Monthly Archives: July 2017

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