Sam Burton is a multi-talented musician and songwriter from Salt Lake City. Burton fronts local dream-pop band The Circulars with bandmates Jacob Hall, Trevor HadleyChristian Claflin and Brent Dreiling—but he has also released folky solo record titled Until Returning that hit the streets in July.

When it comes to The Circulars, writing music is much more of a community effort. “What makes something a ‘Circular song’ is having them write it with me,” says Burton. “I go with more of an open template for what the song is, and then I’m within the energy of playing with them.” His solo work, however, is a bit different than the atmospheric, dreamlike quality of his approach to creating The Circulars’ music. “I’m not going for a narrative,” he says. “I’m going for more of a sonic landscape.”

Until Returning is particularly interesting because it was recorded on a tape. “The reason I recorded it on tape is because it sort of just has a nice warmth to it,” says Burton. “I wanted to give it a landscape. If I’m recording a solo song and it’s nice and clean, or just normal, I think sometimes it’s not as interesting to listen to.” After experimenting with numerous tape recorders, Burton felt like he finally had the sound he was going for. “Bob Dylan has an interesting quote where he says, ‘No one had made the music I wanted to listen to yet, so I had to do it,’” says Burton. “I’m not relating with this 100-percent, but that’s my intention—I was making music I wanted to hear.”

Burton wanted to create music that was a little more meditative than most—something people could connect to on a different level. “I heard this record and [their sound] was super naked—just really stripped down,” he says. “When I listened to it, I noticed those open, naked songs were making my mind fill the blanks. I thought it would be really interesting to make a record like that—where someone could fill in their own blanks and have a different type of relationship with it.” What gave Burton the confidence to create this kind of sound on a solo album was David Payne at Twilite Lounge. “He does these shows every Wednesday and always has a special guest,” says Burton. “He was going to have The Circulars and someone couldn’t do it, so I asked if I could do it myself.”

The song you’ll hear on this track is “Are You Waiting for the Setting Sun” by The Circulars, and their new album will be released October 21st at Urban Lounge. You can find The Circular’s music at thecirculars.bandcamp.com or listen to Sam Burton’s solo album at chthonicrecords.bandcamp.com/album/until-returning.


Thanks for listening to SLUG Mag Soundwaves.

  • This podcast was created by SLUG Magazine and produced by Angela H. Brown and Secily Saunders
  • Associate Producers: Alexander Ortega, Joshua Joye, John Ford, Kathy Zhou
  • Executive Producer: Angela H. Brown
  • Background music by Sam Burton and The Circulars
  • Soundwaves logo and art design by Nicholas Dowd
  • Technical design by Kate Colgan
  • Photo: Erica O’Brien

SLUG Magazine’s mission is to provide an honest journalistic alternative to mainstream coverage of arts, music, events and lifestyle. SLUG adds value to lifestyle through community engagement. Available in print and digitally on SLUGmag.com.

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