With a love for all things guitar and guitar culture, it feels more than appropriate for local guitar wiz, Samantha Durnan, to make an album full of loud guitars and heavy riffs, yet if you’d asked her 18 months ago what her debut album might sound like it’s likely you would have received a totally different answer; “I used to play acoustic before lock down then over lock down I found guitar peddles and that was it, I’ve gone full electric now and am fully kitted out with an Orange amp and a stack of peddles”
And whilst lock-down wasn’t a particularly great time for us all, the consequences of Durnan’s lockdown and her Damascus acoustic-to-electric pivot, does provide us all with benefits as her September-released album, ‘Flickering the wild mind’ proves. Storming with energy in a style that blends classic rock songwriting styles of Stevie Nicks to the pop/rock guitar sound of HAIM, ‘Flickering’ showcases a mature, accessible, sound which bristles with energy and passion. Acoustic back ground noise this is not, Flickering’s loud guitars, heavy riffs, and centred pop-punk melodies make this an album that firmly sits in the foreground.
Created in her home studio (“this was the first album I’ve fully produced an album so working at home allowed me to press record and not have other voices around me in the studio which I found really helpful”), lock down also provided Durnan with space to experiment with her sound and try to new ideas and guitar techniques in an attempt to create a sound that is both experimental but also grounded in classic rock; “I’ve gone for a simple pop rock feel with the album, I wanted to show off a bit with the guitar but also make it a modern pop rock feel that’s mainstream.”
Choosing to self-produce, Durnan says that Flickering also benefits from the atmosphere she created and a space that might have not been available in recording studio style of setting (“my favourite thing is to record, and I’m totally driven by the emotion of it, so self-producing also helped as it let me really get into the zone fully and play what I feel with time to really hear the music – it’s the first time I’ve accomplished this”).
A multi-instrumentalist (“I’m mainly playing the instruments on the album so there’s no surprise that there’s a focus on the guitar and drums”) it’s perhaps no surprise that Durnan is already thinking about how to recreate the music live; an album launch at the Georgian Theatre being top of mind “I thought about playing this music live when I was in the studio so it’s always been on my mind. I’ve started working through the songs with a band already and we’ve already worked out the core structure of the show. We’re likely to play the whole album track by track but I want to make sure every player in the band has time to know not just their parts but also how they add parts of their own style to the songs.”
Taking time for herself and her band to add their personalities to the music, the music and live show of Sam Durnan appears to be more than just a desire to capture a sound on record, it seems to be about capturing spirit also.
Album Launch | 16th September 2021 | The Georgian Theatre | 7.30pm