Will Samson

Acoustic performance + signing (FREE ENTRY)

Wednesday, 11th December 2019

Rough Trade West

Doors 5:30pm
On-stage 6:00pm
Signing after show

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Will Samson will be performing a very special Acoustic In-store Performance at Rough Trade WEST, celebrating the release of his new album 'Paralanguage', released 6th December via Wichita Records.


This event is FREE ENTRY, with the option to pre-order an album + ticket, and we will have your guaranteed album ready and waiting to collect at Rough Trade West, on the day of this in-store performance.




5.30pm | Doors + Album/ Ticket collection

6.00pm | Live on-stage

6.30pm | Album signing

*Please note these times are subject to change.


Paralanguage was inspired by Will Samson’s first – and only – experiments with psilocybin. For some time, following the death of his father in 2012, the British musician had suffered from mild PTSD, unable to process the grief provoked by the sudden nature of his passing, but it took him several years before he felt confident enough to explore the possibilities this popular compound was said to offer. Finally, he and his girlfriend retreated to the countryside for a day, and Paralanguage seeks to emulate that experience.

Will Samson has announced details of his fifth album, Paralanguage, his first for Wichita Recordings, out December 6th. Indeed, vocals for two tracks, ‘Ochre Alps’ and ‘Flowerbed’, which he’d been struggling to finish for a number of months, were written and recorded over two subsequent afternoons spent micro-dosing. Check out the striking new video for 'Flowerbed' over at Atwood Magazine today, alongside a string of winter tour dates below.

Of 'Flowerbed', Samson says: "Flowerbed feels like the materialisation of so much I've wanted to create and express for the last few years, all within one piece of music. There's a lot I could say, but for the purpose of restraint, it is a song about a psilocybin journey, grief, surrender & bliss. For a long time I had felt as though I had been having to swim hard against the current. A gentle, albeit powerful experience with psilocybin felt like a profound reminder to internally surrender to the flow of life. I spent the Summer's afternoon with my (then) partner, feeling like a happy child. Amazed at the natural world, free of thought, totally present - all of which was accompanied by a familiar deep sense of love and a gentle euphoria. I suppose it could be summed up to a feeling of connection.

The vocals were written and recorded a few days later, whilst micro-dosing. I thought about that space of joyful peace and wondered if, simply put, that's where my late-Dad moved onto. Up to that point, I had read a lot about micro-dosing for creative use, and from my personal experience, it really did work. I felt a very clear internal shift, specifically when singing these vocals, which allowed the song to finally come together after having worked on it for months."

Perhaps not surprisingly, Paralanguage – the title chosen because the album’s central themes address the way “our bodies, not just our minds, hold memories and emotions” – is Samson's most cohesive album to date. There’s a conspicuously tender thread running through its eight songs, from ‘Calescent’, its eloquently poignant opener, to ‘Lacuna’’s fuzzy nostalgia, from ‘Beyond The Dust’’s sweet serenity to ‘The Smallest Sliver’’s redemptive fragility. Samson’s voice, too, has never sounded more moving, committed or confident, his yearning falsetto as touching as his gentle tenor – comparisons to Sufjan Stevens and Patrick Watson are not inappropriate – while his arrangements are intricate yet never ostentatious, with precisely detailed programming inseparable from the warmth of his analogue instrumentation. “Perhaps,” Samson observes, “it's a reflection of feeling more centered and grounded.”

Recorded largely in his home studio in Brussels, Paralanguage finds Samson reunited with regular collaborator Beatrijs De Klerck, a violinist who also plays with A Winged Victory For The Sullen and Christina Vantzou. Ben Lester, who’s worked with S. Carey and Sufjan Stevens, added pedal steel to 'Beyond The Dust', and Jeremy Boettcher (who also performs with S. Carey) added double bass to 'The Human Mosaic', while Canadian songwriter Michael Feuerstack added backing vocals to 'The Smallest Sliver'.

Otherwise, the album is all Samson’s own work, a testament to his desire to seek peace not just on record but in his life. A tribute to his inquisitive nature, Paralanguage is also, ultimately, a memorial to his father, whose life shaped Samson’s own, and whose tragic passing has now inadvertently yielded a source of magical consolation for us all. As the 30-year-old sings on ‘The Smallest Sliver’, “Sometimes my love feels too big for my body/ So I have to let it go.”