It’s hard to be relevant singing songs you wrote at 18 as a 28 year old so Sam Duckworth is hanging up his cape, but is hoping he can still fly.
You released your album Amazing Grace under your real name last year, why do you feel it is important to have a farewell tour for Get Cape now?
I was watching the LCD Soundsystem film, Shut Up and Play the Hits and the penny dropped immediately. There is something in that film that really resonates with me, in particular the idea of going out on your own terms. I want to make sure that the positivity and energy of Get Cape. Is one of the things people remember. It’s hard to be political and positive and its hard to be relevant singing songs you wrote at 18, as a 28 year old. Both of those things are vital to the music I am trying to create and the lyrics I write and thus it’s a good time.
Why did you use Pledge Music to release Amazing Grace as opposed to looking to a label?
It was less about not wanting to work with a label and more having the time to find the right label. Amazing Grace was a very intense period of time for me, having come out of serious illness and surgery and throwing up all kinds of emotions. I had a vision for an album and Pledge seemed the best way to make it happen. The record will be coming out in October with Alcopop records. They understand me and the album and why it has to look and feel the way it does. I got very tired of artwork conversations in the past, as it was always about making savings rather than providing the best product possible. The pledgers have allowed me to see through a vision from root to tip and that is something I am very grateful for.
Will you continue making and releasing music as Sam Duckworth?
I don’t think I have a choice!
Will you play your Get Cape songs at future Sam Duckworth shows? How separate are the two?
I will play a few songs. Call me Ishmael for example is a lifer. It reminds me of lots of helpful things and is really fun to play. However the combination of sounds and the songs will be laid to rest. If I’m going to take these going forward, they’ll need to be tweaked and presented differently. The songs that make the cut will be the ones that feel appropriate at the time.
I hate change, but I hate injustice more
You’ve voiced your support for Thom Yorke’s Spotify ban, what do you think is a fair solution for artists struggling to make money through streaming?
For me it’s a very simple situation. If the content providers (the artists via record labels mostly) do not get compensated for their usage in a way that sustains the production process, the production process falls down. Without the content, these companies are worth very little, therefore it is in the artist’s interest to get a fair royalty rate, after all they are the product. The problem with labels taking a share in Spotify for catalogue has only made it easier to bypass the royalty process. Spotify is a well designed, useful application and could be a great model, except it is not sustainable. Youtube are equally culpable.
You’re often called a protest singer, do you think more musicians should be using their platform and position for change?
I hate change, but I hate injustice more. Ideally my music would be devoid of politics and it could be about how wonderful everything is, or exist in a fantasy realm. However the things that make me angry, appear to make many others angry. Be it personal or political, I’m always trying to write lyrics that explain how I feel and hopefully strike a chord. I’ve always been of the mindset that things can be better and people are the power players. Music has a right to be what it is, there will always be protest singers and there will always be people asking where are the protest singers. The problem isn’t the artists, the problem is at the top.
You were one of the first musicians to export your DIY bedroom production to the stage with your laptop, what made you return to a more traditional setup with live instruments?
I was a diy bedroom producer out of necessity to be honest. I’m firmly in the camp that the Polyphonic Spree didn’t have enough members. I’ve learnt from people like Shy Fx and Damon Albarn that its about finding the balance, humans are the best, but technology still has a lot to offer. Its fun and challenging trying to achieve the balance between man and machine. I’m feeling confident in this final tour, that I’ve managed to make the laptop set feel like the realised vision of the first incarnation of Get Cape etc. It’s taken in a lot of influence from drum and bass and hip hop to make sure the beats are tight and punchy and it’s working much better for the songs. The forum show is all out war. Samplers, drummers, horns, as many people as we can get!