Deadfellow Talks Johnny Brenda’s Show, New Music and the Apocalypse

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Rock On Philly: Millennials in Love is the third album you will release in 2017. Did you ever feel overwhelmed from the continuous cycle of writing, recording, and promoting the albums? 

Hayden Sammak: Yeah, but not in an unhealthy way. I feel better when I’m busy. If I’m not working, I get really anxious and paranoid. The demand for constant output—material, social content, sessions, whatever—makes me a little manic most of the time, but I like it. I recognize it’s not really sustainable, but right now it’s good for me.

All this said, we might miss the release date in 2017. The record will be done, but I don’t think we’ll get it out there until 2018 rolls around, at least not in the way I’d like to.

ROP: I believe from when we spoke last time that you mentioned these three albums are thematically linked. How is Millennials in Love linked to the themes of the previous two albums, and how does the album sonically differ from them?

HS: They’re all just different takes on love in a modern world—the first record is more genuine and raw, the second is sort of plastic and cynical, and Millennials in Love is more fashionably alarmist.

I wrote all the songs on piano this time except for one or two, so I think that differentiates the sound. Each of these three records is very different from one another. I’d describe Millennials in Love as sort of spacey and lyrically dense.

ROP: How was the experience recording this album in Nashville? How did you manage getting Carl Broemel and Rob Crowell to play on the record? 

HS: It’s been good, I’m flying back down 6AM on Saturday morning to finish tracking.

The players I’m working with are great and it was all put together by my friend Bill Reynolds, who’s producing the record at his studio, The Fleetwood Shack. Bill is a great musician in his own right—he was the bass player for Band of Horses up until he left this past May. He’s cutting bass on the project.

I just got lucky that the players are all into it I guess. I’m really glad they are.

ROP: The full album title sounds a little more than tongue-in-cheek. What do you think of the phenomenon that is the millennial dating culture? Is it a foreboding sign of the apocalypse, or even just a sign of our moral decay? 

HS: I think we’re in a cultural bubble of the worst kind, but it’s still one I genuinely think will burst. As far as the record is concerned, the apocalypse and dating culture are mostly just plot points to drive the narrative.

For the record: I think the end of humanity will come when Wi-Fi and cellphones sterilize us or something, not in some stereotypically apocalyptic event.

ROP: What, if anything, do you hope people take away from the Johnny Brenda’s show and your new music? 

HS: As far as the show goes, I just want to give people something to do and maybe turn them on to what I’m doing. Shows are fun, but I think The Beatles had the ideal setup.

As far as the new music goes, I don’t really know what I’m getting at. I’m just working towards a documentary I guess. People are deciding not to have children because they don’t want to bring them into this world—sometimes I kind of feel like we’re choosing not to fall in love, too.

I’m just trying to reconcile things with other things. Millennials in Love isn’t really about the apocalypse or dating culture, it’s about being in love despite it.

ROP: Do you currently have plans to release more music in 2018? 

HS: Yes.

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