Samo Sound Boy Deconstructs His Excellent New Album Track by Track
Sam Griesemer may have been born in New York, but Los Angeles is very much his home. It's there that Griesemer transformed himself into the DJ and producer Samo Sound Boy, and along with his partner Jerome LOL, formed the progressive house label, Body High. Together, they make hypnotic dance music as DJ Dodger Stadium—named after their apartment's proximity to the famed baseball stadium—but now Griesemer has branched out on his own with Begging Please, his first solo album as Samo Sound Boy.
Begging Please, which is one of the best dance records of the year, is essentially a break up album. Griesemer recorded it as therapy after a three year relationship fell apart, starting with the album's final track, "You Come For Me." From there he worked backwards, tracing his relationship back to its whirlwind beginnings. Without the benefit of lyrics—save for some vocal samples—Griesemer manages to convey the sweeping highs and bruising lows of being in love using swirling electronics, obscure samples, and raw percussions. Here, we ask him to break down his career-shifting record, track by glorious track.
1. Introduction - The calm before the storm.
2. Baby Don't Stop - You don't get to pick who you fall in love with or when it's going to happen. Instead, it comes when you least expect it. One moment you're by yourself and then all of a sudden you're with someone you can't be without, getting tattoos and running into the ocean at 4 am. That's what this song is about to me.
3. Feel Something - The clap that starts this song and continues throughout is from a drum machine made in 1982 called the LinnDrum. That clap is one of my favorite sounds of all time and something I've modeled a lot of other aspects of my style around. It has a very raw quality and carries an incredible amount of soul for how simple it is. The other percussive elements that back it up are all from recordings I did around my apartment and studio. Stuff like my door closing or the lock on the gate clicking. I put all those sounds in almost every track on the record.
4. The Only Thing - I thought about the term "power ballad" a lot when making my album. I really love that phrase but recognize that it mostly defines shitty hair band songs from the '80s. I wanted to see if I could forget that and find my own version of a power ballad. "The only thing" may be as close as I got to doing that. It's big and direct, and even though there's not a single guitar in it I think it owes something to Poison deep down.
5. Save Wait Time - This is for the moments when things have been so good that I've just wanted to be able to stop everything and live in them forever. It's an impossible feeling.
6. Got It Bad - John Carpenter is someone who's had such a major influence on my sound. I would have never gotten into using hardware synths if it wasn't for him, and I also think he's a big factor in why I envision everything I make as being part of a soundtrack. My favorite piece of his is the main theme to Assault on Precinct 13. This track, like all of my others, is heavily indebted to that.
7. What Can I Do - This is when something is falling apart and you can't stop it. It's heavy and it's crushing and it sounds like chopped and screwed Depeche Mode.
8. Begging Please - This is my "Purple Rain." By far the most sprawling and expansive track I've ever written. My oldest friend in the world plays the wurlizter on the end of this track. His name is Tay Strathairn and when I was a baby our families shared this house in New Jersey. So I've known Tay my entire life. He's an incredible musician and played his part in one take and with only one hand.
9. Lost It - If "Introduction" is the calm before he storm, "Lost It" is the calm aftermath. It's a different feeling because of everything you've been through, but it has that same element of being alone.
10. You Come For Me - This was actually the first track I wrote for the album but it serves as an epilogue more than anything. Like "Reason To Believe," which is the final song on Springsteen's Nebraska, "You Come For Me" is hope after a lot of sadness. Like all the vocal samples on my album, the ones in this track come from a vinyl I found in the 50 cent bin at Amoeba Music in LA. When I found these particular samples, I instantly knew what my entire album would be like. The "don't be afraid" line is exactly what I wanted to say and hear at the time. I made this song and then started working backwards to fill in the whole story.