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ARTIST Direct-Samantha Crain Talks “Kid Face”

Samantha Crain Talks “Kid Face” | ARTIST Direct | Writer: Rick Florino | 01.18.13

Samantha Crain makes something of a stand on Kid Face.

However, it’s not necessarily conscious. Arguably, that’s the best way to do it. Over the course of the album, she paints an honest and heartfelt masterpiece that’s emotionally charged, infectious, and tender at all the right moments. It’s exactly what we need more in this day and age. The fact that she can be so open organically provides hope within today’s modern musical landscape, which remains so single-driven and here-today-gone-tomorrow. Once you see Kid Face, you never forget it.

In this exclusive interview with editor in chief Rick Florino, Samantha Crain reveals the skeleton of Kid Face and more.

Did you approach Kid Face with one cohesive vision or vibe in mind?

Over my past few records, I’ve written a lot of story-based songs. They had bits of fiction implanted in them to make them more interesting or poetic. However, when I started writing the songs for this record, I wanted them to be completely autobiographical. I can say everything happened to me, and it’s firsthand experience. As far as the musical aspect of it, I had an idea of the moods I wanted to carry through. I knew I wanted to go out of my box and make something bass- and low end-heavy. I’ve always worked with a more acoustic sound. Even when I’ve gotten into electric guitar work, it’s been really melody driven. I’ve been listening to a lot of Neil Young. I love how the bass in his songs always has a nice rhythmic aspect. It’s something I want to try to do on this album. Those are my goals as far as music and lyrics go on this record.

What’s the story behind “Never Going Back”?

I’ve been jokingly saying it’s my version of that Taylor Swift song “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together”. That song, especially the chorus, turned into this mantra for me of this unhealthy relationship that I kept going back to, revisiting, and spending too much time on. That was my, I guess, kiss off, song. I never really had the guts to write that song before because I’d been dealing with it for so long. It’s taken me this many years to get to the point where I could write something that personal without feeling embarrassed about it. Over the past couple of years, I’ve been more open to letting people see all sides of my experiences.

What encouraged you to open up more?

I think it’s getting older, becoming more comfortable with myself, and realizing everybody has their issues to deal with. It’s also realizing every idea doesn’t have to be this crazy, grandiose thing. Most of the time, I’m pretty normal, and it’s alright to write about normal things. It’s an acceptance of that.

Where did “We’ve Been Found” come from?

That was coming out of this dream. I was having this recurring dream about these dark shadowy figures chasing me. The whole purpose of these dark figures was they held all of the troubles and bad things that could happen to you in this box. If they ever got a hold of you or found you, their wrath would be unleashed and something horrible would happen in your life. I kept having this dream. There are all of these things that can happen to you. If one of them does, that’s like being found. They found you and unleashed some horrible thing on to your life. It’s just my recounting that dream I kept having.

Is it important for you to paint pictures with the songs?

I had a background in poetry long before I even wrote songs. That probably becomes from there. I read a lot of poetry, and I wrote a lot. Before I was writing music, the images you could paint with words were my main concern. That plays a big part in my songwriting.

What poets do you come back to?

I branch out quite a bit. The poets I come back to are Walt Whitman, John Keats, and William Blake. I read a lot of short stories too. There’s one author named Breece D’J Pancake. He only had one collection of short stories come out, but he was so amazing at imagery and drawing these strange pictures of scenes and settings. Even though he’s not a poet, he is in his own right with the short stories.

What’s the title Kid Face mean?

On tour, one of our pastimes is learning rap songs. It takes up a lot of time [Laughs]. We were doing it in the car a lot. My bass player and one of my best friends Penny Hill dubbed me with a rap name, and that was Kid Face. She came up with that nickname for me. I started identifying with it because I feel that way sometimes when people start talking to me. It’s like they think I’m a lot younger than I am. It was a joke name that I ended up identifying with a lot. Before people realized how old I am, they’d talk to me like I was 16 or something. You see a different side of people. It’s a weird way to pick up on this other side of someone’s character how they would to someone who’s 17 versus someone who’s 26.

If you were to compare Kid Face to a movie or a combination of movies, what would you compare it to?

Whoa, that’s interesting! Let me think. I don’t know if you watch many silent films. The thing that’s cool about Charlie Chaplin films is they’re constantly changing as far as emotion goes. He’s so over-the-top with his facial expressions. His stories change a lot as far as emotions. It’s a silent film and to change the feelings and emotions he has to be over-the-top. There’s a movie he did called City Lights that has this moody undertone throughout the whole thing. It’s constantly changing. There are fast scenes with fast music. Then there are scenes with these slow, swooping songs. So maybe City Lights. Even though there are good things happening, it’s got a melancholy undertone throughout.

What artists shaped you?

I’m a bit of a Neil Young freak. Even when I was a kid, I think I just wanted to be Neil Young [Laughs]. I thought he was so cool. Then definitely Woodie Guthrie. I really appreciate his mixture of seriousness and lightheartedness. It’s a mixture of poetry and lighthearted imagery. I also listen to Jason Molina constantly.

—Rick Florino

Have you heard Samantha Crain? Kid Face is out February 19.

  • Posted on January 18