Get Cape's Sam starting to take off

Emma Lee Southend’s finest troubadour Sam Duckworth, aka the splendidly-named Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly. is back with a new album and touches down at the Waterfront, Norwich, on Valentine’s Day. EMMA LEE spoke to him.

Emma Lee

While the country has been in the grip of the winter blues, it seems like at least one of us has been immune to it. Step forward Sam Duckworth. The Southend troubadour - perhaps Southend's only troubadour - who goes by the stage name Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly (an instruction from an ancient computer game) is fizzing with excitement as he talks about his eagerly-anticipated sophomore album, which is due out at the beginning of March.

Before that, he and his band are heading out on the road, landing in Cambridge on Wednesday and Norwich on Thursday.

Sam's first album, Chronicles of a Bohemian Teenager, released in 2006, was a bedroom-made affair - just him, his musings, a laptop and his gee-tar.

This time round the sound is much bigger - you still have the loops and the beats, but with an orchestra mixed in. His partner in crime was the acclaimed Nitin Sawhney who agreed to perform production duties.

“Working with Nitin was such a privilege,” he says. “I'm a massive fan - Beyond Skin is one of my favourite albums - and in my eyes he's the master. I met him and he listened to my first album, and he said he would love to do it. I was like 'this is mad'. I phoned my dad and everyone I knew.

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“It was nice to start writing the record,” he adds. “Some of the tracks on the first record were four years old. This time I had got a band together and had more experience of being of the studio and I didn't want it to be quite so much of a 'bedroom'-sounding record.”

It's definitely a far cry from his first foray into the music business as a teenager - promoting hardcore punk bands, and sneaking on stage to perform himself in between acts, although he says that he still has a bit of a punk rock attitude.

Being in the studio with Nitin gave him the chance to experiment.

“It was about having fun and trying different ways to make sounds. But even though it's a bigger record it's still quite personal too,” he says.

Playing spot the influence, you'll hear a pretty diverse range - Manic Street Preachers, Fela Kuti, Simon and Garfunkel, Elliott Smith, Shaun Ryder and DJ Shadow. And the track Better Things features a duet with his long-time friend and touring partner Kate Nash.

As lyrically direct as ever - if no more so - he sinks his teeth into life, love, religion, politics…

“Ask the right questions to push yourself in the direction you want to go in,” he says. “This is a record about my ambition.”

It's been an insanely busy 18 months for Sam - not only has he made a new record, but he's done the festival circuit, has met some of his biggest heroes, including Wayne Coyne of the Flaming Lips, and has even been to the Congo. And, about to embark on tour, there's no sign of him slowing down. But it sounds like he thrives on it.

“I really have to keep busy,” he says.

“It's just been a mad year. I can't believe what I did last year. I went to the Congo with Damon Albarn as part of the Africa Express project and worked with some of the best Congolese musicians. Glastonbury was a huge moment for me. Then there was mastering this album…I feel so proud of it,” he says.

t Cambridge, Wednesday, February 12, £9.50 adv, 01223 511511

t Norwich, Thursday, February 13, with support from Emmy the Great and the Xcerts - sold out, but check with the box office for returns, 01603 508050

t www.getcapewearcapefly.com