Sam Billen is a busy man. Between raising his baby daughter, working full time at the University of Kansas, and running his new business, BillenSounds, LLC, he somehow finds plenty of time to dedicate to his passion – making music that moves. Since joining The Record Machine last year, he’s released a good amount of music: a digital EP entitled Tokyo Sessions, a full-length album called Headphones and Cellphones, a Christmas compilation (including songs by friends Half-Handed Cloud, The Paper Route, and Andrew Conner from Ghosty), a solo piano album called Death of a Saint, and his most recent project, Removers, a constantly growing collection of his remixes and covers of the music that influences him. The Removers project is one that may turn out to be more epic than he first envisioned. As time passes, Sam has been finding more and more songs to ‘re-move’, which in turn is leading to a consistent release of about one new Remover every month.
His newest traditional full-length record Headphones & Cellphones is a departure from the quirky indie pop that his previous band, The Billions, were known for. The Billions were influenced by 90’s bands like Built to Spill, Pavement, and The Flaming Lips. In Sam’s solo music, The Postal Service and Sufjan Stevens have since found their way into the list of influences. Headphones & Cellphones finds him meshing those with more classic sounds like Hall and Oats, Todd Rundgren, and Stevie Wonder, causing him to take a soulful, more mature, smooth, and electronic texture to the endearing pop songs he has always written.