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Deadfellow: “I’m Just Looking for a Little More Balance.”

November 17, 2017


Deadfellow will headline Johnny Brenda’s on Black Friday. We caught up with the man behind the music, Hayden Sammak, and talked about the world, the difficulties of being an artist in the modern era and the inspiration behind his music.

It’s been a few months since we last spoke with you. How’s life been treating you?

Things have been good. I’ve been working on a new record down in Nashville with a lot of talented people. Looking for a new apartment around Philadelphia. Playing some fun shows.

Last time, you mentioned “some sort of bizarre symbolic interactionism with political hot-button issues dictates the fate of mankind.” Did that happen? And everyone just missed it?

Going right into it? All right.

I think it’s happening—the gun thing is a good example.

You have these people who are interacting with guns as if they’re the sole symbol of personal liberty, meanwhile people are literally being gunned down en mass inside of schools and concert venues and churches. When people interact with guns as untouchable symbols of freedom, they perpetuate gun culture and (by proxy) gun violence.

Is the whole world going to collapse because of mass shootings? No, but this kind of thing (people being pro-gun rights without compromise despite mass shootings and obvious need for change in gun related legislature) demonstrates a dangerous, cavalier mindset that contributes to a deeply disturbing societal trend.

People do the same thing with Donald Trump. They interact with him as a symbol of the great American business man—and there’s a legitimate chance that he’s dumb enough to start a nuclear war.

I guess that’s symbolic interactionism I meant.

I don’t think everyone missed it.

Have you been crafting new music? 

Yeah, I’m working on my third record this year, Millennials In Love (And Other Pre-Apocalyptic Standards). I wrote the record in the beginning of the summer while I was learning piano. I’m finishing tracking this weekend down in Nashville.

We’ll see what happens. I think it’s great.


What is the root of your pain, the inspiration for your music?

I’m just frustrated. It used to be that there was a difference between the kind of love that was in the movies and the kind of love that actually exists among real people, and we rightfully accepted that.

Now, it seems like love has become something that’s only in the movies, and we’re starting to accept that too. That’s really unsettling to me.

I’m also frustrated with the “millennials want to do too much/millennials don’t want to do anything” Catch-22 that the older generations have us in right now.

You’ve gotten some positive press in recent months. That has to make you feel pretty good about life, no?

When you’re getting recognition, you get a pretty proportionate number of detractors. With good press comes bad press and the bad press has a way of sticking with you longer—I think that’s human nature.

I think the most important thing is not to think about it too much either way.

That said, I’m really grateful for anyone who has been a vocal supporter of my music, of course. It helps make what I’m doing sustainable.

What would success look like to you?

Success to me would be sustainability. I want to be able to write music and record music, and focus mostly on that. I recognize that even then, there would still be a lot of promotional responsibilities, etc. that would fall on my shoulders, I’m just looking for a little more balance.

I’m just trying to get to a spot where I don’t have to pimp myself so much.


Dude. You’re headlining Johnny Brenda’s. That’s huge.

It’s something that I’ve had on my hit list for a while. I’m really excited. It’s sort of a tough date, but the promotion has been thorough and I’m expecting a good turn out and show to match.

What’s in the pipeline for Deadfellow?

My third record, Millennials In Love (And Other Pre-Apocalyptic Standards) will be out later this year (or perhaps early 2018). Then who knows? Maybe next year I’ll do three more.

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