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13 Jun

Sam Evian - The Bishop

123 S. Walnut St Bloomington,IN
06/13/2018 9:30 PM - 06/13/2018 11:30 PM

2018-06-13 21:30:00 2018-06-13 23:30:00 America/Detroit Sam Evian The Bishop info@wamza.com


Sam Evian

As it has been said: no matter where you go, there you are. With his new album You, Forever,
Sam Evian, the project of New York-based musician, songwriter, and producer Sam Owens, is
here to add some eternity to that sentiment.
“This is you, forever: deal with yourself,” he says. “It’s about accepting that you are
responsible, that you are in charge of your actions. Everything that happens to you is because of
you; no matter what happens, go there and learn from it.”
It’s a mantra that powers self-starter Owens, a producer and sound engineer by trade who
entered the scene with his debut Sam Evian full-length, Premium, in the fall of 2016. The notion
takes on a dual meaning that is echoed across You,Forever.
“There’s a ton of romance on the record,” he says. “Maybe it’s all romance.” 
You, Forever is Owens’s first foray into a more soul-baring sensibility and places the
artist directly in the sightlines and heartlines of his listeners. The album (as well as 2017’s “Need
You,” a collaboration with the multi-hyphenate musician Chris Cohen) was written on the heels
of his experience touring Premium with his band and was recorded across the latter half of last
year. The tours—which included opening shows for bands such as Whitney, Teenage Fanclub,
Luna, Nick Hakim and Lucius—taught him much about feel and interaction. Further fueled by a
desire to escape from the glow of screens and to embrace a sense of limitation, he quickly
developed a new set of instrumental songs written for a band rather than just himself and
recorded them on a Tascam four-track cassette recorder in his parents’ house in North Carolina.
“Just like most people, my recording studio day job had me staring at a computer eight
hours a day,” he says. “I just needed to get away from the glowing rectangle. The only way to do
that was to work on tape. The four-track is so limiting; you’re forced to get only the bones of the
song down. You can’t do any overdubs, so it was fun to work on that with the experience of the
live band behind me. And something about playing my family’s instruments in the garage where
I grew up spurred a set of songs that became the new record.”
Inspired by these limiting techniques, Owens borrowed an eight-track reel-to- reel tape
recorder from a friend, rented a house in upstate New York, and took his band — Brian
Betancourt (bass), Austin Vaughn (drums), Adam Brisbin (guitar), and Hannah Cohen (backup
vocals) — there to record the new album in July 2017. Focusing on instrumental grooves and the
vibe he had achieved on the original four-track recordings, Owens found the process so
enlightening he decided to up the ante yet again by banning tuning pedals from the house.
“Tuning pedals make it so easy to sound good together, so when you eliminate them it
takes everything back to the ’60s, which is when all my favorite records were born,” he says. “It
makes everything more questionable, weird, and unruly in a really simple way.”
Dreamy album opener “IDGAF” explores the notion of embracing one’s passions and
pursuing one’s goals no matter the impositions in the path. On one hand a subtle stand against
the current political climate and on another a call to be responsible, Owens calls it a romantic
song that embodies his act of self-mixing his record: “I had to put myself aside and let the music

“Health Machine” is a crunchy, slow-burning but deliberate stomper glowing with warm
electric guitar noodling, saxophone wailing, and Owens’s reverb-laden lyrics that he says detail
an abstract version of how he relates to his own physical form. “It’s about the unattainable health
that I would like to imagine for myself on tour. The line ‘We slither out on a Tuesday feeling
tired and hopeless’ is such a hilarious picture: four people in a minivan slithering out of Atlanta,
Georgia, stopping at a CVS and getting a bunch of Zicam. Health is your job if you’re touring as
a musician, although it’s a job I don’t do so well.” 
“Country” is a fleet, nimble driving song written after Owens and his girlfriend (Hannah
Cohen, who also sings throughout the album) took a cross-country road trip and encountered
what they perceived to be a dust storm in rural Nevada. “For a hundred miles we didn’t see a
person or even a tree, then all of a sudden this giant dust cloud appeared which turned out to be
ten cowboys on horses lassoing cows. It was the most real thing I’ve ever seen.” In fact, Owens
wrote every song on the album with the act of driving-while- listening in mind, and says many of
the lyrics came together following that life-changing road trip—the only time he has ever driven
across America without anyone waiting on him to show up for a soundcheck. But despite the
allure of the transient life, his heart belongs to one place.
“The record is about romance, and about my love for living in New York and trying to
separate myself from any idea I had previously of living in New York,” he says. “I’ve kind of
designed my own world there.”
Whether behind the wheel in the dust bowls of America, navigating the bustle of his
adopted home, playing festival stages with rock legends, or getting back to basics in his parents’
garage, no matter where Sam Evian goes, there he is…forever.