Imagine announcing a launch gig for an EP that hasn’t yet been written. Now imagine it’s in less than three months’ time. Finally, imagine that up until now, the artist in question has generally been producing one or two songs per year. The artist who had indeed put himself in this slightly precarious position is Sam Eason. The EP now has a title – ‘Undertow EP’, and – thankfully for Sam – now has songs.
This is Sam’s second EP release, following 2015’s ‘With Hope’.
Having had the frustration of not really being inspired to write any new music for quite a while, Sam decided to look back at the most fruitful time for his songwriting. Back in 2015, Sam came up with a similar idea for ‘BathSongs’, where he set himself a deadline to write some folk songs about the history of Bath. With more than a slight air of trepidation, He decided to utilise the same tactic by setting up the EP release and launch gig for January to push himself to start writing again.
It became clear from a very early stage for Sam that there was actually a swell of material that was waiting to be written around his ongoing battle with depression and anxiety. Sam says: “I’d touched on some of the issues I’d had before in my writing but without the understanding of what depression really meant. After a turbulent year coming out of a bad place, through to getting well with several fluctuations since, I have come to realise what it really means to suffer from a mental illness and that putting some of it into words (and music) is a way of helping me to deal with it. I would love to think that being open about my depression may help others to make sense of it too.”
That’s not to say the EP is a sombre affair; the anthemic ‘Undertow’ has a soaring chorus up there with the catchiest Sam has written; ‘If You’re With Me’ is a delicate and pretty ode to the concept of being stronger together. The melancholic ‘White Noise (Anxiety Song)’ is an aching synopsis of some of the experience of suffering from a mental illness. ‘Home’ is a swaying, swooning resolution to the ‘Undertow’ story with a choral singalong ending that is sure to be a future set-closer.
Despite the reservations, Sam ended up writing and recording the whole EP in around six weeks. He produced the whole EP using only his iPhone and a free online mastering service (MajorDecibel.com
) to give it a bit more presence. Undertow EP was released on iTunes, Spotify and Google Play on Saturday 28th January. To celebrate its release, Sam debuted the songs live at a launch party at St James’ Wine Vaults in Bath on the same evening. The gig had sold out within 36 hours of tickets going on sale, but Sam is likely to be announcing more dates to follow in early 2017.