After a 4 year hiatus, Sam Duckworth is back with Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly. to release his 6th studio album, Young Adult. It’s an honest and fresh view over adulthood and everything in between. We talked with Sam about his thoughts on the current Brexit situation, what let him to put out now a new album and his resolutions for this new year.
Last year you released a new solo album titled Kingdoms, which you expressed the despair, the hope and the constructive approach to repairing the damage of the last few years. It was a brilliant album and released at the right time. How did Brexit and Donald Trump have impacted on your songwriting approach and in your life?
Well, that’s two very different things, but at the same time with the same issue. Brexit and Trump represent ideological victories. I think Brexit is really a difficult one because, I love Europe and I’ve got friends in Europe. I’ve always known economic and social security to come to live in Europe. I think Brexit was about reclaiming yourself until you’re going back to a time of empire, but I struggle with the concept of being an empire because the idea of the British Empire with these glory days of prosperity without any social consequence… It’s just a lie. We left vast part of the world broken and stripped of resources. Britain was in the Second World War, but on the right side of history that has time throughout modern history where that British Empire represents no pillage and was a disaster and forced inflation on a great number of people. I think that the idea that we’re leaving the European Union and all of its benefits, all of its safeties and all of the things that have been done certainly for younger modern bread to go back to a time of empire without any of the economic benefits, without any of the economic relationships, without the social security and all simply based on the idea that is to do with immigration when statistics prove otherwise. It’s heartbreaking thinking that Britain was a relatively intelligent, progressive country. There were a few overhangs from that loss, but it’s hard not to feel ashamed. People say to me so many foreigners are coming over on a boat and it’s bad time to be here on a boat. It’s like people go, “Oh, you’re English, you’re not like the others.” I’ve never really believed in this idea of an empire ruled by power and I think Brexit seems to have happened based on series of lies and pre-existing prejudices. Trump’s election in America seems to have been the same mass segregation in times of the age groups and the racial demographics in both elections, in terms of who voted for what, and I think it’s going to lead to racial tensions, huge detentions, tensions between rich and poor. I just think that this is a quest for growth of capitalism and deregulation for the rich to get richer and for the poor to get poorer by any means possible. It just makes me feel scared. It makes me feel scared for the intelligence and dishonesty of people, but also how much support there is for missing information and how to become increasingly difficult to decipher between fact and fiction. It’s politics. It’s jobs. It’s people’s lives. It feels like going to get worse before it gets better, unfortunately.
You also released a double A-side single inspired by the imminent UK election and the global political events that happened in 2016. How are things right now in the UK?
Since yesterday everybody’s getting really excited because getting blue passports back now possible which costs 500,000,000,000 pounds, which I’m sure those 500,000,000,000 pounds could be better spent on our health service or social security. It seems as a symbol of return to a great age, but the last blue British passports were issued in 1932. This idea of a golden era is going to cost hundreds of millions of pounds. One of our front pages today is about a chocolate being replaced in the chocolate box. That’s front page of the biggest selling newspaper and yet we’ve got scandals in the government, increase in unemployment, inflation completely out of control… It’s a really tough place to live at the moment if you work on public services or if you care about politics, or if you have children or you are at schools or anything like that. Economics are fallen at edge of cliff and I think the news are kind of pretending that everything’s OK because that they don’t think they care and all press regulation doesn’t really clued into account and the fact that it can giant buyers on the front page of a newspaper. Last year was pretty rough and this year let’s hope for the best. A lot of people I know that were working in the health service. It’s a job that if you do it, you have to be brave and strong and you have to have a mindset like “I know I’m going to get paid less than other people and I’m going to do it because I believe in healthcare.” It just saved my life a few years ago and so I’m incredibly indebted to the concept, but it’s tough. Britain has made a bad decision and is paying the price and it’s taking out on those that should be helped.
Unfortunately things are like that, but I hope things get better and probably Brexit. Things are getting worst on that point of view, but I’m hopeful, so let’s see how things go. Changing the topic, Young Adult is Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly. first album since 2014 and I have to say that I wasn’t sure if you were going to release another album under your Get Cape moniker. What led you to work on these songs and release them with Get Cape?
I thought it was time for a new beginning. I kind of did that because the really last Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly. album was in 2012. I did something after in 2014 but that was not quite an album and I decided to put it out unfinished and that came out in 2014. I thought, “I’m healthy again, I’ve got a new life and I’m gonna reinvent myself“. I was like “Tomorrow I’ll start to write and to do more things” and then I realized that probably what I was doing by then was passing over. It was important to me to come back and be like, “You know what? I’ve done this for 11 years under this name and I’m actually immensely proud of all of the things I’ve done and now I want to come back and play these songs.” Some of this stuff happened when I was 20, some of that happened when I was 23 and I’m 32 in a few weeks. It’s just about owning your past and the things you have done. I still believe in power of human nature and the idea that the political and social change will happen in my lifetime and they will say the end of grade and the end of the corruption. I think that that’s the best way for me to tackle this stuff I’ve done. I’ve got 10 years of songs about that. Some of them seem more relevant now than when I wrote them. Some of them I don’t identify with the them, but other people will identify with the them. That’s what this record is about. It’s been about readjusting to the fact that it feels like that just prolongs transitional period where it used to be: go to school, get a job, have a family in your 20s, and now is go to school, go to university and then struggle to do anything for about five years. To me it’s not really teenager or adolescents, but it’s a prolonged adolescence for what would be traditional adulthood. I wanted to make a record that kind of reflected that. That’s where I am. In doing that I realized how similar it was to the record that I made the first time with the same subject matter.
“I still believe in power of human nature and the idea that the political and social change will happen in my lifetime and they will say the end of grade and the end of the corruption.”
You built a new studio in your hometown in Essex, which you recorded there the songs of Young Adult. How was it like to build and record on that studio?
It’s quite different. It’s so much bigger than the place that we had in London. The studio in London was really small by comparison. I love to live in London but it just got to a point where it became completely ludicrous the amount of money to spend on rent. It was impossible to make records in that time and space. It’s been really good now, still adjustment and I still kind of working my way around in being in a different place and being away from people I care about, but at the same time I’ve got friends here, my family is here. It’s nice and different. It feels like a different era of my life and I love the studio. It’s big, it has space and it’s 24 hours. I don’t have to worry about the stressing tension of being in a paid studio. This has allowed me to just be a little bit more methodical and a little bit more considered. I think that certainly for the records I make now is really important to do that.
Is there a favorite song of this new album for you?
I don’t know, it changes. I love to play “Just a Phase”, it’s really fun. I liked that because I kind of wanted to have something just to throw away. Sometimes I get people saying my voice sounds always miserable and political because of what I talk about and the songs I write. That’s a fun one to play. Probably “Adults” is my favorite. I’ve been doing a few acoustic shows for the past couple of weeks and just love to play it. It was really reflective and that’s why it was the first track I put out. That’s the song that represents me Sam talk closer so he wasn’t allowed to watch tiger.
Taking a look back to all of your discography, which record stands out for you the most at the moment?
I’ve been doing a project at Spotify where I’m going through my album and talk about history. I mean, it changes. I think the album that’s probably the most significant to me is the unfinished one, London Royal. I listened to it in full the other day and I was like “Ok, this album doesn’t feel unfinished.” There’s good riffs and so that kind of resonates on me. Also the first [The Chronicles of a Bohemian Teenager, 2006] and the third album [Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly, 2010] resonated on me because they were from two moments in my writing and artistic career where I was like really happy. I knew what I was doing and I was enjoying the process. It’s the thing when you look at photos and you bring yourself back to a place. It’s very strange to hear the sound of your own voice singing straight back to the room that you sang them and what that does to me is it takes me straight back into a head space where I can remember how I was at the time. I guess the most significant one is London Royal just simply because it will always remain unfinished and I that’s because I have unfinished business with it. That feels nice and exciting to kind of reconcile based on that journey of illness, but also that journey of unfinished music and unfinished plans.
What is your resolution for 2018?
Get myself fit and healthy. I feel kind of ok, but I feel like I’ve been given a second opportunity to do that and other things. I know the only way I can do that is to best at my abilities, like exercise more and get my head in a good place because I think is going to be a tough year and I think the options for me are to hollow in the political misery or to be strong. I’d rather the latter than the former.