Mustard had the pleasure of speaking with Boston’s Sam Anderson. Together we discussed Berklee College, playing bass for musicians such as Cameron Lane, their creative process, their newest single “The Wrong Name” and so much more!
1. Mustard is thankful to have you join them. How are you doing today?
Happy to be here, Mustard! I can’t complain, just played a great show with my friend Cameron Lane, alongside bands JVK and Forest. A killer lineup!
2. You are a current student at Berklee College of Music. How has your experience been? What are you studying?
My experience at Berklee so far has been greater than I ever thought possible. Not only am I learning from and playing with incredible musicians every single day, but I’m also meeting the kindest, most genuine people. I’m studying Vocal Performance with a secondary focus on Flute. It’s intense for sure, I’m constantly practicing and performing, but I wouldn’t want it any other way.
3. What advice would you give to aspiring or incoming Berklee students?
I think my biggest piece of advice to prospective Berklee students would be to always remind yourself that you are exactly where you’re supposed to be in your musical journey. There’s always going to be someone who can play that scale a little faster or someone who’s been out in the scene a little longer. Instead of getting down on yourself, remember that you are constantly growing, and you can learn something from every single person you meet.
4. When did you begin making music? Who are some of your influences?
I’ve loved music ever since I was a little kid. My first hands-on experience with music was when I picked up the flute in 2nd grade. It all snowballed from there, really. In terms of songwriting, my influences are people like Carole King, The Carpenters, Alison Krauss, Neil Young, and James Taylor.
5. You create bio-digital jazz. Could you elaborate more on this genre of jazz.
Haha!! Funnily enough, “Bio-digital jazz, man” is actually a quote said by Jeff Bridges’ character Kevin Flynn in the movie Tron Legacy. Not to get all cheesy, but I love that quote because it’s how I would describe what it’s like to live in today’s world. Every day is a crazy mish-mash of feelings, people, sounds, screens, and ideas. Bio-digital jazz. I guess it’s more a way of life than a genre. But if you want me to elaborate on Sarah Vaughan or Ellington or something like that, I will.
5. You play bass for Cameron Lane, Yael Hayem, and Jess Detor. What is it like to play bass for each? When did you begin playing bass?
Oh, it’s a blast. Every show with them is so much fun, and I can’t wait to see how far we can go. All three artists are fantastic musicians and wonderful friends. Even better, all three have completely different styles. I would describe Cam’s music as the type of indie rock you’d listen to while driving down the highway on a long trip. It always has this interesting sense of longing and contemplation, with a driving beat and downright genius lyrics. Yael’s music is also in that indie rock genre, but it’s the type of music I’d listen to while taking a walk through a garden on a cloudy day. Every song is a journey, and her attention to detail in her lyrics serves as a reminder that it really is about the small things. Jess’ music is off the chain. Her music is the type I’d turn up to 100 and totally rock out and dance to. She is 90s-girl-rock-grunge brought back to life, like the entirety of MTV’s Daria was made into a person.
Not only are the three band leaders incredible, but the band behind them is the greatest. Some of my best friends are in these bands with me, like my friend Daisy, She is the drummer in both Cam and Jess’ bands, and somehow she still has time to kill it in her other bands, Women in Peril and Motherwise.
I started playing bass spring semester of 9th grade. The high school jazz band needed a bassist, and I just happened to have one that I didn’t know how to play yet.
6. Is it true that some humans slap-a-da bass?
Who told you that?? Because it is absolutely true. I myself am not the slappiest of bass humans, though. The slappiest bassist I know is actually my friend Max Kozol.
7. What is your creative process?
If I had to sum it up: You know when you try to get a big load of socks from the washer to the dryer in one go without dropping any, but you end up with most of your stuff on the floor? That would be the best representation of my creative process, I think. I always go into a project with an organized approach, but it all eventually blows up into a cascading mess of lyrics, melodies, harmonies, and socks. Allowing the process to just be messy always works out better for me in the long run though, so it’s fine.
8. Mustard watched “The Late Late Show” at least ten times. What was your involvement in this video?
Oh man, you did a DEEP dive. The Late Late Show was a direct result of quarantine-induced boredom. I was sitting around in my room 90% of the time and just thought: “What if I tried to make an animation right now? Just for sh*ts and giggles??”. So I grabbed some paper and started drawing! I love how it turned out, it’s just this grimy little weird creation of mine. There’s another animation on the “i ate a quarter once” channel, called Dine With Me! (By the way, I did actually eat a quarter once… accidentally)
9. You have released a variety of covers on YouTube. How do you decide what songs to cover?
A lot of my cover song ideas come from my mom and dad, actually! Most of the songs I cover are ones they raised me on growing up. I have a running list of nostalgic childhood songs, and I kind of randomly pluck ones from that.
10. “I’ll give you a call in eight years when I’ve got myself in line.” really stuck out to Mustard. What does this lyric mean to you? Is this a reference to society’s expectations on humans?
That’s a line from my song Sweet Old Friend, and I’m starting the recording process on that right now! I wrote that song at 16, after my first big breakup. It was your typical breakup, my partner went away to college and I was still in high school, so clearly it wasn’t going to work. At that age, I felt like there was no one else on the planet for me, so this entire song, especially that line, is a promise that we’ll meet again someday after I get to a better place in life. Of course, with age, things heal and change, but I’ll never disregard how much that relationship meant at the time. I think everyone needs a big heartbreak when they’re young to help them grow up. It hurts like hell when it happens, but when you’re older, you realize how much more there is to life.
11. What was the inspiration behind your single “Constance” Could you share more about this single?
Constance was written during the peak of quarantine. Like all teenagers, I was unsure of my purpose, and especially during that time, I was extremely isolated. I was incredibly fortunate to be safe and healthy in my home, but that time was hard on all of us for so many different reasons. I was questioning a lot of things, even heavy stuff like the meaning of life. Constance is a conversation with myself, with my conscious, where I am essentially asking “If I was gone tomorrow, what would change?”. Sure, that’s a serious thing to think about, but writing that song made me realize how much beauty and substance there is to life, even during the dark parts.
12. Last week you released your newest single “The Wrong Name.” How does it feel to finally have this single out? Can you tell us more about “The Wrong Name?”
I feel SO RELIEVED. I must have slept 12 hours the day it came out, just because I could finally take a breath of fresh air. Recording that song was incredible, my collaborator Eric Colvin guided me through the process, and laid down the sickest piano, bass, and drum tracks. From there, my mixer Mike Moody wrapped the whole thing up in a perfect little bow. I wrote The Wrong Name this past spring in the middle of the night (like how most songs are written, let’s be honest). It was like the concept fell into my lap like ice cream on a hot day, and I had to grasp the words and melody before it all melted into a sticky, unsalvageable mess.
13. What is next for Sam Anderson?
Right now, I’m starting my own band, stocked with absolutely killer musicians! We are going to start playing shows all around Boston in the next few months, so get ready! Besides that, I’m also recording more music, and I see an album or EP in the future 😉
14. Where can readers listen to your music?
Quite literally anywhere! The most popular places are Spotify, Apple Music, and iTunes, but I’m also on Youtube, Amazon, Tidal, Napster, and basically every other streaming service. You can also reach out to me through Instagram to play together or just talk! Here’s a direct link to everything: Sam Anderson Linktree