The Swiss-born, Brooklyn-based indie rocker, Sam Himself, was touring in Europe when the pandemic pulled the plug on live music and Sam’s hopes to return to New York City, his chosen home of the previous decade.
COVID-19 left him stranded in Switzerland for the first time since his teens, just as his EP Slow Drugs (2020) was starting to make waves.
“When it became clear that I wouldn’t be going back to New York anytime soon, my whole world felt like it was going to end. It didn’t, fortunately. It just started over. And it’s been getting bigger ever since,” he said.
The shock, grief and solitude of that experience went on to shape Sam’s first album, “Power Ballads.”
“The last couple of years took their toll on me like they did on all of us, but they also gave me a lot to be thankful for, Sam said. “It still feels like a small miracle that anyone cared about my music while we were all going through this pretty bleak time.”
It’s been less than a year after his debut LP “Power Ballads” broke Sam Himself onto the international stage. But already, he is set to debut his sophomore album in early 2023.
The new material brims with new hope and the promise of a reopening world, where it’s once again possible to record and perform together.
The first single, ‘Never Let Me Go‘, was released in July. Inspired by new beginnings in a post-COVID era, it is a full-body number with a jiving beat.
Watch “Never Let Me Go” by Sam Himself
Shot on Reynisfjara, the world-famous black-sand beach found on the South Coast of Iceland, the music video for ‘Never Let Me Go’ dials up the beautifully weird aesthetic that has become a hallmark of Sam Himself’s visuals.
“I definitely didn’t plan to cut an entire album when I went back into the studio earlier this year, but the initial session went so well, we walked out with just under ten songs,” Sam said.
For “Golden Days,” Sam Himself reunited with his longtime producer and ‘Second Beatle’, Daniel Schlett of Iggy Pop and The War on Drugs fame. The category-defying mix was mastered by none other than Greg Calbi who mastered David Bowie’s “Young Americans” and Bruce Springsteen’s “Born to Run.”
“I’d just been on tour, meaning days and days in the van listening to nothing but Country,” Sam said. “I got the chorus for Golden Days together pretty quick, but I heard it as a more of a slow, Western ballad type of thing.”
“So all I could come up with was, like, Patsy Cline!” He said.
Sam’s musical ‘big brother’ and studio collaborator of many years, bass player JD Werner added to the musical composition.
“Luckily for me, JD is a prolific songwriter in his own right who just makes stacks of demos at all times! I told him about my conundrum, he offered to show me some of the material he’d been working on,” Sam said.
“The very first demo he shared gave me the instrumental parts for the verses and those beautiful guitar themes,” he said. “Then all I had to do was write some words, find a vocal melody, speed up my Country chorus and that’s how we made Golden Days.”
Watch “Gold Days” by Sam Himself
Appropriately for a track that all but begs to be played live, Golden Days appears as Sam announces the first leg of his European tour in support of his upcoming second album, across Germany and Switzerland, with stops in Austria, the Netherlands and elsewhere in Europe.