Sam Fender has had quite the 2019 so far. He's won the BRITs Critics' Choice award, for a start off, putting himself in a lineage including the likes of legit AAA list festival bill toppers Adele and Florence & The Machine. That means there's Quite A Lot of anticipation for his debut album.
Well, that can all ramp up a level today, as our Sam has revealed all on his first full-length.
'Hypersonic Missiles' - which shares a title with his most recent single - will be with us on 9th August 2019. Written, recorded and produced in his own self-built warehouse studio in North Shields, it was recorded alongside his long-standing friend and producer Bramwell Bronte.
Because we've been waiting for 'this sort of announcement' for a while, we got Sam on the phone yesterday to quiz him on what to expect. You can check out that, the album's title song and tracklisting, and a bunch of forthcoming live dates 'below'.
Hi Sam! What are you up to?
Hello, we’re just getting some last minute rehearsals in before we go away on tour, and we’re doing some silly daft videos and things like that. Getting some little things together for the announcements! It’s all exciting.
So your debut album is being announced! What’s going through your head?
Yeah, it’s mad. Just anxiety levels of 5,000. Just kind of all the things you’d imagine I guess. Nerves, really excited. Just hoping that it does a good job, and people like it. I hope that the fans like it more importantly.
Before we talk about yours, what is the best debut album of all time?
The best debut album of all time? Fucking hell. I don’t know man, thats a really tough one, there’s been loads of great debuts. One of my favourite albums of all time is Jeff Buckley’s only album, that’s his debut album, ‘Grace’. Cos it’s a fucking great album and he didn’t release any others. So yeah, ‘Grace’, that’ll do.
Good shout. How does yours compare to that?
We’re not getting close to that, but we’re pretty good. It’s not the best, it’s not the worst (laughs).
Why did you choose ‘Hypersonic Missiles’ as a title?
I could probably give you a really cool reason for why I picked the name ‘Hypersonic Missiles’. I could probably say, it’s a piece of jargon from the world that we live in, and it’s like really crazy that we live in this world, and I want this album to just be from the perspective from this kid from Newcastle living in it. But honestly mate, the real answer’s just cos it sounds cool. That’s genuinely it.
Are you going to come up with an elaborate reason later?
Haha, no. Not everything on the record is about a heavy subject, and some of the songs on the album I wrote five years ago when I was 19, very embryonic. You can tell because the lyrics are shit on those songs compared to the newer ones. Well, they’re not shit (laughs) but they’re a lot simpler. My song-writings definitely gotten better in five years, well you’d fucking hope so as well. But I’ve kept them on the record, because I think the first record should be for the fans. It should be for the people who supported us. Some people will buy this who came to the first shows when I was just playing an acoustic guitar five years ago.
What can we expect from the newer ones?
A lawsuit (laughs). No, no. I’m kind of getting into that heartland rock thing, but also they’ll be stories about some Geordie radgies. I feel like that it comes from that classic British indie song, but then you’ve got ‘Hypersonic Missiles’ which is more like Springsteen. I’ve got stuff that’s more like that, and then stuff that’s more like classic singer-songwriter. And when I say that, I don’t mean like Ed Sheeran, I mean like fucking Dylan or something. Your classic man with a guitar talking about shit. But without sounding shit hopefully. That’s the plan, that’s what I’m trying.
Its a real mixed album, there’s a couple of tracks that are quite poppy and they’re the ones that I wrote when I was 19. So there are pop songs on it. One is called ‘Call Me Lover’. And it’s genuinely a song about infidelity and being 19. Loosely based on this lass who was married, and she got out of it and started knocking around with a young’ un. And that’s it, simple as that.
Any other big themes? Some of it sounds quite brutal. ‘The Borders’ in particular, with lyrics about being held on the ground by someone with a replica gun.
Yeah, yeah. A lot of that is more modern stuff. Instead of trying to hide things with melody, metaphor and motion, I’m just trying to write songs that are still upbeat in sound but in very matter of fact. And these songs like ‘The Border’ are very personal, because I’ve not really written about myself at all yet, a lot of my songs are actually looking outward at other people.
Are a lot about people you know?
People I know, or people about my hometown. I’ve never really written a song about me. Now this album’s got a few songs that actually are directly about me, or are about the people around my life. There’s ‘Two People’, which is about domestic violence. But then you’ve got a song called ‘Saturday’ which is just about hitting your zero-hour contract job and wanting to get smashed on a weekend. And then there’s ‘Call Me Lover’, which is a bit of a love song but about infidelity, and then there’s fucking ‘Will We Talk In The Morning?’ Which is a song about one-night stands. And assholes. We’ve compiled old songs and new songs to make something that’s a good fucking experience, and hopefully, showcases where I’ve come from and where I’ve got to.
Have you already started album number two?
Oh fucking hell, yes. I’ve been dying to get an album out for a long time. I’ve been quite prolific with my writing. The first half of this record is probably sonically how my second one will sound. I feel like ‘Hypersonic Missiles’, ‘The Borders’, ‘White Privilege’, them sort of tracks, thats probably what people should expect next.
How was the BRITs?
Nuts, aye, mad. Exactly what I imagined it to be. I didn’t have too much of a wild one, kind of called it a day early on which was decent. I say early on, it was half three in the morning. Pretty chilled. Wait 'til the album launch (laughs)
Sam Fender's debut album 'Hypersonic Missiles' is available to pre-order now. The tracklisting reads:
Hypersonic Missiles / The Borders / White Privilege / Dead Boys / You’re Not The Only One / Play God / That Sound / Saturday / Will We Talk In The Morning / Two People / Call Me Lover / Leave Fast / Use (live)
Sam has a whole bunch of live dates and festivals planned, you can catch him at:
17 Badaboum, Paris
18 Doornroosje, Nijmegen
20 Tivoliredenburg, Utrecht
22 Gloria, Koln SOLD OUT
24 Columbia Theater, Berlin SOLD OUT
25 Technikum, Munchen SOLD OUT
26 Papiersaal, Zurich
28 Orangerie, Brussels
29 Melkweg, Amsterdam
2 Ritz, Manchester SOLD OUT
3 QMU, Glasgow SOLD OUT
4 Live at Leeds
6 Shepherds Bush Empire, London SOLD OUT
7 Shepherds Bush Empire, London SOLD OUT
10 O2 Academy, Birmingham SOLD OUT
12 Lemon Grove, Exeter SOLD OUT
13 SWX, Bristol SOLD OUT
26 Neighbourhood Weekender, Warrington
1 All Points Festival, London (w/ Mumford & Sons)
10 Pinkpop Festival, Landgraaf
13 Bergenfest, Bergen
28 Glastonbury Festival
5 Down The Rabbit Hole Festival, Nijmegen
6 Barn On The Farm, Highnam
11 Tynemouth Castle, North Shields SOLD OUT
12 Hyde Park, London (w/ Bob Dylan + Neil Young)
13 TRNSMT Festival, Glasgow
16 Summer Sonic, Tokyo
18 Summer Sonic, Osaka
31 Electric Picnic, Laois Ireland