Interview: Zeb Samuels

Interview: Zeb Samuels.

London born and based producer, multi-instrumentalist and label owner Zeb Samuels recently released his debut album ‘Hope & Light ’, a project packed with innovative and original compositions.

The 13-track record features Samuels on keys and synths, which are layered with his characteristic vocals, the album possesses energy, maturity, warmth and texture that neatly encapsulates his ability as songwriter and album maker.

On the album, Samuels is joined by an array of musical talents, including Synkro, Escapism Refuge, Om Unit, Ash Walker, Joe Armon Jones, Mck Nasty, and Byron Wallen.

To mark the album’s release via his Deep Heads label, we talk to Zeb about the themes on ‘Hope & Light’, artistic growth, running a label and much more.

 

Hi Zeb. What are you up to at the moment?

I just released my debut album ‘Hope & Light’, so been busy with all of that. Trying to find the time to write as well though to keep some sanity.

After years of releasing the work of many artists, how does it feel to release your debut LP finally?

It’s hard to describe really. I feel very lucky and happy that I was able to finally do this. It’s been an emotional journey and overall feeling very positive about the new chapter.

Tell us about the albums sound and how it compares to your recent Somewhere Nowhere EP?

The sound of ‘Hope & Light’ is very much a vocal-driven album that features more of a song-based approach, compared to my EP ‘Somewhere Nowhere’ that is purely instrumental. I really enjoy making instrumental music, but also really enjoy the process of an album. It was great documenting a period of time in my life and experiences I felt like I wanted to communicate through the album.

Is there any theme or inspiration behind Hope & Light? What’s the story behind the album’s title?

The album reflects my thoughts and feelings when I was writing the album, which was a period of about 2016-2018 but also pulls a few of my personal favourites I have released in the past. I felt like the tone and overall message is to try and stay positive in the face of adversity. Mainly to myself as a message, but hope that message resonates with others and is received in a positive light.

Tell us about your growth as an artist in the lead up to this record?

Wow, that’s a big one. I sort of feel like my whole musical life has led me here. I know, a little cliche. It never dreamed to be a recording artist as a younger me, but sort of just happened. I started to write more for myself and playing the piano again properly about 5 years ago though, after not playing an instrument/producing for years. I studied Audio Engineering at college when I was about 18 as well, so had a lot of studio knowledge from when I attended. When I was even younger, I played the piano, drums and trumpet, but then gave it all up when I discovered MCing and DJing at about 13. Massively regret it now. I started the Zeb Samuels project though around 2012 when I started doing some podcasts and featuring on some recordings on the Deep Heads label, at the time for just a bit of fun. Around 2014 I signed Ash Walker to the label and we were working very closely together on the music and learnt a lot through management and creative involvement in this project. Writing & recording my own music was something I grew into though I guess and was a natural progression that stemmed from my desire to create music and being around music for so long. It’s been hard to believe in myself, but I feel like releasing the album was something I needed to do and proud of the work overall.

How would you describe your work?

Good bloody question and have no idea how to answer. I guess that’s a good thing and don’t feel like it fits a particular genre, but feel the influences of downtempo electronica, UK Bass music, ambient textures and Jazz somehow all mesh together, but most of the time go off somewhere that is hard to place.

How do you manage your time between making music, and running the Deep Heads label?

Another good question and still trying to find the balance. I am trying to take it project by project at the moment and will move on to label stuff soon and more new music from the artists I am working with.

What else have you got in store for the rest of 2019? Any new music from the Deep Heads family?

I still have singles and remixes etc for the ‘Hope & Light’ album, but should be doing a Cosmic Vibrations Vol.2 compilation with friends and family very soon. I’ve been in contact with some usual suspects like Synkro, Ash Walker, Escapism Refuge, all the crew, and will be pulling out some Deep Heads gems to round it all off.

Thanks for your time, Zeb! Peace!

Hope & Light is out now with Deep Heads. Buy from Bandcamp.

CF Smith

Write for Music Is My Sanctuary & Stereofox.

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