By Jasper Intern Bradley Dountz
With personal technology evolving every passing year, it’s not too surprising the way people make music would change as well. In 2009, University of South Carolina studio art major Lucas Sams hopped on the DIY element to music and hasn’t let up since.
“I got a Macbook for the first time, it had Garageband on it and it just kinda changed my life,” he says of his nascent musical identity.
After practicing his craft while attending USC, Sams is now the brainchild behind local Columbia band Pray for Triangle Zero, who will be performing at the WXRY Music Crawl at June’s First Thursday on Main. “I think we’re probably the weirdest band on that lineup,” Sams said.
Sams was inspired to get involved in music from an early age, with David Bowie and Peter Gabriel as his early influences. However, music wasn’t always a clear-cut path for him walk down. “I always wanted to make music,” he said. “But I quit piano lessons. I never would ever even now consider myself like a good musician at all.”
No matter what Sams says, his music doesn’t sound like someone who is not a “good” musician. His countless songs cannot be pinned down to one genre. His own words describe his music as “space age post punk, very 80’s inspired,” but even that doesn’t cover it that well. His latest self-released album, Pastel Seascape, sounds like a washed out drug haze, that keeps you alert with constant techno beats blaring and scorchingly layered echo drawls.
“I wanna make stuff that doesn’t sound like anything else,” Sams said.
Pray for Triangle Zero’s image has been marked by the rise of vaporwave, a form of electronic music that relies heavily on 80’s and 90’s production design and cultural ambiance. Sams now looks up to similar artists such as himself like Toro y Moi, Neon Indian, and Skylar Spence.
Sams says he was making music “under the radar” for a while, but it wasn’t until he fell into the “experimental crowd” when he arrived in Columbia almost a decade ago, and hearing bands artists like Space Idea Tapes and Jeff South, that his true ambition grew.
Sams looks at his work and how prolific he has been over the years as just a byproduct of doing what he loves to do. “It’s just mostly being obsessed with the work, with making music, especially since I didn’t come to it naturally,” he said. “That uphill climb, that learning curve kinda made me want to do it more.”
Pray for Triangle Zero still has more plans for the future, they are already planning on performing at Future Fest 2017 this year. But it’s the WXRY gig that has him excited.
“I feel good…it’s our first local show this year, pressure is on, it’ll be something,” he says chuckling. Even for all of his upcoming exposure, Sams still looks at the actual music as his end goal. “I still definitely prefer being a producer to playing live...that’s where I really find enjoyment from it.”