Time+Space are proud to present the second interview in their new ‘Up and Coming’ blog series. We’ve been chatting to young, highly talented individuals in the music industry, whose careers are going from strength to strength, be it artists, producers, engineers or others.
Today we speak to Devon based rapper/poet/ukuliphop artist, Samantics, who stepped onto the scene at the start of 2015 after finally pursuing a solo career with the assistance of a loop pedal. Since then he has taken huge strides. Starting with open mics around Exeter he grew quickly, and was filling festival tents and recording for the well established ‘Balcony TV’ by the end of the summer. He has already been booked for multiple festivals in 2016 and his gig calendar is filling up.
We had the chance to chat to him, about his sound, his lyrics, and his love of Native Instruments…
Hi Sam, thanks for agreeing to speak to us today!
First off, congratulations on your upcoming Festival/Event (Samantics will be playing at The Cave – Teignmouth Pavilion’s first showcase event). How are you preparing for that?
I don’t prepare for specific events as such, I usually play music as soon as I get home from work just for fun, I play songs I think i’ll play at my next gig and throw in some made up bits to keep fun. Any free time I basically fill with playing music in the house, that’s basically is my practice for any gigs!
For people who haven’t seen you play live yet, how would you describe your sound?
Ukulele infused hiphop? (the question mark is an important factor, I don’t really know what it is, it’s fun though, for me.)
You were featured recently on Balcony TV, with your track ‘Smile All The Time’. How did you get involved with this project?
I emailed their FB page and asked if they were interested in me playing, they originally said they were fully booked for months but a few days later they contacted me and asked if I’d fill in for a cancellation. Done!
Your lyrics differ somewhat to the ‘usual’ rap lyrics. What made you choose to go down this route instead of the typical lyrics?
I write about what I know, I don’t know what it’s like to be a ‘badman rapper’. I used to write poetry a lot growing up and one day I realised I could add music and make it even more satisfying! I also have songs which are basically random made up stories so it’s not entirely life like but it keeps me entertained.
They’re also very emotional and personal, focusing on serious issues. Was this something you wanted to create, or did it just happen organically?
Again, it’s just what I know. I suffer from major anxiety and depression and I hid it for years until one day I realised that talking about it was the only way i’d have any chance of fighting it. I started adding it to music to try and help spread a positive message, it feels good to know you’re not alone.
NI are pros at what they do, the sound and sample quality are exceptional. As I use a loop pedal to record my music as I go, Maschine allows me to have a bank of instruments at my fingertips that I can change with the touch of a pad, it’s very handy! Using the pads on Maschine allows me to make more fluid beats, I’ve grown up tapping on tables so it feels natural to tap on pads.
And what do you look for when you’re thinking about buying a new product for your producing?
I look for what it could help me do live as well, I don’t like having any fancy bits on a recorded song that I can’t recreate live, except for the occasional echoe, maybe I need a delay pedal next haha.
Have you heard about our new weighted keyboard – Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol S88? What are your thoughts?
It looks beautiful, I am very jealous of anyone who can get one! (Sadly, it’s out of my price range, that often plays a factor in what new products I get!) It does look very nice though, I’d bloody love one. Santa, if you’re reading this…
Have you got your eye on any products in particular at the moment?
I’m actually happy with where I am at the moment. I’ve been building up my instruments and equipment over the last year and a half and I finally feel like I’ve got enough sounds and possible instruments to remain interesting and refreshing for a long set!
When did you start experimenting with loop pedals, and technology based music, and the sounds you could create with it?
I got a loop pedal the christmas before last and literally fell in love with it. A loop pedal allows me to rely only on myself. I can play when I want, where I want. I’ve found previously that the more people that are involved in something the more complicated it can get. This is ideal for me, but that’s just me, some people aren’t so keen.
And do you have any influences, or people you aspire to be like?
I enjoy other artists but I aspire only to be me, no time to waste on wishing to be someone else, I’ll always be me, I might as well just try and make it more fun and exciting to be me! My music taste is pretty random, I don’t like a specific genre, I just like what I like, I’m going to see Lazy Habits and Dizraeli this weekend and they are definitely two of my favourite ‘hiphop oriented bands/musicians’.
Do you have any musical training yourself?
Not really, just grew up around instruments, tried to play them, succeeded at some and sucked at others!
And what’s been the greatest piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
I always take on board anything a sound engineer says, they listen to bands for a job, they know what they’re talking about. Two of best things I’ve taken on board are how to hold a microphone properly (lower down, don’t cup the top bit) and to get shorter cables, that changed everything!
What advice would you give to young people, wanting to get into the music industry, in particular, the kind of genre you focus on?
I don’t know anything about the music industry, I work a regular job because music doesn’t pay the bills! I play music because I absolutely love it and it can genuinely alter my mood, in a positive way, I find performing very cathartic. My advice to someone who loves making music is keep going and enjoy every second, my advice to someone who wants to get famous is good luck!
Sam, you’re also competing to be in with a chance to play on the main stage at Lemonfest festival, held in Newton Abbot, and also hosting performers such as Beardyman and Mad Dog Mcrea. Do you have any music relating to this, or any way we can vote?
You can vote for Samantics, by clicking here
And lastly, what should we look out for from Samantics this year? Any big plans?
Depends what you’re calling big. I’ve no plans to headline Glastonbury but I will be dotted around some lovely festivals this summer (Exeter Respect, The Wonderfields and Watchet are all on my playlist.) Other than that, just keep writing, keep playing and keep enjoying what I do!
Thank you again for speaking to us, good luck!
Not at all, thank you!