We interrogate fashion favourite and musical newcomer, Sam Way about his EP, Architect.
Paco Rabanne, Diesel, Tommy Hilfiger, Levi’s, GQ, Rollacoaster, Sam Way has done it all in fashion. From fronting campaigns to editorials in some of the most respected style titles in the world, his face has been in circulation since 2008. Seven years later, we’re treated to his first collection of musical work, his Architect EP, out today. We saw a glimpse of great things in 2013 with Sam’s first single, “Dancing Shoes”, a innocent feel-good track with a video just as playful.
Today Sam’s matured into a man with a little more serious tastes. “Stargazer”, the first track available from Architect is a dramatic offering in an orchestral setting. Outpouring with emotion, Architect has more substance to it than Sam’s earlier forays into music, however likeable and charming they were. We spoke to the 27-year-old artist from Devon about breaking into two industries, unleashing his inner performer and Glastonbury dreams.
How’s touring life going? Was there anywhere in particular you were excited to play or has been a standout favourite?
Touring is at once displacing, exhausting, exhilarating and fun. There is no better place to hone your craft. Playing in front of my home crowd in Devon was a night I’ll always remember, seeing people there who knew me when I must have only come up to their knees, and having all the lads from home sat round a table wearing my tour merchandise was a golden moment too.
You’re a model as well as a musician, do you think that’s helped you with the performance aspect and sharing your music publicly?
When I was 11 years old I was cast as Jack in Jack and The Beanstalk for the school play. I had to do this 3 minute song and dance solo wearing pants so large they were more akin to a dress and my face was covered in pink make up to make my cheeks look rosy. So I guess performing has something that has always been in me to a certain extent, but I do think modelling, being in-front of the camera, has honed my ability to perform. I remember when I was 17 years old, I couldn’t quite believe that I was on this photo shoot with Kate Moss. When I met her at breakfast she just looked quite normal, I didn’t know what I was expecting, but then when she was in front of the camera, it was like a transformation. She knows how to turn it on. Similarly, when you’re on stage, you have to do the same. Absolutely I feel it’s helped me share my music publicly, there are people who have discovered my music though first following my career as a model and there are also various individuals and publications in the industry who are really pushing my music out there. I sort of feel like the fashion industry has it’s wing around me, and for that I feel grateful and lucky.
Are you finding it tricky to maintain both sides of your career? Have you managed to do anything to incorporate the two yet?
Focus is everything. As much as I would like to, I can’t do it all. Sometimes I have to prioritise one career over the other. But I do believe that the two careers can co-exist, can even bleed into each other and help catalyse each other too. Incorporating fashion and music? In a sense, yes. Some of the brands I work closely with have used or featured my music and Diesel have sponsored the recent tour, but there is so much to explore here. But time will tell.
When did you decide you wanted to be a musician? Do you have a first memory of when music became important to you?
I don’t think it was a decision, it just happened. I just kept on growing into it, and probably will forever. Music has always been in me, has always been important, It’s all I used to spend my money on. I’d go into HMV, clutching International DJ magazine, my bible when it came to finding new music, and find the album they featured as pick of the month, then I’d just buy it, take it home and listen to it again and again. Sometimes I’d hate it, but I made some incredible musical discoveries like that. I never listened to pop music, and loved exploring new sounds. My taste from a young age was bizarrely broad.
Your Architect EP is out now! Can you describe it for us? What’s the best time and place to listen to it?
The Architect EP should take you on a journey. It ebbs and it flows, rises in love and falls in it too. Sometimes it’s kind of fragile and if you listen to it with headphones on the train you’ll feel like you’re in a film. But at times it feels nothing less than epic. Strings feature heavily, as does award winning composer Edward Abela, and the London Contemporary voices Choir. It’s been a year in making. Listen on a Sunday morning, in the bath, or on a winter commute.
How long did the writing and recording take? Do you prefer that side of things or do you prefer performing?
About a year. “Stargazer”, the track that inspired the whole album, started of being written on a ukulele in Mongolia! It’s changed quite a bit since then. I love both writing and performing. When I write well I cry, when I play well I smile.
What’s your favourite track on the EP? What’s it about?
Tough one. I’ll say “Architect”. It’s my favourite one to perform live, a tale of lessons learnt the hard way, of falling apart, and building something of value.
Who are your idols? Not only in music but in fashion and pop culture too?
I used to be really into David Blaine, I felt that magic turned grown adults into kids again, but then I lost interest when he started being really weird and lived in that box above the Thames for a month. Modern idols, I have to acknowledge McQueens’s artistry, creative impulse, and attention to detail. His recent exhibition at the V+A blew me away. Musically, Eminem for his wordplay, I championed him for a long time, Ed Sheeran, for his hard work and Bob Marley for using music as a political tool. Most of all though, my Mum.
What’s the dream with music? Do you have a goal in the back of your head that you’re working towards? An album, a headline slot?
The dream. Ha. If you’ll indulge me. The dream is that I’m on old man, I wake up up early one day, before the family, and I walk down the steps of a humble home, past the pictures of friends and family, past the the photos taken from Glastonbury in 2018 when we headlined the Pyramid Stage. The pale morning light edges into the room where a grand piano sits in silence. I sit down. The world is silent. I start to play.
The ‘Architect’ EP is out on the 2nd of November. Buy on iTunes here.