"PRS play incredible and the sound is so pure and for me is un-relatable to anything I've played before."
Sam Bowden is a member of Welsh pop punk band Neck Deep. They formed in 2012 and have since taken the pop punk scene by storm performing shows all over the UK and US, including the 2017 Vans Warped Tour. The band's most recent album, The Peace and the Panic was released in August of 2017 and is in stores now.
PRS: What inspired you to pick up the guitar, and at what age?
SB: My grandad was initially what inspired me to pick up a guitar. He played most his life in bands and always had guitars dotted around his house. One day he put one in my hands and that's when it started. I was about 12 I think. After that I was really inspired by two specific bands, Oasis and Blink 182. Seeing them on music channels made me want to be in a band and fully pursue this.
PRS: When did you realize that you could do this for a living? Was there ‘a big break’ for you?
SB: I mean realistically I'm still semi waiting haha. Music isn't what it used to be so we don't really earn what we may have 10 years ago. It's such a busy schedule so keeps us on the road and prevents us from spending money we do make but If we stopped id have to get a job for sure. But in terms of doing what we do now at this level and meaning I don't have to have a job when I'm home, it would be when I Joined Neck Deep and started touring full time.
PRS: Who are your three biggest influences?
SB: My first one is my grandad. Like I said he used to play in a band that really did go places, however he gave it up to get married. Being content in life and knowing what you want out of it is super important and he knew that. It's something that keeps me humble and focused on what I do. Second is Noel & Liam Gallagher. They knew where they wanted to go before they played their first show and they got exactly there. Being told no or thinking I can't do this will end up making that a reality. You really have to give it your all and it's something I lived by and I believe it's what pushed me to keep going even through the worst times. Strict musical influences are Blink 182, Oasis and John Mayer.
PRS: If you had to name one song (or record) that changed your life, what would it be?
SB: One record that changed my life was 'Get What You Give' by 'The Ghost Inside'. It came out during a really difficult time where I almost quit a band I was in and also music generally. I had been touring so hard for so many years maxed out all my bank cards and had nothing but debt. But I put that album on once and it just made me quit being stupid and put me right back on track.
PRS: What advice would you give to all the young and emerging guitarists out there?
SB: Never stop doing what you love. Never think you aren't good enough but also don't get comfortable enough to stop learning. I'm still learning how to play. Learn theory as best as you can have patience. It goes a long way when composing. Being able to rearrange chords and progressions and find lead notes to compliment it will come so much easier with a decent amount of that. Try playing every day because it's like fitness, if you stop working out for a week it's going to affect your body the next time you give it a shot.
PRS: When you aren’t writing music or touring, what do you like to do during your free time?
SB: Between touring and writing I try to spend as much time with friends and family. I barely see them and I'm always feeling guilty about it. It's so strange going back and seeing so much change you've missed out on. It's something I regret taking for granted. I also try workout and keep fit, basically try and shift all the weight I put on during tour! I catch up on a lot of TV shows as well, I don't really watch anything on tour so I usually binge loads when I'm home.
PRS: Why do you choose to play PRS?
SB: I chose PRS about 10 years ago I just couldn't afford to buy the left handed model at the time. I've also thought of them as the dream guitar to play and I'm so stoked to be able to now. They play incredible and the sound is so pure and for me is un-relatable to anything I've played before.
PRS: What’s your “go-to" PRS model?
SB: My go to is my custom pink 'Custom 24' which was made for me just before Warped 2017. It's my baby!
PRS: What’s the rest of 2017 looking like for you guys?
SB: Very exciting. Our new album 'The Peace and The Panic' came out on August 18th and I'm incredibly proud of what we all did. After that we have a headline UK/EU tour and are headlining the biggest cap venues we've ever done before. So a little bit nervous but mostly excited for them!
Photos courtesy of Elliott Ingham.