Brooklyn-based musician, DJ, and producer Samanta Liza releases her debut album, Days of E.N.D., i.e., ‘Days of Extremely Non-Sensical Drama’ via But Did You Dance.
Lyrically, Days of E.N.D. probes into the significance of relationships and their impact on the course of our lives.
Samanta Liza explains, “What matters at the end of the day is how we relate to ourselves, how we relate to others, and how we relate to the collective. Without togetherness, life is nothingness.”
Written, composed, and produced by Samanta, with additional co-production from Panté and Aezon on the last three songs of the project, Days of E.N.D. reveals an array of musical genres, ranging from pop, dance, house, indie, techno, and alt-pop.
Born in Hawaii, Samanta has lived around the globe, including London, Sweden, Kuwait, Florida, Shanghai, and now Brooklyn. Samanta’s multi-cultural experiences imbue her sound with substance, style, and satisfying leitmotifs, at once nuanced and alluring.
CelebMix spoke with Samanta Liza to discover more about the person behind the music, the inspiration for Days of E.N.D., and her writing process.
What three things can’t you live without?
Can I count my music studio as one thing? I definitely cannot live without my laptop, i.e., the thing I use to produce music. Counting my music studio as one thing feels like cheating but choosing between instruments is very hard. I don’t want to have to pick one over the other. Though I’d be very depressed if I ever lost my voice, the same thing goes for my hearing. So, I guess to be vague but concise: I can’t live without music, my health, and my friends.
What inspired your new album, Days of E.N.D.?
Days of E.N.D., which stands for Days of Extremely Nonsensical Drama, is a collection of thoughts, feelings, and experiences. When we experience an intense passion for someone for the first time in a long time, it can be all-consuming. When you’re in it, it’s almost as if you are experiencing tunnel vision. Everything and nothing make sense all at the same time. When we fall in love, sometimes we see it coming, other times we don’t, and we suddenly feel this overwhelming feeling of adoration for someone. This person has your heart, but you’re not tunnel-visioned, everything is clear, and your mind is at ease. Sometimes, when we are with someone, they bring out the best in us. Other times, they bring out the worst. And there’s really no way of growing – no way of truly and deeply knowing ourselves – without experiencing a lot of different, unique moments. Moments alone. Moments with others. Days of E.N.D. is a reflection of many different moments that I’ve experienced and that I’ve watched others experience.
Which is the most important song from Days of E.N.D. for you and why?
Interesting question. Depends on how you define the most important. One of my personal favorites is “We Are One,” but I think the most important song is “I Don’t Regret You” because it’s very personal. As I try to answer this question though, to be honest, I do feel like I’m hitting a wall because I want to say that each track is equally important. Each track tells a part of the story, and each track represents a moment in time, and we are who we are as a result of all the moments we have ever experienced.
How did you get started in music?
When I was 13, I taught myself how to play guitar so that I could accompany myself while singing, and I started writing songs. Between the age of 13 and 20, I wrote close to 80 songs. Most of which have yet to be recorded and produced. During the pandemic, I met some new people who were into the electronic music scene, among them were DJs. I discovered that I was pretty good at hand percussion and started playing drums with DJs. At the Elements Festival in 2020, I was talking to a DJ, who is now a good friend of mine, who asked me “Why don’t you just learn how to DJ and do it all yourself?” To which I said, “You’re right.” Not long after, I learned my way around CDJs and enrolled in an online production course. In the past year and a half, I’ve learned how to put it all together, and I’ve fallen in love with the entire music creation process.
Where are you from?
I was born in Hawaii but wasn’t even one year old when my family moved to London. Around the age of 5, we moved to Sweden. We stayed in Sweden for 7.5 years and then moved back to London. Only 4 months after we had moved back to London, we moved to Kuwait. I was in Kuwait for 3 years, and then I went to boarding school in Florida at North Broward Prep School. I then went to college in China at NYU Shanghai. NYU brought me to New York, and I’ve now been in New York for almost about 7 years. So, I don’t really identify with being from a singular place.
Did your hometown impact your sound?
All of these countries and cultures have totally impacted my sound. I don’t like to restrict myself to genres. And sometimes, I like to combine rhythms, sounds, and tones that you may not usually expect to hear together. My journey through different countries and cultures has ultimately impacted who I am today and made me more empathetic. I believe that is how moving around the world impacted my sound. I pick my sounds based on the feeling I want to evoke in the listener. I believe my ability to understand what people feel as a result of a sound comes from more deeply understanding people in general, and deeply understanding people comes from practicing active listening and being more empathetic.
Which singers/musicians influenced your sound?
I am inspired by a true variety of artists, such as Arctic Monkeys, Alt-J, Billie Eilish, Lana Del Rey, London Grammar, Daughter, Michael Jackson, and some of the psychedelic rock artists like Pink Floyd and The Beatles. I do feel like more of this sound will come out in my sophomore album, as I’ve gotten to know myself better as an artist through creating my debut album. When it comes to electronic dance music, I’m inspired by artists like Rüfüs Du Sol, HVOB, Monolink, and Lastlings. Also, I have to add that I recently discovered Tash Sultana who is so totally amazing. Their live shows are truly inspirational!
If you had to explain your sound to the uninitiated, what would you say?
Genre-fluid. A mix of indie, pop, and electronic music. My goal is to eventually create a genre that I feel truly represents who I am. I would love nothing more if in the future, people hear a genre and think ‘Samanta Liza started that.’ One of the terms I’ve been simmering on for future releases is ‘rockno’, rock + techno.
Did your sound evolve naturally, or did you deliberately push it in a certain direction?
My sound is constantly evolving. I don’t like to force myself into creating anything specific. Whatever comes out, comes out. I auditioned many tracks for this album, some of which lean more into soft rock. I love rock, and I fully intend on bringing those tracks to life at a later time and sharing those with you. Given my recent history of dance music and because I am constantly DJing around the city, I leaned a bit more into that (tracks 1 and 2). I then ease into the indie/pop/dance blend (tracks 3 and 4). Followed by the softer, slower songs (tracks 5 and 6), which is a sound I’ve had in me for years — before all the dance music. Tracks 7 and 8 then bring it back to the indie electronic, and then I end on dance music, heard in tracks 9 through 11.
What inspires your writing? Do you draw inspiration from poems, music, or other media?
I spend a decent amount of time co-writing with other friends and artists. One of my friends is particularly good at writing emotional poetry and I love tapping into her for lyrics. And I think she really enjoys it too!
When it comes to writing by myself, I personally enjoy writing about situations and scenarios. Something relatable.
I used to read a lot of poetry. I don’t anymore, which is kinda sad. I’ve been reading Flea’s (RHCP bassist) memoir Acid For The Children lately. His storytelling inspires me. He’s lived such an interesting life, and I feel like I can really feel all his emotions as I turn through his pages. I like that.
The band Daughter does a phenomenal job with lyrics. I drew a lot of inspiration from them when I was in college. ‘We Are One’ is a good example of how Daughter has inspired me. You’ll be hearing more of that in my sophomore album.
What can you share about your writing process?
I like to write initial drafts of the lyrics as I sing and come up with the melody. I then go back to the lyrics and edit afterward. I think it’s all about telling a good story. If the narrative doesn’t make sense, then I don’t really feel it.
I always compose the music before the lyrics. I don’t really have a go-to instrument that I start with anymore. Sometimes it’s the bass, sometimes the guitar. Other times it’s the piano and sometimes I start with making a beat. It really depends on my mood!
Which artists in your opinion are killing it right now?
Tash Sultana! Also, Dua Lipa, Tove Lo, Peggy Gou, and Rufus. I really enjoyed Allan Rayman’s latest album. Enamour is also crushing it. He’s a friend of mine, and I am constantly bugging him for feedback on my production and mixdowns because his ears are incredible. He also helped with mixing and mastering a few of the album tracks. Grateful for the knowledge and skills he’s taught me.
What can your fans look forward to over the next six months? New material? Live gigs?
The “I Don’t Regret You” music video is dropping on July 12th! I have several live gigs planned throughout the summer, and I am planning additional shows for the fall. I’m looking forward to performing at the Luna Obscura festival in Mexico in October. I have singles, remixes, and collaborations in the pipeline as well. But the next big project for me is going to be my sophomore album, which I have planned for 2023, and I’m already so excited about it. Trying not to get ahead of myself!