Sam Williams and The Flock Of Bats are a folk trio from Truro. Even at 17, they’ve received glowing reviews from the likes of Tom Robinson (BBC 6music), been written about on the Huffington Post, and have also won a national competition to play at Cambridge Flock Festival 2013. The first band to play Indie Kitchen, Sam’s melancholic voice, Ethan’s harmonica, and Joe’s minimal banjo sound all come together to form an incredible set.
Q. For a band of your “new folk” genre, you have an unusual name, which certainly attracts a response. Can you take us through the meaning of it?
A. The band name was primarily influenced by Sam’s parents, we are big fans of their work, and we decided to take the first half of our name from the title of their first piece “Sam Williams”. Many see it as derivative, however we feel that mimicry is the highest form of flattery. “Flock of Bats” came to Ethan and Joe in a shared dream state that they experienced after eating their lunch too quickly.
Q. Have you had any alternative interpretations of it?
A. Lot’s of people mistake us for One Direction. We are told that this is because of the similarities between our names and musical styles. We also get accused of being called “Sam Williams and the Block of Flats” rather frequently, which becomes awkward when such accusers try to enter our elevator shafts.
Q. Sam, some of your lyrics are very mature for someone of your age (17), Are they grounded in real experiences, and if not, where do you get your inspirations for them?
A. Sam’s actually a forty year old man, it just helps the band’s image if he poses as the youngest member of the band. Most of the lyrics and themes are fictional extrapolations of Sam’s personal experiences.
Q. The band seems to be gaining momentum; online attention and having been played by Tom Robinson on BBC Radio 6Music, have you been recognised on the the street by devoted female fans yet?
A. We’ve had a couple of those actually, it’s dead bizarre when it happens too! One of them was in a music shop in front of some pretty well-respected musicians, which was rather cool. It only occurred to Sam and Joe afterwards that they were wearing exactly the same clothes as when the particular ‘fan’ that recognised them had seen them previously. So you know, you win some, you lose some.
Q. Having received the attention you have; including playing at Cambridge Folk Festival, Beach Break Live and been mentioned in the Huffington Post, and obviously reached the heights of Indie Kitchen (!) – what comes next for Sam Williams and the Flock of Bats in 2013 and 2014?
A. Getting a fricking second EP out! We’ve been trying to record it since February, and are finally making some progress with it, but it’s still rather slow and laborious, particularly for the people who have to hear “our new EP will be out soon” at every gig. Long term we are all heading off to Uni, so we plan to play as many gigs as we can over the next year, including an excursion up to London, where apparently there are audiences that include more than Sam’s parents and one or two disgruntled locals.
Q. How was the Indie Kitchen experience for you?
A. Indie Kitchen really amazing, it was such an honour to be asked to kick off a line up of such brilliant acts. The session was properly fun, barking dogs and Sam’s nervous face being the highlights of the evening, and looked and sounded great afterwards, no thanks to our performance, or in fact our goofy facial expressions throughout we may add.
Q. As our very first act on Indie Kitchen, there is obviously the big concept proving question: “How were the cakes?”
A. We loved the cakes! (Sam particularly loved the cakes, you’d think he doesn’t get fed, the poor lamb) We are big fans of sweet treats, and the fantastic spread supplied by the folks at Indie Kitchen was no exception. Let it be known that SWATFOB verily enjoyed shoving their faces into Indie Kitchen’s sweet, creamy buns.
Q. Nashville Country singer, Caitlin Rose recently said that when she records her Indie Kitchen session, she wants to actually do some cooking as part of the session. What would the Flock of Bats cook?
A. Well we should probably say something that would encapsulate the band’s image, right? So it would would likely be something minimalist. We feel like rice cakes would suffice: tasteless and full of air.