Sam Brittain is a talented South Australian musician with a lot of miles under his belt and a new album just released.
We were able to find out a little more about him in this interview.
Hi Sam and welcome to Beauty and Lace. Thanks for talking to us.
Your most certainly welcome guys. Thanks for having me along.
What made you decide to pursue a career in music?
I don’t know if it was so much a choice as it was a lifestyle. I grew up in a very musical household, my parents are both musicians and I was encouraged from a very young age to experiment with music. At age four I started taking guitar lessons and there really hasn’t been a day since that I haven’t thought of music. I began playing in my first bands by high school and started writing and it really has just been a gradual progression from there.
How would you describe your sound?
It’s a tough question this one. I think it sits somewhere in between the worlds of folk and alternative country. There is a bit of my rocking and rolling adolescence still present at times on this new record also. I think for fans of modern folk artists such as Damien Rice and Passenger there will be songs that will hit the right spots as well as the more Americana/alt country sounds of Jason Isbell and Ryan Adams. My sound sits somewhere amidst those tones.
Can you tell us a little about your new single Stab In The Dark?
I wrote the song whilst on tour in Europe in 2014. I was sitting in a square beside the water in Venice sipping on undoubtedly the worlds expensive cup of coffee and taking in the sight, smells and sounds of the city. Following the sudden passing of a dear friend of mine early in the year I hit the road relentlessly touring playing shows and busking around Australia and then onwards to Europe. I guess, like a lot of people do, I chose to deal with my grief by throwing myself into an insane work schedule and staying distracted.
Venice was the first city I had been in where I didn’t have a musical commitment with a show or busking and had an opportunity to slow down and take stock of where I was at professionally and personally. It was strange to be busking and playing shows in Europe, something my recently departed mate Nick and I had planned to do together and as busy as I tried to keep myself I often found myself dwelling on the fact that he wasn’t there with me and the distance between myself and my loved ones. As a touring musician I have spent a lot of time in the last five years away from my family and friends, missed countless birthdays, weddings and special occasions in the lives of the people I love. I had grown conscious of the time used up and increasingly aware of how and whom I chose to invest the time had remaining with. The song was a manifestation of the desire to rewind and the all-consuming exhaustion that had crept into my bones slowly like a disease. The crazy part was that despite my weakened state emotionally and physically I kept on making the choice to work harder, be away longer and keep pushing towards the things I wanted to achieve, like I was racing against a clock and there was not a moment to slow down and enjoy the simpler things in life. I had to keep moving, or at least that’s how I felt at the time.
‘Stab in the Dark’ stemmed from me pleading with myself for a different line to walk, a different set of rules and ideals to follow and the struggle of being torn between the desire for a simpler life and the desire to reach my goals in music. I think as time as rolled on I have got better at finding a balance between the two, and also got better at finding a feeling of content within the present.
The video was directed by Kieran Ellis-Jones, how did you come to work with him?
Kieran and I met back in 2011 when I was on tour playing a heap of garden shows with Matt Corby. He was at one of the shows filming for an online music channel called the ‘You’re Take Sessions’. We got along really well and ended up realizing we had a lot of mutual friends in South Australia through one musical avenue or another. Kieran and I have worked together on basically every video project I have ever done. He is an incredibly talented man and its been great to see how his work and style has refined over the years.
Where did the concept for the video come from?
Rather than tell the story of the song straight out in black and white I wanted to convey the emotion I felt that day sitting beside the water in Venice. It’s a hard thing facing the fact that sometimes the things that are hurting us the most are the habits we have formed for ourselves. It’s very simple to fall into a negative way of thinking and blame outside influences for the things in life that aren’t going the way you planned. It’s a far harder task to look internally and come to terms with the fact that the familiar purgatory you keep finding yourself in is entirely of your own design and you have the control to change your course. It’s only a choice to set sail in a different direction, sadly its far too easy to let fear keep you locked in a way of living.
The new album releases this week, can you tell us about Signal Lights?
Signal Lights is a collection of songs I wrote whilst on tour the last 18 months throughout Europe the United Kingdom and Australia. When I got back in October 2015 the band and I reconvened at Mixmaster’s Studio’s in the Adelaide Hills to begin recording sessions. It was a wonderful experience and I feel really proud of the album. The band and I all feel its out most cohesive work to date and hopefully the songs speak for themselves.
You are touring to promote the album, where are you heading and what can audiences expect?
We are heading around Australia at the moment with shows in Adelaide, Sydney, Perth, Melbourne and Brisbane. Fans can expect to hear a whole bunch of songs from the new record as well as tracks from my previous albums in some of the most beautiful intimate venues in the country. I’m very excited to give the first live taste of the record.
A South Australian native, you still busk in Adelaide’s CBD; how does that experience differ from a gig set?
Busking has been a wonderful medium for me to connect with new music lovers all over the world and I still love hitting the streets, markets and shopping malls where ever I am in the world to learn about the city I am in.
Adelaide has been a great support of mine over the years and I still cherish the opportunity to go back there and busk when I am on tour. The thing is with busking that you can never really know what to expect from a busking set. With a show I guess there is a fair amount of certainty within the confines of a professional live music venue. Busking there are no rules, your dealing with rain and crowds and people who will surprise you with their support and also some who will steal your money, hurl abuse at you and even try to pay for CD’s with moldy loaves of bread. Seriously…you never can predict what could happen on any given day whilst busking. It has provided a lot of special memories for me as well as a whole lot of laughs and new friendships.
And can you tell us a little about the recent Tram Sessions you took part in?
The Tram Sessions is a wonderful thing run by Ash Hills in conjunction with Yarra Trams in Melbourne. Essentially you jump on a tram with a camera crew and perform for unsuspecting passengers in a live recording session. It really is a wonderful thing to do.
Your tour experience has been quite extensive, what’s your career highlight to date?
I have been really fortunate to tour a lot in the last few years but as far as musical highlights go performing with Passenger at The Athenaeum Theatre for his national tour was one of the most magical nights that still wanders into my thoughts often. Just the most beautiful audience I have ever been fortunate enough to play in front of.
What’s next for Sam Brittain?
I’m off touring Europe and the U.K again this year so that will be exciting. However I am also very happy to be heading to the United States for the first time this year and performing in Nashville for Americana Music Festival. I can’t wait to get over there and see what it has in store. Lots and lots of touring ahead.
Good luck with the tour and thanks for your time Sam.
Thank you so much for your support of the new album, I hope you’re all enjoying the tunes. See you out there.
SAM BRITTAIN ‘SIGNAL LIGHTS’ TOUR DATES
Saturday 4th June
THE GOVERNOR HINDMARSH, ADELAIDE SA
Tickets from Oztix
Wednesday 8th June
BRIGHTON UP BAR, SYDNEY NSW
Tickets from Brighton Up Bar
Thursday 15th June
THE ELLINGTON, PERTH WA
Tickets from The Ellington
Thursday 23rd June
THE TOFF IN TOWN, MELBOURNE VIC
Tickets from Moshtix
Sunday 26th June
THE MILK FACTORY, BRISBANE QLD
Tickets from Moshtix