Sam Fender is in a pretty good place right now, his self released and recorded singles ‘Play God’ and ‘Greasy Spoon’ have been getting some serious air play on all the nations major stations. With accolades like being on the Apple Music Best of The Week playlist for both singles and achieving No.1 in the UK iTunes singer-songwriter charts, he’s going places, and fast. Sam’s raw and unique vocals, coupled with his electric and energetic live performances are causing a stir in the music biz. He’s supported Ben Howard and Bears Den and is set to headline his first gig back in his hometown Newcastle on December 7th. Sam spoke with us about his love of charity shops, performing in front of thousands of people and what’s next on this whirlwind musical adventure he finds himself on.
You were first spotted in a bar is that right – tell us what happened?
Yeah – I used to work in a bar called the ‘Lowlights’ when I was 18. I was the worst barman ever by the way; I really sucked but they liked me because I would play guitar and sing for the customers. I met my manager there one night whilst playing to the bar. We drank whiskey and exchanged numbers.
Who are your musical influences?
I listen to loads of types of music, recently I’ve been listening to Pinegrove, Loyle Carner, Sampha and The War on Drugs. But my main influences lie with the classic songwriters like Bruce Springsteen, Jeff Buckley and Alex Turner.
Is it right your Dad was a musician? Did he play a part in you getting into music?
My dad is a great singer and musician, as is my brother. I was fortunate enough to grow up around a lot of music, there was always someone playing guitar, piano or drums around the house. If we weren’t playing music we were listening to it. My dad always cooked with music on. I was bombarded with Steely Dan records, old soul singers like Donny Hathaway, Otis Redding and Aretha Franklin and a load of rock and roll from day one. I absorbed it all via osmosis.
Tell us a bit about your style?
I’m pretty easy. I like charity shops because they are usually cheap and if you dig hard enough you find gold.
What’s your song writing process?
I don’t really have a set process. Sometimes I write the melody and music first, normally that happens when I’m noodling on my guitar or sitting at a piano. Other times I’ll write poetry or lyrics and build a song around them. Though the most exciting songs are the ones that come to you when you least expect it, I’ll be doing something mundane like lying in bed or walking down the street. I’ll hear it in my head then awkwardly mumble the melody in to my voice clips until I can get to a guitar or piano.
Tell us about the album?
There’s nothing set in stone at the moment, I have a lot of songs to sift through. So I’m still grouping the album together.
You’ve supported Ben Howard – that must have been a great experience?
It was my first big gig, I’d never played to an audience bigger than 400 people at the time and this venue was 3500 cap. I ran out with an acoustic guitar to the sound of people cheering and shouting, I was completely blown away by the atmosphere. It was the most thrilling night of my life at the time and I’ll never forget how I felt. It was truly magic.
What are your fans like, had any strange requests, funny stories?
Someone stole my water bottle which I had on stage once. I get why you would steal a set list, but a water bottle?!
With the role of social media, the music industry has changed, do you have a lot of direct communication with fans?
I have a lot of communication with fans, particularly after shows. I think it’s important, it shows that you care.
You’ve got a tour coming up? Where and when?
We’ve just finished a tour with Declan McKenna and Vant. I did an arena show in Belgium with Bears Den on the 17th of November. As for headline shows there was Rotterdam on the 18th and I’m doing London on the 22nd of November then on December 7th I have our final headline show of the year at home in Newcastle.
What does the future hold for Sam Fender?
Eventually an Album. Unreal till then, more singles and loads of shows.