RECREATIONS (Sam Duckworth, formerly Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly.) recently released his first full-length album, Baby Boomers 2, a self-produced collection full of wide-eyed, big-dreaming, conscientious pop songs.
Recreations may be a new moniker for Sam, but his work ethic and refusal to stick to a template in either influence or sound is not just familiar but oh-so welcome. Falling half way between Get Cape..and his experiments, Recreations is the product of two years of investigation. Fans of GC.WC.F. will recognise his distinct lyrical sound, but in his own words Recreations is "more heart on sleeve, bolder, more direct, and a little bit more emo."
Andy Howells recently put questions to Sam ahead of his Le Pub show on May 14.
How did Recreations start - did you plan to end Get Cape. to reinvent as Recreations or was it a decision that was made after you finished as GC.WC.F.?
It felt to me that the Get Cape. name had reached its limitations, certainly felt like a product of a bygone era. It's important to me as a somewhat political musician, to stay as current as possible. I started to see 'nostalgia' creep in on posters and it was at this point that I decided that it was time for a new moniker. Get Cape. Served me well, but having to explain the name to people on a regular basis, coupled with the desire for anew beginning lead me to think of a new name. I had the recreations name before the end of Get Cape.. and the plan was always to transition into it, regardless of the sonic direction of the project. I had always planned to continue playing the older songs from my catalogue, but I liked the idea of being able to give these a twist following whichever direction Recreations took.
How would you describe your music?
I generally tend to describe it as Eclectic. The backbone certainly comes from a more "clubby" space, be it hip hop, house or jungle, whilst the songwriting is very much folk. Folktronica was a thing for a while, but was typified by a more lofi sound and Recreations has a very strong, subby bottom end, so doesn't really fit. I believe in 2016, partly due to the vast volume of music on offer, that music is becoming genre-less. I've always been into the idea of mixing things up and thankfully this has always been accepted by people who listen to my music. The commonality between the tracks is usually the finger style guitar and the delivery of my vocal.
Who are your musical inspirations?
My musical influences are very much eclectic like the sound I try to fuse together. I grew up as a punk, playing diy shows and working with a community that was very much focused on the idea of being yourself, taking risks, all whilst sticking together. Similar scenes exist in different sonic spaces, be it Drum and Bass or Indie or House. I tend to gravitate towards musical communities where expression is the key driving force over commercial success. As much as I love the idea that this is my job, at times it feels more like a calling. Shy Fx has been a big influence, certainly in terms of how to carve out longevity and move with the times. Billy Bragg has been great at teaching me how to stand tall in the wind tunnel of political music. I think that I am blessed to be surrounded by inspiring people, there's very much an undercurrent of change within British independent music as the last days of the old guard grind to a halt. I find more inspiration in the thought that "anything's possible" than anything else. To be surrounded by people who subscribe to the same ideology is both refreshing and uplifting.
Can you tell us about your current release?
Baby Boomers 2 is certainly my most focused record to date. In many ways it feels like a continuance of the writing style I have previously used but by having a new beginning its allowed me to be a little more defined in the sonic pallet. Lyrically, the album is about the gap between the "Millenials" and the "Baby Boomers."
Those that used to be called Gen X'ers, and the clunky titled "pre millennials." I think there is a massive social divide inside a traditional generation gap, mostly in regards the time social media and mobile tech was adopted by the user. Specifically, did this happen pre or post puberty. I feel that social media has had more of an influence on young people than any single factor since the second world war. Having been 20 when this boom really started, I often meet people who had social media in secondary school and feel a much larger communication divide than I expected. The traits of the millennials that are attributed to people around my age do not feel applicable, yet I also don't feel like a product of the Gen X era.
The reason for Baby Boomers 2, is due to a repeat in the social conditions of the first Baby Boom, vast wealth increase, mass reproduction but also the conditions of the downward curve. I feel like, similarly, this generation has a massive class gap between parents and children, certainly in the inner cities. Many working class parents found their property almost tripling in value and its not uncommon to find children of working class parents with the disposable income and opportunity of the upper classes. As a result there is a generation in flux. There seems to be a rise in social anthropological thinking along these lines, but its complexities have made it difficult to translate into "big marketing" and thus we have become a terminology-less generation.
Why Baby Boomers 2? I thought it was funny, but certainly comes from a place of connectivity between the songs.
What's been your live show highlight so far?
There have been so many, for that I feel very blessed. One of my favourites was the Amazing Grace Glastonbury show. The idea was to make a 1 hour long, live mixtape, using at least 5 different artists and 5 different genres. We had Billy Bragg, Kate Nash, Jehst, Riz Mc, Rumour Cubes, Sweet Billy Pilgrim and Myself rotating instruments and positions whilst keeping the flow of the show intact. We pooled resources to have 2 sets of drums, a horn section, a string section and a constant narrative without breaking the musical flow. It took about 2 months to put together, required 37 passes and 3 vehicles, which in a festival that size was a challenge in itself. The fact it went so well fills me with great pride. I also loved being a part of Africa Express. Reworking Felas classic "Water no get enemy" into a live Jungle song with Flea, Shy Fx, The Gorillaz, Kano, Bashy and my get cape band was a really fun thing to do.
I'm a big fan of stepping out of my comfort zone and trying to push myself as far as possible with the limitations feeling like shackles that need to come off.
What can we expect from your forthcoming Newport Gig?
Newport feels a bit like a second home to me. I met my partner in Newport and spent 18 months committing up for weekends. I have a lot of love and respect for Sam, Matt and all those involved with Le Pub. It's a hub of musical community that is very much outward looking. They spend a great deal of time working on causes greater than just "having a good time."
I feel like Newport is an incredibly underrated place, lots of enthusiastic and creative minds. As a result I imagine this is going to feel like a hometown show. Lots of fun and lots of energy. I've spent a long time building this live show. It was a dream of mine at the very beginning to be able to play multiple instruments and to loop and effect my voice and instruments without having to break stride in the song. Thankfully the technology has caught up and I'm able to bring a one man show that has visuals and a dynamic that makes it feel more like a show than an acoustic gig. This is the closest I've been able to replicate my imagination into a physical entity and its going to be lovely sharing it with my friend in Newport.
What can we expect from you in the future?
Without trying to sound too cliche, I just want to play! Now I am confident in both the portability and tangibility of this show, I want to play everywhere and anywhere. I am very committed to both the sound and the subject matter of this record and am determined to bring it to anywhere that is willing. I am of a firm belief that the most exciting places in the UK are outside of the major cities, that the fringes have the creative room to breathe and develop ideas. Newport will always feel like a musical second home, as long as Le Pub is still there, so I hope this will be the first in a new love affair between Recreations and Newport.
- A version of this Q&A appeared in The South Wales Argus entertainment supplement, The Guide on May 13, 2016.
- For further details on Recreations visit his official website.