Hi Sam, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?
I’ve been great thanks. It’s so nice to finally be releasing original music again, makes me very excited for the future.
Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Out of Reach”?
I was single when I wrote this song and had been writing more melancholy/introspective love songs. I wanted to write a more hopeful song, something I’d want to sing to the love of my life. The next time Bill and I caught up for a session he had a chord progression/riff he’d come up with and I knew it would match perfectly with these lyrics. I translated his piano riff to my guitar and the rest of the song just flowed out of us. The song was finished in a few hours and really helped cement our creative partnership.
Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?
I was on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills when I came up with the first two lines of lyric (I wanna touch you like I’ll never see / I wanna listen like like I’ll never speak). Being overstimulated by the excess of this high end shopping destination I paused for a moment, closed my eyes and these lines just came to me.
How was the film experience?
I wanted to honour the song by showing multiple forms of love in the video and I had my parents in town so I wrote a concept that included them and some of my friends. The video starts with me coming home on my birthday to an unexpectedly empty house where I find a clue which leads me on an adventure towards a beautiful surprise.
My Grease: Live co-stars Carlos PenaVega and David Del Rio were kind enough to offer to shoot me this video after hearing some acoustic demos my music. Carlos and his wife Alexa also offered their old house/surrounding neighbourhood as a location which was incredible and allowed us to shoot the video in a day. This meant we were moving pretty fast all day and we almost ran into disaster on the rocky outcrop. The balloon there was punctured on the climb up. The hour trek to get another balloon would’ve killed the day, but I quickly tied a hole in it and enough of the helium survived.
How was the recording and writing process?
The idea for the song began in LA, was written in NY and finalised (with the chant section which was discovered in the studio) in LA.
The demo for Out Of Reach was recored during a week long trip to various studios in NY. When it came time to record/produce the full mix of the song I linked up with another Aussie in LA Andrew Furze (ARIA awards, The X Factor and So You Think You Can Dance) and his team at TAG Music. Todd Bergman (Weezer, Snow Patrol, Nicki Minaj, Alessia Cara) mixed the song and three-time Grammy and Emmy nominated Gentry Studer (Ryan Adams, Miley Cyrus, Metallica, Smashing Pumpkins) mastered the track.
What was it like to work with Bill Grainer and how did that relationship develop?
I was close to giving up on music when I met Bill through a mutual friend of ours. The first time we wrote together in LA it was clear that we had something special. Bill believes in the craft the way I do and is like a brother to me. We’ve been writing since under the moniker ’The Long Losts’ ever since.
How much did he influence the song?
The depth and wisdom Bill brings to our team is second to none and his integrity is clearly heard throughout his songwriting. I can’t imagine what this song without Bill’s influence.
How does your acting influence your music and the other way around?
These are two very different experiences for me. Acting often feels like putting on a mask while songwriting/performing feels like stripping yourself bare. They both require an emotional availability, but I’m not sure they influence each other any more than other aspects of my life. I have been lucky enough to write and perform songs for various TV shows/Films I’ve been involved with which I love, but that’s about as close as the connection comes.
Do you tend to take a different approach when you are performing in a, say, musical than when you are working and performing your own original material?
Yes and no. There is much more freedom involved with performing my original material. Since I mainly perform solo, I will often choose the set list once I arrive at the venue and have the opportunity to change anything about the set during my performance. You have to be more of a team player when it comes to musical theatre and also have to honour the character and script. I find both challenges incredibly rewarding.
Does the new single mean we can expect a new material – how’s that coming along?
I have over an album’s worth of material ready to produce and am currently searching for the right producer to complete the team. There’s also talk of releasing an acoustic EP but it all depends on how the rest of my year pans out. Auditioning alone can be a full time gig, so I often find it difficult to fit everything in.
For now I’m planning on releasing covers more regularly on YouTube so there will definitely be more content coming.
Any tentative release date or title in mind?
No release date as yet and the title will likely be one of the final touches before artwork etc. but ‘Writing On The Wall’ is currently in the lead.
Any plans to hit the road?
At the moment I’m performing around the Hollywood area, but I’m expanding that, especially to the East and South. I’m also considering returning to the UK for more shows.
What else is happening next in Sam Clark’s world?