Posted On 21 Apr 2017
Toronto based four piece, Sam Cash & The Romantic Dogs, started as a solo project with Cash. As a young kid, he was immersed in music and began playing shows at the age of 17. After years of playing shows and writing music, Cash released his first album, Teenage Hunger, in 2009. Cash then matched up with his band, The Romantic Dogs, to release his second album Stand Together, Fall Together in 2013. The name Sam Cash & The Romantic Dogs came together naturally, taking Cash’s name and the latter being based off a book of poetry by Chilean poet, Roberto Bolaño. In 2016, the band created their most personal work yet with the release of Tongue-In-Cheek Vows.
The quartet fuses together genres including Indie-Rock, Pop, Rock n Roll and Americana. The quartet has played with the likes of The Strumbellas, Serena Ryder, Arkells, July Talk, Vance Joy, The Strypes, Tove Lo and Electric Six and takes influence from songwriters such as Tom Petty, Bruce Springsteen, Elvis Costello and Neil Young. They create music that is perfect “for long summer drives down wide open highways, with the windows cranked all the way down” (Exclaim!). Sun Media described Tongue-In-Cheek Vows as “a set of crisp, smartly crafted power-pop flecked with Costello-style new wave.”
Learn more about Sam Cash & The Romantic Dogs in the following All Access interview:
What are some words you would use to describe 2016 for you and your music? What were some of the highlights? What are you most excited about for 2017?
I’d say “lyrical Rock & Roll” is an apt description. I try to write words that actually mean something—but hopefully there are some choruses that wiggle their way in to your head. We toured a lot thought 2016—and it’s always a great feeling to know people are interested in your work and want to come out to shows. I’ve taken the past couple months off—enrolled back in University to finish my degree. I’m done in April, and really looking forward to start writing a new record.
Growing up, did you all always want to be musicians? Can you recall your earliest musical memory?
Yeah I grew up around music big time—my dad played in bands, and my mom works in the business side of the biz—so I was constantly surrounded by it. It’s the only thing I’ve wanted to do since my earliest memories.
When I was 6 or 7, I took my dad’s guitar, and his tape recorder, in to my room. I had no idea how to play the guitar—but I pushed record, and layed down about 6 or 7 times in one pass. I was just hitting the guitar and making up random words. One song was called “A Robin’s look”—it was about a Robin. Another was called “Mailbox Lamp Post”—that one was a hit.
How do you think you’ve all been influenced by being from Toronto? What is the music scene like there in general? How has it fostered your sound as a band?
The Toronto music scene is very close knit. I was fortunate to get in with a really amazing crew of bands right out of the gate, who always supported each other. It’s a really great feeling when everyone starts out together, and we all get to see each other grow as songwriters and artists. I got in to the bar-band scene—because those were the places that would let me play without a following or an agent. We started out playing wednesday nights around town, and eventually moved through the week, up to Saturday—which is the most coveted slot, obviously. As a result, the bar-band thing will always be in my blood. It teaches you how to command a crowd of drunk people—which really prepares you for any type of show haha.
You recently released your third studio album called “Tongue-In-Cheek Vows.” Can you talk about putting this collection together? Where did the inspiration for these songs come from?
The songs on this record are less about me and more about characters—not everything is as auto-biographical as the last few records, though there are certainly parts of myself in every song I write. I’m always trying to be better, and I take the craft of songwriting pretty seriously. So this record is me growing, hopefully. I’m a bartender part time, and you see so many crazy situation, and different types of people on any given night—it’s a given that those situations will inspire songs.
How do you think this band has grown and changed over the years? What has stayed the same?
As with any band over the years, we have gotten tighter—in friendship and music. Running a band is a very delicate situation—it’s like being married (to 3 other people), and it’s always tough to maintain a proper balance. We’ve learned how to deal with each other better, and I’ve learned a lot more about pulling the best of everyone.
Do you have plans to tour much this year in support of “Tongue-In-Cheek Vows”?
This record came out almost a year ago in Canada (just released worldwide though), so we toured cross-Canada pretty heavy throughout 2016. I’m working on getting down to the states and across to europe for a few solo dates hopefully.
Who are some of your favorite artists? Who continues to inspire you and your music? Who would you absolutely love to work with in the future?
I’m a big fan of “classic” songwriters—which can mean a specific time period, and also a style of songwriting. It’s about the songs first and foremost—strong lyrics, smart arrangements, and catchy choruses. Tom Petty, Elvis Costello, Bruce Springsteen, Nick Lowe, Paul Simon, Neil Young etc… Current acts like Dawes, Blake Mills, Haim, Dr. Dog, Jason Collett, Feist, etc are all great contemporary inspirations and influences.
At the end of the day, what do you hope is the message of your music? What do you hope people take away from your songs?
That’s a good question—I don’t if there’s a particular message. Perhaps that if you’re feeling down, it can always gets better. I’m very interested in the idea of redemption and hope as a state of mind, rather than a series of events.
My mom always said visualize what you want in the world, and it will happen! haha.
Is there anything else that you would like to share with our readers about yourselves or your music?
LISTEN TO THE RECORD PLEASE!