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One To Watch: KNOMAD SPOCK

30th November 2020

Knomad Spock (aka Samatar “Sam” Elmi) is delighted to announce the release of his sumptuous debut single ‘Papillon’ which is out now, giving the first taste of his sublime and ambitious forthcoming debut album scheduled for release in 2021.

Stream and share: https://ffm.to/papillon

A globetrotting epic that was written in parts across Saudi, Thailand (where Elmi was ‘unsuccessfully’ learning Muay Thai kickboxing), and Scotland, commenting on the serendipity of the track’s genesis, Elmi says: “I was in Scotland, on the Isle of Lismore. I had booked some studio time but really wasn’t sure whether I would go—I’m a bit too influenced by omens and superstition and the first attempt at crossing to the mainland was prevented by awful weather.”

“After the first amazing day of recording with Jamie [Smith, producer] I was so buzzing and elevated by the experience that I returned to my cottage on the island and started jamming out the other songs for the album, convinced that it was going to be a really special week.”

“Before I knew what was happening, lyrics that on reflection were about love, coronavirus, all my anxieties of the kind of human being I am, were flowing…it came from the subconscious and hit me in a way that nothing artistically had done before.”

“Next thing, Jamie composed the drums, the bells, the bass, additional guitars, and what was barely an idea became this beautiful arrangement. I think it’s a testament to his talents that we recorded the bulk of 10 songs, which he had never even previously heard demos of, over four days. Papillon was finished in half a day, but when I hear it, I can feel all those places that it was developed in represented—the sparsity of the desert, the bells and gongs of the far east, the storms of Scotland in winter…and all pretty much by complete chance.”

Commenting on working together, producer Jamie Smith says: “Sam arrived at my studio out of the blue, and 4 days later departed into the gloom of Covid lockdown, but during those few days the record was all but made. The songs were ready to appear. Sam carefully placed them in my mind, fully formed: the rest was just transcription. The important thing was to work quickly but accurately, translating and documenting, being faithful to the original intention as far as possible. Sam wanders the world; I rarely leave the glen. But we inhabit a common sound world. What once was imagined is made real. Only Sam and I could hear it at first…”

The album will be released via Hinterland Creative, a new platform from LIFE drummer Stewart Baxter for creative projects, collaborations, artistic outlet, music, and design from a handpicked collective of northern artists.

“I set up Hinterland Creative as a platform for creative projects and people,” explains Baxter, “using my experience to support and develop my own work as well as collaborate and support other artists—a place to join the dots and bring creative minds together. We’ve run workshops, made podcasts, designed album covers, and are now working on our first music release. I’ve been friends with Knomad Spock for 20 years; we grew up in the same streets and we share the same vision. Once I’d heard this beautiful record he’d made with the amazing producer Jamie Smith, I had no choice but to be a part of this journey.”

Sam Elmi is an enigmatic mixed-race British-Somali poet, rapper and neofolk singer-songwriter, who explores musical genres as extended analogies for his own multiethnic heritage. 

Rooted as deeply in the northern British working class community that raised him, as he is in the Somali nomadic traditions of his inheritance, as a songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, and in true nomadic keeping, Knomad Spock blurs the borders between punk, rap, folk, jazz and the avant garde. 

Elmi’s poetry has been published widely in the UK, with his debut collection Portrait of Colossus forthcoming in 2021 with groundbreaking British poetry publishers Flipped Eye Press, with his 2017 hip-hop EP, Preludes, released on renowned UK label SFDB Records followed by remixes with Chester P (Athens in Mordor, 2020).

Following such a fruitful partnership, Elmi and Smith are currently already planning the sessions for KNOMAD SPOCK’s follow up record.

Further details of the debut album TBA over the coming months.

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