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RGM INTRODUCING – WE INTERVIEW SAM SCHERDEL

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

Hows things mate? It’s been a while since we saw your name out there making music, where you been?

Yeh, I’m good, want to say revitalised and refreshed now I’m 33 the 5/6 years out haven’t been particularly kind to me… I’ve still being involved in music, I’ve been gigging most weekends on the down time but fell into the private gig side of things, which pays the Bills exceptionally well but the year turned again I knew I’d been sat on songs and needed to do something drastic, I know I’ve been in touch with you constantly saying this is the year I do something… you even joked when I told you I was working on the artwork saying it would be two years… but it’s finally fucking happening… 

Let’s go back a bit. What made you decide to become a artist?

So I started playing drums around the time “Be Here Now” came out around 1997; All Around The World was a song I was obsessed with and learnt that after getting a battered cheap drum set from my uncle much to my mother’s dismay… then I started on the guitar around 13, did you usual what seems cliched thing of learning the bar chords listening to some Nirvana and even Nu Metal for my sins, it would’ve been early 00’s so was self taught and then self taught myself the piano ( or enough to make it look like i can play) 15 or 16, I got massively into the Beatles, and American powerhouses like Billy Joel and Springsteen… then it was all the indie and Britpop that was always in the background of my coming of age that really gave me that bullishness and determination. I always appreciated older stuff and my mum used to play a lot of REM and Bowie etc. 

My other family are stones obsessed. So it all in a roundabout way contributed to the decision to have a stab at it. 

Introduce us all to you and your musical history?

I was in bands in my teens then I started the singer songwriter stuff quite early, I was about 18/19 when I got my first AirPlay with bbc introducing when Iain Hodgson was doing the show. That gave me a lot of confidence; I still have the demo of a song called “Happy” and it makes my skin crawl but it was a start… I really just rolled with recording and gigging around Sheffield from being 19-24/25, I had publishing deals was doing some tours, I was writing for other people aswell. I’ve also been extremely lucky in the fact music has brought me opportunities to play in some amazing countries, I did Ibiza rocks and played around Europe – So yeh it’s been an on going journey for around 20 years or so now. 

Do you sign up to any conspiracy theories? 

There not for me, there mildly amusing at best with the flat earthers but some rabbit holes can absolutely lethal at worse. File with religion. It’s each to there own though. If that theory makes you happy then roll with it, just prefer it not to be preached. I’m some what logical. 

What support is out there for new artists in Doncaster?

That’s tricky, I’ve always been stubborn and tried to go the DIY route, which looking back was an error. I also immersed myself in the Sheffield side of things first time around… and as im basically starting from scratch it’s massively interesting to see how the industry has changed… 

In terms of Doncaster I do know the social is a good little venue that still does a bit. But the days of the leopard and the like seem to be a distant memory. 

Who is inspiring you at the minute on the Doncaster unsigned scene?

Bang Bang Romeo go from strength to strength and continue putting out strong music although I’m not sure if there signed now… I’m tipping they must be. That’s how out of the loop I am. The Reytons are from nearby where I live and seem to be making waves, I saw them at tramlines last year and they had the crowd in their hands. 

Ive also seen some good bands emerging from the Mexborough Imperial particularly Brides and Hazy Janes. 



What useless party trick /talent do you have/? 

I can roll a trilby on my head Sinatra style. I think that’s about it.

What was the most fun you have had on stage?

Glastonbury 2018 Croissant Neuf Field – I finish my sets with a Loop Pedal cover of One Day Like This by Elbow – the weather was around 27/28 degrees – it was the Thursday too so spirits were high and the crowd was huge with the main stages not in action. Was a proper special moment. Think there’s some footage kicking about somewhere. 

What was the worst experience on stage?

There’s an amusingly long list – One being when I was gigging with Sam Scherdel and the Fix and the bass player got so fucking incredibly high on anything he could get his hands on and he played an entire song in a pretty intricate production absolutely perfectly… only a key higher than the other four of us were playing it… 

But that aside when your a jobbing musician you become accustomed to them… the worst was a restaurant in Doncaster. My fucking pet hate is being asked to turn down, I get it sometimes but on this occasion the manager stopped me mid song and placed there hand on my guitar and stopped my flow demanding it be quiet while a large crowd of people stood by and watching in bemusement – that is a red card offence for me… that gig got cut short. The food isn’t bad though… 

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

I’m a qualified building surveyor. 

Name a four-piece band made up of legends – who would be in it? (drummer, bass, lead singer etc)

Not every inventive however…

Keith Moon Drums 

George Harrison Lead guitar

Keith Richards Rhythm 

Bowie vox

McCartney with Entwhistle as understudy on bass 

Billy Joel piano and backing vox 

If you could play any music festival which would it be?

Would have to be Glastonbury again… I’ve been 12 times and counting and have got the golden ticket for 2022. While there’s no actual goal I’m not going to lie moving up the stages there looking out onto the crowds would be an ambition. 

Be good to get on Tramlines again, when I was kicking about it was in its infancy and has grown massively. Was hesitant when it moved to Hillsborough, however it’s become a staple on the calendar now. I took my son last year after Covid when we were temporarily in the clear and it was incredible with him bouncing around to Dizzee Rascal

Best gig you’ve been to that you weren’t playing? 

A load of us went to Benicassim in 2012 and The Stone Roses were absolutely magical that night they were on around 2am, Noel Gallagher was lead support. Everything was just in the right place: But my favourite gig changes from week to week. The last gig I saw was Van Morrison at Sheff City hall and even though he’s a miserable twat he’s still got the goods. 

What advice would you give someone going into the music industry?

Just lots of sheer determination and be prepared to experience a lot of heartbreaking set backs. It’s never easy and no matter how good you are there’s a lot of luck involved. Just do it for enjoyment. If you do that you can take everything else as a bonus I’ve spent far too long focussing on monopolising music when I should’ve been taking comfort and solace in it. 

Right now, what’s pissing you off the most? (Can’t say the virus). 

Preaching Conspiracy theorists particularly flat earthers… 

What’s your favourite song to play live and why?

This would be “I stand still”. Still one of the strongest tracks I’ve done I think and still sounds good live 9 years after it was released. More recently a song called “Boy who fell to earth” which I wrote when my son was born… it’s the most comfy I’ve written a song for my vocal range and sounds great played solo. 

I hear you have a new single brewing, what can you tell us about it?

Yes “Early Morning Rain” it was finished quite a while ago to be fair. It’s just a stomping three chords monster really. It’s the love child of doves, Springsteen and Tom waites. Ive always been taken by a massively strong melody and hook first and work the lyrics around that. 

You can work magic in 3 chords with light and shade and if you keep the melodies fresh within that then 3 chords is all you need, I love writing more intricate stuff and experimenting but when it works it works. 

It was definitely the strongest tune I’d written for a long time before I got things moving again. 

We added the sax late on in the day to give it a more Springsteen esque vibe. Lyrically it’s just about being defiant in something you believe in. Lots of oxymorons written by a moron. 

Talk me through the thought process of the single?

When I was doing Sam Scherdel and the Fix around 2016/2017 we worked at Steelworks Studios and our engineer was Aidan Thompson who’s now with Alvarez Kings. And it just worked with Aidan that day. And we caught up some time after, I told him my plans and from then We’ve done everything remotely with covid etc. It’s strange I’ve not actually physically seen him since 2017. 

After that it kind of just happened recently I suppose. Just before Christmas 2021 I bumped into Christian Carlisle from BBC introducing, he used to play my stuff all the time a few years ago and always supported the music I was putting out, and told him while quite merry I was going to be sending him some stuff. Then after Christmas submitted the material, it was more impulsive than organic thinking about it, it got played and then I was speaking to Aidan on a way to move this forward as quick as possible before I changed my mind and reverted back to being a sitting duck. 

And in terms of the release it was the right time to do it. I said to Aidan when he asked what I want to achieve from releasing it I was on the spot “I don’t have an end game i literally don’t want to suddenly vanish from earth one day and not have any of these decent songs anywhere but my Mac”. 

My little boy is 6 now and he’s showing a big interest in music. So I want him to be able to search his dad when he’s older. When it aired on BBC introducing last month it was a proud moment badgering him to listen to it with me on the Saturday broadcast. 

What was the recording process like?

It’s been the best way I’ve ever worked to be fair… I’ve been in and out of studios for years with varying results and I’ve never clicked with a producer/engineer. Not that they were bad producers/engineers but they just didn’t gel with me as a writer. I’ve always been a little bit stubborn and selfish and been guilty of tunnel vision, which is can be a curse to a creative person. So now I’ve found a producer I’ve clicked with it’s a massive weight lifted. 

In terms of the process I will record all the instrumentation and vocals at home, so everything you hear is me on there then that goes over to Aidan and he makes it sound shiny and sparkling then and puts the odd sax or synth on there. 

But the way it sounds when I send it to what it sound when it comes back is like fucking chalk and cheese. I can’t thank him enough to be fair, Aidan also has given me the nudges here and there to believe in the material and get it out. He’s a big reason I’m back out doing stuff. 

What was the biggest learning curve in writing the single?

I think the stuff now is a lot more thoughtful and considered. I used to write a lot of songs, I was churning out and recording 50/60 songs a year But I’m going for quality over quantity now. 

Would you change anything now its finished?

I don’t think so it’s the most content I’ve been writing ever in my life. The best songs write themselves. And I used to make sure I finished any song I was recording just incase but I’m a bit more slapdash now. As I mentioned previously If it’s going nowhere I just stop and move on, time is precious. 

What are your plans for the year ahead?

I feel as though I’m as new to this as I was 15 years ago so it’s been interesting to see how everything has changed… There’s 3 singles in the bag already and Aidan is over in Nashville now but I’ll be recording at home and he’ll still be doing the production from over there. We chatted at the weekend and I’m hopeful there’s a single a month building up to an EP. 

There’s no massive aspirations anymore (apart from the pyramid at Glastonbury of course and a helicopter) I’m doing this for my enjoyment and my mental health. If people like it they like it if they don’t then they just move on. 

I’m not going to lie though I’m fucking excited for people to hear the tracks. Feels like a friend of mine has been missing for a while and they’ve just got back in touch. 

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

Not really just it’s really good to be back and hope that people enjoy the music and even if you don’t stay positive and happy. 

Thanks for doing us today folks, all the best and keep in touch

PRE ORDER EARLY MORNING RAIN HERE