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From watching School of Rock as a child and jamming out to tunes in his dad’s car, Sam Wilson, of Wake in Fright, is now creating his own music. Born in Singapore --- though he currently resides in Adelaide, Australia --- most of his life was spent in Japan. Wilsons new 11-song album It Can Happen Here is all about finding family in a foreign place and culture.

Inspired by various artists, and author/musician Jeff Tweedy’s How to Write One Song, Wilson managed to push out about 7 songs in one month. So, how did he write 11 songs in such a short amount of time? According to Wilson, the key is to write 2 sections of anything before you sleep, and go to bed. When you wake up the next morning, your subconscious will already have written the second verse for you. The thoughtful writing throughout the album is a clear indicator that Wilson’s subconscious is routinely seeking and finding inspiration.

The album begins with “No Hawkers,” a jazzy and extremely vivid tune that was written around a time in Wilson’s life when he was ‘mad’ at real estate. More specifically, this is an “anti-real estate” song about when he had to leave where he was currently living. Consequently, it ended up being quite good thematically. The other notable songs, due to the upbeat, folksy acoustics are “Sound Sleeping,” which was released as a single on March 31st, and “Tongue Tied People.” With strong inspiration from the band Big Thief, Wilson took to a less electronic approach with 70’s influences. Once he pointed this out, the acoustic guitar and soft vocal inspirations from Adrianne Lenker became more apparent in his artistry.

The final song, and my personal favorite, is titled “Muscle Blues.” It follows the theme of comfort from looking for family. Wilson felt the lack of family fester inside and it started to manifest. He realized that when he was writing the lyrics with “you,” he actually meant himself, which only made the entirety of the album that much more relatable. Nonetheless, the orchestral components and jazzy elements throughout the whole album reminded us of the band Black Country, New Road, which released their critically acclaimed album in 2022. This sparked an interesting conversation of how music can have such a large impact on a community in such a short period of time.

So, what’s next for Wake in Fright? Well, as it turns out, Wilson has already completed writing his next record. He wrote about 15 songs in the last month and will record it after the release of It Can Happen Here. As Clam Jam Radio’s main goal is to support and showcase smaller artists, we are ecstatic to share this new album with our listeners. While Wilson continues to create and release new music, he has high hopes of playing more shows in the future, perhaps even right here in Chicago.

Be sure to tune into Wake in Fright’s new album, releasing on April 28th, 2023.

-- Jane An


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