwriter’s perspective, but definitely in the way his career has progressed.
Can we see you tour this year? What gigs do you have coming along?
Currently playing gigs to promote my latest single, including a launch show. Beyond that, I'll be taking a break for a while. I have a ridiculous number of songs written and I want to take some time to finish and release some of them.
What do you hope to achieve in 2018?
I found a lot of lyrics and ideas on my laptop, some that I wrote up to ten years ago. I'm planning to revisit and rework some of the best ones and put together an E.P. before the end of the year.
Have you got a favourite memory from your time in music – the one that sticks in the mind?
Late last year, in the run-up to Christmas, I released my first album and was trying to reach the milestone of one-hundred gigs in twelve months. Every show felt important, even the ones that were poorly attended. It felt like a good way of making up ground, having only been singing properly for a few years.
Which three albums mean the most to you, would you say?
Frank Turner - Tape Deck Heart
The album was a wakeup call for me. I've never been one to talk at length about myself, but this album showed me it was ok to maybe be a little selfish in my songwriting and put my own experiences straight into a song.
Jar of Flies by Alice in Chains
It completely changed my view of what acoustic music could be and is a massive influence on my current sound.
Slaughter of the Soul by At the Gates
This might be my favourite album of all time. As a piece of art, and for what it's trying to be, it's as near-perfect as anything I've ever heard.
What advice would you give to new artists coming through?
Have more confidence! I sat around doing nothing for a long time and, while I gained much-needed perspective as a songwriter, it seemed utterly pointless without performing.
Are there any new artists you recommend we check out?
At this stage, I think I'm the new artist and more established acts should be recommending me! I've seen far younger singers who are vastly more experienced than me.
Do you get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?
I like to cook ridiculously hot curries. Other than that, I play music. That's what makes me happy.
Finally, and for being a good sport; you can choose a song and I’ll play it here (not any of your music - I will do that).
Two Princes - Spin Doctors