Sam Nichol takes aspects of alternative songwriting to a new level with his latest release “Jane.” The eerie melodies float over a soundscape of instruments that leave listeners feeling as though they are drifting through a sky of shattered glass while simultaneously floating down a green, shimmery river.
Explaining “Jane” as fitting into his goals of both making the best art he can, and retrospectively pointing to his faith, Sam dove into what made this release both exciting and challenging in his current season of artistry.
How did “Jane” come together?
“Jane” was one of those rare songs that I wrote very quickly (for me at least) and it one sitting. Recording the song was a really long and arduous process, however. we spent a lot of time working to get it right. I’m really happy with how it turned out in the end.
What is some of the inspiration behind it?
Like I said, it was a song that I wrote rather quickly compared to my usual process, so from the start it felt very “inspired” to me. It means a lot to me as a song and idea. I wrote it initially as a reflection on lust and consequence, but as the lyric developed I found my mind being pulled into multiple directions and onto different subjects. For me “Jane” can be applied to depression or being caught in an abusive (or unhealthy) relationship, or destructive loneliness that one can’t seem to shake. To me, Jane is a picture of how art and song can grow and change with the listener.
Who was involved in the creation of the song?
A few people! The person who put in the most work on the production of the song by far was my friend Cory Williams (if you don’t know him, you should. He’s one of the best and most genuine people I know, and also hands down the most musically gifted). Cory produced the track and played drums, a few guitar parts, some synths, and other doodads on the track and really helped guide the vision as far as the production is concerned. I had a strong idea in my head of how I wanted the track to sound and Cory really brought it to life. Bass is played by my good friend Christian Eason, and the piano that you hear throughout the track was played by David Gross, the studio owner/engineer of the place we recorded drums and bass. (fun fact, the birds you hear throughout are actually in the piano track, we propped the door open at the studio when we tracked the piano). The great Spencer Stevens added the sax flourishes and swells. Other than that, all of the tracks were recorded by me or Cory in his bedroom.
How does it relate to your previous single, Midnight? Stylistically, how do you personally write and create music that is distinct, but cohesive?
I think that the more that any artist writes, the more they get to know themselves. Right along in the process of writing and recording the 5 track EP that both “Midnight” and “Jane” are on, I have said that this feels like the most “me” project that I have done yet. So I think that the cohesion between the tracks are just my own musical voice coming out. Of course, we used similar instruments and tones (not to mention that I have a fairly unique voice) to keep the overall sound cohesive, but I think that musical voice has the biggest impact on the topic.
How would you describe your style, or your artistic vision as a musician?
I think at the end of the day, I just want to make good art. I think in my pursuit to do this, I have ended up with a style that borders on a few different genres that are well established in modern music. It is difficult for me to define because I am influenced by so many different kinds of music. I’m working hard to find my niche, and I feel I am getting closer with this EP.
What’s next for you? What are you getting prepped for, or what are you focusing on right now in relation to your music?
Good question. With the coronavirus still making things really difficult for musicians everywhere, I have actually put a hold on releasing any more of the songs on my EP (5 songs total, so 3 more to go) until I can begin performing again. If I’m honest the release and promotion of Jane has been difficult, both mentally and logistically with all that is going on in the world. I know that a lot of people aren’t consuming music in the same way as they did before this all started. I know I’m not. Believe me, I want to put all of the songs out soon so everyone can listen, but I am just not feeling like the timing is right. In the meantime, I am going to be writing and working on staying creative. I’ve also been writing a few pop bangers just for fun, not sure if they’ll ever see the light of day but I’m having a good time learning a different creative process with producing tracks.
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“Jane” release date: 04.17.20
Image Credits: Caroline Voisine