Formed in September of 2016, Sam Holladay began as a collaboration between singer/guitarist Jordan Samuel Anastasiadis and guitarist Benjamin Holladay Owens, writing songs in the basement of their student house and performing at nearby coffee shops as a duo. While these initial performances garnered interest from locals, the two had greater aspirations and sought to expand their sound, first by enlisting saxophonist Owen Mitchell, and then drummer Patrick Hamilton and bassist James Simmonds—completing the five-member ensemble that is Sam Holladay today. What occurred with the addition of these new musicians was nothing short of transformative. Infusing their influences with Mitchell’s jazz sensibilities, Hamilton’s intricate math-rock drumming style, and Simmonds’ progressive bass rhythms led the band to an entirely new genre that has since been classified as indie math-rock.
In the two years that followed, Sam Holladay has played shows across the greater Toronto and Hamilton regions, drawing an ever-growing fan base with their unique sound and dynamic live performances. From DIY shows in small coffee shops to large festival stages, the band has gained a reputation for being a must-see in the Hamilton and Toronto music scenes.
In addition to playing numerous shows with other local and touring acts, the band placed second in the 2017 McMaster University battle of the bands and returned the following year to take home first place in the competition. They also recently completed a short University tour, where they were able to connect with a new cohort of incoming students on campuses across Hamilton.
In the Spring of 2018, Sam Holladay released their debut single, ‘Ainslie,’ to a near-sold out crowd at Hamilton’s historic Casbah music venue. The single charted in the top 5 on CFMU 93.3 for several weeks, and one music blog described the song as “youthful…positive…like I want to be driving in the car, speakers blasting, and shamelessly singing at the top of my lungs.” Shortly thereafter, their five song EP ‘Ainslie’ was self-released to acclaim from fans and critics alike. Described as a “young band with a promising career ahead” by Kristin Archer of I Heart Hamilton and a band “really worth keeping an eye on” by German music blog Museek, Sam Holladay is looking to build on their success in the year ahead with a slate of new songs ready to record.
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