Sama Dams
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Sama Dams

| SELF

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Band Rock Avant-garde

Calendar

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Nov
06
Sama Dams @ Student Union/SUB

Boise, Idaho, USA

Boise, Idaho, USA

Sep
25
Sama Dams @ The Holocene

Portland, Oregon, USA

Portland, Oregon, USA

Sep
10
Sama Dams @ The Crocodile

Seattle, Washington, USA

Seattle, Washington, USA

This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos

Music

Discography

No Vengeance (full-length, 2013)
Draw This Bitter Blood (EP, 2011)

Photos

Bio

Like most great albums, "No Vengeance" -- the first full-length from Portland 3-piece Sama Dams -- began with a breakup. You can feel the sharp edges in songwriter Sam Adams' angular compositions and wistful falsetto. “Gone are the days," he muses on the penultimate track, “The capitals are falling." But the lyrical journeys of Sam Adams weren't born of a romantic fracture -- no, nothing so straightforward from the Indiana-born songsmith who counts Frank Zappa, The Microphones and Tim Buckley among early influences. In fact, there is very little about the band or its breathtaking freshman outing that could be described as straightforward.

Adams met bandmate and partner Lisa at college in Holland, Michigan, however it was several years before they collaborated seriously. While both studied music, Adams was the only Jazz major in his class. "A lot of my courses were one-on-one," he says, smiling.

After college, the two moved to Eugene, where Lisa taught music and Sam -- proud recent recipient of a Bachelor’s degree -- worked at Trader Joe's. He had fallen victim to the music school hangover -- a condition common to artists who are suddenly applying intense technical thought to an intuitive creative process. “I was really stuck in my head," says Adams.

The couples' subsequent move to Portland and its vibrant music scene awakened the songwriter from his malaise. Adams met British producer Sebastian Rogers, and the two co-produced an experimental lo-fi EP titled “Draw This Bitter Blood." The EP received praise in the Portland press, and Adams' profile began to rise.

However, his path was complicated by his already familiar name -- which matched that of the Portland mayor, a successful rapper and a popular beer. The songwriter also struggled to represent his complex compositions in a live setting, juggling a shifting line-up that at times included Lisa, Rogers, guitarist Jake Smith, Ape Machine frontman Caleb Heinze and Greylag drummer Brady Swan.

Enter Sama Dams -- the compelling union of Sam Adams with wife Lisa and drummer Chris Hermsen. Hermsen, who had dropped out of a music program at Iowa State when his mentor died unexpectedly, came to Portland hungry for a band to sink his teeth into, and met Adams just a few days after arriving in town. He was playing shows with the band less than a week later.

The addition of a dedicated drummer and the loss of guitarist Jake Smith -- an emotional and very personal departure -- seemed to set off a sort of chemical bonding process that yielded both the pure kinetic energy captured on "No Vengeance," and the rich songwriting that underlies it.

The band is now playing to packed houses in a city that knows its music. “Sama Dams is no mere buzz band but a fierce, adventurous musical force to be reckoned with," says the Portland Mercury. With the release of "No Vengeance," a second national this Summer, and a Fall tour of the West, that reckoning is coming soon.