Emerging talent Sam Eagle has enjoyed a rapid ascent over the past 12 months with his prolific output.
The 21-year-old Cooking Vinyl signee has released his EP She’s So Nice just a few months after releasing the highly-praised Something Out Of Nothing EP in November 2020.
It continues Sam’s multi-faceted approach to songwriting, merging a wide range of genres such as indie pop, funk, psych and soul, for captivating, eclectic experience.
Launching with the funk-tinged How Often?, Sam turns to hazy, lo-fi guitar licks on the EP’s eponymous track before ending on with the enchanting acoustic, string-laden ballad Turn Me Over.
On his genre-twisting output, Sam told Daily Star: “It’s one of the most important things to me as an artist. If something sounds like something else I know, or something that I’ve done before I won’t put it out.
“That’s the point of being an artist to me. To keep moving, and keep doing new things and challenging yourself.”
The Essex native, who cites Thundercat, Radiohead, and Kendrick Lamar among his influences, has performed at London’s Southbank Centre and SXSW in Austin, Texas, and has enjoyed plays on the likes of NPR, BBC Radio 1, 1Xtra, and 6 Music.
And if turning out tune after tune wasn’t enough, Sam launched his own popular podcast called SamCast where he talks to his favourite artists about their careers and creative approaches. It hit number six in Apple’s music commentary podcast charts.
Daily Star’s Rory McKeown caught up with Sam to talk about his career so far, creating She’s So Nice, being signed to Cooking Vinyl, and his influences.
Hi Sam. You’ve dropped your new EP She’s So Nice. Tell me more about its writing and recording process – when did it begin?
“Well the music is all about adapting to changes really, and that’s been the process of making the EP too, having been bookended by Covid. I made two EPs in the same process, so these songs are very much related to my last EP Something Out Of Nothing.
“The songs were all mixed over the phone and internet, the whole release of the music has been throughout lockdowns. So it’s been an interesting process.
"Some of the music I wrote when I was about 18 going back a few years, and some are far more recent. I had a fair amount of work that didn’t get used either but I’m sure will find their way into a release some day. It’s just about putting the songs together that feel right for the project or time.”
It’s an incredibly varied and dynamic effort – from the upbeat, funky opener How Often to the enchanting closer Turn Me Over. Do you enjoy delving into different styles and sounds with your output?
“Oh cheers, that’s really sweet that you picked up on that! Absolutely, it’s one of the most important things to me as an artist. If something sounds like something else I know, or something that I’ve done before I won’t put it out.
“That’s the point of being an artist to me! To keep moving, and keep doing new things and challenging yourself.”
You release your first EP Something Out Of Nothing in November. Although there have been only a few months between the releases, how much do you think you’ve progressed as an artist? What did you do differently with She’s So Nice?
“Well they were all recorded and put together at the same time, so they’re very much a pair of EPs that work together, which was kind of cool to do as it tells a better story across the music I think. Both EPs are about all different kinds of love – the first EP, introduces them, and the second reflects on them.
“I wouldn’t say I’ve really changed much as an artist, as I feel very sure of where I am creatively and what it is I want to do. I think though, I am going to try something new musically once these EPs are done, and I think I’ve grown better at adapting throughout the last year, so I think this should be a fun process.”
How would you describe your sound?
“I don’t know. I would say that I try to make music that people can’t put into a box, so I think if you can’t describe it easily you’re doing something right!
"There are a lot of artists right now making music like that which is really cool. I always try to make sure that my music is strong when it comes to being: rhythmic, textural, catchy, distinct and natural. So that’s probably how I’d describe it.”
You’re signed to Cooking Vinyl, home to the likes of Billy Bragg and Pixies. What’s it like working with them? How supportive are they?
“They’ve been incredible. Exactly what I always hoped a label would be. They’ve been amazing to me in letting me have full creative control right back at the start when I was writing, recording and producing the songs, they just let me do my thing and gave me some fantastic guidance.
“It’s been incredible working so closely with their fantastic team. Massive love to Cooking Vinyl!”
You launched your own podcast called SamCast, where you speak to some of your favourite artists. How much fun has it been and how chuffed were you that it got to number 6 in the Apple music commentary podcast charts?
“Yeah it was a fantastic experience! It was interesting in ways I wasn’t necessarily expecting in that I simply learnt a huge amount about music, and different people’s approaches.
“It was awesome to see it hit number six, yes! It was also really nice to hear from people who found inspiration or empowerment from the episodes and from the amazing people I was lucky enough to talk to.”
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Who are your main influences and inspirations – either musically or personally?
“Nature is a massive influence on me as a musician and person. Less so in the latest music, but when I started making music I would always try to keep instruments very dry, and not use too much processing, to just let the instruments and parts speak for themselves, and I think that came from being surrounded by and loving the nature I live around.
“Musically, people such as Radiohead, Thundercat, David Byrne, Kendrick Lamar, Nick Hakim, and Damon Albarn all inspire me as artists who strive to do their own unique thing and to keep surprising people. That’s what I aspire to do in my music.”
Was there a moment when you realised you wanted to be an artist?
“Yes actually when I was about 16 or 17 I was writing a song from a loop that I was building up, and I remember going into a kind of trance for hours and it just felt incredible. I remember at that point saying to myself, jeez, I’m going to keep doing this.”
What are your next steps? Do you have your eyes set on an album any time soon?
“I’m not sure, we’ll see what happens with regards to things opening up. I certainly want to get to play music live with my friends again when things allow as much as I can. I’ve definitely had enough of playing music on my own.
“Before writing more music I certainly want to find some inspiration somewhere and have some good experiences out of the monotony of life at the moment. It’s difficult to find inspiration to write really great music when you’re not having new experiences.”
Do you have an ultimate goal?
“To keep making the best music I can really, that’s all that it comes down to! Making music.”
Sam Eagle’s EP She’s So Nice is out now via Cooking Vinyl
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