Many songs are coming out of this universally strange and emotionally-heightened time, offering comfort to those who hear them. However, not every song gets to the core.
Perhaps it’s that the song was originally encompassing a larger, pre-corona subject; maybe it’s the artist’s emotional vocals; or it could be the wisdom of the lyricism which dives into truths and vulnerabilities others are afraid to access… but Sam Johnson’s World Gone Mad creeps just that bit deeper into your soul. Holding great resonance with the current global situation, the single was released last month by the Shropshire-raised, London-based singer-songwriter accompanied by a heart-warming video created in lockdown. Have a look and listen…
Sam also gave a little glimpse into the meaning behind World Gone Mad with a short follow-up video, sharing that he was originally going to release a different song, but the pandemic the planet was plunged into – bringing a whole host of health, political, financial and personal issues to the forefront – called for a more relevant song that he had already started working on. And it certainly is relevant. Sam also shares that he hopes the song “helps people through these tough times and inspires great new art and thought.”
We got chatting to Sam who gave us a brief insight into World Gone Mad, his journey as a musician, and handpicked some tunes for you to listen to in lockdown…
Hey Sam (from a government approved distance)! How’re you doing at the moment?
Hey gang. Good thanks, can’t complain, I’ve got my health and so do all my loved ones.
Your latest single World Gone Mad is perfectly timed for these surreal times, and we love the song. When did you start writing it/what was the writing process like, and what did the song mean for you while writing it?
Awr thank you! I actually started writing it way before the lockdown began. The virus had only just started rearing its ugly head when I came up with it. Originally, I wanted to write a broader song about the increasingly chaotic state of the world, but by the time the demo had arrived in my inbox the song had taken on an even greater meaning. Every lyric had inadvertently cast comment on the strange and bewildering times we find ourselves in currently. To coin something I believe Laura Marling has mentioned many times throughout her career; the song was way ahead of me.
True words. It’s also such a shame that gigs are off for the moment, but what’s next after this single? An EP or album perhaps?
Yes, unfortunately so. However, I’ve got lots to keep me occupied at the moment. There is a new single coming out very soon.. Might also be part of a new EP..
Oooh, we’re excited! Ambiguous… but exciting! And how would you describe your sound for readers who have never heard your music before?
Try thinking somewhere between Paulo Nutini, Bob Dylan, and Bon Iver. Rough around the edges, lyrically driven, with a lot of heart.
We love emotional, lyrically driven music, and so do our readers, so you’re talking to the right crowd! So, where did your journey in music begin?
I’ve got a fairly creative family, my Dad was an architect and my mum’s side were all actors. I think my very first musical memory was strumming my uncle’s guitar and wondering why I couldn’t make it sound good. Years later in school I was to discover that you had to learn these things called ‘chords’. From then on my love of songwriting kicked in and never left me. At 17 I got a lucky break when the same uncle who’s guitar I had strummed years earlier, married into an Irish family and became the brother in law of My Bloody Valentine’s Kevin Shields. Over a few Christmases together in Ireland, Kevin kindly took an interest in my songs and recorded my first ever collection of demos. From there I just kept plugging away and here I am.
Chords are magical things… all you need is “three chords and the truth” (although a little bit of talent helps too!) And wow, what a segue into recording! Are there any specific artists or pieces of music that have inspired and influenced you?
Ben Howard is a huge one. For me, his second record I Forget Where We Were was a life changer. I was going through one of the darkest moments of my life at the time and that album spoke to me far better than any therapist could. Dylan is a big one too. Then stuff like Bon Iver, Arctic Monkeys, early Jake Bugg, and lot’s of 2000’s indie really.
All some brilliant musicians right there! Despite gigs being cancelled, we want to keep dreaming and thinking ahead to better times, so we’d love to know what your dream venue or festival would be (anywhere in the world)?
I’d love to play Glastonbury at some point, and the Red Rocks Amphitheater in Colorado looks absolutely stunning. That’s a big dream of mine.
Don’t tell anybody, but we see it happening. Now, your latest single has a strong message, so do you have any words of wisdom to add for our readers?
Just stay positive and be kind.
Wise words. As our readers are confined to their homes for the most part, would you share five songs we can all get lost in for a bit?
Falling Asleep At the Wheel, Holly Humberstone
Breathe, Morgan Harper Jones
Get Yourself To Sleep, Oscar Welsh
Picture Perfect, Jolé
The Birthday Party, The 1975
“These are all fairly new acts that I absolutely love and think have big future’s (they are all really nice folk too), and as for this new 1975 tune, well, it’s just really good.”
A huge thanks for talking to us! And thanks for such a special song at this time. Stay well and speak soon Sam!
Nae bother. Thanks so much. x
Keep up with Sam through the links below: