An Insight Into The Sam Willows
Everyone has their own experiences navigating through the plethora of bands with creative band names that we are bombarded with today. What no one would expect is a band that takes on the name of a seemingly fictional character – Sam Willows.
“We don’t have a good answer for that really.” Benjamin Kheng, one of the members of The Sam Willows, explained. “For us, I think it was because we have many different sounds but we wanted to kind of have one sound, so I think giving a moniker helps to achieve that kind of sound. “
Sam Willows. Yes, “The Sam Willows” is, in essence, a quartet coming from completely different backgrounds, all hailing from humble ol’ Singapore, connected by their shared passion for music.
Comprising of Sandra, Jonathan, and siblings Benjamin and Narelle, this band has no fixed front man, and are known for their vocal harmony in their songs. “Most of us started out as a musician and not a vocalist, it just felt natural for us to fill up the spaces.” Sandra expressed, to which Benjamin joked with a shrug, “It just so happened that we just like to sing as much as we play music.”
This seven-month-old quartet is swiftly sweeping locals off their feet, with a sold-out EP launch party held at TAB on Oct 27 this year. But the process of the EP did not come easy. Aside from the arduous process of recording, the band had to go about their daily lives as well. “Blending our four schedules was a constant problem.” Jonathan recollected.
Their pursuit of perfecting their craft shows even in the creative process as these four individuals have differing musical preferences. “There is no such thing as majority wins. The four of us must have a common consensus and then we’ll move on.” Narelle asserted, to which Jonathan illustrated “It’s like four artistes working together. It’s very hard to agree, we always have problems agreeing.”
The Sam Willows’ determination did pay off though with rave reviews after their EP launch. “We got four stars on Today, that was pretty cool. And we beat Taylor Swift” Ben exclaimed excitedly before further elaborating on the 0.5 star gap between them and Taylor Swift’s newly released album, “Red”.
One of the band’s most notable achievements to date would be clinching a spot at South by Southwest (SXSW) in Austin, Texas next year. Jonathan submitted their application along with two of their original numbers and their website before notifying the rest of the quartet. “I almost deleted the email (of their successful application) when it came.” Jonathan reminisced.
In spite of the series of successes the band has accomplished in the past seven months, they remain grateful for what they have. “It’s very encouraging to see how tight-knitted the music industry in Singapore is. We have people from different record labels working together and even offering us, helping us get gig opportunities and other forms of endorsements.” Jonathan explained.
“We didn’t expect this kind of support, but without this kind of support we would never be where we are now.” Sandra added.
The Sam Willows also are grateful for the fans that they have gotten over the past few months. “It’s very heartwarming. Especially in Singapore because we’re so small. We’re like a village you know, and then the other village knows you. It’s very nice.” Sandra gushed, “We love you!”
Aside from that, the quartet, with their vibrancy, succumbs to moments of nonsensical hilarity. Instead of having a resident clown, they admit to having the title “resident clown” used on all of their members. Jonathan even likened their sporadic bouts of jokes to a female problem. “You know how girls get their mood swings once a month? We get it three times a day,” to which Benjamin exclaimed, “We’re like a period!”
The band has high hopes and dreams for the future. Benjamin elaborates, “That’s what we want to do, push our music internationally and eventually seeing Singapore music exported instead of just importing American music.” And given their slingshot to popularity, we’d bet on that in a heartbeat.
Featured image by Han Qi Guang; MOSHIN’ 2012 All Rights Reserved.