Samana are Rebecca Rose Harris and Franklin Mockett—and, together, they’re setting the psychedelic folk world alight with their haunting art. Ambitious and heartful, the duo depicts themselves as pioneers—pioneering their own freedoms as artists and people, as a symbiotic, intimate unit that creates music reflective of their philosophies and adventures. Currently based out of Wales, the duo has gained significant traction throughout Europe following a year-long journey throughout the most of it. With textured, euphonious vocal performances and deep, intertwining, practiced musical knack, though, it shouldn’t be long before their name becomes household overseas.
Samana’s latest tune, ‘All One Breath’, keeps Harris’ poignant, honeyed vocals central while Mockett’s soul-stirring piano production swirls throughout it. It’s an utterly captivating track that, alone, showcases the duo’s artistic breadth with aplomb.
Harris took part in our ongoing ‘FFS 5’ series, wherein artists answer the same cabal of general questions to give us some insight on their goings-on.
Please tell us a bit about yourself. Where are you from and how did you get started in music? Any defining moments along the path to present day?
We’re multidisciplinary artists originally from the city of Brighton, now located in rural Wales.
Both of our pathways into music were rather different. I started playing drums as a young girl. As a poet, I began to create music as a medium of immediate translation for the catharsis of grief and picked up the guitar to channel my words. I found that music gave tangible ground to the intangible. My journey into music began as a holistic extension of emotion and feeling and since then, has become a beautiful world of discovery and connection. Franklin began as an instrumentalist, starting first with the guitar before picking up the drums along with a range of other string instruments.
At the age of 15, he began exploring production, which has developed into a divine passion for analogue equipment and recording techniques. There have been many defining moments along the path. The way we started Samana was a significant one, undertaking a journey to explore the notion of freedom, on a year-long trip across the breadth of Europe. Our most recent video, “live for the road”, provides an insight into this world.
As an artist, how do you define success?
Success has many branches that stem from the same tree. For us, success is the ability to remain true to our work and to ourselves. Within the creation of the art form, I define success, when I create a piece of work that crystallizes a pure representation of the emotion it seeds from. We wish to reach and deeply move as many people as possible with our music. Our art is also intertwined with our lives, without distinction, so ultimately the greatest success is to obtain a balance between movement and stillness in every dimension and ultimately to be happy.
What do you find to be your greatest struggle when it comes to the music business?
The music business is a bit of a minefield. I find the greatest struggle is the ‘marketing’ of something that derives from the soul. People’s relationship and engagement with music has certainly changed since the birth of the internet. Navigating this in an industry is always a delicate and fine balance.
What do you think is the most realistic goal you can achieve as an artist/band? What do you hope to achieve?
We have big aspirations and we hope to achieve them. At the moment, we are releasing our music under our own label – The Road Records.
We are multidisciplinary artists, so we wish to amalgamate different mediums in the long term. Immersive exhibitions, interesting live performances, collaborations. We began fusing different disciplines of art in our debut album ‘Ascension’ where we created a limestone obelisk, engraved and gilded with an ancient Tibetan symbol. We erected this on a secret mountainous location in Wales and created a limited number of maps, included in the exclusive vinyl edition, to lead listeners to the obelisk – a physical journey representative of the very philosophy of the album. This crossover of ‘experience’ and ‘immersion’ between music and feeling is something we look to explore in much more depth through future releases.
Outside of music, what do you like to do that you feel contributes to the creativity that you tap into for your music?
Many things. As musicians, we take the majority of our inspiration from domains outside of music.
We are currently restoring a small cottage and building our own analogue studio – labouring to create a space that will facilitate our own creations!
Franklin is also a producer who specializes in analogue equipment, and I am a photographer immersed in the realm of the darkroom, so we are often weaving between art forms.
We take a colossal inspiration from nature. We hike a lot, often disappearing off for a few days at a time. We surf, take road trips in our old van and ultimately seek a balance between stillness and movement – the secret to a thriving, creative mind.
Words by: Jonathan Frahm