Older and wiser seems to describe Singaporean band, The Sam Willows’, return to the music scene. It’s been almost 5 years since the band released its debut album and the foursome have been using that time to grow and develop their sound.
The highly anticipated release of their newest album I Know, But Where was last week and AUGUSTMAN was there to talk with the group.
On their time in Sweden…
The foursome; Jon Chua, Narelle Kheng, Sandra Riley Tang, and Benjamin Kheng created their album primarily in Sweden, working with top music producers.
Sweden, the 3rd largest music exporter in the world, was an eye opening experience for the group. NK points out, “the music industry here in Singapore is young and we had to figure out a lot on our own and trudge through. So being in Sweden was very eye opening to see how their process works and to be able to bring that back here.”
The expertise gave the band a newfound sense of artistic freedom, allowing them to release a more vulnerable and technical set. “You know we played it really safe with the last album and stuck to the things we knew could perform,” John Chua adds, “that these songs were not easy, but we wanted to stretch ourselves a lot. It was very scary pushing ourselves but we had help from amazing people.”
On fans reactions…
Their newest album is very different than the original, splitting their dedicated fandom. Some people love the group’s new sound, while others are more hesitant. However Narelle and the gang aren’t phased, “this isn’t our last stop” she says. All artists develop and she believes and their new sound is just part of the process.
Jon adds, “at the end of the day we’re artists and our fans are following our journey. As the consumer or the listener your job is to consume and you have the choice to like it or hate it, but you have to respect it.”
On the music’s subject matter…
The album deals with a lot of serious subjects facing young people today, including anxiety and depression. The band has been together a while, and inevitably watched each-other deal with their own highs and lows that Ben says, “would be foolish not to put into art.”
“I think we had the chance to really talk about big issues properly. Save Myself and Robot both deal with things like anxiety and depress on different levels and how to deal with it yourself or how to help as a friend. To put it into a pop song was really cool and something I never thought we could do.”
The songs still have that Chainsmokers vibe we know and love, but the addition of new instruments like the trumpet, give the song a more soulful vibe. It’s relatable, catchy, and diverse; a musical triumph at a crucial phase. The band even admits that, “the sophomore album makes or breaks the artist.”
The group is still young and I am optimistic about their future successes. The Sam Willows has a voice and it needs to be heard.
“I Know, but Where” is available on iTunes and Spotify and has 11 tracks.