SONG PREMIERE: Samuel or Daniel Delves Head First Into Rock Alternate Universe Via “Philly”

Samuel Or Daniel is an artist to keep an eye on. The moniker for Portland, Maine-based DIY artist Sam Guenther, Samuel Or Daniel may be brand new to the music scene, but this up-and-comer is about to offer some cutting-edge stuff to the indie rock/DIY scene. And today, he announces his debut EP: a cowboy space odyssey entitled I Miss You Don’t Come Home (slated for a May 19th release). Formed in the depths of the pandemic with artistic collaborators Charlie Dahlke and Micah Rubin (of The Brazen Youth), Will Orchard and John Lisi, I Miss You Don’t Come Home delves head-first into a vast, empty alternate universe seen through the eyes of a lone space cowboy. And today, he shares the lead single, “Philly,” exclusively with Glide. 

“Philly” isn’t just a song: it’s a vibe. An energetic, experimental, vast soundscape encompassing the psychological turmoil in the aftermath of heartache. Frantic guitars chug along underneath layers of synths butting into each other, a wash of harmonies, anxiety-ridden vocals. 

On the single, Guenther shares: “‘Philly’ is about all of the strange places your mind and body take you after a breakup when the momentum from the relationship hasn’t fizzled out yet. And it’s about the catharsis that comes with facing that loss of control and leaning into it. You’re falling and you know the bottom is coming and you know it’s going to hurt. But until that bottom comes, you’re almost flying.”

“I had the Metro in mind when [producer] Charlie [Dahlke] and I were working on the production for this one. I wanted to capture that feeling and sound when the trains first shoot past you. The world almost shifts, but your body realigns. Then suddenly it feels normal again, until the train is gone, and you feel as if you’ve been jolted awake.”

We had the opportunity to sit down and chat with the Guenther on the single and how the project came together. Check it out below…

Could you tell us a little bit about how this project came together? We heard something about a taco order gone wrong?

The order was right! The tacos were great! The problem was they didn’t quite catch my name, so they gave me two options: Samuel or Daniel. This was towards the end of the project. I didn’t know what to call myself, in part because I just don’t know who I am. I’m 23. This is my first release. I was stressing about defining myself for the world before I even had a chance to figure out who I was to me. I didn’t want to grow out of a name before I could grow into it. 

One of the most exciting things for me during this process has been the growth, personal and musical. And I can’t wait to see what else is in store with future projects. I wanted my name to represent that to audiences. I’m still growing. 

The project itself deals with an identity crisis too. I created a space cowboy. He’s mostly in my head, but the songs are his stories. He was sent to space and left up there. He outlived his usefulness. Space is lonely as is. Being a cowboy is lonely as is. Throw in a dramatic abandonment and a jarring change, and his was a voice that I felt could embody a lot of the emotions that I was feeling.  

What was the inspiration that sparked your latest single “Philly”? Could you tell us a little bit about the story behind it?

“Philly” was sparked by a breakup and that jarring feeling of everything ending too suddenly. It’s like someone stopped the car without warning, and only they had a seatbelt on.  While I was working I started noticing parallels between the feelings after this breakup and the feelings I’ve been working through since I developed chronic pain. They both deal so heavily, at least in my experience, with this idea that the world has abandoned you, that maybe even you’ve abandoned you. I wanted to create something powerful to honor that pain and mourning for the type of life I thought I would live. “Philly” is almost this big, energetic shrug, saying, “Yeah. I had all of that wrong. Now what?”

Who/what are some of your biggest sonic influences? 

I’m a younger brother, so I grew up in the world of hand-me-down music until I was about fourteen or fifteen. Early days it was a lot of Brit Pop and what came next. Oasis was the first band I ever loved. Quickly after my holy trinity became Arctic Monkeys, Vampire Weekend, and The Strokes. Certainly not the most out-there picks, but I taught myself to sing in my car with these three groups. They’re in my DNA at this point. 

Lastly… if you could only spin one record for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Paul Simon, Rhythm of the Saints. This was the only CD my dad had in his Volvo when I was growing up. My older brother and I used to listen to it on every drive anywhere. He called it our “bump-bump” music because of all the great drumming. I ended up rediscovering a lot of the music from the album during my sophomore year of college. I think I have more memories soundtracked by this album than any other, and most of them are deep down in there from early childhood. It’s a nice way to re-experience those feelings of safety and security. 

Catch a sneak peek of “Philly” below, and keep an eye out for Samuel or Daniel’s debut EP I Miss You Don’t Come Home, out on May 19th.

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