020 - Will Samson
I’d not heard of Will Samson until a few months ago when I stumbled across his beautiful 2015 release on French imprint Talitres, the wonderful ‘Ground Luminosity’. It’s a beautiful mesh of sounds, oceans of ambient swells set against soft vocals, delicate acoustic instrumentation and cascading electronic percussion. The strength of the record (which features contributions from Benoit Pioulard and Michael Feuerstack) left me kind of surprised that I hadn’t heard about him before. I spoke to Will about collaborating as I had figured here was a producer with eclectic tastes and somebody who could add something different to our mixtape series.
Will has put together a chronological look back at his musical past charting the period from 2010 to the present day. In his excellent Métron Musik Mixtape we are treated to the evolution of Samson’s sound, set alongside his shifting musical influences during those periods. Will described the process of selecting tracks for this mix as like looking back through an old diary, and it’s clearly been a fruitful creative period.
Featuring plenty of his own work, including his recent collaborations with Tom Demac and Sei A, as well as a ton of great releases from his peers, past and present, it’s a fantastic retrospective that showcases Will’s diverse sound and excellent songwriting. It’s a selection of tracks full of melancholy and rich in ambient textures, interlaced with energetic and upbeat moments.
Be sure to check out the excellent ‘Ground Luminosity’ and follow Will’s work on soundcloud and Facebook.
I chatted to Will about his recent collaborations and moving to Lisbon...
JH: Your mix is a personal story, something of a retrospective for your own musical evolution - can you tell us the thought process behind these selections?
WS: The mix is essentially a chronological look at my past music (dating back to 2010) up until the present day & the musical influences around each album. It was an interesting process for me to look back at these songs and really think about what I was listening to, during the writing and recording sessions. It felt akin to reading through an old notebook and uncovering a lot of hidden memories.
JH: You included a couple of recent collaborations, how did working with Sei A and Tom Demac, two producers more known for house music, come about?
WS: Tom Demac contacted me out of the blue back in 2013, after hearing 'Storms Above The Submarine' from my 2012 album, Balance. I never ever expected that I would collaborate on an electronic dance record, but I'm a big believer in the importance of pushing oneself out of your comfort zone. It was fun (which is the most important thing, of course) and gave me a fresh outlook on production.
Following that, Will Saul (who runs Aus Music - the label who released the collaboration) asked if I would be willing to work with Sei A, on his next album. That was finally just released a couple of weeks ago!
JH: The mix shows a progression in your sound that is reflected in your releases to date, an evolution towards more beat driven ambient compositions - where do you see yourself going from here and with that in mind what are your plans for 2016, is their a new LP in the works?
WS: I have a lot of ideas right now, but I'm not sure where to begin with them! I have slowly been working on some instrumental tracks with Benoit Pioulard, which will hopefully become an album this year. I have also started a new project with Message To Bears, which is currently heading in a much more electronic direction.
Part of me wants to focus on a very beat-driven, electronic album...but the other half also wants to create a very stripped down, acoustic guitar focused album. With the latter, I plan on recording it all live to tape in as short a time as possible. I guess the 5th solo release will probably end up being a combination of the two!
JH: Are you still based in Brighton? I read that you spent a lot of time in Portugal whilst working on the last LP. Did you take anything from the countries musical culture?
WS: I spent two years working on Ground Luminosity, but I was actually only in Portugal for 3-4 weeks, where I recorded most of the vocals and final overdubs...before heading over to Brussels, where the incredible Beatrijs De Klerck added her violin parts.
I'm no longer in Brighton and am in the process of moving over to Lisbon. It's been a plan of mine for 5-6 years now...and after struggling to find somewhere to live in the UK (thanks to extortionate rent prices) it seems like a good time to make the leap of faith.
Portuguese music wasn't an influence on the last album, but some new friends have been exposing me to some fantastic local music...so I'm sure that will trickle into my creative subconscious.
JH: We always ask for a few recommendations, some releases we might have missed out on?
WS: My dear friend Florian Frenzel aka Heimer is about to release his first first solo album via Tomlab in the late Summer. It's incredible! I'm genuinely so excited for the world to hear this amazing album he has created. He is also just about to release a digital EP as a precursor to the album...so please be sure to listen!
Jonsi & Alex - Indian Summer
Will Samson - Meet Me At Home
The Album Leaf - The Outer Banks
Benoit Pioulard - Shouting Distance
Will Samson - Storms Above The Submarine
John Martyn - May You Never
Will Samson - Sanctuary
Tom Demac & Will Samson - It Grows Again
F.S. Blumm - Binsen & Bast
Will Samson & Heimer - Stir
Fenster - 1982
Will Samson - Night Canyon
The Gentlemen Losers - Silver Water Ripples
Sei A - Tides ft. Will Samson
Aphex Twin - Acrid Avid Jam Shred
The original artwork below was created for this mix by Jack Hardwicke.