In a bar crammed with 10 people, music was blaring and the weather was cold but Impact couldn’t let the Manchester weather stop us from talking to the talented Samm Henshaw after he opened up for Chance the Rapper in the Manchester Academy.
“It’s not about you trying to get the crowd to do something, it’s just about everyone doing it together”
Impact: How you doing bro?
Samm Henshaw: I’m very good, we’re at a bar right now, it’s very noisey, it’s mad.
I: Looking at your show, I have to be honest, that was my favourite show since seeing Kojey Radical, I know you guys are friends…
S: That’s my boy!
I: You had the same vibe, you made sure to keep the crowd entertained and involved in the show, is that something you make a conscious effort to do?
S: Yeah, I mean, I was raised in church, and I guess I’m still being raised in church; but in church it’s very much about everyone’s doing it together, [including] the congregation. It’s not about you trying to get the crowd to do something, it’s just about everyone doing it together, so I guess I kind of took that element and said ‘let me try and put that in my music and in my shows and let’s just vibe out together as opposed to me singing at you for like however long it is and seeing whether you like it or not’.
“I think Chance fans are insane, they really do vibe and enjoy whatever’s going on”
I: So I was talking to Craig (Tour Manager) and you guys have been all over Europe…
S: It’s been crazy!
I: How would you describe it so far?
S: Hectic… that’s the one word I can use for every evening. It hasn’t been as fun and as great as we would have hoped, it’s no one’s fault, it’s just because we’ve had to travel so much, and I can imagine it’s been the same for Chance. It’s so nuts. It’s been so back and forth, like tomorrow we don’t even get a chance to settle down in London. We go to London, do the show and go to Paris all in the same night. So yeah it’s hectic, but we’re trying to make the best of the situation.
I: So in terms of being on stage, what’s been your favourite show so far?
S: Ooo…[He consults his bass player Jordan Bikila] We played in Holland didn’t we? I think Tilburg was, no not yesterday, the day before, I think Tilburg was pretty dope… Everywhere’s been great! I think Chance fans are insane, they really do vibe and enjoy whatever’s going on, but I would say I’d pick Tilburg out of all of the places we’ve been so far.
“They really taught me how to be an adult in the music industry and how to approach things inside and outside of music”
I: So you studied Pop Music Performance at University?
S: I did yeah.
I: How much has that helped you?
S: I think the course definitely… How do I put this without saying it didn’t [help me] [chuckles] because it did help me in areas. I mean I wouldn’t have understood the industry as much if it wasn’t for my course; I wouldn’t have known how to construct tiny things like a rehearsal and to put that together if it wasn’t for the course. You know team exercises and stuff like that, I guess there’s so much you can be taught [but] more of it is through experience which is what definitely happened in this situation. They taught me music theory as well, but they really taught me how to be an adult in the music industry and how to approach things inside and outside of music.
“He was like ‘he’s creative, let him be creative'”
I: So obviously you’re of Nigerian descent?
S: Of course.
I: Not every time you mention music as a career parents are supportive, or they want you to do something else at uni as a back up. How did your parents take you wanting to go to uni to study a music degree?
S: They were fine with it. I guess it’s because I played in church and they were like ‘he’s good at music’; I was a bit of a troublemaker growing up so they just needed to find a thing that was gonna keep me out of trouble, so there was that. My dad used to be an actor – he was a Nollywood actor in Nigeria. He understood. He was like ‘he’s creative, let him be creative’.
I: So you’re two EP’s in, both did well. Is there an album on the cards?
S: There’s always gonna be an album on the cards. As of when it’s coming, I’m not sure. But we are just working on a load of music, I’ve got a lot of songs, so now it’s about picking out what works and putting that together when we finish travelling.
“I think jamming is the best sign of creativity”
I: You’ve got a very talented band [I proceeded to fist bump Jordan] I hear the grooves and I feel like a lot of the instrumentation isn’t composed so much as it’s a product of just jamming, is that true?
S: Yes. I think jamming is the best sign of creativity. It’s the best sign of being able to gel. I guess because we’re all from church, well the majority of us came from a church background, we all just kind of saw that and were like ‘this is how it’s gonna go’, and it’s naturally become how we create.
I: Other than the tour, what are you looking forward to?
S: Putting out some new music, definitely looking forward to sleeping 100 per cent, I’m looking forward to Christmas a lot, and what comes for next year I’m definitely looking forward to that. But it’s sleep and then whatever comes next.
I: What can the fans look forward to?
S: New music, a lot more gigs – I really love gigging, we hate sleeping on the bus but we love gigging. Yeah, way more music, way more shows and whatever sort of comes our way.