Soham De has been gigging relentlessly since releasing ‘Ghost’ this time last year, bringing his brand of intricate guitar and husky vocals to audiences up and down the country. Like the man himself, Soham’s music is understated, warm and engaging. There’s no showing off, just a simple honesty wrapped up in a more complex arrangement. Stylistically akin to Ben Howard – to fulfil the previewers compulsory requirement to provide a comparison. If you have yet to see Soham live, his first headline gig at Durham’s Empty Shop is a great chance to catch up with a young and talented musician.
Performances at Evo, Boardmasters and a support slot for Gabrielle Aplin’s O2 gig bear testament to both the quality of Soham’s song craft and the progress he as made this year. If ‘Ghost’ was an impressive debut, what is yet to come is sure to be better. Soham’s work is already technically proficient and emotive, his songs well written and reflective. With a good work ethic and a down to earth attitude, his songwriting is sure to develop.
The challenge for the future is one faced by most emerging artists, to build on their natural ability and nail a song or two that doesn’t so much capture the listeners attention, as grabs them by the the scruff of the neck and demands it. It’s a tough ask but well within reach for an musician of Soham’s calibre. However, such things are for the future. For now it was a simple pleasure to catch up with the modest Mr De at Archsixteen and focus on the present.
It’s a year since ‘Ghost’ was released, how was it received?
Yeah, I think it was quite well received. I didn’t push it too much. The point was to have something online I was happy with, songs I had done that weren’t just forgotten. I didn’t push it because it was old music… but I’ve run out of physical copies and it’s been doing well online too. So yeah, I think people liked it.
You have played some high profile support slots in front of large crowds, how does headlining your first gig at a small venue compare?
I’m really looking forward to it. I just want it to go well and it’s nice to have it at a small venue as it means it can be intimate, somewhere where you can connect with the audience and everyone is involved. It’s essentially just a room and there’s a opportunity to interact and really show the performance off.
Is there any extra pressure or motivation when you’re headlining?
You always feel like you want it to go well in terms of giving people a good show, making sure you’re worth seeing. You do want the people who go to think you warranted being the headline act.
Will you be playing any new material?
I might play one or two new songs, and I will definently be playing some tracks from Ghost, but a lot of the songs will be material I play at gigs. Stuff I’ve recorded demos of but haven’t released.
How would you describe your music to anyone who is unfamiliar with your work?
I genuinely don’t know. I play the guitar and I sing, that’s as far as it goes. I just do my thing. Sometimes I pick, sometimes I strum. I just write songs, I never really think about it like that. This is why I record live sessions, it’s an accurate representation of what you will hear at at a gig, unlike a studio recording where the arrangement can be different.
What are your songs about, what inspires you to write?
Recently, some of my songs have had a more personal aspect, but usually I just work with ideas that illicit an emotional response in me. Just thoughts in my head, lyrics that don’t necessarily make sense in the beginning but can be applied to scenarios where they do further down the line.
The songwriting is very personal then, about how you feel rather than a response to external events?
Yeah, exactly. It’s about how I feel, but how I feel isn’t the most unique feeling it the world. Everybody has these feelings. It’s about allowing the music to convey the emotion effectively, hoping people who are listening can hear a line or two that resonates with their lives.
Having played over a hundred gigs over the last twelve months, headlining his first gig is a fitting way for Soham to round off 2016. A well deserved opportunity to showcase his work in front of a good crowd. If you like to be up close and personal with a performance, enjoy the delicate charms of acoustic guitar, and appreciate heartfelt vocals you won’t be disappointed. A cracking line up of singer songwriters lies in store, with Durham’s Frankie Fozard and This Little Bird from Seaham completing a bill packed with up and coming talent.
We have some great established musicians here in the North East and this gig is all about the next generation. Local artists that will grow and blossom with our support.
Photographer – Matt Flynn