If you haven’t heard of Victoria musician Sam Weber yet, you’re about to thank us.
The 23-year-old Vancouver Island songwriter has played more than 150 shows in the past two years, including appearances at Canadian Music Week, Tall Tree Music Festival, Rifflandia and SunFest — and we’re willing to bet that he’s about to blow up big time any day now.
With influences like Jackson Brown, Joni Mitchell and Bruce Springsteen, the man can play a guitar like nobody’s business. Plus, his band (comprised of the ultra talented Marshall Wildman, Hugh Mackie and Esme John) is just about to release its second album, Valentina Nevada, on Cordova Bay Records.
And we can’t overlook the fact that their new music video features Hal Johnson and Joanne McLeod (Bodybreak!).
We caught up with Sam to ask how growing up on the Island has influenced his music and to pick his brain about his favourite spots in and around Victoria.
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North Saanich. I went to Stelly’s High School for the French immersion program there. What I liked about it is it kept me out of trouble because my nearest friends were like a half hour away. I think it kinda kept me — for better or for worse — more in my head as a songwriter, focusing on something very personal.
2) How did you get into music?
My family is musical. My dad has been playing music since he was young. I started piano lessons when I was little, then quit. I came back at 12 and picked up a guitar, got back into piano and stayed involved in music through the school system at Stelly’s, where I was in band.
3) When did you start song writing?
I was 14 or 15. I wasn’t really sharing any of that until the last year of high school. Our first show was at 1 a.m. at Lucky when we were all under age. Something must have wrapped up at Upstairs or something and we played to this full Lucky Bar. There’s a lot of mythology around Lucky Bar for us.
4) What’s it like to work with Cordova Bay Records?
They’re sweet. They’re not really trying to be a trendy, sexy label, which I really appreciate. They’re more focused on just doing a good job of getting music heard. The last time I checked they were one of the few record labels in Canada that makes money. They’re making some power moves right now too — they’re signing a bunch of pretty varied and interesting artists, like Rykka, who just played the Eurovision song competition.
5) What was the first concert you remember attending?
Little Feat at the Royal Theatre, which was likely part of Jazz Fest. I was probably about 10.
6) What’s your favourite venue to play at on the island?
7) Do you have a favourite hike?
My go-to is the Horth Hill Park. It’s close to my house and if you go on a weekday, it’s super quiet. It’s got nice views of the peninsula.
8) How about a favourite lake?
Killarney Lake, up behind Prospect. It’s super, super nice. There are always at least like seven eagles chilling on the shore. It’s a 10-minute hike in, which is usually a pretty good deterrent for lazy people.
9) What are your favourite spots to eat?
The Parsonage is definitely the go-to breakfast spot. I really like eating Vietnamese food, so I’ll eat at Green Leaf or Pho Boi. I love Bin 4 — I’m a Bin 4 believer. I also just had Tacofino for the first time a couple days ago and it was epic. But Red Barn Market is where I do most of my feeding.
10) Do you have a favourite local band?
I really like Jon & Roy. I’m the pickiest listener and I won’t cut bands any slack just because they’re local. Jon & Roy is high rotation for me. I think they’re great. Their album By My Side was really, really great.
Get tickets for Saturday’s double album release show with Quoia online or at Guitars Plus on Blanshard Street. They cost $20 and include copies of both albums (howzat for a deal?).
This interview was condensed for brevity and radness.