Nashville native Sambo Wolf has embarked on a new journey of self-expression as a solo artist after years of touring and writing with various groups performing a variety of genres.
For those not as familiar with you and your music, how did you get your start in music? Who or what was the catalyst for you?
SW: Well, that goes way back to my early childhood. I grew up with a baby-grand piano and an old acoustic Fender in the house, and my family listens to a lot of old music, mostly 60’s and 70’s singer/songwriters. I was heavily inspired early on and started writing my own songs at 6 years old. By the time I was in high school, I was playing every talent show and every open mic in town. From there it’s just a steady climb upwards in the music world. It’s not so much the latter as it is a really wacky staircase with all kinds of unexpected rooms along the way.
How would you describe your music to someone who has never heard it before?
SW: I would say it’s groovy pop music, with a bit of rock influence, but with a sharp vintage edge. The definition of the pop genre is always changing, and always subjective, but I say as long as it’s fun to sing along and dance to it doesn’t really matter what genre it is, as long as it’s groovy.
What drew you to the electropop/groove-rock sound?
SW: it’s a sound that I have always connected with, starting with groups like The Bee Gees back in the 70s, they were making dance music with very little electronic assistance, but that era did pioneer so many aspects of what we consider pop-rock today. I think at the end of the day it is the most fun, which is very important. The more fun the artist has, the more fun the audience will have, and vice versa. I believe it’s vital to maintain that.
Read that the “Moonsmoke” lyrics are based on true events from your life. Can you share more of the song’s backstory?
SW: oh boy, that’s a question that really brings back old memories. All of my songs draw inspiration from real life events, it keeps them honest. “Moonsmoke” in particular depicts a scene from my life a few years ago and I was riding a wave of blissful infatuation in a romantic endeavor that could not last. The line “don’t let go” is kind of a reminder to hang on to those ethereal moments throughout life.
What did you learn between your debut, playing live, and remixing, that you felt you wanted to infuse into the new song and video?
SW: I think that that kind of comes back to the whole aspect of having fun. It’s the most important thing. To involve others and to make something solid, while enjoying the process along the way. The “Moonsmoke” video strays a little from the subject matter of the song and expresses more of an idea of freedom and carefree thinking. It’s good to be able to cut yourself loose sometimes and just enjoy the night.
Behind the scenes — how did you come up with the storyboard for the “Moonsmoke” video?
SW: I came to Samantha Hearn with only the aesthetics and a loose imagery idea, and I knew I wanted Kara and Mila in it. With her, help we grew it into a bit of a story, and wrote out all the scenes in just a couple hours. The original sequence was actually much longer, so we had to pick and choose which parts would be most important and which bits would look the best. This video would be nonexistent without Samantha’s expertise on the team.
Love this — “take some time to let life lead you to new places, kick back and blow a little smoke in the moon glow.” Can you share who inspires you?
SW: I am inspired by a split mix of my surroundings and my daydreams. Sometimes new ideas and mindsets will sneak up on you, and it’s hard to say when they began.
Where do you draw inspiration for your music? Do you have any musical influences?
SW: So many come to mind, but there are a few who will always be at the top. The Kings MJ & Elvis, of course, Daft Punk, M83, Maroon 5. lately I have been enjoying what I’m hearing from bands like Foster the People and The 1975. I love that guitars are making their way back into pop music, and as an oldies fan, I am happy to hear those old soft tones playing 70’s disco licks paired with 80’s synth bass…ahh…it just gets me every time. Also love me some Fall Out Boy and Panic at the Disco, those dudes can really belt it! See, so many…I could go on.
What was the first song you fell in love with and why?
SW: Thinking way back…I think it was “Summer Breeze” by Seals & Crofts when I was 3 years old. I remember hearing it on my dad’s records, and I was just swept away by the imagery, and I learned from an early age how music can affect mood and emotion. It’s such a breezy carefree tune.
Do you have a favorite lyric you have written?
SW: that’s kind of difficult to answer for me. My songs are Snippets of life, and it’s hard to take a piece of that full picture and use it out of context. I will say that as a whole though I am very pleased with the “Moonsmoke” lyrics… I feel that in them I have finally captured an ethereal moment and conveyed it properly.
Who is in your current playlist? Any artists, musicians or genres we might be surprised to find in there?
SW: This week it’s Lo Moon, Panic’s new album, and some other artists I mentioned earlier. I’ve always got The Weeknd in there. I love Beats Antique on the daily. You may be surprised to hear the occasional Hardcore-punk tune in there like Refused, or maybe some screamo, but hey, its fun to sing along with!
What was the first album you bought for yourself?
SW: I ordered the Elvis Presley Country collection on CD from TimeLife when I was 8. I think I still have it somewhere.
Are you working on new music?
SW: Always! I have a new single nearly ready for release for you all, as well as two more with which I’m currently in the studio. There will be a full album soon enough, and I must say, I am beyond stoked to share this work with the world!