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SAM FEINSTEIN

RGM INTRODUCING – WE INTERVIEW SAM FEINSTEIN WHAT HAPPENED?

Hiya Sam, thanks for joining us in the virtual RGM lounge today, grab a brew and take a seat.

What made you decide that music is a thing for you?

I dove head-first into music with a passion when I discovered I could write and improvise music. Getting into my middle-school’s jazz band as pianist and taking my first solo fundamentally changed my relationship with music and made me want to do that as much as I can.

Introduce us to you all and your musical history.

I fell in love with my parent’s Billy Joel CDs from a young age and started taking piano lessons when I was 9 years old. As I mentioned earlier, I became passionate about music in middle school, switched my primary instrument to bass, then began to make my own bands and write my own songs in high school. Notably, i was in my own ska band and  klezmer band in highschool.  After high school, I studied Music Engineering and Songwriting at the University of Miami, during which I made a bluegrass band called Big City Folk Band, toured as the bassist of The Graysmiths, and wrote a concept album.  After college, I moved to San Jose California to pursue a job in audio technology, and now I play in a synth-rock band called The Monitors, an indie-rock band called Granny-Nix, and release my own music. 

What was life like for you before music?

I grew up in Peabody Massachusetts, loved skiing and playing hockey.  I was raised Jewish, always liked science classes in school, and enjoyed reading.  I was diagnosed with NVLD (now grouped into Autism Spectrum Disorder) as a child and had a pretty hard time connecting with people my own age before I started getting into music. 

What was the first song you heard that steered you into a music path?

     That’s a toss up between   Scenes from an Italian Restaruant by BIlly Joel, and Jungle Land by Bruce Springsteen.  Both have incredible piano parts and encouraged me to take my piano lessons seriously as a kid. However,  Chameleon by Herbie Hancock was my first favorite bassline. Bass became my main instrument as I got older and playing this song with my Jazz band in middle school cemented my love of the instrument. 

Where do you feel you currently sit within the music industry?

I’m still pretty new as far as the industry is concerned.  My main source of income comes from software development for audio technology, not my music, but I still try to make music and make as much of an impact as I can. That affords me the flexibility to write music however I want without concerning myself with trends or genre classifications. 

What’s the biggest thing you have learned from someone else in the industry? 

I’ve learned how many people are eager to take advantage of young creatives looking to take their craft to the next level and scam them out of their money. If someone reaches out to you on instagram, 9 times out of 10 they’re trying to sell you on some bogus scheme to get your music millions of listeners.

Tell us Two truths and a lie about you.

I have crowd surfed in a mosh pit. 

I own a banjo. 

I have 4 electric guitars.

ANSWER: TTL.   I don’t actually own any electric guitars, but  I use my fiancès Gibson and my bandmate’s strat sometimes. 

If you could wish for one thing to aid your career what would it be?

I would love to have someone helping me make social media content. I feel like that’s how most music is getting its audience these days, and it takes a lot of time and energy to promote music like that.

Do you ever worry about people taking things the wrong way or cancel culture? Discuss….

No.  My lyrics may be satyrical, but they aren’t exactly subtle, so it’s unlikely someone would listen to Chasing the Bull and think I’m a crypto-shill, or listen to a song like  Hamster Wheel or Maslow’s Mountain and think I love capitalism and hustle culture. 

My new song is slightly more ambiguous, but Id be surprised if anyone came to the conclusion that I was unsympathetic toward addicts, or that I was a fan of the opiate crisis.  My only concern with Need Me, is that people don’t understand and think it’s a song about love and devotion. 

Do you sign up to any conspiracy theories? If not why not?

Its healthy to be aware of the shady actions of the government around things like foreign coups,  the tuskegee experiment, the sourcing of drugs for federal executions, and a long list of unethical actions my government has taken. It’s unhealthy to let that earned suspicion manifest into things like qanon or anti-vax, where it actively harms you and the people around you. 

What was the worst experience on stage?

I was playing in a short lived Nirvana cover band in highschool and the band forgot the song, and basically quit in the middle of their first and only show. 

Tell us something about you that you think people would be surprised about. 

People are sometimes surprised to hear that as a songwriter, I didn’t start singing my own songs until my mid-20s.   I would always get other people I thought had better voices than me sing them. Eventually I got over the fear of singing my own music and now I’m the one singing my music. 

What are the next steps you plan to take as a band to reach the next level?

I’m trying to release at least 6 songs by the end of 2024.   It’s difficult balancing this goal with a full time job and my fiance, but I think it’s doable. 

Whats your thoughts on Elon Musks contribution to the world?

I used to respect him for making electric cars popular, but the more I learn about him and his business practices, the less I think he should be in charge of anything.  His handling of Twitter is cringey at its best, and harmful to the world at its worst. 

I hear you have a new music, what can you tell us about it.

Need Me is a brooding synth-rock ballad sung from the perspective of an addiction begging an addict to affirm their love while also revealing the abusive nature of their relationship. 

What was the recording process like?

Much like Hamster Wheel and Maslow’s Mountain. This tune was entirely DIY.  Some notable things I did with this one was mixing acoustic drums with 808s, and using synths with vocoders to add a demonic voice to this inspired by some of the experimentation I love to hear from artists like  Pink Floyd. 

What was the biggest learning curve in writing the new tunes?

Writing new songs always comes more naturally when I know what I want to say with my music. Coming from that direction, everything I do serves the goal of trying to convey the central themes of the song while keeping the sonic landscape engaging and supporting of the themes, 

Would you change anything now it’s finished?

  I would likely re-record my vocals.  I’m rarely 100% happy with my vocals, and its hard to get a good take as a performer when I’m also the engineer and I don’t have access to a full arsenal of mics nor a great acoustic space in which I can  record. 

Is there anything else you would like to share with the world?

I hope some of you connect with this song. There are many more on their way, so stay tuned! 

FOLLOW SAM HERE // STREAM DOWNLOAD HERE

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