Exclusive Premiere: Big Sam’s Soundtrack To a Late Night Romp on ‘Phenomenal Woman’
The Chennai indie band are set to release their debut album ‘Stay,’ produced by The F16s’ keyboardist Harshan Radhakrishnan
When Chennai singer-songwriter Samuel Vijayan – frontman of indie band Big Sam – says he’s a “regular guy doing regular things,” he’s talking in the very specific context that birthed their new song “Phenomenal Woman.”
Vijayan forewarns that it’s a cliché, but explains, “It’s about how I meet this person and she’s a friend of mine then I like her and before you know it, things take off and I think I’m in love and all this while, I know that she’s nothing but a heartbreaker.” For the music video, however, Big Sam decided to call in director Dinesh Mathikumar to give it a slightly different perspective.
It features the story of two characters – played by actors Namita Krishnamurthy and Sonam Tiwari – who decide to take things to the next level. Vijayan says the band dedicates the song and video to the LGBTQ community and the people they’ve known in their struggles on coming out and being accepted. But it’s also about “women always being told what to do and people thinking that they naturally have a leverage over their rights and freedom.” The frontman adds, “They are allowed to choose their sexual Identity or whatever it is.”
The funky, soul-leaning song features bluesy organ-like leads and riffs from keyboardist Rachintan Trivedi and guitarist Akshay Yesodharan, plus an apt rock and roll guitar solo from Elvis Gabriel. Big Sam, which started out as Vijayan’s solo act in 2016, added bassist Adithya Gopi and drummer Goutham Healer by 2018 and performed their first gig at music showcase IndiEarth Xchange in late 2018. While Vijayan is completely all right with playing covers, he does say it’s a good challenge surviving in Chennai’s indie circuit. He says of the city, “Chennai, we personally feel has the most varied and hardest crowd to please. Not that it’s a bad thing. We as a band take this as a test rather than a threat in a city whose musical influences are mainly from regional cinema and songs from them.”
They’ve worked with fellow Chennai-based indie band The F16s’ keyboardist Harshan Radhakrishnan at Barking Beat Recording Co. on seven tracks that comprise their debut album Stay. It’s being released song by song, with “All Along” out in 2018 (it bagged a nomination for Best Pop Artist at the Radio City Freedom Awards) and the title track out last month. Vijayan adds, “We’re also looking to tour the immediate proximity cities and hopefully to go play music across the country.”
Watch the video for “Phenomenal Woman” below