Standing Out in a Crowded Room: An Interview with Sam Barron
It can be incredibly difficult to be original. The moment you try to be original, you’re not. If you try to be punk rock, you’re not.
We are living in a time where for $10 a month you can listen to almost any band or any album that has ever existed. I pay for Google Play premium and, I’m not complaining (except for when I want to listen to Tool, they don’t do subscription services, ugh!). I browse new music on Fridays listening to various tracks trying to find something that gets my attention, something original. It’s rare.
Now, just because it’s not original doesn’t mean it isn’t amazing. I am absolutely in love with Leon Bridges, but it’s been done before. Right?
How are bands supposed to stand out when we have access to anything and everything?
I was lucky enough to spend some time talking to Sam Barron of Brooklyn-based band The Come On. On Feb. 28, they make a stop in Harrisburg at Little Amps on Green St., and I wanted to talk to him about how they stand out in a crowded room filled with indie bands.
MJ: So tell me about how The Come On came about.
SB: It began as a collaboration between myself and producer Brian Speaker (Jeffery Lewis, The Fem Doms). We wanted to do a project with a lot of vocal harmonies so we brought in Mimi Oz who took on some of the singing parts. We started by doing a lot of acoustic stuff, mixing elements of new wave with old antique synth sounds from the 70s. As the writing and music evolved, I started to play and write with a Fender Telecaster, and the music took on a rock vibe. Our sound just evolved from our experience on the road, we would write and rework our song depending on what worked with the crowds.
MJ: The influences in your music are pretty clear, T. Rex, Violent Femmes, Pixies and even some early Ugly Casanova/Modest Mouse. What would you say sets your music apart in a world where indie music is accessible to everyone?
SB: It’s really all about our journey as a band to find ourselves, and we stay true to that journey. We put on a great live show, and our songwriting helps us stand out. Our songwriting could only take place in a certain moment in time, so these songs coming from us could only have come from us. For example, the song Asteroid talks about this exact thing, how everyone has access to everything and we just become numb. People have become zombies attached to their phones with the latest news and latest updates.
MJ: Tell me a little bit about the EP that you guys just released this month?
SB: We were doing shows in Detroit and up in Canada and went right into the studio fresh from the tour, and did the entire EP in one afternoon. Coming off the tour we felt we had a vibe, and we were so tight so we just went in there and knocked it out. In the studio, there is often a huge manipulation of music, so the goal was to sound raw and keep it as close to our live performance as possible. Charles Newman was the producer, and he did a great job working with us to create something that isn’t over-produced and really encapsulates the raw emotion of our music.
MJ: On Feb. 28, you are doing a show at Little Amps on Green St, what can people expect when they come out to see The Come On?
SB: We aren’t afraid to make mistakes and sound like humans. We don’t like routine because it won’t be interesting, so we like to switch things up from show to show. Sometimes I’ll just throw a song at the band, and we’ll see how it goes! We take risks with our music when we play live, and it’s something people will appreciate when they come out to the show.