Back after a three-year break, mostly spent creating new material, local singer-songwriter Sam Dickinson returns with a new three-part EP series and new album. In celebration of the release of his first EP, and also his 30th birthday, Sam is performing at Newcastle’s Mining Institute with proceeds going to the Teenage Cancer Trust. Damian Robinson caught up with Sam to talk about the show and the new material.
It’s great to have you back. Let’s start with the new music. Your new track, ‘Wild Sun’, is a real treat and feels more upbeat than your earlier material. Is this an indication of the sound we can expect on the new materials?
I think ‘Wild Sun’ is a pretty good indication of some of the sounds you’ll hear on the EPs and new album but I’m in the final stages of finishing everything off so I can’t say for certain at this moment. I think whereas my first album was very much a soulful, almost breakup type of sound, with these tracks I’ve looked for a more energetic and positive feel.
Was there a specific reason for the change in focus?
I’ve been pretty open about the fact that I took some time off after the last album as I was suffering from anxiety and depression. When I first started to feel creative again I really wanted to focus on the mindset which helped me heal, so I tried to look for and write about the positive aspects of life and see the good in life.
So there’s a positive feel throughout all of the new material?
Through most of it, yes, but I’ve written and recorded well over 25 tracks for the EPs and new album so there’s certainly some variation both in content and in sound.
Ah, so the EPs don’t fit together and make up the album?
No, they’ll be very different and contain different tracks entirely. There are ten tracks on the album (which may end up at 12) and we’ve gone for a pop, soul, disco feel to it, including the new single, ‘Cry Wolf’, which is the best thing I’ve ever recorded. The EPs, on the other hand, will contain different songs to the album and have a different feel. I’ve been working on recording the final track for each EP acoustically, again just looking for different ways to write music.
That’s incredibly productive. Was there a catalyst for the creativity?
Not as such, no. I think once I started writing I couldn’t stop. There are another 20 or so tracks which we started but didn’t make either the EPs or the album, and I’ve also been writing for other artists at the same time, so I’m in a really good place with a clear vision of how I want my music to sound.
You’ve used different producers on the EP and album…how was the studio time?
Really inspiring. With the last album there was a large group of us working together, which I enjoyed, however this time there’s only tended to be me and one of the producers so things have perhaps been a bit slower as we’ve tried to take our time and make sure we get the right sound.
Excited for the live return?
Very – it’s going to be a blast. The gig is two days before my birthday, and with proceeds going to a great cause in Teenage Cancer Trust, I’m hoping people come down, enjoy the music and enjoy the new material.
Sam Dickinson plays the Mining Institute in Newcastle on Saturday 21st April. For further information about the gig and his new EPs and album head to samdickinsononline.com.