Seventeen-year-old valedictorian of Williams Lake Secondary School, Sam Tudor, already speaks of his high school experience in the past tense.
This fall he is off to new challenges at UBC, to study film making and philosophy. Tucked into his pocket is an album he cut earlier this year called Animals and Arson.
Despite his tender years this is Tudor’s second album.
Last year he produced Snail Mail, a collection of songs recorded in a six-foot-by-six-foot closet at WLSS.
He says it was more a collection of songs not tied together cohesively.
“It didn’t feel like a complete album, so I decided to take more time with Animals and Arson to make something that was more whole.”
Tudor says he really liked the feel of recording in the intimate environment of the high school closet. His school received some arts funding for microphones, which helped him record a second album. He returned to the closet with better equipment and more resolve.
“I would go into that room and just put down one layer on top of another until I felt a song was finished,” he says. “Then I’d move on to the next.”
He began recording in late February and worked in a series of short, concentrated periods over a three-month span. He released the album in mid-June.
Two school pals Rowan Dolighan and Kylie Gill were integral to the recording, he says.
“Rowan and I play music and perform together a lot. Our merging styles help make this album unique.”
He says he and Gill wrote the song, Alice and the Trail, for their school’s musical production of Alice in Wonderland.
“Kylie played the caterpillar on narcotics giving useful advice to Alice. We decided to put it on the album because Kylie’s voice adds something completely different to the Animals and Arson.”
Other local musicians on the album include Chelsea Goddard (trumpet), Brianne de Verteuil (saxophone), Howard Tallman (mandolin) and Jenny Howell (violin).
Tudor credits music teachers and mentors Dena Baumann and Brent Morton for inspiring him and giving him space at the school to create his own music. “Brianne Deverteuil continued that this year by working my album into the curriculum so I could just make music as my school work.”
Tudor performed at Arts on the Fly this summer with Dolighan and Gill and is looking forward to joining Brent Morton (Drum & Bell Tower) on stage in Boitanio Park for Performances in the Park on Aug. 16th. “It’s going to be awesome,” he says.
Tudor grew up in the Big Lake community where his dad Mike Tudor is the manager of Gavin Lake Forestry Camp. His parents and siblings are all musical.