‘Trash can’ talks

Local songwriter Sam "Samryebread" Rosen on her place in Philly's music ethos

Singer Sam Rosen
Sam Rosen (Samryebread) and Melvin Darrell recently teamed up with Kyle Sparkman on the new release “Grease Fire.” | Image courtesy: Sam Rosen

Sam Rosen (aka Samryebread) began her music career in Philly at MilkBoy the Studio in 2015 and has since involved herself in a wide range of recording and mixing projects.

Although specializing in vocal mixing and production, Rosen began as a songwriter and has a passion for working with artists to develop their projects and their sound from start to finish.

Three local Philly artists, Melvin Darrell, Samryebread and Kyle Sparkman, collaborated on the recently released “Grease Fire,” which was accompanied by a live recording session on April 28.

A casual writing session between the three turned into the funky-chill Pop vibe of “Grease Fire.” The single is a shallow dive into the disarranged life of Sam. Given the nickname “Trash

Can,” Sam’s lyrics celebrate her carefree spirit. “Grease Fire” is Darrell and Sparkman’s follow up to their release “Homesick,” featuring Philly singer-songwriter Emily Drinker.

PW recently caught up with Rosen to talk about her music and the Philly music scene.

You do a little bit of everything when it comes to music: singer, songwriter, producer, engineer. Talk a little about how you became interested in a career in music. Any early influences?

I started writing music in the eighth grade and became immediately addicted to it. Early on I was influenced by a lot of folk/singer-songwriters like Joni Mitchell, Elliot Smith, David Gray, and B.C. Camplight. I felt very limited creatively, though, only working on my own music and only having my own voice to work with, so I eventually decided I wanted to focus my energy more on engineering. That was a game-changer for me because it opened the door for me to work on all types of music and exposed my production and songwriting to new creative processes. 

Once I became interested in engineering, I was all-in in terms of building my life around a career in the music industry because there’s just way too much to learn and explore and to constantly keep me engaged. There’s nothing else I really wanted to do with my time.

Sam Rosen is pictured in the studio with artist Diandra Ailene. | Image: Wave Lane/ @shotbywave

Is there a story behind your artist’s name of Samryebread? How about the nickname “Trash Can?”

“Trash Can” is actually a nickname I’ve received from different people at different times. The original, though, was my mom’s teaching assistant when I was in lower school. She would call me Trash Can because she said I was stinky and I would proceed to protest that I am Recycling Bin and SHE is, in fact, Trash Can. It was all out of love though, sometimes you gotta keep your friends in check when they smell. 

I honestly don’t remember where “Samryebread” came from, I think it was something recommended to me in passing and it grew on me. 

You recently released a collaboration with local Philly artists Melvin Darrell and Kyle Sparkman, “Grease Fire.” Describe how that production came together. Have you worked with Melvin and Kyle in the past?

This was the first time I’d worked with Melvin and actually the first time I’d met him. Melvin and Kyle were already working together and had just released their single “Homesick” with Emily Drinker. They were looking for other artists to collaborate with, and I’d already had a writing session with Kyle after meeting him at a show so it kind of worked out as good timing.

The process itself happened effortlessly once we were in Melvin’s studio. Melvin and Kyle both are super easy to work with because they’re open to trying some wacky ideas out. They’re great musicians and bring a ton of musical ideas to the table, and they work well as a team to keep the production moving forward. Kyle started playing the bass line to the song and the rest of the song was pretty much immediately inspired. We ended up creating the meat and potatoes of the song within an hour.

“The pandemic has definitely changed the way I work. I know this is hitting everyone in the industry hard, but in an odd way the music industry has at least prepared us for the pandemic; you never know what your next week is going to look like anyways and you’re constantly readjusting your plan and skill set to adapt.”

– Philadelphia-based singer/songwriter Sam Rosen

How have you been coping with the pandemic lockdown? Has it impacted your music, either as a performer or as a producer?

The pandemic has definitely changed the way I work. I know this is hitting everyone in the industry hard, but in an odd way the music industry has at least prepared us for the pandemic; you never know what your next week is going to look like anyways and you’re constantly readjusting your plan and skill set to adapt. I’m just trying to keep that in mind, stay busy and stay positive. 

It’s affected my production and singing because I’ve had a lot more time to listen to music. I’ve been going back through a lot of my original influences, listening to new music, going down obscure rabbit holes and subjecting my neighbors to me trying to learn new singing styles.

What are you working on now? Any plans for after the stay-at-home order ends?

One of my projects, The Experiment Band, has new music in the works as a follow up to our EP “Full Proof” that dropped recently. I’ve also been putting final touches on new music that’s coming by Diandra Ailene, a dope songwriter and artist that I’ve been working with for years. I’ve been experimenting with some virtual collaboration tools with people and mixing them from a distance. 

It’s been very important for me in this time to still find ways to collaborate with others so that we can keep each other motivated and inspired. Once the stay-at-home order ends I want to get to some shows and hear what other people have been up to. 

How can people stay up-to-date with what you’re up to? What are the best websites and/or social media outlets they should follow? 

I keep my Instagram the most up to date, and you can follow me at @samryebread or check out some of the catalogue at samryebread.com

  • Eugene Zenyatta was raised on old-time Memphis 'rasslin' and strongly prefers the company of dogs to people. His greatest heartbreak came in the 2010 Breeders' Cup Classic.