Sam Lachow is a producer, songwriter, rapper, videographer, and director. Born in New York but raised in Seattle, Sam Lachow is currently working on promoting his new album Huckleberry, which is available on iTunes. Sam’s first venture as a rapper was as a part of Shankbone, a highschool rap group with a dedicated fan base throughout Seattle. Now working as a solo artist, Sam has produced several songs in collaboration with other Seattle artists such as Nacho Picasso and Sol. Having graduated from Garfield High School in 2009, Sam is very familiar with Seattle Academy. On November 29, his sold-out show at the Neptune drew a crowd made up of all different age groups. Sermon's Domain called the concert “a moment of Seattle hip-hop history” and fans sang along reciting his lyrics and creating “a cool natural effect.”
Below is in an interview with the artist himself conducted by Jackson Gannon and Bella Feinstein.
Jackson: We love the idea of reaching out to schools and we definitely see an angle, but we were wondering what the idea was behind an article with the Cardinal. Why us, essentially?
Mainly it was because I know personally a lot of kids at SAAS that like my music or are fans. I know some of people at SAAS really well and I thought it would make them happy to see me in their paper. When I was in high school was when I was at the peak of being excited about music. That was when I would go to the front row of shows and dance and know the lyrics. And now as I get older, past 21, I kind of just chill at the back of the bar and watch from afar. It’s not the same ya know? So I always love the young fans that come to my shows. And a lot of these kids probably don’t read The Stranger or The Weekly that much. When I was in highschool, I read The Garfield Messenger. And I’ve always just been down with SAAS; I have a ton of friends that went there.
Jackson: Your latest album, Huckleberry, came out in the summer. What should we know about it? What about it do you like the most?
So I recently put out my latest full length album which was Huckleberry and it was I think 13-14 original songs, that were all started from scratch and produced entirely by us, no samples or anything, which takes a long time, and it’s hard to do. So then today [November 18], I’m dropping [dropped] what is called 80 Bars Part 3, I had to do this series called the 80 Bars series. I had 1, 2- and for these I don’t have to make any of the beats, they’re all sampled from old beats that I grew up with and love. So this is my time to sit back and relax and just write and have fun, kinda why I got into this thing. And it’s a lot easier for me to do, but also it seems to be some people’s favorites.
So yeah, that’s dropping. It’s five songs and it’s completely free, which is something I’ve wanted to do because Huckleberry you can only get if you download it on iTunes. You have to pay, which we need because this is how I make a living. But, at the same time, so many people have never heard the album because they just don’t buy music, you know? Luckily there’s Spotify, and we get paid for that too, but this will be totally free and it’s just for the fans!
I rap on Justin Bieber beats, Destiny’s Child, Christina Aguilera. I like rapping on stuff that no one had ever rapped on before.
Jackson: In the video for Action Figures there’s Sol and Grynch. Do you usually hang out with other Seattle rappers? Would you consider the Seattle rap scene tight?
Obviously I called certain people to be in the video but that was a pretty regular scene of something we do. I toured with Sol and BFA, another group in the video. We were on a bus together for weeks straight and we got to know each other pretty well and become really close. So my rapper friends are sort of my best friends. The Seattle scene is very tightly knit; it’s like one rap community.
Jackson: Are there specific aspects of Seattle or people that you look up to that have influenced or inspired you?
Yeah, there are a ton. Like Sol, for instance. I’ve always looked up to him a ton and he helps me out a lot with just giving me advice on the game and business because he’s been in the executive business that I’m kind of in now, so he really tells me the dos and don’ts of the game. Then when it comes to the actual music, Macklemore for instance. I’m really inspired by his work ethic. We’re different though. I party a lot and he doesn’t. There’s people like my friend Nacho Picasso. We hang out together a lot and he sort of inspired me to talk about whatever I wanted and not really be scared about how it might make me look. And the Blue Scholars, they got me into rap.
Jackson: So I have one more question to sort of wrap up… ha… wrap up
Jackson: What was your kind of breakout moment? When were you most proud of the work that you’ve done?
Right now I’m proud of myself for finally giving up on thinking that I have to do something besides art to make a living, you know? And I don’t have a ton of money by any means right now but I’m happy with what I have and I’m not always stressed out. That’s what I’m proud of, that I kind of allowed myself recently to be happy with what I’m doing. I’m doing something I love doing. Now, I’m proud of myself for saying that. I didn’t even know that I was so… That was the deepest thing I’ve ever said in an interview.
One of our fashion writers, Bella took a look at Sam’s image and style, and how they integrate with his music.
Bella: How would you describe your image?
Well, I was originally going for more of the “no image” image. I wore a lot of plain black and white tees and hoodies. I didn’t want people to like me for the way that I looked; I wanted people to like me for my music. However, since I have gained more followers, what I wear and how I look has become more important.
Bella: Is there a specific style you try to maintain as an artist?
At first I didn’t really care much about my style, but one night I was hanging out with some friends and I noticed that this one guy had a great sense of style. A bunch of people had been telling me to start thinking more about my image, so I hired him as my unofficial stylist. We went shopping and he helped me pick out some outfits to see which looks worked, and still maintained my carefree sense of style while also making it look good. He also styled my look for my music video 80 Bars Part 3, which I just dropped right now.
I have also partnered up with a store called Alive and Well, which is right by SAAS, and has a very urban style. They give me some clothes for free and I rep their store.
Bella: What is your creative process for album covers and t-shirts? Does your merchandise correlate with your music?
Yeah. I am really into every aspect of the music making process. I like to be involved with everything from the music videos to designing my album covers. I also like to design flyers for upcoming shows and stuff. This also helps me to design my merchandise.
Our best selling item is a sweater shirt called 80 bars, which is very simple. It is basically just four tally marks across a black hoody. But that kind of stuff sells. You just have to catch the right idea. Music videos, t-shirts, album cover; it’s all part of the art for me.
Bella: Is there a specific outfit that you wear when you perform?
I used to always wear a white tank top and a plaid button up and just hang loose. I am really into plain stuff; I don’t like a lot of words. But then I see some pictures of me and I am like, “that’s pretty boring.” I am still working on my stage presence, but I am not about to wear all leather and stuff like that. I still want to be comfortable when I am on stage.
Bella: To tie things up, do you have any advice for young people trying to make a name for themselves?
What helps me a lot is setting goals. I always try to set goals that aren’t too crazy. Making sure to set doable goals is important, because once you have achieved those goals, you're motivated to keep working. For example, my goal was to headline a show, any show. Then that goal turned it to my Nemos show, and now that goal is to headline Neptune. Another goal I had was Capitol Hill Block Party, and then I aim to perform at Bumbershoot. These are all things that I know I CAN do. Every time I accomplish one of these things, my goals get a little bigger. So I guess that’s one thing.
Also, surround yourself with people that believe in you and are excited. Surround yourself with good energy people and know that if you are trying to make a name for yourself just to make it big and be famous, you shouldn’t do it. You should be following your passion because you have an inner need to do it, and because you love it and it’s in your blood.
For more photos and information about Sam Lachow, check out his website, samlachow.com.