Sam Chown, best known as one-half of the Texas experimental psych duo Zorch, constantly has music rattling around in his brain. It forced him to form his latest outfit, Shmu, a shoegazing R&B trio, to get all the sounds he has been collecting out into the open for public consumption.
“This is one of those things that I consider a gift and a curse at the same time,” Chown said. “It’s almost like quantum physics, where you see all the different possible paths and you want to take them all at the same time, but it’s impossible. I admire people who are Zen. It’s something I’m trying to work on and hopefully harness my craft and be better. It’s a constant duality.”
It’s this aforementioned duality that Chown forces himself to work within. It often overwhelms him with the infiniteness of sounds available to create music at any given moment.
“Each instrument is a different color, and there’s just these colors fluttering all over the place,” he said. “I want to make a song that’s a texture bubble, and I want to make a bunch of different textures at the same time. There’s a million different ways to make music, in the moment, and trying to break down where it comes from.”
Sadly, his current touring schedule hasn’t left Chown much time to get into the studio to put down his recent ideas. In addition to being the leader of Shmu, he has also taken on a litany of other jobs to keep the band going. It’s a “necessity,” he said, for small bands like Shmu and Zorch to get any type of following.
“This is the first time that Shmu has toured outside of Texas,” Chown said. “It’s an experiment of how much I can handle. You have to take on eight to ten jobs. It’s not like 20 years ago when there was more money in the music industry to spread around on artists. You have to hustle to get things done, make things happen.”
While this is Shmu’s debut in Oklahoma City, Zorch has played here twice: once for the grand opening of the Womb, and then at The Blue Note. Chown said the Womb gig was one of the best they’ve ever played, but the Blue Note show … not so much.
“There was one guy who tweeted that Zorch was the worst band they ever heard in their lives while we were playing,” he said, laughing. “That audience was a lot different, so it’s hard for me to say how Oklahoma City will respond to Shmu.”
Still, Chown and his band are looking forward to the show and promise to put on a great performance for everyone who comes out and gives them a chance.
“I don’t know what people are going to think about it,” he said, “but I can only hope for the best.”