“Southern Dreaming” and “Feeling Good” kind of music can only be heard from one of the maple leafs very own, The Sheepdogs. The multi JUNO winning threats tunes, or should I say ‘toons’ papered in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan before the sphere turned into their notes. The SheepDogs 70’s fever music hit Toronto’s Bandshell Tuesday night, but before the stage glistened to some old-school vibrations, we spoke with the ‘noisemaker’ Sam Corbett after soundcheck to touch on his musical influences, childhood, and continuing the conversation about mental health.
What was your childhood upbringing, did you come from a musician orientated family? My dad is a professional musician and my mother is ‘musical’ as well. Ewan and Shamus’s dad too, our dad’s actually went to school together at the UOS ( University of Saskatchewan). A lot of music was going on in the house, taking piano lessons and such. So I am assuming you came from a supportive family, maybe touch on some input for those that don’t? We were very lucky that our parents were very supportive. We toured as a band for 7 years before we had any kind of success. Some of those times we were living in our parent’s basements or we were jamming. If we didn’t have that support and had to pay for a jam space, I don’t think we would have made it. If you can’t find support from your family, I guess try to find supportive friends and other musicians.
We read online you as well went to UOS, with some of these gents, what did you study? I’m one course away from a psychology degree, and Ewan actually has his psychology degree. We basically went to school for a couple of years and realized we wanted to focus more on being a band. Touching on influences that would sway you to your craft, what might of those be? It would be a lot of the typical stuff you would think from a ’70s like rock band ( The Rolling Stones, etc.) But we also like to take a lot of influence from different genres like old country, old jazz/ swing. That might be stuff not obvious showing up in our music, but the effects that it has is in there.
Speaking of music legends that have aged like fine wine, what is one song The SheepDogs have produced do you feel will always be your anthem? I am lucky that I am in a band where I enjoy and like playing all of our songs. I guess the obvious answer would be ‘I Don’t Know’ or ‘Feeling Good’ in my mind, I think all of the songs age pretty well and I hope other people agree with me. One of our personal favorites is ‘I’m Gonna Be Myself” the lyrics entail “Don’t get too discouraged, your where you need to be’ so because music often is so commercialized how do you feel your music contributes to more of a positive message? I think because we are doing our own thing and being ourselves, we are not super similar to a lot of bands on the radio right now. What it means to us is just doing our thing and music that we would enjoy listening to. We try to do that the best we can and feel very lucky we can have some success to it.
On more of a serious note, we have seen you publicly speak on mental health and from us being massive advocates ourselves with personal experiences, what would be some words of wisdom to those youths that suffer from pursuing what they really want to do? I recognize that it is super hard to talk to anybody. Like I said I had supportive parents, but I still wasn’t comfortable talking to them about it, which would have been very helpful for me. I would say there is stuff you can do on our own that will help you out. This sounds cliché or obvious advice, but get a lot of sleep, try to live a little more in the moment, and maybe spend less time on your phone. Spend more time reading a book and listening to your favorite music without doing anything else. Just sitting and listening to it. Also, try to eat as healthy as you can and meditate, it’s helped me. Would you call it musical therapy with you being in the band? Sometimes, I mean it could be a force of anxiety or aggravation. But ultimately, playing the drums is therapeutic, and being able to hit something as hard as possible. Sports and running too, just don’t try and self-medicate, taking little steps to improve will help.
The last question, the banger that I always love to ask my interviewees. If I had to ask your band members or your peers 3 words to describe yourself what would they be? Reserved, argumentative, and hopefully supportive!
We thank Sam Corbett for implementing conversation that is so powerful. As a journalist, when we interview musicians we may be a tad hesitant as sometimes ego can get in the way. But I can tell you this much, Sam Corbett is one of the nicest guys you will meet in the industry. He’s forthcoming, honest, and overall a good soul, something rare to find on and off the stage.
* Banner Photo Credit to The SheepDogs & rightful owner*
Written by: Sadie Kromm