Bands To Watch 2018 – SAM VANCE-LAW

„Sam Vance Law könnte Everybody’s Darling werden“, schrieb der Musikexpress zuletzt und trifft damit ins Mark – denn der kanadische Wahlberliner, der schon in diversen Live-Set-Ups als Musiker (Dear Reader / Get Well Soon) oder mit seinen vorherigen Projekten auffiel, setzt dieser Tage mit seinem Debütalbum-Release einige neue Meilensteine in seiner Kariere. Aufgewachsen im kanadischen Edmonton, mit mehrjähriger Zwischenstation in England, wo Sam Teil des renommierten Oxforder New College Knabenchors ist und durch Europa tourt, ist er immer von Musik und Musikern umgeben. Er musiziert weiter, spielt viel Geige und schreibt sich nach dem Abitur in Edmonton zunächst für englische Literatur ein. Und trifft dort auf noch mehr Gleichgesinnte, woraufhin es richtig Klick macht. Auf seinem Debüt Homotopia (02.03. Caroline) setzt Vance-Law nun alle Aspekte schwulen und queeren Lebens und Fühlens reflexiv in ein Verhältnis zum Hier und Jetzt. Es entstand in Berlin und unter Mithilfe von Get Well Soon-Mastermind Konstantin Gropper – genug Material also für ein Interview! Wir trafen den sympathischen Musiker kurz vor Weihnachten in Berlin!

I wanted to get started with your latest song I think we should take it fast. Tell me about the story and how you created it!
It’s about hookup culture and people going out to get laid. Just that. So there’s this guy who gets out to get laid and takes another guy home, maybe a couple of guys, we’re not sure, and then he gets super tired. Like he’s gone through all this afford, go to the club, buy drinks, hit on guys, get them home and then he gets home and he’s just like, jesus, I tired. Can we do this quickly cause I really need to sleep. And that’s the end of the song. It’s all about either taking a cliché or an idea and turning it around and messing with it, till it becomes a human story.

Why is it called I think we should take it fast?
We play on stereotypes around gay culture, the title came from the notion that a lot of people, when they start a relationship, say, “I think we should take it slow”, and then it is serious. Gay club culture is often known for being a little quicker than that. So I thought calling the sound I think we should take it fast would play with that. In a hopefully kind and humorous way. It’s told from the perspective of a gay man. I try not to focus too much on that gay aspect. Gay people are just like straight people, they just have sex with people of the same sex and I want that to become more part of the queer scene, that we don’t demand an exclusive community. It’s in fact inclusive to everyone.  That’s kind of the game, it’s all gay and in the end none of it has to be excluding a listener just because of that. Let’s see if that works when it comes out.

You played drunk in your song I Think We Should Take It Fast. Why didn’t you get drunk for real?
I didn’t get drunk for real cause we had one day to shoot the entire thing. And we worked from 8 in the morning till 12 at night. And I had to be incredibly focused for the entire shoot. And that would not have happen if I actually been drinking! Had we had a week to do it…

What about your clubbing experiences in Berlin?
I did it for a while. I’ve been in Berlin for 7 years now, so the first couple of years I’ve been doing the Berlin thing, everybody knows the Berlin-thing. Then I stopped, because I started to get a lot of work and when you have work to do, you cannot go out, cause going out here means, coming home at 10 in the morning. So you can’t work. That was the end of clubbing for me. I might get back. I have plans for my mid 30ths, becoming a real interesting, fascinating person again, but until then I’m just gonna be working.

Working on music. First album is set, you will release it 2nd of march 2018. What would be the best thing to happen after the release?
I hope a couple of people like it…that would be nice…that’s so far as my dreams go. (laughs)

Why was Prettyboy the first song you decided to release?
Well, the thing about releasing anything is that it’s a team decision. So there are like 15 people who threw in there things, which should be the first or the third single and why, and when they said prettyboy, I was like: ok. See, I like all the songs. I wrote them so I like them all. So any suggestion was fine by me. Why not. It’s all my music, it’s not like I didn’t write that one, that one is shit…

So you write all your songs on your own?
Yes. I’m a huge fan of building two line blocks. To start with something meaningful, I always loved magnetic fields, they just grab you. “Maybe tomorrow I’ll see love in your eyes, and mine will dry.” That paints a whole picture in the first two lines. And you can go anywhere from there. So I try to find a situations I want to write about. Like map out situations and try to find a new perspective. What’s a perspective that people are gonna find problematic? What could make people think? Songs are suppose to mean something.

Your album is called Homotopia. What kind of place is it?
Homotopia is a gay place. I wanted to take some things that we find troubling about queer life or gay culture, I wanted to take things we find glorious about it. And threw them all in together to create a gay place that I see around me everyday. Many communities vanish because of integration into the wider society, many communities are created because of it. I wanted to take snapshots of gay life as I see it now. Because in 20 years time it won’t be there anymore.

Is it different being gay in berlin that anywhere else?
This is the first city where I ever felt safe. And this is one of the main reasons why I live here. I also don’t come from one of the biggest cities in Canada, I come from one o the more conservative provinces, so that obviously a difference. But Berlin is a place where everybody is slightly strange in their own way, and that’s fine. Everybody gets along anyway.

Do you think you can change people thinking with your music?
I don’t know if I’m here to change people’s thinking. I think I´m here to make people think. Think about a particular situation. What I would like, if it changes anything. How people look at each other. Who is this person? Because I think one of the things that happen and that is so brutal, is when someone is purely judged on his sexuality and that becomes their entire thing. And when someone judges you purely on your sexuality then you judge them because of their judgement of you. And neither person sees anything more than one stereotype, the faggot, and the other stereotype, the homophob, and that’s the end of the conversation. And I might still pass judgement. I might still hate them and still find them morally reprehensible but how do I first try to get into their skin? I hope the stories are good enough to hold the people get to that point. And then if they feel like passing judgement you can pass judgement. But passing judgement is not the first step, it’s the last one.

How do you feel when you are on stage? Do you need that kind of attention?
I often thought, if I could get paid just to sit at home and just write and compose and play, I would probably do that.

Everything apart from that couple of hours you’re playing, touring is a nightmare. I love those two hours on stage, but the rest I could skip easily. If I would have to make the choice between touring the rest of my life and sitting in my house with nobody around me and all the doors locked, I probably choose that. I´m not denying that I also love being on stage and getting attention. I don’t step on the stage for the applause, but I’m damn happy to have the applause when it comes.

Can you imagine people getting addicted to that kind of attention?
Absolutely. It’s a rush. Like any good drug. You want it again.

Do you think it will be the same after a 100 shows?
I think it is then harder to find. On the other hand, after the 100st show you should be so tight,…the first few shows you go a bit sloppy, you think this section is coming next, this part I have a problem with technically, here I have to work on my vocals…After a 100 shows you just play. That gives you more time to enjoy the audience as well, cause you´re not going thank you, shut the fuck up, i need to tune, right? It is harder to find the high if you do a  lot of shows in a row. But if you take a break, as soon as you step back on the stage, you’re back. Like it’s there again. And it’s good.

Isabella Nadobny

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