My given name is Sam Yeldham but I tend to go by the pseudonym Guineafowl. I am a Sydney Musician. I began my career writing and recording into a laptop microphone in my apartment in Bondi. In 2011 I released my first EP Hello Anxiety comprised largely of demos recorded and mixed in that low fi way. After releasing my first EP I toured the country, played some festivals, played overseas a little and now I am about to release my second EP I Hope My City Loves Me Still.
You manage to do everything solo – recording, producing etc. How do you successfully balance your music and whatever else you do in life ie. Work, family time, etc.?
I don’t balance it particularly well! I have serious time management issues and spend way too much time at my computer for both music and work. Fortunately I have worked with some great musicians and producers in my career, which certainly makes the recording side of music easier. I take a long time to write as I demo quite elaborately so I have had quite a few sleepless nights in the creation of this EP. I think to do music in this day and age you have to sacrifice a lot. But music is a passion, and therefore is and always will be worth said sacrifice.
Now, your new EP, I Hope My City Loves Me Still, features the track ‘Little Death (Make It Rain)’. What was the inspiration behind the clip?
Alex, the Director of the clip came to me with the idea and I loved it immediately. It was such an interesting interpretation of the song, I think he and the rest of the Tribal Apes team have done a fantastic job. I am always in awe of directors so I am pretty happy to let them have their creative way.
What were the main influences for this EP?
Sydney would have to be the biggest influence, but we can talk about that down the page a little. Music wise, the things I was listening to at the time don’t at all appear on the EP. For example, I was listening to a lot of Motown whilst writing the EP, but the EP is not at all in that style. I think song structure wise it starts to show a little, lots of repetitions of choruses and they hit very early in the songs. Other then that, I was listening to a fair amount of Gary Numan at the time of writing, which certainly translates. I actually managed to get my hands on a synth used heavily by Gary and NIN and other really dense synth acts.
It also showcases a bit of collaboration! What was it like working with Paul Mac [The Dissociatives, Silverchair (touring band)]?
Working with Paul was excellent. He is a pop scientist and just knows what he is doing. He definitely taught me a lot in the time we spent together. I walked into his studio and he said “what sort of song do you want to write” and we went from there!
Now, when you signed with Dew Process in 2010, you were being put in a category with acts like Arcade Fire, Vampire Weekend – and superstar David Bowie! How did that feel, knowing you were being compared to such big names?
I admire all of those acts but always find it hard to actually hear the references myself?! I think I sound like David Bowie a little when singing, and I have the same birthday as him, so perhaps that’s where that comes from, well that and the fact that I am an intergalactic space man come to earth from mars to save rock and roll?! Jokes.
In April 2011, you started walking – or as you described, going on “stupidly big pilgrimages”. Can you tell us a bit about this?
I was going through a very turbulent time in my life and needed to walk in order to sleep at night. In going on these “pilgrimages” I was able to work through what I was feeling or thinking about and get exhausted enough that when I got home I could actually rest. But in doing these walks, the city, it’s landscape and features got tangled up in the things I was going through. So the relationships I was loosing started to become part of the city. It sounds nuts, but it got so interweaved that the walks were almost like reliving the things that were troubling me. Messed up hey?
Why does Sydney resonate so well for you?
It’s my home. I have mass amounts of Sydney pride but I don’t think that’s an unusual thing. I guess if I were a New Yorker, it wouldn’t be a real talking point, but sometimes I feel like we as Australian’s in general need to be super outward about our home town pride
A couple of years ago, you played more than 240 shows in the space of a year. How was that experience for you?
Exhausting. This country is very vast and driving around it certainly takes its toll mentally and physically however I loved every moment of it.
One of these shows involved you and six others were piled into a Bondi apartment to recreate these sounds. What can people expect from your shows this time around? Anything as crazy?
Haha, no. My days of cramming as many people as I can into a car or stage are over. My live act is a lot more stream lined these days. Though if someone has a kitchen handy and wants me to play in it, I will certainly oblige.
What can people do to get the most out of your new EP?
Listen to it whilst walking around their hometown. Really loudly. Whilst dancing.
‘I Hope My City Loves Me Still’ is out now through Dew Process
GUINEAFOWL – I HOPE MY CITY LOVES ME STILL AUSTRALIAN TOUR DATES
Wednesday 6th November – The Beach Road Hotel, Bondi
Sunday 10th November – Newtown Festival, Sydney
Thursday 12th December – Alhambra Lounge, Brisbane w/ SET SAIL
Friday 13th December – Beach Hotel, Byron Bay w/ SET SAIL
SUPPORTING BIRDS OF TOKYO:
Thursday 5th December – Wool Exchange, Geelong
Wednesday 11th December – Coolangatta Hotel, Gold Coast
Saturday 14th December – Panthers, Newcastle
Sunday 15th December – Waves, Wollongong
Watch the latest single ‘Little Death (Make It Rain)’