Last week, Sam Vano released his debut EP Solitaire. Sam van Ommen, the Dutch songwriter, was previously known for Sam & Julia and these days plays guitar in Tim Knol‘s band. On this personal work, he sings bout solitude, escapism and being alone. His EP might remind you of musicians like Jeff Tweedy and Buck Meek, but it was Chet Baker who got Sam Vano back on track while producing Solitaire. In this session, he recorded the title track, a cover of Chet Baker’s I Get Along With You Very Well (Except Sometimes) as well as a cover of The Kinks’ Waterloo Sunset – on which he’s joined by his band and Cloud Cafe-singer Tara Wilts.
“Things get kind of blurry.”
Sam van Ommen: “I’ve always been a fan of The Influences’ sessions. For different reasons, but mainly because it runs on appreciation and love for music, for songs. And just like Matthijs, and everyone else on the channel, I love music and I love songs. I love writing them, playing them, covering them. So when I was preparing to release my debut EP, solitaire, I asked Matthijs if he’d have me for a session.”
“I wanted to film the session in the studio where I recorded the EP; Tin Pan Lizzy in Amsterdam. I spent many days and nights here over the course of 2021 and 2022 with Andrew Riezebeek, recording and mixing solitaire. There was no deadline, so we took our time to get everything out of it that we could. Sometimes we’d spend a whole day overdubbing, listen back after dinner and delete the whole lot. The title track of the EP is a song that I’m still kind of mystified by. When I try to remember how I wrote it or what was going through me, things get kind of blurry, like trying to remember a big night out. I know where I was and when it was, and that it took about an hour (judging from the time stamps on my voice memo app). But the rest is still a bit of a mystery, to be honest. It sounds cliché but it really is true that sometimes a song seems to write itself, and you’re just the pen and paper. The lightning rod that catches it.”
“Chet Baker got me excited about music again.”
“There was a time period in 2021 where we didn’t work on the EP at all. I was sick of music, sick of playing, sick of writing. Everything and everyone stressed me out and I ended up clearing out my agenda and spending most days walking around aimlessly. When I slowly started listening to music again, I listened to Chet Baker exclusively. The records where he sings. His voice was so soothing and these albums started to get me excited about music again. His version of I Get Along Without You Very Well (Except Sometimes) was the first I heard of that song. A beautifully written song that I thought I’d have a crack at.”
“As I’m writing this, I realize that maybe I subconsciously picked Waterloo Sunset because it fits my EP very well, thematically speaking. It’s about loneliness, or being alone, the hustle and bustle of city life, and about love. That’s solitaire in a nutshell. I also picked it because I love Elliott Smith’s version of it, and wanted to pay tribute to that. A cover within a cover. I’m a big fan of Tara Wilts and her band Cloud Café, so I asked her to join us and I’m so glad she did.”
Filmed & edited by Matthijs van der Ven. Audio recorded & mixed by Andrew Riezebeek.
Tin Pan Lizzy studio, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
Niels de Jonge
Thank you for watching and enjoying this session. You’ll probably like some other sessions from The Influences’ archive too, like this one by Sam & Julia.