We had the good fortune of connecting with Sam Kogon and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Sam, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
When I look back at it, any successes or any moments that have moved me forward are from taking chances, and just putting myself out there, even if it’s simply emailing people or asking them questions. I think that is a big hang up that a lot of artists have (including myself). It’s always a good reminder that it never hurts to reach out to someone and ask them to listen to my music, collaborate or play a show. If they say no or pass, you’re exactly where you were before reaching out and no harm done…but if they vibe and are into the music, it can be a great experience. Never be afraid to ask questions!
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Thinking about it, I exist in an interesting place in the music world. My songs and approach are very much rooted in the 1960’s / 70’s, a sound which was dominated by heterosexual men. My voice and writing style as a queer person challenges the concept of Rock & Roll and peoples idea of it. It wasn’t always easy for me to put my entire identity into my art, but I realized it’s important to show your true honest self to others. You don’t have to give everything away but I think authenticity is important. I’m also a fan and music listener and always resonate most with people who let their freak flags fly.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
My favorite places in LA (from a New Yorker’s point of view) :
Jones – a great place for drinks after a show. LA’s take on an East Village bar NYC (spoiler alert: it’s not). It’s my fav place to go for that dim light rock-n-roll fantasy vibe.
Mulholland Drive – Like every millennial, I am obsessed with David Lynch and Mulholland Drive is my favorite films of his. It’s also an actual street that winds through the Hollywood Hills. It’s where I go to feel a bit out of time and out of touch (like it’s residents). You can even hike to it from Runyon Canyon Park (another favorite place of mine).
El Coyote – Their chiles rellenos are to die for.
Porto’s – the greatest bakery I’ve ever been to (and I just spent a month in Paris). Visit their Burbank location for lunch and then go thrift shopping on Magnolia street, where you won’t find a single chain store. Pop into Jackie Robins Leather to see the finest collection of leatherwear LA has to offer.
Venice beach – Just go. You won’t be disappointed…but you might never leave.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I’ve had/have so many mentors….I’d like to recognize the 1960’s Baroque pop band The Left Banke, who had a hit with their song “Walk Away Renee”, I was involved in their reunion singing lead vocals for their live performances in 2015 and became very close with their late, great original founding members George Cameron and Steve Martin Caro. They believed in me and my voice enough to let me to join their band. Through The ‘Banke I was connected with Alan Merrill, who wrote the song “I Love Rock & Roll”. He always encouraged me to continue writing and performing and we got the chance to perform his hits on a few occasions. We sadly lost Alan during the first wave of Covid. I’d also like to recognize my friend, mentor and collaborator Leo Crandall, a legend in the Syracuse music scene who I became connected with while attending school up there. He passed away a year ago but a day doesn’t go by where I don’t think of him and his music. There are more but those are who comes to mind off the top of my head.
Photos by Bo Chapli Assisted & styled by The Recluse Club