In a recent phone interview with the band Callow, the two San Francisco-based band members, guitarist and vocalist Garrett ‘Red’ Moses and drummer, keyboardist and backing vocalist Sami Knowles, shared about their musical journey and their preparation leading up to a Spring tour starting April 5, which kicks off in Portland at Katie O’Brien’s. Callow will be promoting the release of their second, yet untitled, album due in July.
Asked where their individual paths started and then crossed, Red is originally from Vancouver, WA, but grew up in Salt Lake City. When it came time for a change and seeking something new, the allure of San Francisco called. It was the city’s architecture and ambiance that had him ‘going to California’. Red also liked the city’s central location for touring the west coast while he continued to play and write. Being midway between San Diego and Seattle just made sense.
Sami also grew up in Salt Lake but left to spend time traveling the U.S., and living in Florida for awhile. But she was eventually drawn back to the West Coast, and as fate would have it, settled in San Francisco. It was the city's diversity, culture, and strong creative vibe that called to her.
With both of them now living in the City by the Bay, their paths crossed at a house party that Red’s brother had invited Sami to. The meeting led to friendship and eventually a romance. As they learned more about each other, it was ironic to find out they had gown up just five blocks away from each other when living Salt Lake. Seemingly, their destiny had been set.
After his move to San Francisco, Red had been playing in different bands at the time, mostly alternative rock, but was writing new material and invited Sami to sit in and play a drum beat. The jam sessions, with only a single tom & cymbal, progressed into the collaboration that became Callow.
Having learned piano and dance while on her travels, it was Sami’s natural dancer rhythm that made for a smooth fit into drumming. Despite no formal drum lessons, her exploration into Haitian drumming while living in Florida contributed to the organic transition. With just the two musicians playing Red acknowledged, “It’s equally important that what you leave out is what makes it great”, Sami agreed, “Less is more”. Read more in Part 2 of this three part interview.