Sam Sure: On the right track
Creativity and swagger come to mind when you consider the talents of new name, Sam Sure. Originally a graffiti artist, a young Sam could be found searching for the perfect destination to express his burgeoning creative mind with his tool of choice, the spray can. He was responsible for the backdrop for Skepta and Fekky’s Wat “Too Much” Video… While graffiti was his passion, it was eventually music that became the focal point for his expression of creativity. Gone was the need to take to the streets of London undercover (although the passion for graffiti art has never diminished) and in came the expression of creativity in the aural form…
With creative choice now made, Sam has taken the ‘plunge’ and dropped some sterling projects, collabs and moments on the way; from touring with BBC Sound if 2015 to catching the attention of one Zane Lowe.
2016, and Sam dropped his EP “Catching Feelings” (which features artwork by Sam) on the hit label Black Butter. Featuring production from names like One Inch Punch (Sam Smith) the EP has gained positive vibes from music publications.
Blues & Soul was lucky enough to catch-up with Sam recently to talk about his love of music, graffiti and his encyclopaedia like knowledge of biscuits! He could actually feature on Mastermind!
Semper: 'Your chosen subject is?’
Sam: Sure - Biscuits!
Semper: Your time starts now… What is your favourite biscuit?
Sam: Borders! There's a butterscotch and toffee which is next level! Cannot really beat a chocolate digestive - has to be milk chocolate though, none of that dark chocolate business, because if you going in you need to go in properly - no messing about! (laughs)
Semper: I love a Custard Cream...
Sam: Custard Creams and Bourbons are from the same era - from my mum’s biscuit jar…Rich Tea Fingers are better, of course.
Semper: Ok, now that’s out of the way...how's your day been?
Sam: My day has been sick! Today, I started the day with a fry-up in Paddington, then I went to Dalston for a photo-shoot with a guy called, Samuel John Buck, who shot all the Michael Kiwanuka shots. Then I went down to the Boxpark, then to Blood Brother, which is a clothing store owned by some good friends (got some new garms) and then come to see you.
Semper: Let’s talk about graffiti first, obviously a love?
Sam: It was my passion and it was the most important thing to me as a young teenager, from 15 that was all I cared for. Now it is a passion that I indulge in and I do it more as a ‘legal’ passion.
Semper: Doing it ‘legally’ must be boring though?
Sam: It’s totally different doing it legally - part of the buzz was the fact that I was going to places where I was not supposed to. The motivation is also different - at the time it was all about other artists seeing my work, I did not give a crap about how many 'likes' I got, it was about other artists seeing it and giving it a nod of approval. Graffiti as a legal past time, did not have the allure of the illegal art. I could not do it every day because the illegality was such a big part of ‘it’ for me.
Semper: How and why did you make the transition to music, when it sounds like you were already making a name for yourself elsewhere?
Sam: I think that music became the focus in a rather organic way...I started making music and people just started vibing, so it became something I could absorb myself into. First time I played live I knew I wanted this - I think I played in Canterbury and from that moment on I was hooked to making and performing music.
Semper: The choice to go into music, was that hard?
Sam: I have always been taught, I can do whatever I want if I put my mind to it…there was never any fear in attempting to make a career of music. I meet a lot of talented people, afraid to quit their jobs and go for it, but you do have to take the plunge. I was lucky in many respects when I came to London because I was able to do some modelling jobs and I had enough to live on, but I was cramping music in at the weekends, so I decided to go full on.
Semper: I take it you’ve have had your fair share of ups and downs?
Sam: I think there are peaks and troughs…I remember when I got my publishing deal with Sony ATV, I thought right, “I’m back!” But then, expectations are dangerous. I feel that I am happier when I do not have expectations. After that, it took a long time before something major happened again.
Semper: ‘Major’ meaning Black Butter (Records) - that's a great look, how did that materialise?
Sam: I have known the guys at Black Butter for a while, I knew them when they were working out of a bedroom and they were a small label. When we first met, I was not really ready and they were not ready to an extent. Our relationship was one where they liked all my ideas, but I had not really worked them out properly. So when I did, it was a new conversation because we were both in different places, particularly Black Butter, who are now so huge.
Semper: The EP “Catching Feelings”, Two Inch Punch produces the single...
Sam: He is a great guy, he is a very ‘in tune’ producer who gets the vision straight away and does not second guess his work, I respect that. We actually get on too well, because we just chat away like two old women! (Laughs) But he is super talented, so I will definitely work with him again.
Semper: Was “Catching Feelings” always going to be the lead single, because it seems as if you could have possibly had other singles as the lead?
Sam: When I sat down with the label about the single, “Catching Feelings”, they were very into it and they wanted to go with that as a big single, but I wanted there to be more content out there. I did not think the single would have as big an impact without more content and a story behind it - that was why the project eventually became an EP. I am really happy because songs that would never have got off my laptop were showcased. Truthfully, listening to the tracks now, after they have been mixed, mastered, they all sound like they could have been singles.
Semper: And new material?
Sam: There is a lot of material to be honest, I'm chomping at the bit, but I have I need to be reined in! When you are releasing records on major record labels there is a level of process that you have to abide by. I am impatient, so I need to have a team around me to say “hold on”. The thing is, I need to allow this group of songs to have the longest life... But in the digital world, things don’t last long at all.
Anything to add?
I will be having a party at Old Street Roundabout on April 28th and I will be dropping loads of artwork, so be there!
The EP “Catching Feelings” is out on Black Butter Records.