Words by Ben Beamish.
Photography // Sam and Sounds – press.
One of the most exciting young talents on the rise within indie pop music right now, Sam and Sounds is by all appearance unstoppable. Against all odds, he started his career last year during the depths of a worldwide lockdown, and released 7 impressive singles throughout 2020, amassing a total of over 1 million streams on Spotify.
Now he is back with yet another uplifting gem, “Silly” which marks his first release of 2020 and is a stunning combination of rock and indie pop. We were lucky enough to catch up with Sam and Sounds and discuss his music career so far, his dreams and aspirations, creative process and more.
You just released your new single “Silly.” Talk to us a bit about the story behind it and how it came to life.
Yeah that’s right! It was actually in like March 2020 that I wrote it, when lockdown started. I remember recording the melody idea on my phone while sitting waiting for Tesco to get their delivery (it was at the time a lot of people were panic buying!). I was really missing my girlfriend so I thought I’d write a song about some of the things I love about her! I wrote half the song sitting on a 2nd hand Lazy Boy arm chair that I bought for a tenner playing a toy ukulele I bought for £16 haha!
How did you initially get involved in making music?
It was at school actually. My school had a fairly basic recording studio in the music centre, and I got one of the music tech students to show me the ropes of Logic Pro. The only issue was that the teacher didn’t know, and I got in a fair bit of trouble when he found out!
When did you realize that you wanted to make a career out of music?
I got the opportunity to perform in front of the whole school (about 1000 people), and I just fell in love with it straight away. The careers lady, who I’d been complaining to for the previous few months about how I had no sense of direction regarding my future, came up to me afterwards and said ‘Sam, you’ve found your happy place’ and I couldn’t agree more.
What does your workflow look like when creating?
Like the most inconsistent thing you have ever seen… honestly some days I’ll write a whole song and smash out a demo as well, then be in the studio working with my producer within a week or two of doing it, but then sometimes my manager will have to kick me up the backside to get me to stop watching Netflix. It’s lockdown though, so I’m being faaaaairly easy on myself… haha!
How was the experience of kicking off your career in the midst of a worldwide pandemic?
It’s been suuuuper weird, because there’s absolutely zero live stuff going on. During the first UK lockdown I found a crazy writing flow and my producer and I worked over FaceTime to create like half the catalogue I have now, so there are upsides, but I’m absolutely itching to get out and play my music in real life to real people.
What’s the biggest milestone you’ve hit so far in your career, and what’s the biggest milestone you aim to reach in the future?
Probably hitting a million streams on Spotify… it’s mad to see it really because I’m still so new to this industry and I still feel like an outsider, yet somehow people are actually listening to my tunes. I feel like a bit of an imposter sometimes because I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing!
What’s your advice to young artists who want to hone their craft and be successful in music?
It’s okay to jump into the music thing with no idea what you’re doing. I’m doing exactly that and just learning as I go along. If you love it, then don’t listen to what anyone else says and just give it a good go. Write some songs you like, find a producer that can make them sound good, then watch a ton of YouTube videos on how to promote your music!
What are the best and worst things about being an artist in today’s musical climate?
The best thing I’d say is that everyone has access to your music for either cheap of free. I don’t want people to not be able to listen to my music for any reason! The beautiful thing about today’s music climate is that you can just listen to any song you want with a few clicks. The downside to this is that it’s really hard to make money as an independent artist unless you’re getting tens of thousands of streams a day, AT LEAST! With promo costs, production costs etc, you can end up having a lot of money you need to earn back in order to start making a living!
Who are some of your favourite artists that inspired your sound?
Two Door Cinema Club, Smallpools, Coin, American Authors
Who is your dream collaborator?
Two Door Cinema Club 100000000000%
What are your goals for this year? Any exciting plans in the works?
Oh man, to be playing live music in the summer sun!!! I’d also love to be knuckling down and getting as many songs ready to release as I possibly can. It’s no fun sitting on tunes you want to show the world!!