GET CAPE. WEAR CAPE. FLY////SAM DUCKWORTH////FEBRUARY 2007
Original son of Southend Sam Duckworth a.k.a Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly. is about to unleash his second full offering upon us on March 10th Since the release of debut album ‘Chronicles of a Bohemian Teenager’ Mr. Duckworth has been a very busy and highly sought after man. From trips to the Congo with Damon Albarn, re-recording sessions of classic grunge tracks with a Brazilian choir. It’s fair to say things have been ever-so-slightly hectic. Outline caught up with the man of the moment, to try and re-cap and put some focus on an insanely busy couple of years…
Your new album, out very soon, is called ‘Searching For The How’s And Whys’, can you tell us the meaning behind the name?
It’s a line from the chorus from one of the songs called ‘Postcards from Catalunya’. It just seemed to encompass the feeling of the album really. The album has a theme of questioning, why you are who you are? Or why things in the world are the way they are. It all came from a book that I’d read by a guy called Paul Kingsnall. It’s all about possibilities – like if there’s one thing you know you want, there are different ways and different avenues to achieve that.
The aforementioned is a much bigger sounding album than ‘Chronicles of a Bohemian Teenager’, I wondered when you came to the realisation you were after a sound like this, rather than bedroom style vibe of its predecessor?
I think it was even before the first album came out. At that point I’d started playing with a drummer and a horn player. As the band grew and my scope musically grew, it seemed to naturally evolve from there. Before, it was very much a case of writing for me with the computer then after I’d joined the other musicians I was writing songs to be played live with a band.
Nitin Sawhney was drafted in for production duties, what if anything do think you learnt from working with such a groundbreaking musician and producer?
It’s quite interesting listening to the demos and then the final product. The songs haven’t really changed a huge amount except I think the execution is a lot sharper. The strings have some room to breath the arrangements he did are absolutely phenomenal. He was telling to me hold back and not do to much at once. He taught me to understand how songs need room to breath and his production techniques were absolutely fantastic as well.
I read that it was written in various eighteen hour long sessions, this seems a like long time period to work?
I tend to write better when I really focus on it. I’d be sleeping as I got tired and then spent the rest of my time just writing. I wanted to make sure I got the sound I was after. I’m a night owl as well really. I tend to do my best work when it’s late and I’m tired.
Using a full orchestra for the first time, there must have been times where maybe ideas didn’t go to plan and you wanted to go back to writing/recording using more familiar methods?
Not really, but there were points when i thought things were getting too overblown. I think we all thought that. When you are using big orchestral sections you have to go full on. That was the great thing about working with Nitin, it was about throwing bits out and finding spaces. There were times when I thought things sounded a bit pompous.
You called for contributions for the albums cover artwork from your fans, by asking them to send in inspirational household objects. What was the strangest thing you received?
Someone sent their guitar in which I thought was mad. I’d never send a guitar to anyone. They’d written ‘Searching for the How’s and Why’s’ on it as well. I couldn’t believe someone sent in an electric guitar…
Your friend and long time touring partner Kate Nash appears on the album, but I wondered if you could work with anyone else, who would it be?
I’d love to work with Damon Albarn, I went out with him to Africa. Just seeing how the guy works. He’s got such an amazing way of looking at things. Massive Attack and Portishead as well, I’d give my right arm to get into the studio with them to see how they tick.
With your next single ‘Waiting For The Monster To Drown’,i believe you are donating all proceeds to homeless charity Shelter, can you tell us why that particular organisation? Also have you any future plans work with this charity?
I’d missed a train and I just realised how cold it was. At that point I thought there has got to be something I can do to help. Either by raising money or awareness to help out there campaign. Especially in the winter and around Christmas when it’s freezing. So I spoke to them about donating the proceeds from the single. I haven’t really thought about any other work I could do for them, but over the festival period they do a lot of campaigning so I’m sure I’ll get involved again.
In the past you’ve also been involved with ‘Love Music/Hate Racism’, do you think it’s still achieving its original goals and objectives?
Yeah I think it is. Whether it being on the cover of the NME, or being mentioned on television, it’s a big step on from three years ago when it first started. They work incredibly hard to make people aware. I think awareness is the first breakthrough really. Once people become aware of a charity I think they become open to what it has to say. It’s really good that it’s established itself within the music scene. I think it’s an integral part of many bands now as well. If nothing else the campaign has been able to make some big statements over the last year, with the backing of some really big artists. It’s established itself now as a big charity with a great set of ideals, run by good people, which hopefully over the course of the next year, will be able to see it grow even further.
The track on your new album ‘I could build you a tower’ deals with some very heavy subject matter from high school gun massacres to global terrorism. Did you feel you needed to tread cautiously whilst dealing with such a sensitive area?
Not so much me, but other people did say to me that if you change the lyrics, you’d have a great song for radio. I was like exactly. That’s the whole point, by getting one of the best songs on the record to have such a heavy lyrical content. I hoped it would have the scope to trigger debate. . I wanted it to be heavy, but I didn’t want it to be like ‘this is the end of the world’ or ‘Armageddon’ heavy. It’s more about this is the truth and we can’t hide from it. But it doesn’t mean that there can’t be answers. The reason these things are happening is because of communication breakdowns, manly through cultural factions. We can’t dance around these issues any more, they need to be addressed, they are far to important.
Ok, so more of a general question, but I wondered whom you would regard as major influences on your work?
Nitin is an obvious one for me. Before I’d even worked with him, he was the guy I looked up to more than anything. Damon Albarn as well. In particular with Damon, from album to album he can reinvent himself and he’s not scared of taking risks. Over the course of a fifteen year career he was just gone from strength to strength throughout. He’s showed anyone can take risks and do really interesting projects. I think as long as you commit to something properly, it can really work…
2006 was a colossal year for you…since then how have you managed to keep yourself grounded, i suppose i want to know how you go about avoiding all the temptation’s that come with the fame game?
You just got not to acknowledge any of that stuff and treat the whole thing as something you are really lucky to get to do. Its great and its fantastic but it doesn’t really define who you are. You do that by your actions and how you interact with people. I’ve written some music that people are into and they want to come and see it live, which is fantastic – but beyond that I’ve just a 21-year-old kid with a guitar who makes music, who is not really that different from every other 21-year-old. I think it’s helped that there has been such a crop of young people coming through, from the same sorts of background as myself, like Kate (Nash)…she’s been a great role model for me. I think my friends and family have been great as well. They have changed towards me, so that’s helped to keep me grounded. As long as you acknowledge that and don’t change on them, you should be fine.
A couple of Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly. tracks have been used on the O.C. – are there any other T.V. shows you’d love to hear your music being played on?
Probably Scrubs I think. I mean I love Scrubs, although it’s not my favourite programme, but the music in the show is used really well.
I read recently that you are involved in a Hip Hop re-telling of American Psycho. Is this true, and if so, do tell more?
Yeah, we’re using beat poets and rappers to tell the story of American psycho. So I’m wiring some Bristol 97’ type trip hop beats to go over it. Hopefully it’ll happen around June time, so we’ll do a couple of shows for it.
Damon Albarn’s name has arisen a few times already, but you haven’t mentioned the trip to the Congo you both embarked upon…
They did an Africa express show last year at Glastonbury. We got invited to get up and have a jam at the end of the evening. After that we got an e-mail asking if we wanted to go out to the Congo and working with some of the local musicians with Damon and a few others. I love Damon as I said, but getting the opportunity to go out to Africa and meet some of the greatest musician they have there was absolutely mind blowing for me.
That sounds like an amazing experience, but does it top your time with the Brazilian choir recording grunge classic’s?
That just came about by chance really. My friend was working with CSS and they were doing this thing with Kieran Hebden, So we ended up just singing songs by Mouldy Peaches and sonic Youth, it was just great fun really. We ended up closing the show by doing the vocals of Slowjam by Kieran. It was a good laugh and it kinda came from out of nowhere…
Finally, you’ve played a lot of shows in Norwich before, so I wondered what you remember about our fine Eastern Jewel of a dwelling?
My first gig there was at the Ferryboat. In fact I think I’ve played it over ten times between then and it finally closing – I was involved in the last ever show there as well. My memories of Norwich come out of that really. Ian from One Bad Apple promotions used to put me on a lot. I love coming down there, cause its such a beautiful space. I’ve had great shows there and seen some great bands there as well. It’s sad that’s its gone. It was such a core part of the puck a scene there…I’ve done the Waterfront and the UEA as well, and it’s always been great. So I’m looking forward to coming back…