INTERVIEW: SAMM HENSHAW

We caught up with our friend and campaign star Samm Henshaw ahead of his gig at our Christmas launch party.

We caught up with our friend and campaign star Samm Henshaw ahead of his gig at our Christmas launch party at Shoreditch House. Busy enjoying some downtime, in between writing and recording his upcoming debut album, we delve into his creative process, the story behind our Christmas soundtrack ‘Night Calls’ and his plans for Christmas.

JW: Last month you announced via Instagram that it had been two years since the release of your first EP ‘Sound Experiment’, what has changed the most for you in that time?

SH: I guess I’ve just grown up a bit more and matured. I’m a lot more aware of the industry and there have been lots of things I’ve learnt as a person. Nothing too…well, I guess it is pretty major, growing up!

JW: You recently announced that new music is on its way. How different is the process now compared to your first record?

SH: Things are very different. When I first started out I had no idea what I was doing. I was at university and we were just excited about it and loved making music. We didn’t have much of a clue about what it was like really, to make music in the way music is made in the professional world. Since then I have had loads more experience of being in a studio.

Although, I never really liked recording, I found the entire writing process really long actually, and I’m a very fidgety person… [loses signal]

JW: Hello Samm, are you there?

SH: Can you hear me now? Sorry, I live in the woods.

JW: Is that what making music does to you?

SH: No, I’ve always lived on the edge of London. I’m not used to the city. What were we talking about?

JW: Your experience gained over the last two years. Does making music get easier?

SH: I think it’s always a balance. It makes certain aspects of it easier. You’re more comfortable going in because you already know what you’re doing, but then you still don’t know what to expect from the day, or from the songs you’re creating. In that sense won’t ever get easier or harder, I guess it’s just more familiar.

JW: What can we look forward to about the new record?

SH: It’s getting there. I’m pretty excited about it all. It’s different, and it’s got more warmth and colour to it. I wanted it to create something that people will feel good about and also make them think as well. It’s got a nice balance of energies, but at the same time you may sit down or walk away from it and think ‘ah that’s what he was saying’. Listen out for things. Yes, so it definitely feels good.

JW: So this will be your first full album?

SH: Yes the next project is a full album, which I’m really scared about. I think in that sense, that’s where it’s a little different this time around. I’ve never made an album before so the whole process of this has been somewhat different. I think this is the first proper project I’ve done with my label. It’s been very interesting collaborating alongside them on a project.

I guess there’s more pressure on albums too. I’m getting much more nervous about it. With an EP you can just put one out, if people love it, they love it, if they don’t you put out another one.

JW: Are you planning to go back on the road again? Is that aspect of being an artist important to you?

SH: I love performing. I love going on tour. I love being on the road. I love meeting the people after the shows and that whole aspect of it. I think it’s very important. Obviously you can’t perform without the music, but I really do love performing. I can’t really describe it but it’s…necessary. It also allows you to put a different twist on the songs and bring a different vibe to it.

In terms of shows for the rest of this year and early next year, I’m not sure. I spoke to my managers and they asked if I wanted to do some shows, if any, just because I can’t be on the road and write. I’ve tried it before and it hasn’t worked for me. I feel like I need to get focused on one thing or the other for it to be the best that it can be. I can leave the shows until the album’s done.

JW: ‘Night Calls’ features in our campaign, it’s been playing in the office for months, what inspired the song?

SH: I genuinely think it’s open for interpretation, that song. I went to New York and was writing with two friends when we just started coming across different chords and writing little lines. To me, that song is all about enjoying sleep, and enjoying that moment that you get to escape from the problems in the world and from whatever is going on in life at that time. You just get to be in your dreams.

JW: How long were you in New York for?

SH: I was only there for two or three weeks, writing, but I got time to see my family over there as well.

JW: Lovely and speaking of family, what are you up to for Christmas? Are you staying in the woods?

SH: Yes, I’ll be at home with the family just winding down and enjoying the break, preparing for the New Year. That’s always the best part about Christmas really.

JW: What’s going to be on the table come Christmas day, do you do the classic turkey roast or will you be doing something different this year?

SH: Because I’m Nigerian, my mum does all of the Nigerian delicacies and then she’ll do a roast dinner as well. She just goes all in really and you get the best of both worlds.

You can listen to Samm’s EPs via Spotify and Apple Music. You can explore the full campaign here.