Originally appeared on the 405; view archived article here.
Samuel Proffitt’s new EP, Good Death, is the embodiment of introspection. The musician is currently working on a PhD at Brown University for Slavic Studies, and, as he describes in the interview below, he actively incorporates his research into his music. It may sound dense, but in reality, Good Death flutters weightlessly. Every moment is filled with purpose, if not universally apparent, at least for Proffitt himself—he describes it as an exploration of death, trauma, memory, and ultimately self-fragmentation.
Find an excerpt of the interview below; read it in full here.
405: What constitutes a “good death”?
Samuel Proffitt: Good Death grew out of an exploration of a lot of the things that had happened to me over the past five, almost six years. It explores death, both in literal and metaphorical ways, and how a lot of times when you’re dealing with these things, it is very difficult to see death as anything but malevolent, evil, bad, or a destructive force. I wanted to move on to see what grew out of that destruction.
Is the music you create realer than your memories?
Yeah, probably. I was actually thinking about this the other day: my memory used to be much better. Or I think my memory used to be better but then I listened to the EP, and when I heard each song, I remembered the exact moment that I wrote it or the exact moment that I got the masters back. I feel exactly what I felt, and that was incredibly profound for me.
My mom called the other day and she was saying, “you’ve dealt with a lot of death in your life, more than the vast majority of people your age, so do you see this as cathartic?” and I don’t really see the process of the writing as very cathartic, but sometimes when I revisit these, it’s almost like a flashback of a feeling of the moment. The reasons that they’re sticking is because of the music, it’s not because of the memory—the memory is there because it was transcribed, because it was created in something that was more than just a memory.