One of our lovely TwilightMOMS had the chance to see Sam Bradley (co-writer of the hit song Never Think) perform at the Whiskey a Go Go in L.A. and later sat down with him over lunch to ask a few questions. We hope you enjoy the interview!
TM: So, you had three shows in less than a week? That’s a lot.
Sam: I had four, actually. They added an extra show to Hotel Café. It was good because it wasn’t my [normal] audience.
TM: Hotel Café is a great venue
Sam: Amazing venue.
TM: It’s very pretty.
Sam: Very pretty. The office is really… like you’re in Havana.
TM: And you played the Whiskey last night. What was that like? That had to be a little overwhelming?
Sam: Well, they tell me it’s legendary. Everyone was really nice from the sound guy to the audience who was there. Everyone was pretty cool. About the show, I’m just happy to be playing, and that there are people there to listen is just magical.
TM: It seems to you have mainly a female following. That’s pretty good.
Sam: (laughs) I didn’t notice.
TM: So what do you think of L.A.?
Sam: I like L.A. a lot. I have some family that lives here, some of which I should have seen (laughs). Which I just realized. Yeah, I like L.A. a lot. I like how everything is kind of spread out. Nothing is too towering. You know, there’s one or two stories to the buildings and it makes me feel like I’m a tropical…tropical…I don’t know what I’m saying. (laughs)
TM: I get what you’re saying. Have you done any site seeing?
Sam: I went to Venice Beach and I went to the Santa Monica Pier. I didn’t go and take any star tours or anything.
TM: You didn’t get any mouse ears to take home?
Sam: Mouse ears? Oh! Disneyland!
TM: You need to go to Anaheim!
Sam: There’s always tomorrow. (laughs)
TM: Get some little mouse ears to take home with your name on them.
Sam: You can do that? Mouse ears with your name on it?
TM: Yeah, you can get them personalized with your name.
Sam: That’s cool.
TM: The song “Never Think/Too Far Gone” is lovely, of course. We all love it. And song writing is, to some degree, biographical. Is there anything in your life that sparked that piece?
Sam: Yeah. Everything in my life (laughs). Ya know, I was definitely going through some stuff and I think the song explains it. There’s nothing I could really say that would add more meaning to what the song already says.
TM: So, the writing process for you? What normally comes first, the melody or the lyrics? Is there a formula?
Sam: It depends on the song. There’s no specific way I sit down and write. Depends on the mood. Depends on if I have my guitar with me.
TM: Is there a time of day that’s a little more…
Sam: The morning. When you first wake up, well for me, you can reflect.
TM: On something you dreamt about, maybe?
Sam: Yeah, exactly. It could be something you dreamt about yesterday, something you dreamt about a month ago, a couple of years ago. The morning for me is the freshest. My father’s a morning person and I think I am, too.
TM: That’s unusual [for a musician]. So, you wrote Never Think with Rob and then you guys went two different directions in recording it.
Sam: Didn’t we just?
TM: How did that happen and is there an original version?
Sam: I’d say that when we were writing it, it was probably closer to “Too Far Gone” but I think Rob could play it differently every time. He’s obviously a very talented musician.
TM: Very, although I like your version a lot, too.
Sam: Thank you. Yeah, it’s different. It’s really cool. I’m really proud of my version and I’m proud of his version. I think it’s a really nice, interesting thing to have such a simple and pure song to sound so different, and have almost two different meanings just in the feeling of the song and the way it was recorded. I’m going to record “Too Far Gone” again because the version I have is a demo. So, I’m going to record that again and I’m excited to see how that turns out.
TM: As a song writer working with someone who changes the style a little each, does that inspire you or make you say, “Wait a minute! We were doing it this way”.
Sam: It inspires me. I can follow just fine. It’s a deeper connection. It’s never a shock so…(laughs)
TM: So you can roll with it. That’s good. (laughs)
TM: So, how did you meet Rob?
Sam: I was working at the zoo and I was taking care of the chinchillas, obviously,. That was my division. And Rob was looking after the zebras. That’s it right? You say zebras [strong e] not zebras [soft e]? He was looking after the zebras and there was a lot of feces involved… a lot of scooping, and we were both on our break which is very rare…very rare (smiling) that we get a break at the same time but we met and we talked. I talked about my chinchillas and he talked about his zebras. You know, I wanted to transfer. I’ve always liked rhinoceros and all of the sudden a giraffe with a guitar in its mouth dropped it in my arms and then Simba, the lion, came over and gave Rob a harmonica and a guitar and all of the sudden, bam! Song. Yeah, and I think we were…how old were we? We were working so I guess we were 54 at the time?
I met him at school (laughs)
TM: How old were you when you met him?
TM: That was a good story! I loved it!
Sam: I like that one. I’m going to keep that one. (laughs)
TM: I understand you were flat mates. What was it like being roomies?
Sam: Well, we were in a zoo (laughs). It was cool, ya know. We were friends. I should imagine it would be like being a flat mate with … Did you ever have a flat mate?
TM: Yes, once.
Sam: How was that for you?
TM: I’m a little too Type A so it didn’t work well. (laughs) I’m much better on my own.
Sam: It was a creative environment, is what we had…a creative environment with not much furniture and a TV with a Play station.
TM: It had all the important stuff
Sam: Yeah…I mean the TV with the Play station came later but it was cool. I think about that place everyday. It was a really, really cool place. It was right in the heart of London, as well so the world seemed like out oyster.
TM: Sounds like something from a Dickens story
Sam: (in a very high pitched voice) It was like a scene out of Dickens!
TM: So what was it like to see Twilight for the first time and hear your music in it?
Sam: Ya know, I got to go with a couple of friends and so when the song came on my hand was squeezed pretty tightly and…I was proud. That was an odd thing seeing your friend nine thousands times bigger than he is in real life. Big face on the big screen sort of thing. It’s cool. I just felt happy to be part of it.
TM: It’s [the twilight phenomenon] pretty massive.
Sam: Yeah it is, and it really has helped me.
TM: At the L.A. premiere, you got a taste of how exuberant the Twilight fans can be. Has your connection to the Twilight universe been a blessing or a curse?
Sam: I only look at blessings so like I said before, I’m just happy to be playing to people and whether they are connected to Twilight or Tom Cruise or whatever it is, it doesn’t matter because it’s them and me and I’m just lucky to have people come out and it’s not Team Edward or team Jacob. It’s my night and it’s their night and I try to make it the best it can be.
TM: You are slated to play TwiCon with Bobby long and Mark Foster. Are you nervous?
Sam: Am I nervous? No, I haven’t had a breath to be nervous yet. I think when I arrive in Dallas and I turn up at the hotel…(laughs)
TM: You’ll start to feel all of that teen electricity?
Sam: Do you think there will be a lot of teens?
TM: Yeah, there will be a lot of teens there. It’s not a 21 and over crowd.
Sam: It’s going to be interesting. I’m really looking forward to it. To meet lots of people is the idea and try to connect with as many people as possible.
TM: What sort of music did you grow up listening to?
Sam: I grew up listening to soul music…and reggae and country…and folk.
TM: Is there any particular artist that did it for you?
Sam: Yes (laughs) I really love Ray Charles, Marvin Gaye, Gregory Isaac, Tom Waite, Willie Nelson, Bob Dylan, (smiles) Bobby Long, Rob Pattinson.
TM: What was it about those artists that did it for you?
Sam: Honesty…these artists were very honest and very raw and I like that.
TM: It comes across in your music, as well. It has a very raw quality to it.
Sam: I hope so, yeah.
TM: Sea Blue is a great song. That and Paradise. Very gut-wrenching.
Sam: Thank you.
Sam: Paradise is an old song. I thought I was never going to play that one again. But people heard it…. I guess I put it up…and yeah, Paradise is a nice one.
TM: It’s lovely
TM: What took you to Vancouver from the UK?
Sam: My mom. My mom is Canadian. She’s from Ottawa, actually. We went on holiday, and she tricked us, me and my sister, into moving. She asked if we wanted to go look at a house and I said, “Yeah…OK Let’s go look at a house. Wow, this house is way nice than the one we have in England. OK…shall we move?” Oh, but my job at the zoo! Whatever will I do?”(laughs) Yeah, so we moved and Vancouver is a beautiful city. It’s a lovely city.
TM: Do you intend to keep Vancouver as your home base?
Sam: I don’t think I’m going to have a home base. I think my home base is in people, not really a place. I’m going to have my few possessions there, like my sofa which is pretty much my bed. It’s cool.
TM: I was going to ask when we can expect an album out but I noticed some people walking around with CD’s last night?
Sam: Maybe they purchased those at some of the other shows. It’s an old EP that I made when I was just starting. I had only been playing guitar for just under a year and I got to make an EP and I didn’t really know what I was doing. I still don’t really know I’m doing (smiles) but I’m a little more experienced now. But as far as the EP goes, it’s like three years old. I printed a couple of thousand and now they’re all gone and I don’t think I’m going to make them again. That part is over.
TM: So no more records. That’s it. (laughs)
Sam: No, of course more records. I just meant as far as that EP goes.
TM: So when should we expect the new CD?
Sam: Next month or so. Maybe two months. Not too far away.
TM: If you could jam with any artist, living or dead, who would it be?
Sam: I’d definitely choose a dead artist. Today my answer is…Johnny Cash.
TM: What songs are on your personal play list?
Sam: “Closer” by Kings of Leon, It Could Have Been Me by Ray Charles, and 14 Times by Marcus Foster.
TM: Are there ay songs on your playlist that you would be embarrassed for people to know about?
Sam: Absolutely not. I’m a pretty open individual. When I jam out to my Brittany Spears, that’s cool.
TM: Jamming to Hannah Montana?
Sam: I don’t actually know much Hannah Montana music but she’s got a good voice (does a brief imitation)
TM: Ok… we’re going to do a little Inside the Actors Studio/James Lipton sort of thing.
TM: What’s your favorite word?
TM: Why’s that?
Sam: (smiles) Because it’s the first word that came to me.
TM: You’re least favorite word?
TM: You’re favorite sound?
Sam: My favorite sound? (slaps his left cheek)
TM: (laughs) Your least favorite sound?
Sam: (slaps his right check and laughs)
TM: What is your favorite Dr. Seuss book?
Sam: Green Eggs and…I don’t know.
TM: What question have you never been asked that you wish someone would ask?
Sam: (laughs) That one.
TM: That was great. Thank you!
Sam: You’re welcome!
For more information about Sam Bradley including his tour schedule, please check out his MySpace page located at http://www.myspace.com/sambradley