INTERVIEW: Samantha Durnan | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

Narc. Magazine Online

Reliably informed

Image by Jodie Canwell

With a love for all things guitar and guitar culture, it feels more than appropriate for local axe wielder Samantha Durnan to make an album full of loud guitars and heavy riffs, yet if you’d asked her 18 months ago what her debut album might sound like it’s likely you would have received a totally different answer: “I used to play acoustic guitar but then over lockdown I found guitar peddles and that was it, I’ve gone full electric now and I’m fully kitted out with an Orange amp and a stack of pedals!”

Whilst lockdown wasn’t a particularly great time for us all, the consequences of Durnan’s time to herself and her acoustic-to-electric pivot has culminated in her album Flickering The Wild Mind. Storming with energy in a style that blends the classic rock songwriting of Stevie Nicks to the pop/rock guitar sound of HAIM, the album showcases a mature, accessible sound which bristles with energy and passion. Acoustic background noise this is not: Flickering The Wild Mind’s loud guitars, heavy riffs and centred pop punk melodies make this an album that firmly sits in the foreground.

The album was created in her home studio. “This was the first album I’ve fully produced, so working at home allowed me to press record and not have other voices around me in the studio which I found really helpful,” she explains. Lockdown also provided Durnan with space to experiment with her sound and try to new ideas and guitar techniques in an attempt to create a sound that is both experimental but also grounded in classic rock: “I’ve gone for a simple pop rock feel with the album, I wanted to show off a bit with the guitar but also make it a modern pop rock feel that’s mainstream.”

I wanted to show off a bit with the guitar but also make it a modern pop rock feel that’s mainstream

Choosing to self-produce, Durnan says that Flickering The Wild Mind also benefits from the atmosphere she created and a space that might have not been available in a recording studio setting. “My favourite thing is to record, and I’m totally driven by the emotion of it, so self-producing also helped as it let me really get into the zone fully and play what I feel with time to really hear the music – it’s the first time I’ve accomplished this.”

As a talented multi-instrumentalist it’s perhaps no surprise that Durnan is already thinking about how to recreate the music live; and an album launch at Stockton’s Georgian Theatre is planned for Thursday 16th September. “I thought about playing this music live when I was in the studio so it’s always been on my mind. I’ve started working through the songs with a band already and we’ve already worked out the core structure of the show. We’re likely to play the whole album track by track, but I want to make sure every player in the band has time to know not just their parts but also how they add parts of their own style to the songs.”

For Samantha, it’s clear that whatever style she chooses, her creativity will always be backed by a desire to capture a sound as well as a spirit.

Samantha Durnan releases Flickering The Wild Mind on 13th August. She plays The Georgian Theatre, Stockton on Thursday 16th September


Like this story? Share it!

Subscribe to our mailout