We caught up with the lovely guys of the band Samantha! Read below to learn about their new record Hourglass Noise, future shows and more!
How would you describe your sound?
Mike: Trash-pop and post-punk have been thrown around. To me, it's really just rock n'roll. Our sound was definitely born out of punk, and I think that's a really great starting point. However, I never wanted to be simply lumped into that category. We write loud and quick guitar rock. It's heavy and aggressive yet doused in melody. There's also a robots and lasers undercurrent thing in our newest material that makes me really happy. Musically, I like to always remember where I came from, but not necessarily know where I'm going to end up.
What do you think makes your music unique?
Mike: I'd like to thing that it reminds you of a period of time when rock music still had some balls, but without being retro shtick. We definitely aren't a "throwback to the 90s" band, but I think our music reminds you a bit why that music was so great.
Alex: Also having 4 instruments but only 3 members is different. Being a trio has always been important to us creatively, but we didn't want our keyboards missing from our live show. So that's all triggered thru a pad. It's cool because we still have the creative room a trio has, but there’s more buttons to push and less heads to bump.
What made you choose to name your band Samantha?
Mike: Early on, I think it was a simple play on gender expectations. But I think it may have eventually delved a little deeper than that. For obvious reasons, we can't actually be a girl band. But it's also interesting to not play so hard into the macho-male mentality often found in rock culture. Maybe it dials back any chauvinistic undertones a bit by calling an aggressive rock band by a feminine name? I'm not sure. Personally, I find women who can really rock very sexy. And in New York City a lot of the bands that rock the hardest are made up of some killer female musicians. That's probably why we ended up asking all female-bands to share the bill with us for our record-release show (w/ Pussywolf, Plastiq Passion, and Crowd the Airwaves). It's 3 girl-bands and then Samantha, who are actually 3 dudes.
Alex: They had the name way before I joined the band. One of the first things I told Mike was, “dude, that name sucks.” I mean try doing an internet search for Samantha. But then after awhile it grew on me. Which is weird because it’s usually the opposite. You choose a name and then a year later you hate it. But now it’s a year later and I wouldn’t change it. Maybe that’s the key to finding a good band name. Pick something you think sucks.
Can you tell us more about your upcoming album Hourglass Noise?
Mike: Nuts and bolts, it's our second full-length album being released on April 21st, and we are having the release show on the 24th at Cameo Gallery in Brooklyn. We couldn't be more excited about the lineup or album itself.
Thematically, the album definitely goes to darker places, without lingering too long in those ugly corners. For instance, the album's first single "Fight" is about being paralyzed within your own head, and dances a fine between triumph and oblivion. A song like "K-Town" deals with the overwhelming while constantly traversing chaos and noise, yet finding inspiration in all the mess.
Alex: Like a lot of people, the books and movies that hit me the hardest are tragedies. I like action and adventure and all that, but there’s something about a tragedy that gets to me. Seeing a character stretch to the point of breaking exposes more of what it means to be alive than watching somebody hit a home run or kick somebody in the face. Hourglass Noise is about looking at tragedy and exposing the little pieces that make it valuable. But then again the original Robocop is one of my favorite movies so maybe everything I just said is nonsense and the album is about robots hitting home runs and kicking people in the face. But tragically.
What was the recording and writing process like for the record?
Mike: Hourglass Noise is by far the most collaborative thing we've done. Writing with Alex and Gabe forces me to be a better songwriter for sure. There's just a musical rapport between us that really forces each of us to step up our game individually and as a trio.
Alex: Writing with Gabe is awesome. He doesn’t dance around things and say, “yeah that’s really cool but what if we tried it like this or like that?” He’ll just say, “that sucks you should do something different.” It saves a lot of time. Which is good because me and Mike can talk about a single chord for an hour. And then text about it later.
Mike: As far as recording, most of the writing was finished prior to going into the studio. We wanted to have a clear focus on what we wanted to make before we got started tracking. However, some of the sonic evolution and weird ideas on what worked and what didn't were happy accidents in the studio. That process is always a lot of fun. The entire record was recorded over seventeen nights, and we got to play around with different tones and noises.
What was the most challenging part about the process?
Mike: I think the hardest part of recording for me is when you're so anxious to hear hear your songs finally come to fruition, some of the process can at times be tedious and frustrating. Luckily, as a band, Gabe, Alex, and I had a clear idea of what we wanted to achieve sonically. And our producer, Erik Braund, kind of speaks our Samantha language and was able to help us get the sounds that were in our heads to become the sounds that came out on the record.
Alex: For me, the hardest part was stopping. I can get pretty obsessed with the details, like spending a whole day tweaking the sound of a keyboard. It definitely helped that Mike tends to be the opposite. That’s not to say he doesn’t care about the details. He just gets really excited about the broader scope of the music, whereas I’m pretty much always trying to figure out little nuances to make it better. There were plenty of times where he pulled me out of the rabbit hole, but he also knows when to just come back later.
Any tours in your future?
Mike: Well, we’re playing a string of shows in mid-March in Austin, TX during SXSW. And then we have plans to tour a bit on the East Coast and Midwest sometime this summer.
Alex: We also want to play at CMJ. We’ve never done it but it sounds awesome.
Anything else you would like to add?
Alex: Just thanks for having us and we’re super excited about the new album. We’ve started playing most of the new songs live and they’re feeling really good.