PREMIERE: Queer Country Crooner Sam Kogon Wants to ‘Find Out’
Hanging around your grandfather's pawn shop just might ignite a passion for guitars. For New York City's Sam Kogon, that love has lead him to his debut self-titled EP, out on April 1. A son of Kingston, N.Y., Kogon wrote and made demo recordings of these four news songs at home on to his 4-track tape recorder.
The tracks were then arranged with his band feat. Grennan Milliken on drums, James Preston on bass, Graeme Gengras on keys, and Kogon on vocals and guitar. The EP was recorded and produced by John Agnello (Dinosaur Jr., Kurt Vile) at Stewart Lerman’s Hobo Sound Studios in Weehawken, N.J. His partnership with Agnello came about in a somewhat roundabout way. Kogon was cast as a backing musician in Martin Scorcese's The Irishman, where he hit it off with music supervisor Stewart Lerman, who passed his demos on to Agnello.
Kogon describes himself as an “upstate country rockabilly crooner,” and his new song "Find Out" channels those influences. A student of 1960s pop, Kogon is paring down his previous psychedelic sound and exploring his country roots. On "Find Out," Kogon's winning falsetto gives the hopeful love song a winning charm.
"When I was writing 'Find Out,' I was trying to capture those fleeting feelings you get when you first are crushing on someone," Kogon tells The Boot. "I recorded a wonky, phazed out demo on my multitrack recorder but the song really developed on my last tour of the West Coast where my band was playing it live every night. Somewhere along the tour, I got the idea to make it more country rock à la The Travelling Wilburys and leaned into that when we went to record it in the studio. I had a really fun time tracking all the harmonies and was sure to include all the vocalizations I did on tour as I really wanted to give the song a live sound. It's a fun little number and I hope people can dance to it -- maybe even line dance."
For the music video, Kogon emphasized the importance of having fun safely.
"Two summers back, I took my band up to Hancock, N.Y. in the Catskills for a weekend retreat at a school house that's been converted into a recording studio," he recalls. "We hadn't seen each other in a year due to the pandemic and we desperately wanted to perform a live streamed show for our fans so we all took tests, isolated, and did what we needed to do to make it happen. It wasn't the side of the Catskills I'm familiar with and we made some very interesting friends whom we helped move some refrigerators between filming takes, but that's another story. The band stayed masked during the performance and I had a face shield in front of the microphone. It's important to say that immunocompromised people matter and the least we can do is wear our masks and take precautions when indoors in public spaces."
You can find out more about Sam Kogon and keep an eye out for upcoming tour dates by visiting his official website.
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