How does it really feel to go from a band to a solo artist? No – we’re not talking about Zayn from One Direction. We had the opportunity to speak to Sam Damarell of ex-Arm The Nascent fame about his new venture, Charlatan.
Firstly – and perhaps most obviously – how’s the solo life treating you so far? Is it strange not being part of a band anymore?
“It is different in a lot of ways, some are positive and others can be a real drag. I find that of course, financially things can kind of get on top of you, January this year for example was a tough one, I was scraping by anyway so to fund my first single, my artwork and whatnot wasn’t the easiest of tasks but luckily the people that I work alongside to achieve all of this are really understanding guys so it was bearable. The positives, however, are that I don’t have to rely on anyone else which is a good feeling, since my first band broke up in 2012, I was pretty much just bouncing in and out of different projects with various artists and never really finding my feet anywhere, Arm The Nascent was the only band that I formed/joined from 2012 to now that ever really got anything done. Being a solo musician completely cuts that out of the equation and allows me to write the music that I want to, the way I want to, without anyone else intervening.”
Tell us a little about the story behind ‘Relief’. Are we right in thinking it’s part of a larger concept for the LP?
“Relief it’s self is one of the later tracks on the record, and is part of a trilogy of songs known as Tension, Breaking Point, Relief, lyrically the single details our protagonist discussing with her partner all of her plans that she wishes to achieve after the events of the trilogy. Yes absolutely it is based on a larger concept, ‘The Girl In The Bubble’ is an unpublished novel of mine, which when simplified is a tragic love story, with political undertones, tackling the controversial debate of assisted suicide and whether it should be legal in this country. The book itself is part of 3 unpublished novels that I’m turning into concept records, and releasing them under the title ‘The Human Condition’. I like the number 3, if you couldn’t tell.”
The UK music scene seems to be really supporting metal acts at the moment – especially with looking at the line up for The Pit this year – do you think that’s going to continue?
“As cool as it is that mainstream media/radio and festivals are taking heavy metal/hard rock slightly more seriously it’s hard for me to determine whether I see it as a positive or a negative. Metal music has kind of always been at it’s strongest most formidable suit, whilst living underground. I mean Metallica for example, the minute they went mainstream with the Black Album, things kind of went down hill for them from there, maybe not bank account balance wise but fans kind of lost interest, for the most part. However the line up does look cool for The Pit, the Saturday is something I’d absolutely love to go to, after seeing Gojira before and meeting those guys, they’re a band that I strongly recommend to anyone who likes heavy music and Mastodon are well.. Mastodon so, that goes without saying!”
If you could tour with any other band who would it be and why?
“The die hard, obsessive System Of A Down fan in me is screaming for me to say them, but I think logically I would have to look at it from a business perspective, and as much as touring with one of the most mainstream metal bands of all time would probably do my career a world of good, I’d like to keep it a little closer to home and maybe even a little bit scaled down, so maybe Corelia or Periphery? Something like that would be cool, not quite arena shows but a good 2,000 people there each night, then just go from there.”
Lastly, what’s next from Charlatan?
“Well as far as playing live shows go, I can’t see it happening any time soon to be perfectly honest, it would take a lot of preparation in order to take my set list to a live stage. Recording wise I plan to have ‘The Girl In The Bubble’ released by the end of 2016, and hopefully before 2017 is out all three of my albums will be available for purchase/streaming and the overall dream is to release the three albums, alongside the three novels, and market them as a total package. As of now, I’m just going to stick to playing guitar for 12 hours a day and watching Skins.”