INTERVIEW Megan Smith
The oh-so dreamy Guineafowl (or Sam Yeldham, as he’s known to his friends and family), is releasing his sophomore album, “I Hope My City Loves Me Still” on October 11. We were lucky enough to score an interview with the Sydney muso about his new music and the origin behind his moniker.
Your 2011 debut High Anxiety was filled with songs that were quite anthemic, how is your new EP, “I Hope My City Loves Me Still” different, sound-wise?
I don’t think it’s different, anthem wise, it’s still kind of anthemic but it’s different. It’s more mature sounding; it’s a bit more developed. Structurally, it’s a lot more thought out. That first EP was very fluid, this one has a few more parts to it and it’s definitely more deliberate in the way that it’s written.
[The first EP] “Hello Anxiety” seemed like more of D.I.Y effort, how did the recording process change when you made I Hope My City Loves Me Still?
It didn’t change hugely. I still demoed the songs totally, I had every part worked out before I went into the studio and I had other musicians come in and play things. What changed was that we had more time in the studio and I had more time with the producer, who in this case was Paul Fung, who engineered the first EP. The first EP was done in 24 hours; it was recorded super quickly, whereas this one was made over a few weeks. That meant I had times to get things exactly how I wanted them.
The new EP seems to be a somewhat nostalgic affair, what was the inspiration behind the songs?
Love. It was written in a weird period where I was walking around Sydney a lot. The surroundings heavily influenced how it was written. It was also a period in my life that was fraught with relationship issues so those two themes kind of merged into one.
The video for your single Little Fingers was made backwards, and your single “Little Deaths (Make It Rain)” that’s just come out is kind of brain-bending as well. How important do you find music videos are for the message of a song?
Really important, I think they can totally dictate how someone interprets the song. I think they’re really, really important. Visuals are such a good way of helping people look at, or realise, what a song is about. It helps the words translate and it helps people formulate their own images in terms of what the song means to them.
I have to ask this question and I’m sorry because you probably get it a lot, but why did you decide on Guineafowl for your moniker?
It’s a very common question, but that’s okay because it’s a weird name. It was a nickname that I was given in high school. A teacher decided to pick on me a little bit by calling me ‘guinea pig’ as a consequence of my fringe being really long and it would cover my face, which is appropriate for a child. As I got older, that teacher, for no reason, started calling me ‘guinea fowl’ and when choosing a name for myself it just seemed like the one that made the most sense. Even though I didn’t really like it, it had a kind of meaning for me. The alternative was to go to a band name generator online and find one that way, but I didn’t want to get like ‘The Purple Vacuum Cleaner’ or something like that.
I thought that maybe it was a symbolic thing. I actually googled what the guinea fowl symbolises, do you know what it means in Africa?
I do! They’re used as alarms, the birds, and they look like disfigured turkeys and they make the worst sound. So it is somewhat apt.
Thanks for your time Sam.
Little Deaths (Make it Rain)