In Session: Sam Gleason, aka Atelo Songs
ALBANY – Creating new music seems to be of no problem or consequence for Sam Gleason, who goes by the moniker of Atelo Songs. Releasing a new single seemingly every month throughout the past year, not only has he dug deep for creative statements to make but he’s also churned out some pretty catchy tunes, the last of which, “overstayed my welcome,” has been turned into a music video. Impressive enough by typical standards, it’s very easy to become even more so when realizing that he did all of this while handling recovery from noteworthy injuries sustained during a car accident in which he was a mere pedestrian.
From one musician to another, I was very humbled to learn of the journey he’s been on as well as the no-nonsense, fiercely into the fray mindset Gleason has equipped for himself. It was my pleasure to chat with him this week. Read on for our discussion of music, promotion, future plans, and more!
Lucas Garrett: Sam, thank you for taking the time today to sit down with us.
Sam Gleason: Thanks for having me!
LG: Why don’t you tell us what you’ve been up to?
SG: Sure! I’ve constantly been recording music and singles; pretty much throughout all of 2021. I tried to release a single; at least once a month or so. So, now I’ve got a bunch of music out from that little project.
LG: What is the name of that project?
SG: It’s called Atelo Songs. It’s me in my apartment recording tracks that I write. It’s pretty much what I spend all my spare time doing. I really enjoy making music and putting it out there. In 2022, I recently started more with the promotional aspect of it. That’s one thing I’ve never been good at: promoting my music. I love to make my music, but when it comes to promoting, it’s been tough.
I finally figured out the whole “Spotify playlist curation” thing, so I’ve finally started shipping my songs out to playlist curators and I’ve been seeing a bit of pick-up on my Spotify page. Which is very cool.
LG: That’s always a nice thing, right
SG: Yeah, it’s always a nice thing. I’m also trying to put more visual content out there. I think that will keep people’s attention a bit easier.
LG: You just released a music video?
SG: That’s right! I just released a music video on February 1st for “overstayed my welcome.” The guys at Almost Never Dead Productions helped me put that together. Big thanks to Patrick Flores and Brian Chiapinelli. They are the two main directors behind that film. Freedom Stratton also helped as a production assistant, so that was cool. I’d also like to thank Jason Pierce and Savoy Taproom. The music video takes place in Savoy Taproom; playing a show there.
LG: Jason seems like a great guy.
SG: Yeah, he is a really nice guy. He really came through for us; we needed a stage to perform on for the video and it worked out, and worked out nicely!
LG: Atelo Songs is just you overdubbing yourself over and over again, right?
SG: Yeah, pretty much! I’m playing all the instruments on the tracks, singing all the harmonies on the tracks. I’m doing the bass, guitar, and piano…
LG: Do you plan on doing that out and about? How is that going to work in the live scenario?
SG: I have a big loop board that I use to try to harmonize with myself when I’m playing out live. In my life, at least, gigs died down quite a bit thanks to the pandemic. I was supposed to play a gig in January, but pretty much every show in January got canceled thanks to the swell of that Omicron variant. I just started booking gigs again. I’d like to get a full band together to perform the songs, eventually. The main issue with that is I don’t have any place to rehearse; I’m working on that right now.
In the meantime, I have one gig booked for Atelo Songs at North Star Café in Gloversville. It’s March 12th at 7:30 pm. I’ll be playing some of the new songs, including the song “overstayed my welcome,” which is the song in the music video.
LG: Let’s go back to the promotion aspect for a bit. It’s a lot easier to write and record a song – I feel. It seems like every DIY-musician is having to wear a million more hats than they ever had to.
SG: That’s very true. You used to have a label that would do all this stuff for you. Now, it’s to become so easy to independently make your own music at home that people are just starting to take on all the roles that were once dispersed over an entire label into just one person running it now.
LG: Let me know your thoughts on this. While I think it’s great that anyone can make a record – Billie Eilish and people like Charlie Puth who made their albums with just one goddamn microphone – it also makes it harder. Now, you have a lot more people screaming into that same void.
SG: Exactly. It’s like a good thing and a bad thing, I think. Now, more people have the ability to make music and that’s great. The more artistic output from people, the better, in my opinion. But, it does mean that competition has risen up quite a bit. Competition is a big part in the capitalistic society that we have here, so it has made it a bit more difficult to get noticed because of how much content is being put out. It can be tough to stick out in the crowd.
That’s why I started making videos and doing more visual stuff. When you’re just releasing audio, it tends to not grasp people’s attention as much as if there’s a visual component.
LG: I think the visual makes it less abstract.
SG: Exactly. It makes it more concrete; more people are able to relate to it. I know I struggle to hear lyrics in a lot of songs because I have an auditory processing disorder and I can’t really understand words in songs that much. But when I watch certain music videos and the video has something to do with the meaning of the song, it helps me to understand what the lyrics were saying in the song a little easier. Then, I can relate to the song and I’m more likely to become a fan.
LG: That’s a good point. I hadn’t even thought of a scenario like that.
SG: I’ve just been thinking about how I consume music and I’m trying to appeal to that more.
LG: Do you find it exhausting; doing everything?
SG: I definitely find the marketing and stuff like that exhausting. I’ve recently had Courtney Guttenberg…do you know her?
LG: No, I don’t.
SG: She’s in the business; Hypersaturation Magazine and Nullvoid. She’s doing a lot of promo stuff for me because I’m finding it can be overwhelming sometimes to constantly be making yourself known and putting yourself out there. I never get sick of making music itself; recording it and writing it. Getting other people to listen to it is the exhausting part of it.
LG: It can be very hard to promote your own art because your art means something to you that it might not mean to anyone else.
SG: Exactly. Especially if you’re writing…. Like, a lot of the songs I write have a deep, personal meaning to them.
LG: Right, and you might not want to talk about that with every outlet, venue, and radio. It’s sometimes easier for someone else to do that for you.
SG: I struggle to just talk about super personal things in my life, but when I write them into a song it comes out a lot smoother; a lot easier. Like a lot of people, it’s my outlet for emotional communication that I lack thereof. Haha.
LG: To a certain point, don’t you think it’s kind of silly for us musicians? We can’t talk about them, but we can sing them to people whom we have no idea who they are?
SG: Ha, yeah. We can sing or play music that’ll affect people’s emotions. But then, if they come to talk to us in person, it’s a totally different story. I don’t know about you, but I get super awkward.
LG: I do, too. What else are you doing these days, or is that your main focus?
SG: Well, Atelo Songs is my main focus…
LG: You’re also in another band, called Yeah Universe.
SG: That’s right! Yeah Universe just got back into the studio for our second album. We’re halfway through that. We’re working with Tim Lynch at the Recording Company.
LG: That’s down in Duanesburg, right?
SG: Yes. It’s a cool house in a big open field; the middle of nowhere. You can really get that nice, isolated kind of feel. No distractions or anything.
LG: I don’t know about you, but working out of my home can be quite distracting sometimes.
SG: Oh, yeah. Do you live in the city area?
LG: I live on a dead-end in Queensbury.
SG: Oh, gotcha. Are there ever sirens there? I live in downtown Albany and police sirens are always going off down here.
LG: It’s very quiet here, but everyone is always going in and out of the house, and the phone’s always ringing, et cetera.
SG: I remember back when I had roommates. Recording was a lot more difficult because if somebody walked into the kitchen and moved a dish around, then I’d have to start over.
LG: You could’ve always made that into an ambient noise track, though…
SG: Now, I just live alone with my cat and recording’s gotten a little easier.
LG: Unless the cat gets rambunctious.
SG: She’s pretty calm. She’s one of the more relaxed cats I’ve met.
LG: What else would you like to talk about before we end the interview?
SG: I’ve started doing “clone videos” on my YouTube!
LG: I liked your Autumn Leaves video a lot.
SG: Thank you! I started doing green screen and split-screen effects to make clones of myself because I don’t a place to rehearse with a full band. So, I figured I’d play music with other versions of me! I’d encourage anyone reading this article to check me out on Facebook, or Spotify, or Bandcamp, or SoundCloud.
LG: Thank you again, Sam, for taking the time to talk about your art! Always a pleasure talking about that kind of stuff!
SG: Thanks for having me, I really appreciate it! Take care!