Sam Himself – between Basel and New York

Album release – His EP “Slow Drugs” catapulted New Yorker Sam Himself out of nowhere on everyone’s lips in his homeland. Now the Basel musician with the sonorous voice is releasing his debut album “Power Ballads” – Fondue Western for the soul.

It’s a sunny afternoon in a park in Bern and Sam Himself is stretched out on the hard stone floor. He could easily fall asleep, he says, it was quite late after a concert the night before. However, this pose is intended for the photo, just sitting there and smiling at the camera, that’s difficult for the Basel musician, who has also lived in New York for ten years.

Later, in a conversation with Keystone-SDA, Koechlin tells Sam’s real last name and that it is important to him to be able to convey his eccentric side. Not because he wanted to stand out from others at all costs, but because that was exactly what he was: a “stubborn gring” full of creative ideas and his own ideas. Yes, Sam Himself said “Gring” because when it comes to dialects, the son of a Bernese can very well adapt.

Pop that goes down like honey

“Power Ballads”, the musician’s debut album, will be released on Friday. And it’s not as eccentric as you might think now. It contains ten atmospheric pop numbers that are so wonderful, so alluding to the big feelings that they go down like honey. The record contains sound that is strongly reminiscent of The National and sometimes Bruce Springsteen (no, Sam Himself has not heard these comparisons for the first time) – or “Fondue Western”, as the songwriter calls his style. “American music is the DNA of what I do,” he says.

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Sam Himself was drawn to New York at the time, “with ideas of a musical life that naturally never came true,” he says today. And is happy about it. “Being a little fish sometimes, not getting any reactions, that was good for me.” Only after he almost broke on it, of course.

Creativity as an orientation

It seems all the more surreal to him that his music has been going through the roof in Switzerland since his EP “Slow Drugs”, which was released last year. In fact, shortly before the pandemic, Koechlin only returned to Switzerland to go on tour with Anna Rossinelli from Basel. “But everything fell apart after the first concert.” The fact that he could not travel back to the USA for the time being was not the worst thing, since he has a family here. “But it was difficult to accept that everything was going differently than planned.”

The EP “released at the worst possible time” “saved his ass”. It brought him so much attention in the difficult 2020 that he sometimes had a guilty conscience towards other artists.

Sam Himself, who always looks a bit relaxed in photos, is someone who is driven by creativity. Someone who would just like to switch off. “But I’m only happy when I have ideas. That gives me structure, otherwise I would lose my bearings.”

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