Recently I caught up with Sam Herschmann, a talented London based 16-year-old to find out about his work and what it's like committing to two bands (Park Motive and Shoot-Up Hill) as student and his music in general. Aside from being musically talented he's good humoured, down to earth and super nice! He's also he's super nicely let me premier his two latest tracks PINK ON THE WALLS so what more could you ask for really>
Tell us about your bands!
Shoot-up Hill is with two of my friends, Ben and Ollie, and that's been going for years - since late 2011. And it's changed quite a bit. Lots of people have been leaving it, joining it, due to various different things. And the genres kind of inspired by indie and sort of mainstream... I dunno mainly it's just based around RadioHead.
You've been in from the beginning then?
Yeah, I was one of the founders - one of the two founders.
Tell us about Park Motive then, is this an independant thing you have on the side of Shoot-up Hill?
Yeeah yeah, it's a complete side project. Basically, I found myself often doing lots and lots of demos for the band. I found myself turning more electronic and recording and producing stuff that was pretty much impossible to play in the Shoot-up Hill format. So I sort of just named it 'Park Motive' and sat on all these demos for a long time and then eventually wanted to release them. Even though some of the early ones I think... looking back on them I don't really think they're any good. They're kind of like lo-fi I guess.
So would you say it's more experimental?
Oh yeah definitally!
Cool! So how did you get these names 'Park Motive' and 'Shoot-Up Hill? Where did they come from?
Shoot-Up Hill is a road, a main road very close to my old house and me and one of the original members, we both lived very close to it. We just thought it was a really cool name for a band haha... Even though looking back on it, it has ... drug connotations. Which is a bit sort of awkward.
Haha well that's funny isn't it it has a story to it
Bit of irony I guess, and uh park motive is a bit weird because I use to spend a lot of time - and I still do - in like the summer I used to spend loads of time in parks. All these people used to ask me what I was doing or if I was doing anything that night or in the day I'd be like "Yeee it's park motive."
Haha cute I like that. So when was your last gig?
Uhmm quite a while ago, it was in mid-december. I was supporting for Strung and that was a Park Motive gig - that was the first ever Park Motive gig! And before that was a Shoot-Up Hill gig. Way before... I don't remember we haven't been given much just because of work and AS Levels and stuff.
Yeah of course, it's difficult to balance out.
So obviously, as you just said, you're still at school so you don't make a full profession of this because you're doing A Levels. You do get gigs quite regularly, I'd say, for a school band or rather a band that's still at school. How do you manage to get these gigs and how is it organised?
Well, we used to have this promoter. Basically he just used to get us gigs and the thing with promoting - a band promoter - is a lot of the time the just want your money. This guy, he was different because it was less about money and more about because he just liked our music. Yeah, he just got us gigs under pretty good terms.
Recently we haven't really been contacting him much... I usually leave that all down to Ollie haha - Ollie's the business side.
You very much involve yourself in the writing element for songs in Shoot-Up Hill and obviously for Park Motive which is just you. How do you go about the process of writing?
Well it's always instruments first and all instrumation... instrumentation(!) is laid down first.
And uhh lyrics are always the last thing because I'm awful at lyrics.
What equipment do you use?
My live equipment is centered around Ableton Live (a computer software). I use an akai pad to control it all in real time. Also I use guitar pedals as effects which are a lot of fun.
I've also got a mixer to combine all of these at gigs.
Do you ever find it hard to write? Do you have to be in the right zone?
Basically, it starts off either just finding either a cool guitar riff or a cool synth and in order to get that I have to like muck around with stuff for quite a while. And a lot of the time I just can't find sound and so I usually just put the guitar down or turn off the computer. And yeah sometimes I find a cool sound and usually that's how songs begin...yeah, but a lot of the time I just have to scrap everything I've done because it's not really worth the time.
Who would you say your musical idols are? Who inspires you?
I guess when I was about 11, I first heard RadioHead and I spent like a good part of a year listening to all their songs. Every single thing they released which is quite a lot. So a lot of my stuff sounds like them quite a bit and that's why. But now I try to like vary my music taste as much as possible. I listen to Electronic and sort of guitar music and a lot of Jazz Fusion too - I like Jazz Fusion. Yeah, so I think in order to get a more interesting sound, you need more influences from all kinds of genres.
Yeah I think that's a good point, and also, RadioHead are super experimental anyway so it's a good starting place definitely.
Out of all your work, what are you most pleased with?
I'm most pleased with 'Spread The Fire' and 'Store', that's the kind of music I really enjoy producing as opposed to the more dancey stuff.
Do you think music and what you're doing now is something you're going to want to persue for a potential career later on?
On the side lines I think, yeah. But for now I'm just working - focusing on school work. But I'm always gonna be making music.
What advice would you give to people wanting to start writing, perform or just getting their stuff out there?
My advice is to listen to as many different genres as possible - this means that if you start writing and/or producing then your sound will be more original and interesting as you tend to pick up ideas from what you listen to.
PREMIER: "Mooching" + "Alright"