Bowlegs: What have been your artistic experiences before Halls?
Sam: Originally wanted to pursue writing, but my love for music took over and it became more important to me. I have been in bands and worked on music on my own for a few years but focused my efforts a couple of years ago, which led to Halls.
Bowlegs: You’ve managed to sound both haunting and calming, a difficult balance to find. How would you describe the style of your music?
Sam: I want it to be both, there’s a fine line between the two. I wouldn’t know how to describe it; I make it and don’t really pay attention to viewing it from a non-musical perspective. Some people seem to hear it as this primarily electronic thing, some kind of electronic/dance music. I don’t hear that, I think that’s ridiculous.
Bowlegs: Ark and White Chalk both feature evocative piano solos- How does this fusion of classical with electronic fit into your overall sound?
Sam: The combination of classical and electronic elements are part of the make-up of the Halls sound on Ark. I drew inspiration quite extensively from both genres.
Bowlegs: How has your past played into the lyrical structure of Ark?
Sam: I’d say the lyrics in Ark are more a product of recent times, rather than focusing on the past. The lyrics feel quite current to me.
Bowlegs: For someone so young you’ve managed to create a deeply moving and mature record- how do you envision it affecting your listener?
Sam: Thanks. I can’t imagine what effect it would have on a listener, it’s something I just can’t picture. It’s funny – you become so attached to a set of songs that you forget other people have access to them.
Bowlegs: The production on this record is impeccable and innovative. Was there an aspect of improvisation or was it mostly calculated?
Sam: Improvisation came mostly in the form of vocals and lyrics. Vocal melodies are the main thing that I developed from free improvisation. The rest of the album is very calculated. Even parts where I haven’t cleaned up any blemishes – I made sure to keep in these small imperfections (such as scrappy guitar playing on Reverie) as I feel it retains a human touch. You can mould something and spend so much time working on the production that you lose the human touch that initially created it. I wanted Ark to still feel human, despite all of the electronic paranoia that creeps in.
Bowlegs: What is the best part of putting out your first record?
Sam: It’s still a new thing, so it’s exciting of course. It’s a good learning experience too – I know more about the inner workings of presses and distribution, things that should be invaluable to me in the future. Holding the actual record is a good feeling too.
Bowlegs: Are there any contemporaries you would consider an influence on this project?
Sam: A lot of dead people – so not exactly contemporary.
Bowlegs: What’s next for Halls?
Sam: More live shows, more music, some special things are being worked on too. We’ll see.
-Interview by Rick Marcello-