Squeak E. Clean Executive Creative Director Sam Spiegel, A.K.A. Grammy-nominated DJ, producer, director, and songwriter Sam i (formerly of duo N.A.S.A.) and Nashville production and songwriting vanguard Shmuck the Loyal have joined forces for a new collaborative project TRY – a name representing their core beliefs as artists and people striving for proactive positivity.
They’ve released Chapter One of their debut album, an uplifting and optimistic project born from an inspiring and terrifying time.
Through that lens, TRY chooses the path of light, acknowledging the flaws of the world while choosing to find the beauty of the human experience. TRY’s debut is a sonic travelogue through every corner of electronic and pop – no stone left unturned, with thousands of miles on the odometer.
Alongside the release, they’ve also shared a mind-melting video, directed by Sam, for Clarity ft. EARTHGANG. In addition to his role as ECD at Squeak E. Clean Studios Studios, Sam is represented for commercials by Hey Wonderful.
Massive synth melodies and a rippling chorus kick down the door and weave around the dextrous rhymes of the Atlanta hip-hop duo atop a sample of a song recorded at Angola Prison. In line with the intention behind the entire project, the track is about optimism through the lens of hardship, seeing the sun through the clouds and the light through the darkness.
A percentage of the proceeds of “Clarity” will go towards helping the incarcerated and formerly incarcerated people in the state of Louisiana.
Chapter One: Listen / Share
Clarity ft. EARTHGANG: Watch / Share
As Squeak E. Clean Studios’ ECD, Sam’s wildly creative work as an artist has led the global music powerhouse creation of dynamic cultural moments through music for top brands, including the Trident spot “Pre-Game Chew” featuring an original track by TRY collaborators Sam i and Shmuck the Loyal that transforms NBA star Kyle Kuzma’s pre-game ritual into an epic beat-pumping throwdown.
The campaign also included a full track of the original song composed to Kyle’s chewing rhythm, available on Spotify and TikTok. Sam also tapped into his longtime collaboration–from her time as a struggling artist to her current chart-topping status–with Doja Cat as ECD on a spot for Pepsi that aired during the 2021 MTV Video Music Awards featuring a new rendition of Grease’s You’re the One That I Want.
In 2020, the Squeak E. Clean Studios’ ECD also worked with Doja Cat and Anderson.Paak on the track 20 Below, later collaborating with Anderson.Paak again recently on the Yours to Take spot for Budweiser.
The meeting of the two minds was an organic process, as natural as the ease of breathing in and out. The result is a sonically diverse album spanning gorgeous 2step, the clattering bombast of trap, house music’s insistent pulse, and the starry-eyed outlook of synth-pop.
Best seen across Chapter One, Aphrodite–the first song the duo completed–acts as the birth of the project, inspiring an uplifting fresh start over hopeful, transcending beats. Silence, a collaboration with Camden and Miette Hope, features an infectious, instantly danceable beat with lyrics questioning a lack of communication, either in personal relationships or as a societal whole.
End of Times is a catchy dystopian love ballad about the world falling down around you but being content where you are, tucked away in a shelter of love and peace.
“We have very eclectic taste, and the record reflects that,” says Sam. With two more chapters planned for release over the next year, the entire project features an impressively varied roster of musical and artistic collaborators giving extra juice to the duo’s impossible-to-pin-down sound, bringing nothing but energy and a positive glow to match.
All artwork and visualizers are overseen by creative director Cédric Hervet, who frequently operated in the same role for Daft Punk.
Chapter One Tracklist
2. Clarity ft. EARTHGANG
3. Silence ft. Camden and Miette Hope
4. End of Times
‘Chapter One’ Album Art, Credit: Lissy Laricchia