Sam Duckworth may only be twenty years old, but the ever-ready electro-folkster from Southend has certainly been there, seen that, read the book, got the t-shirt and is no doubt be penning a politically fuelled song about it as we speak. After spending the best part of the last three years touring throughout the UK and Europe with his trusty laptop in hand, the man more commonly known as Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly rolled into the Nottingham Trent University Student Union for a sold-out gig on 25 January, complete with a new band, a host of songs from a critically acclaimed debut album, and a hell of a lot to say for himself…
Welcome to Nottingham, Sam
Cheers, good to be here
So, I’ll start off with the obvious…
The name question?
Yeah… why not just stick with Sam Duckworth?
Erm, I just didn’t want to be tagged in with the James Blunts and James Morrisons of the world, y’know, as much as those people do a service it’s just not really my kind of thing and to be lumped in with them by being a solo artist going out on your own name would, I think, be detrimental to my career, so err… I just came up with a different name!
And how’s that working out for you?
It does the job!
It’s serving you well then, as far as establishing you as something a little different?
Well yeah, I think… I haven’t had to do Richard & Judy yet anyway!
So how did you start out in music?
I’ve always grown up around music, my Dad played guitar. Then I was playing in a band in Southend, a punk rock band, and that kind of ended when Universities and other commitments came around, so I just picked up an acoustic and started writing, and now here we are!
Was it always just you and the acoustic, or was your staple laptop companion there from the offset?
The laptop was only ever really a means to an end; just a way of filling sound-scapes and adding extra instruments that I couldn’t play all at once or couldn’t find other people to fill. It just came out of a love of dance music and drum and bass I suppose.
How would describe your sound to people who have yet to hear your music?
Hmmm… erm, I guess kind of like modern-day troubadour folk mixed with a bit of dance music and a bit of indie… I don’t really know to be honest, it’s a bit of a difficult one to pigeonhole, unfortunately.
What’s your favourite of your own tracks?
Oooh… I can’t pick one! I could probably pick three…
Go on then…
Erm… Oak Tree, Ishmael, oh this should be easier, I only answered this question yesterday, I say it all the time!! Okay… Oak Tree, Ishmael and Once More with Feeling.
Is that because those are the ones that have the most personal sentiment attached to them, or just because they’re good to play live?
Not really… I think they’re just the ones I’m least bored of! (Laughs)
Oh, y’know, I love all the songs on the album, and they all mean kind of different things to me, they’ve all got different characters and different life, but those ones I think have just got a bit more energy and bit more kind of, I dunno, something I love about them. I can’t really put my finger on it.
So is the album eclectic of songs that have been written over a long period of time?
Yeah, I mean its kind a like a musical scrapbook of the last three years really… that would be my textbook answer! (Laughs)
What’s your favourite track of all time?
Definitely A Race for the Prize by The Flaming Lips
Why that track in particular?
It just IS the best track of all time!!
So who would you say are your biggest musical influences?
Walter Schreifels, actually… the guy who’s just played support… he’s just a massive influence. He used to be in a band called Rival Schools, and a band called Quicksand just before that; he’s just like a hero! And, well, Billy Bragg… At the Drive-in… just, I think with music and the people around me, the people who play in my band, the people that I hang out with, y’know, you’ve got some people that play in amazing bands, you’ve got Dave McDonald who did Portishead along the road with us… I mean, sometimes, when everyone always says ‘musical influences’, I guess there's records that I love, and there’s people that inspire me musically and they just come hand in hand. The amazing thing about this job is that I come to work and play, and then see amazing people every night.
Is there anyone in particular that you’d really want to work with in the future?
Probably Nitin Sawhney, I think that would be the one. I think we might be doing some stuff during the course of the summer so I’m dead excited!
So are you in the process of producing new material then, or is it more of a constant on-going thing with you?
Yeah, it’s always an on going thing, just, I mean - every opportunity! Y’know, when I’m bored, just kicking around and there’s a guitar in my hand, it all aids song writing. It’s not really a kind of a set formula, it just happens getting ready to do the album ready for release in September which is amazing.
What was the last album that you bought… or are you more of a downloader?
Well I’ve got into downloading stuff off I-Tunes recently, but only because I’m lazy! Let me think… Oh, I think Sleep is for the Weak by Frank Turner was the last album I bought.
Oh yeah… very, very, very! It’s very good. Are there any brand new upcoming artists that are impressing you at the moment?
I’ve got a girl called Kate Nash doing these shows with me, who’s just incredible, really, really amazing. And Metronomy as well. Just kind of really obscure, left of the middle dance music. Amazing.
Describe to me your average day
(Laughs) Oh, this is going to make me sound like such a dick to your readers…
Oh go on…
Wake up. Go for a swim. Sound check. Hang around with my friends. Play a gig. Go to a club. Go to bed.
I can’t blame you, sounds great!
Well that’s my average tour life, I mean there’s loads more things in-between, but that’s kind of the set pattern when touring, which is most the time!
Well you’ve definitely endured a somewhat gruelling tour schedule over the last few years, what do you find are the positives and negatives to life on the road?
Well the main negatives, yeah, are like living out a suitcase and living away from home. And the main positives, meeting new people, hanging out with your friends, having the best time ever, seeing the world. It’s amazing.
What can people expect from a Get Cape Wear Cape Fly show?
Err… All the hits from the album!! Well, just a lot of energy… and visuals now as well, which allows the political messages to come through without having to ram them down peoples throats, which is always a good thing I think.
Where have been your favourite cities and venues to play?
We were doing our top five actually, because we’ve had a couple of great shows on this tour. I think my favourite show ever was Reading Festival, but that doesn’t really count so… Glasgow. Glasgow is amazing. I love Nottingham. I’ve done The Old Angel, Junction 7, upstairs and downstairs at Rock City and now here, so… I’ve got loads of friends here as well, just, it’s lovely. The people are amazing. The show’s always good. Good clubs... tore my ligaments last time I was in Nottingham, in fact…
Really… How? Where?
Climbing up a wall and then falling back down it at the Lloyds TSB on the corner, near the trams, do you know it?
I do indeed… was a trip to the QMC in order then?
Oh yes… I went there… in an ambulance in fact… fantastic!
So what have you got coming up over the next few months?
I’m off Deutschland - that should be good! Then from Germany, back into the UK. Single out in March; I Spy, and then yeah, just getting ready to work on the next record.
You’ve already achieved wide-spread critical acclaim and you’re still quite young. Where do you see your future progressing?
I have no idea - but I’m excited about it!
Is there anything else you’d like to say to the Leftlion readers? Anything profound?
I don’t know if I can muster up anything profound! It’s weird because when you get asked this question you always want to say something profound, but if you do say something profound then you look like a total arsehole! So, erm… not really to be honest, just I think one of the most important things to do is just, and this is going to sound really Jerry Springer, but just be happy in yourself. You don’t have to be constrained by what you do, you don’t have to let people put you down because you’re working in a job that you don’t want to do, and you’re doing things that you don’t necessarily choose. Sometimes, y’know, there’s a beauty in struggling and although the world puts you down because you haven’t got the kind of same typical aspirational commercial mindset of other people, sometimes it’s nice to just enjoy the things that you do, use them to survive, then you can go out and have a lot of fun.
Brilliant! See, that wasn’t hard
Yeah, thank you very much. Don’t forget to check out Kate Nash…
Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly. Website.