Leeds artist Sam Hutchinson and I recently had a good chinwag about his music and his plans for the future, and I had a grand intention of producing it as a podcast. After all, my beloved has always told me I have the face for radio broadcast. Unfortunately the idiot that I am made the recording fail, and it didn’t record (or rather it did, kind of, but it was a massive heap of quiet). So, apologies to Sam for my mess up, and it’s a return to the tried and tested style of the write up. Sigh.
Sam is the former lead singer of band Sons Arcade and for the past 12 months or so he has been forging his way as a solo performer. The man is someone I admire in no small order for his strong and diverse vocals and for the thoughtfulness and insight within his lyrics. I’m clearly not the only one; in the month since release Sam’s track IDK has drawn in almost 14,000 Spotify hits while Falling has reached over 22,000 in 2 months.
How did you develop an interest in music and playing? When did you discover you had a talent?
Well, it’s a fairly standard story. When I was a kid my dad bought me a £20 guitar. Like a lot of kids I didn’t really play it for 12 months or more, and then I just got into it. I started playing Wonderwall and thought I was the bees knees. It kind of moved on slowly from there.
While I got into the guitar, I never actually intended to be a singer, but I started doing some backing vocals and people told me they thought it was quite good, and so I actually went off to a vocal coach to see whether I actually had a good voice or not. Fortunately they thought I did, and so that’s what kicked that off, but I had originally always thought I’d be a guitarist in the band rather than a lead.
What advice would you have for a 14 year old wanting to start out in music?
It’s all about practice and building up your skills and style, and then getting out there to play as much live music as you can. That way you can start to build up a bit of a following, and slowly pick up experiences, and learn from there, but grow that following so people listen to you.
What’s it like as a solo artist? Are there any differences, Is it harder to motivate yourself?
I’ve always really liked the band thing, where you’re playing the gig together is just as much fun as the piss up afterwards. It was really good, but the band didn’t work out in the end so I’m a solo artist now.
I think that as a solo artist you really think more about your performance and what you are getting across and how your songs are being received. In a band you perhaps feel that less, and it’s more about the immediate gig experience. Yes, it can be really hard to find the time to do all the things you need to do as a solo performer, but it’s still great to get out there and perform for people and share the music.
When the time is right, would you consider getting a backing band together?
Yes definitely, I really want that feel for performing in a group again, and quite a lot of my tunes have a really big sound which I can create in a studio and on a stage they will come across much fuller with a band. I recently played a great gig with Nigel Passey- I don’t want to give too much away, but we have some plans to perhaps do some work together in the future, perhaps me backing him, or the other way around or both as we move forward. So, that might then lead to the formation of a band eventually. It’s definitely something I would like to do.
How do you start thinking about a song? Is it melody or lyrics? What starts it off?
When I was younger starting out, it was about thinking of bigger experiences and writing about them. So, at the age of 15/16 or so I wrote a song about a domestic violence situation which might have felt a bit of a weird topic for someone so young, but in the end it was something I was really thinking about, so I wrote that song. It came out well, and it’s still a song I’m proud of.
It tends to be about a theme or an idea and then I start thinking about a good riff to go from there. So it’s about a theme, and then pulling in the music. As I’ve got older and more confident about my writing, I’m writing more about more everyday experiences that I’ve had – at 15 you don’t tend to have too many experiences of your own so you write about other people’s. .
What’s on the horizon gig and recording wise for you?
I have quite a number of really good summer gigs lined up and I’m really looking forward to. Local festivals and shows around and about.
As you know I recently released a couple of singles Falling and IDK and I’ve been astonished at how well they have taken off. I intend to release another couple of songs over the next few months and then I’m looking at my first solo EP later on in the year. It’s really exciting for me, and it’s great to be able to plan and work towards it.
I know musicians tend to focus on music 95% of the time, Is that the same for you or do you have other interests?
I’m always too busy for music to take up 95% of my time, and it seems I’m always trying to fit in time for my music.
I love playing snooker in my downtime, and i was quite a handy footballer when I played it more regularly and I just love playing football with my mates now. I also love to go running to relieve the stress, so these are my main hobbies. It does however have to be said that these hobbies do also give me plenty of time to think about music, lyrics, songs and plans, so perhaps I do spend a lot of time on music overall, but I also get to do other things I enjoy too.
OK a couple of silly fun questions to finish
You get asked onto Weekend TV for a cookery program. It’s one where you perform and then have to get out there and help to cook your favourite meal. So, what are you going to dish up?
I’m gonna brag about this, but I can actually cook my favourite meal really well – a nice T-bone steak, served with lovely fluffy chips cooked in the oven, and then perhaps fried tomato and a sprig of basil. I think that really goes well with the meat. Yes, that’s what I’m going to cook for you all, a great steak and chips and the trimmings.
You are headlining Glasto for the first time. Tell me what’s on your rider and how will you celebrate it?
Oh wow, wouldn’t that be an amazing experience? I’d just love that. Well I’m a big fan of whisky, so perhaps a very nice bottle of Jamesons will be on there to celebrate. Well perhaps I won’t drink the whole bottle before the gig! There’s also going to be lots of crisps and chocolate – haha, all the really bad things you definitely shouldn’t eat and drink right before a gig!
Afterwards, they are just going to have to record my performance as I won’t really remember it, and i will want to recall it later. There’s going to be a massive party afterwards to celebrate. What an occasion to celebrate!