Ahead of his gig at the The Everyman, Matt Jacobson interviews Spoken Word artist, Sam Batley.
The early Sam Batley, what element of creativity captured your imagination first?
My sister was and is a writer, she pretty much aloud the space for me to have a go. I’d gone to stay with her for a week for a bit of head space. I was probably 22/23. She’d been telling me that it helped her. Gave me a pad when she went to work and I wrote my first piece. It flew out of my head. Felt good so I did a few more.
Was the family home an influence to be creative?
No not really, I painted models n’ drew as a kid. When I got to about 13 I’d stopped with the models and started with being a little bastard.
You have discussed your steps into recovery, was this a time to delve deeper into senses and bring out words from a deeper place within?
Writing definitely helped me, creativity in general helped me. Being able to express and make sense of new feelings and emotions. Recovery allows for honesty and hindsight. It’s a myth that you need ale and drugs to be creative. In my case it’s the very opposite.
You have been successful in poetry, film and photography – do you work on one at a time or is it a case of spinning plates, diving into each periodically?
They all come from the same place, different ideas are sometimes expressed in different ways. I don’t see them as being separate, they feed each other. I might try expressive dance next.
Who are your influences within poetry and spoken word?
All the heads I’ve met along the way, stories are getting told constantly. All around us, and we all have one ourselves. You just have to tell them. Toria Garbutt told us that once “The stories are already there they just need telling.” She’s been a big influence on us. Roy the scowzer, he’s some boy too. Mentions Deacon Blue abit too much though.
How do you find the writing experience, can it be tough when revisiting tough times or as you feel you address issues, is it good for wellbeing and mental health to place feelings and thoughts onto paper?
Buzz off it, I’m a bit slack though. I could defo write more than what I do. I don’t find it tough, more cathartic. Those tough times have been accepted, and times aren’t so tough now. Writing has 100% helped to make sense of that. Three Bullmastiffs In A Corner Kitchen was the ultimate catharsis. Still feels mad now that we made it. All the people that helped us too. Truly beautiful. I love automatic writing, fuck knows were it comes from. It’s coming from somewhere though.
Did lockdown halt creativity or provide more time to do so?
Creativity was my saving grace. Spending full days cutting up paper and sticking them back together. Made a short film and feature length documentary. A book which is still for sale. Set up the One Day At A Time Boys at Damien John Kelly house. It was productive. An absolute blessing, I was a resident at DJK during the whole thing. 100% would have lost plot without the connection and community I was in.
Performing live, how would you describe the live experience and sharing your words with a live audience?
It’s mint. I’ve been performing most of my adult life in one way or another, only seems right I get on stage and do it too.
Has Liverpool been an influence, if so, how?
I’ve found myself here. I came to Liverpool with a bag. Everything I have now is a result of being here. Doing the suggested things, often suggested by scousers. Apparently I’m dyed in the wool. I’ll take that.
And what next for Sam Batley?
Working on a couple of new short films with Paul Chambers which will hopefully begin production later on this year. Our documentary One Day At A Time will be ready for release in the coming months. Currently I’m back and forth working on a group show Lads Not On Tourat the Civic in Barnsley. Which will open on the 9th of July. More gigs would be nice. And just keep on doing the next right thing.
Thank you and very best wishes for the future.