Samantha Coerbell, a writer and spoken word performer, is a native New Yorker with Trinidadian roots. She has been active on the NY poetry scene since 1991 and has performed with numerous musicians and writers.
She holds a BFA in English Literature & Creative Writing from Brooklyn College. In addition to providing guest vocals on various musical compilations, Sam also teaches creativity and performance workshops and has been a featured performer with Real Live Poetry in the U.S. and Apples & Snakes in the UK.
Samantha recently collaborated with London band Kros on Deep Mouth Kiss.
Q. How did you come to meet Alan Wilder?
A. While I was living in London, just as I was getting ready to return home, I got a call on my NY voice mail from Roland at Mute telling me that Alan wanted to meet me. I was totally stoked. When Alan called, I was so excited that I didn’t even tell him that he was interrupting my bath, so we had a half hour conversation with me in the tub.
Q. What did you think of the tracks he asked you to put lyrics to?
A. He first sent me a DAT of ‘Supreme’. It was cool but kind of eerie. I really loved the track temporarily entitled ‘Harry Dean’ because it had much of the emotional tenet of ‘Swirl’, the prose piece that I intended to set to it. The gospel background and the passage of Harry’s voice offset my tones in a really beautiful way. Unfortunately, even though we recorded it, it didn’t make the LP.
Q. How did you actually work together on the Recoil project?
A. We spent a couple of months trading music and text to get a feel for what we were each bringing to the project. I arrived in the UK directly after a week of performing on the road and after breakfast and a nap we went into the studio. I stayed there until it was time to go home. I’d record a section and we’d listen and pick sections to re-record so Alan had more options for piecing together the final track.
Q. What was he like to work with?
A. A very pleasant task master. I had suggested that I wanted to sing but had been kidding. When I thought I was done, he had PK stuff me back in the booth and made me keep to my word. I only sing to keep the demons of boredom away, I don’t even sing in the shower but after I asked him to tell me not to waste his time, I got into it.
Q. What will be your overriding memory of working with Alan?
A. Learning to build a proper fire in the guest room. Alan teasing me about everything I wanted to eat. Helping PK find a lost love. Mixing margarita’s with Hep. Beginning to learn to use the means of production. It was a great experience.
Q. Can you tell us an interesting anecdote or story about Alan, professional or not?
A. It was fun to work with them and spend time in such a gorgeous home. Without seeming like too much of a suck up, it was really great and I didn’t even mind the chair and whip. I hope everyone likes my contribution to the collaborations. It was a brilliant opportunity to move my writing and performance to another level and exposure.