From acoustic intro to majestic coda, Cry offers a taste of Sam Himself's first full-length album, due out later this year, for which the artist once again joins forces with his longtime producer at Strange Weather Studio in New York, Daniel Schlett (The War on Drugs; DIIV), as well as mastering legend Greg Calbi (Bruce Springsteen; David Bowie). In true 2020 fashion, Cry becomes the team's first long-distance collaboration, recorded transatlantically by engineer Philippe Laffer (CRIMER; Marius Bear) in Sam's hometown of Basel, Switzerland.
Following the release of his most recent EP Slow Drugs -- feat. drummer Parker Kindred (Jeff Buckley; Elliott Smith), bassist Josh Werner (Iggy Pop; CocoRosie) and singer Denitia -- in May 2020 and the Swiss National Broadcasting Service’s Best Talent award the next month; a limited edition vinyl release via Taxi Gauche Records; international press, radio airplay and DSP editorial features for singles Slow Drugs and Like a Friend plus six figure view counts for the accompanying music videos on Vevo, Sam Himself shows no signs of slowing down.
The vocalist and songwriter, recently nominated for a Swiss Music Award, kicks off 2021 from the virtual stage as part of the launch lineup of buzzing new livestream platform Bandsintown PLUS alongside Wilco and Phoebe Bridgers, then returns to the studio to finish his debut LP together with producer Schlett in Brooklyn, NY. On his new songs, written in isolation and recorded on multiple continents, Sam tries to make sense of a mind-bending year:
In early 2020, Sam finds himself in Europe, on tour with singer Anna Rossinelli, when the pandemic breaks out. Suddenly stranded between his native Switzerland and the United States, his chosen home of the past ten years, Sam locks himself into quarantine at an Airbnb in Basel, his Swiss hometown. During this period of isolation, using the equipment he brought on his cancelled spring tour, Sam starts writing new material inspired by the "former lives and loves" he left behind in New York City, as his return there becomes increasingly uncertain amid the early chaos of the pandemic.
It's love at first sight when Sam moves to New York in the early 2010s with dreams of pursuing music -- and a few lessons to learn. His love for the city all but unrequited, Sam Koechlin attends college, works odd jobs and embarks on a number of musical adventures before launching his solo project Sam Himself in 2016. The name is born out of necessity and a concert promoter's ill-timed sense of humor, one night in downtown Manhattan, when the other member of Sam's band at the time fails to show up for a gig.
Soon after, Sam connects with producer and mixing engineer Daniel Schlett, whom he dubs his 'Second Beatle'; their creative partnership lasts to this day.
Together, holed up at Schlett's Strange Weather Studio in Brooklyn, the pair complete Sam's first full-length in early 2021, set for release in the fall of this year. Two songs on Sam's forthcoming album still feature Parker Kindred on drums and Josh Werner on bass; Benjamin Noti (guitar - Steff la Cheffe) and Georg Dillier (bass - Anna Rossinelli), both members of Sam's live band, also contribute to several tracks. Beyond that, Sam plays most of the instruments on his debut LP himself, with producer Schlett adding the occasional otherworldly sound. This intentional reduction in manpower reflects both the new practical realities of the pandemic and the general mood of the strange time in which Sam writes and records his LP (whose name he has yet to reveal): over the course of ten songs, by turns minimalist and grand, programmed drums and synthesizers add new textures to Sam’s musical vocabulary and convey a sense of the loneliness, self-reliance and artistic autonomy that define his upcoming release from start to finish. Through it all, Sam’s signature baritone reaches new heights and transcends expectations on the artist’s most vulnerable, mature and confident work to date.
As of February 2021, Sam splits his time between Brooklyn and Basel, gearing up to make the most of a string of spring dates, as well as this fall's national (full band) and international (solo) tours in support of his debut album.