You guys. I’m pretty sure this is the best response to an email interview anyone has ever gotten. After failing to secure time to interview Sam Evian in person, I sent him a list of questions through email, and got an MP3 with a SOUNDTRACK in response. I don’t think anyone has ever spent so much time giggling alone in a cubicle as I did when that showed up in my inbox. What follows is a transcript of that file, which you can listen to as you read.
Oh, and for the formal stuff: Sam Evian is the “luxury brand” of Brooklyn musician, engineer, and producer Sam Owens. You may be familiar with his work in Celestial Shore. Last Monday saw his new outfit perform in the penthouse suite of The Standard, East Village. It’s a great place to hang out if you want to feel like an urchin. Regardless, the band sounded great and the view off the private deck is pretty unbelievable. For a list of upcoming shows at the penthouse, click here. Ok, on with the interview!
It says in your artist bio that you wrote the 10 songs on your upcoming album Premium ten days prior to your first show, though the ideas had been in your head for a long time. What was it like to finally bring your ideas into the world?
It was really fun.
As an engineer and producer, do you ever feel like you stress too much over the production of your own music?
While there’s certainly vortexes and traps that people fall into when they’re recording themselves, and I’m certainly no stranger to those, the process on this record was relaxed. It was kind of stress-free, and the mixes were the most difficult part. I kind of just locked myself in the basement, well, in the studio that I work at, and mixed until it was done (for six days). At the end of it, I felt like I kind of emerged as a new person. I learned a lot about myself and my process. So yeah, it’s kind of a “full circle” thing.
I love your song “Sleep Easy,” partially because it reminds me a bit of Porcelain Raft (one of my favorite musicians). Are you also a fan?
I wish I could say, honestly, I knew who Porcelain Raft was but I don’t. And I guess that’s kind of one of the reasons way I wanted to respond to you in this way. I think if you’re going to sit down and answer questions over email, I may have Googled Porcelain Raft and decided whether I liked it or not and then responded, having done that. And I think that’s a little dishonest. So I’ll be sure to check it out.
You mentioned in your interview with Impose that “Bottled water is weird and totally irresponsible (kinda like playing music)…” Do you really feel like playing music is irresponsible?
[Laughs] Yes. Actually, I should say playing music is not irresponsible, totally. Directing your life towards only trying to play music can be extremely irresponsible.
You already have 71 Instagram followers [now 190] and your only entry is a video of you pouring water on your face. What’s your secret?
There are so many great music venues in New York. Do you have a favorite?
Yeah, my favorite venue of all-time in New York is The Bowery Ballroom because it’s a beautiful room and there’s a sound guy named Kenny who mixes all analog and the sound is just really phenomenal. And the staff are really great too, so that’s my favorite all-around venue.
But I’ve lived in New York for close to five years, maybe six, and there used to be a venue called Big Snow Buffalo Lodge in Bushwick and I spent a lot of time there learning how to play guitar, And learning how to play shows, and hanging out with really wonderful musicians. And it doesn’t exist anymore, but I still think about it a lot.
I guess that ties in with your next question of “Are there any venues with sentimental value for me”, and that certainly is one of them. But I also like the venues out in Bushwick like The Silent Barn and Shea Stadium. I have a fondness for them as well.
Did you grow up in New York?
No, I grew up in North Carolina.
What’s your favorite place in the city for pizza?
Well, I really like Best Pizza…because it’s the best.
Is it true that your mother is Italian? Have you spent much time in Italy?
I’ve never been to Italy, but someday I’d like to go to Italy with my mother. Her side of the family, they’re called the Trupianos, and they’re very Italian.
What do you think of the Italian pop music they have there?
I know of this wonderful artist named Luxardo, and I really recommend them.
What’s with all the Ringo Starr on your Twitter page?
Ringo’s Twitter is really amazing, and I think if you read through it, you really start to get a sense for how he is as a person. Like, it’s definitely him posting on Twitter. And I suppose ultimately, my greater plan is to be able to hang out with him someday and record with him playing the drums. Because he’s still out there, and he’s literally the best drummer of all time. Yeah, definitely Ringo.
Did you ever see The Point, that animated film Ringo did in ’71?
Yeah, the Nilsson film with the record. My favorite song is “Me And My Arrow” on that record. Yeah, Ringo narrated it. I think that may have been the beginning of his career in narration. I grew up with Thomas the Tank Engine, which he also narrated. Ringo’s been in my life.
What can your fans look forward to in the near future?
More visual and auditory stimulation.