Weber stays grounded along musical path 0
The prestigious Guitar Player magazine has praised Sam Weber for his killer fretwork on his debut album released this past summer. (SUBMITTED)
Victoria singer-songwriter Sam Weber has wowed the critics with his debut album, Shadows in the Road, which showcases his impressive guitar talents. With a show at Gastown’s Guilt and Co. Friday, Joe Leary spent 24 Seconds with the 20-year-old rising star.
24: Your reviews are absolutely glowing. How do you respond to the acclaim?
SW: I always respond graciously to acclaim. It feels good when people say positive things about me or my art and that inspires me to make better art. The trick is to not trust foreign perspectives too much and always let the way I feel about my music hold the controlling shares in what I'm doing.
24: What initially attracted you to music? Did you come from a musical family?
SW: Initially, I was attracted to how good it felt to play music, especially with other people. My brother and father are both multi-instrumentalists and superior musicians, so I guess it's something that's always been a part of my life. Playing with them all the time was really stimulating. It still is. The release I get from performing and writing exceeds that of any sport I've ever played.
24: What was the ‘it’ moment where you decided to follow a musical path?
SW: I can't say I've felt just one defining moment. Following a musical path has always felt right and as long as it does I have to keep doing it. I've experienced the catharsis that playing music gives me — to not experience that anymore would feel unnatural.
24: Your music has been described as being pretty ethereal. How would you describe yourself?
SW: The half joke I had with Jason Cook, who produced Shadows in the Road with me, was I want to sound like ‘rocky mountain desert vibes.’ Ethereal is a more succinct way of saying that, but there's definitely some truth in being surgically precise. My favourite music and art is really specific and points back to one feeling rather than trying to be too many things at the same time.
24: I hear a Dan Mangan influence in your solo work? Is that an apt comparison?
SW: To be totally honest, I hadn't listened to Dan Mangan's music until quite recently; probably out of fear that it was a very apt comparison. I think the similarities between us have more to do with the fact we share a lot of the same influences, rather than me being influenced by him directly. Either way, Dan Mangan is an incredible artist and I am always honoured to be mentioned in the same breath as him.
24: What challenges face a new, emerging solo artist these days?
SW: The prevalent challenge I observe that faces emerging solo artists these days is they don't yet know how to communicate their uniqueness to people. I struggle with this often. I think the music that does rise to the top of the pile is made by the people who have their ‘vibe’ on lockdown and can channel it into their tunes, that and hard work of course.
24: How do you engage with audiences in a live environment?
SW: It's all about the space! I try and play to the venue as much as I can. As a performer, it's my responsibility to try and captivate the room with my performance. Sometimes it's easy and everyone is very attentive. Sometimes you're playing in a restaurant or lounge setting and people are trying to eat, drink and converse. As a performer, it is your responsibility to fit into that environment. Sometimes that means I'll play more flashy electric guitar stuff and try to reel people in and earn their trust. I try to have fun with every performance.
24: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve learned about the music business thus far?
SW: In meeting many highly successful music industry people, I've deduced that the really nice people who make genuine relationships will always succeed. If you aren't going to be kind and gracious and helpful, your days in the music industry are numbered. Music is such a personal thing and that is definitely reflected in the nature of the music business. I find it really empowering that there's no real way to strong-arm your way to the top. You can't make people like you, but you can be likeable if you remember to be a good person.