Words: Ian Clement.
Sam Duckworth is currently doing a last ever Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly tour before doing his final ever show on the 12th of September (at least under the name of GCWCF). We managed to catch up with Sam before his show at King Tut’s in Glasgow to chat about the future and how the whole experience has been for him so far.
After ten years of GCWCF, why have you decided to stop using that name?
It just feels like the right time. I’m 28 now and ten years of doing this is amazing, and I’ve loved doing it. But I’m starting to get frustrated with the name and the limitations of having to build a set around songs that are from a period of my life that doesn’t really seem to be connected to where I am at the present.
Will you still play some GCWCF material in future live shows or are you done completely with your old material?
Maybe there will be the odd song that will pop into sets here or there, there are a few I don’t feel like I can leave behind but I’m not going to do this as a kind of “shedding the skin” then come back in a few months and do the same thing again. This is very much a clean break and it’s time to move forward.
Tonight is the fourth night of the tour, how has it been so far? Any emotional moments?
It’s been very strange. Manchester was amazing. Very sweaty and loud and a very standard Manchester gig! Liverpool was next and the Liverpool gig was the first time it sunk in and I thought “this is the last time this is all happening now”. We had a great show in Newcastle, it was a really good crowd and we played well. I’m feeling good about tonight as well [in Glasgow], it always feels like home here in King Tut’s, I don’t know how many times I’ve played here now. Everyone looks after you so well here. Yeah it should be good tonight, but with every venue that passes and every city we play to it’s like it’s quickly getting to that point where there will be no more.
You mentioned that the set list is mainly going to consist of songs from your debut (“Chronicles of a Bohemian Teenager”), are you bored of playing the same songs or are you still quite strongly connected to them?
I’m connected to them this time around because I’ve spent two months preparing the set and I was completely disconnected from them before I started which is probably why I’ve decided to stop. I mean, in the headspace I understand why I wrote those songs, so it’s not like I’m going on stage and just going through the motions but it was a real conscious journey to get back into that headspace.
Do you usually look forward to playing to a Scottish crowd? We sometimes get a reputation for just “going for it”, is that something you noticed?
I think it’s funny because there are certain cities that have a certain reputation for having really larey shows but it’s a respect thing you know? You never feel anything other than the fact that people are appreciative of you coming but at the same time expect you to give as much as their going to give and it kind of makes for great shows. Glasgow’s a listening crowd as well, so I could drop into an acoustic number and nobody is going to go “play something else!”
You definitely get a sense that people are into the songs and they’ve come to hear the songs and they want to see you play. I think it’s been like that for the whole tour in the sense that it’s the final one everyone knows it’s going to be the last time. I’m intrigued to see what it’s going to be like tonight, especially since it’s a Monday!
You have a new album out in October (the crowd funded “Amazing Grace”), so obviously you’ll be busy with that after this tour, but what are your plans after that? Any other projects in the pipeline?
I’m going to concentrate on getting ready for that album and then I’m going to take some time out, because this is all I’ve known since I was 18! There’s very much a sense of this being a good chance to put things at rest and just appreciate some time away from music. It’s not that I don’t love it; otherwise I wouldn’t be doing it at all. I’m ready for a bit of time to think and relax and get ready to work out what I’m going to do next. The solo record is perfect for that, I’ve got two under my belt now and I haven’t really toured the first one at all. I came up here once and everyone was all for it so I’ve got a catalogue of songs that I’m ready to play and I’m in the headspace that I can transition into it quite comfortably.
Are there any plans to do things away from the spotlight in the future? Maybe producing?
I’m actually producing the record for Seán McGowan who’s supporting me for this tour! I’ve been working with him for about a year getting things together and we spent the last month in the studio before going on tour and we’re going to finish it off when we get back.
Any Scottish bands that have captured your interest?
I absolutely love The Xcerts! I can’t wait for this new record. I mean they’re a special band. Scottish bands, and especially three piece Scottish bands sometimes get stuck with the phrase “we’re waiting for them to have their Biffy Clyro moment” but what does that even mean you know? The thing with The Xcerts is that there is no band out that is tighter. There is no other three piece band on the planet as good as them, and hopefully this new album is the one. It seems to be starting well for them but I really hope this is the record where people will see how special they are.
Any advice for upcoming musicians?
It’s a commitment. The one thing I’m really coming to grips with is, especially after a decade, is that there are ups and downs and there are as many downs as there are ups. If this is truly something that you want to do then you can achieve anything, you got to get your head down and keep your heart in the right place. But another thing to remember is that no matter how much you love music, don’t let art get in the way of your life. You need have that balance, otherwise the train comes off the tracks and you’re left with the band but no friends.