Interview with Sam Roberts

Sam Roberts Band press photo

Sam Roberts Band

The Sam Roberts Band performed in Windsor on February 15. I had the opportunity to speak with Sam Roberts via telephone about a week before the performance. We spoke about the band’s latest album, Lo-Fantasy, touring, performing in a rock band as a father, and many other topics.




The Sam Roberts Band to perform in Windsor this weekend at Caesars

The Sam Roberts Band will be performing with the Walkervilles this weekend at Caesars Windsor and the band’s front man and namesake took some time to speak about the their latest album and Canadian tour.

“We took a little break to recharge the batteries over Christmas, spend some time with the family and shovel the driveway, as is our custom here in Montreal,” explained Roberts via telephone. “… now it’s time to finish off the last [dates].”

The band set off on tour last year with a record that had never been performed live on stage and Roberts expressed that doing so is always exciting but “you’re sort of equal parts excitement and trepidation until you get your head around the music, until you are able to hammer out a show into something that people are going to want to watch for a couple of hours.”

Immediately following the first leg of their tour, the band went straight into summer festival mode: “which is obviously a completely different experience, so by the time our Canadian tour took off in November, we had I think, the music sort of sunk down to where you want it to be, which is in your, almost more of a DNA or molecular level where you’re not considering every single not that you’re playing and you just sort of let it flow through you.”

The band performs at venues of all sizes and Roberts explained that he can’t chose a favourite type of venue because “I change my mind every time I get on stage…”

“… take for example a small club show in the US, you say to yourself ‘well, this is definitely my favourite kind of show’, small, sweaty intimate clubs that you just feel like everybody is right on top of each other and there’s very little separation between the band and the audience. And then you get up in front of a big twenty thousand person festival crowd and you say ‘no, this is the best’; the summer breeze, the spirit, especially in Canada when you’ve been bottled up inside for the winter and there’s this incredible release when it comes to the summer festivals.”

Interaction with fans is at the forefront of the band as they try to keep up with new social networks and engagement tools to connect one-on-one.

“… interaction on a one-on-one level has never been easier than it is now … especially with the advent of a lot of these social media platforms,” said Roberts. “Fans have more access to you as a musician than ever before and I think that there is definitely a sort of appreciation, obviously we’re still doing it after quite a few years of calling this how we make a living. I’m assuming that there’s some good vibes between us and our fans … but where it comes to how we connect and how we communicate with them, I feel like that just sort of opens up wider and wider every day.”

While life as a rock star may come with glitz and glamour, Roberts explained family life “definitely sobers you up pretty quickly and I think it also puts in perspective what exactly it is you’re out there to do.”

“Are you out there to live by the rock and roll bible of sex and drugs and carefree living, or are you out there to bring your music to the world and do it in a way that you can go home and be proud to tell your kids about what it is you do for work?”

Roberts considers himself in the latter category and hopes it won’t change. “For me the fact that I have a family at home puts more motivation in my mind when I get up onstage, to think that I have to spend sometimes weeks away from there, I’m doing them a disservice if I’m not playing with everything that I have when I get up on stage .. I use it to keep the fire stoked.”

Before family life, Roberts explained that the period between tours was a “sort of grey period where you’re moving out of one world and trying to rejoin the other”, but now “you have to hit the ground running and rejoin the family. The family doesn’t wait for you to decompress and get your head screwed back on straight, you have to catch up with them.”

Lo-Fantasy, the band’s latest album, has been received well by fans due to how the record was produced, according to Roberts.

“… we made the record with a rhythm at the core of it, and because of that, people sort of they respond to it by dancing first, and then the rest of the song seems to be delivered over time, which I think is what we were hoping it would do: get people moving, get people forgetting about the separation between the audience and the band and giving themselves over to being there at the concert, the kind of communal feeling that you’re trying to inspire when you’re putting on a show.”

The band is currently working on an EP which will be released in a few months – it doesn’t have an exact release date – and will continue to create new music and perform live shows. “… I think we’re just in a particularly creative time right now and none of us want to disappear back into the lab for 2 years and work on a record and then sort of come back, reemerge after a lot of time closeted away.”

“I think we really want to keep the fire burning while we feel compelled and so we’re going to put out some new music in the coming months and then back to the drawing board,” he said.

The Sam Roberts Band will be performing with the Walkervilles at Caesar’s Windsor on February 15, 2015.

This interview first appeared on the Windsor Independent:

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About the Author

jon liedtke

Jon Liedtke is a writer and musician in Windsor Ontario. He tells stories using words, pictures, audio and video.

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