Fondue Western, Basel-Stadt
– On the heels of his spring EP Slow Drugs (5/29/20), Swiss Brooklyn-based artist Sam Himself offers the first glimpse at his debut album, due out in...Read Biography
On the heels of his spring EP Slow Drugs (5/29/20), Swiss Brooklyn-based artist Sam Himself offers the first glimpse at his debut album, due out in 2021, with his anthemic new single, “Cry”.
The indie-rocker was on tour in Europe when the COVID-19 pandemic broke out earlier this year. After only one show, all remaining dates were canceled due to the virus, and Sam Himself (aka Sam Koechlin) suddenly found himself stranded between his native Switzerland and his chosen home in New York City. Unsure if and when he’d be able to return to the United States, Sam self-quarantined at an Airbnb in his hometown of Basel, Switzerland, and went ahead with the scheduled release of his long-awaited EP Slow Drugs.
The five-track piece, now out on limited edition vinyl via Taxi Gauche Records, was well-received on both sides of the Atlantic and promptly earned Sam the prestigious Best Talent Award by the Swiss National Broadcasting Service. Several songs off the EP garnered editorial playlist features on Apple Music and Spotify, and continue to enjoy wide rotation from Swiss national radio to Greek airwaves in Europe all the way to several US college stations. The music videos for singles “Slow Drugs” and “Like a Friend” have garnered several hundred thousand views on Vevo to date.
Holed up at his quarantine rental this past spring, Sam started writing new material with the limited equipment he’d brought on the tour that never was. The resulting batch of songs forms the framework of his upcoming debut album and includes “Cry”, a soaring ballad that showcases Sam’s baritone climbing new heights against the backdrop of producer Daniel Schlett's quietly dramatic arrangement. From a sparse, acoustic beginning, the song evolves into a sweeping hymn, its lyrics at once bitterly sardonic and authentically vulnerable.
Says Sam about the inspiration for “Cry”:
“I was driving across Switzerland before dawn to shoot the final takes of the video for ‘Like a Friend’; I’d been up for a long time, the tour had just been canceled and, according to the news, I wouldn’t be able to fly back to New York anytime soon. Then my phone rang and at the end of that call, the relationship I was in had ended, too. In a matter of hours, my life as I’d known it was over. For all the dread and confusion of that moment, I also felt ridiculous for licking my own wounds while the world around me looked like it was ending. That's the dissonant state I tried to capture with ‘Cry’: it's a farewell letter to my old life in New York and a relationship ended by the pandemic, but also a caustic reminder to myself not to wallow in self- pity amid a global catastrophe.”
“Cry” marks Sam’s first long-distance collaboration with his longtime producer, creative partner and ‘Second Beatle’ Daniel Schlett (DIIV; The War on Drugs; Amen Dunes), with whom Sam had already joined forces for Slow Drugs together with Parker Kindred (drums - Jeff Buckley; ANOHNI) and Josh Werner (bass - Iggy Pop; CocoRosie). On his new single, “Cry”, Sam plays all the instruments except for the bass and one lead guitar, which were added by members of the artist’s European touring band. Sam recorded “Cry” partly at a local Basel studio, partly in the attic of his quarantine hideaway, and Schlett produced the song remotely from Strange Weather Studio in Brooklyn, Sam’s usual musical homebase. Schlett’s emotive mix was mastered by engineering legend Greg Calbi (David Bowie; Bruce Springsteen).
Sam hasn't been able to return to his chosen home in Brooklyn, NY since heading back to Europe in March 2020 to tour with Anna Rossinelli. But that hasn't stopped the artist from staying busy: just prior to presenting his new song "Cry", Sam has released the limited edition vinyl of his EP (9/18 via Taxi Gauche Records) and a new music video, all while touring Switzerland with his band whose members include Benjamin Noti (Steff la Cheffe) and Georg Dillier (Anna Rossinelli).
Featured in Consequence of Sound, American Songwriter, 20 Minuten, Basellandschaftliche Zeitung, WOZ - Die Wochenzeitung, SRF Glanz & Gloria, Telebasel, Atwood Magazine, Culture Collide, Variance Magazine and many more.