Deadfellow Interview

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This statement may come as a shock to most people: The 60s sound does not rest six feet under. In fact, this iconic style continues to be expanded by up and coming artists. Hayden Sammak, a long haired and bearded Philadelphian is a prime example. Sammak is an individual who expands this sound under the moniker “Deadfellow,” and he has made this sound his own. Mescalifornia: A California Dream, Deadfellow’s sophomore album, tells tales of fictional romances in a classic rock serenade. Deadfellow answers questions about his craft and newest album below.

What is the origin of the name Deadfellow? How does he differ from Hayden Sammak?
Deadfellow is a play on words. Deadfellow differs from Hayden Sammak almost totally in spelling.

How long have you been writing music and what made you start?
A while. Any creative starts doing stuff because they either want attention or they’re driven to be part of something beautiful. I’m in it for the attention.

You are from Philadelphia, yet your newest album is centered around California and LA. Why did you choose to write about these specific locations?
It’s just a vehicle to make a commentary on larger motifs—I wouldn’t make an album about 21st century lovelessness and center it around Nowhere, Iowa. California and LA are the epicenters of this particular cultural shift, except for maybe New York City.

How has the Philadelphia music scene shape your songwriting?   
It hasn’t.

The first time I heard, “Mescalifornia: A California Dream” your voice instantly reminded me of the 60s singer Gary Puckett. What vocalists influenced your singing style?

Bob Dylan, Harry Belafonte, Miles Davis.

Your musical style overall is reminiscent of early rock and pop, why is this?
I purposefully made this album very stylized. I hate the Beach Boys, so I listened to them exclusively for six months and then I made this record.

My favorite song on your new album is “Miss California,” what inspired you to write it?
Nothing. I thought it was a ridiculous piece of gibberish that I hummed over some chords I was fucking around with, so I kept it. Originally the words were “Miss California I love you/ Summertime like 69/ Getting hot and heavy in your mother’s chevy,” so take what you want from that. I didn’t assign a lot of meaning to it, I just wrote some nice things about a fictional girl.

Love seems to be the focus on the two albums you released so far, how have your own romantic experiences help form your music?
I don’t want to bore anyone about how love is at the core of this or that, or how my own personal experiences inform my songs. Romantic experience has some sort of impact on creative output, that’s obvious and that’s really it.
If someone wants to dig and interpret my songs as a direct reflection of my life, that’s their prerogative. To be totally honest, as a completely obscure artist, I don’t believe anyone is even interested in me enough to invest that kind of effort.

Would you say “Mescalifornia: A California Dream” has a larger overall story, rather than just consisting of individual love songs?  
It’s whatever you want it to be. If you just hear a bunch of individual love songs, then that’s what it is. If you hear a narrative, then that’s it, too. Personally, I hear a narrative.

 Did you initially anticipate radio stations taking interest in your music?
No. Whichever radio stations choose to play my music are exceptions to what radio has become—the ones that play this record, or any of my records for that matter, are almost exclusively AAA format, so that should tell you something. These aren’t radio songs, they just happen to be played on the radio sometimes.

What else do you think your listeners should know about you? Or, do you have a parting message?
Blogs are the most important part of music—make sure you read them. To artists, if blogs don’t accept your submissions, quit immediately—you’re music definitely is not good enough.

– Jon B

 

Something About Distance is the freshman album of Ocean City, a four-piece alternative group from Elizabethtown Kentucky. The feel-good rhythms and soothing vocals they produce have won them recognition in national music competitions. Their lyrics tell tales of making sense of desires for others and finding the place where you belong. They are a fresh new independent talent that will pique the interest of the wandering young and the even the old set in their ways. When they are not gaining attention from music fans, they can be seen enjoying a McDonalds breakfast while cracking inside jokes…at least according to their Facebook!

– Jon B

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Ray Cashman, Slow Drag

This Blues band includes: Ray Cashman (Vocal), Bob Bogdal (Harmonica), Mark Robinson (Guitar), Marty Reinsel (Drums), and Joe Johnson (Bass). The album was release in October 2016.

The first song ‘Fame’ sets the tone for the album. The catchy blues beat (guitar) in the beginning gives you a feel to how the whole album will sound like. The lyrics dialogs about what it is like to have fame, and the troubles that it brings.

‘She’s just a girl’ has a tone to make one get up and dance to the song. The lyrics sounds as if Cashman knew a girl who was too young for the blues, however that did not stop her from singing songs.

For a blues album, it makes me want to sit outside on a nice sunny day and enjoy the weather and the music. However, as someone who does not listen to blues often I find the album calming. The album’s beat/tone sounds a little repetitive, however I’m not a blues person to judge.

– Jessica F

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Saro

In Loving Memory is the debut EP by the Los Angeles based artist Saro. The album represents what someone is going through after the loss of love and the stages of mourning that go along with that loss. You can really tell that this is supposed to be sad as all of the songs sound very sad and full of anguish. It made me feel sad and I’ve never had love to lose so that tells you how effective the sad tone of the album is. The album also has some themes that repeat themselves in different songs. There are two different songs where Saro mentions the hollowness of humans which really makes the nice and happy cover art a trap to listen to these sad songs.

This is also one of those albums where the songs all flow into each other to make it sound smoother, you can just leave the album on and not even know if the songs you are playing are different songs. It does have the age-old classic of breakup songs where there’s a lyric that talks about how Saro thought he would be with this person till they both die. It’s a very minor nitpick but I’ve heard it so many times in breakup songs that it gets predictable after a while. All in all, I enjoyed this album as Saro has a very nice voice and you can feel his emotion when he’s singing and it fits well with the tone of the album. If you are going through a break up this might not help all that much but you could be able to relate to it which is always something that is comforting to people. It’s only seven songs and two of those are tiny intervals so it’s short enough to listen to multiple times to really enjoy the songs, I give it a thumbs up.

– Edward R

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Louise Burns

Canadian singer-songwriter, Louise Burns has an indie folk/pop sound similar to Stevie Nicks, Of Monsters and Men and Lana Del Rey on the album Young Mopes. Burns is a former member of the band Lillix, which is an all-girl punk rock band that started in 1997. In 2011, Burns debuted her first solo album titled Mellow Drama. Two years later she released her second album, The Midnight Mass.

Young Mopes was released in 2017 and recorded at The Hive in Saanich, BC, 602 Studios, Inc. in Vancouver, BC and Golden Ratio in Montreal Quebec.

The entire album has an upbeat melody, but the lyrics borderline sadness, this seems to have been deliberately done. Each song as its own distinct vocals and beats, but they all share a commonality. They are the perfect songs to listen to on a midnight drive.

The songs work as midnight drive songs because of their similarity, but this can also make each song blend together.

The best song by fair on the album would be “Moonlight Shadow.” It has that Lana Del Rey “Ultraviolence” feeling. That feeling every heartbroken girl has felt in her lifetime comes through in “Moonlight Shadow.”

While the song that is relatable to Stevie Nicks’  “Edge of Seventeen” is “Storms.” This one gives off a dancing on the beach with a wine cooler vibe. This is the complete opposite feeling given off by “Edge of Seventeen,” yet they have that are similar to each other.

– Alex G

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