French extraordinaire Mr. Sam has just dropped his latest album entitled Pop Model this past March, and word has it he is working on a new Techno album. In addition to discussing the details on Pop Model and the Opus 4 compilation that he is currently working on, he also gives us his opinions on the advancements of music and even shares a short tale with us on what happened on a flight to Australia.
Not only that be we also learned that there is more to Sam than meets the eye. He is certainly not just a DJ in a suit….
In terms of labels, which ones do you believe are the most forward thinking at the moment?
Mr Sam: Well, that’s a good question, which needs a good answer. I should say that lately I say more labels than artists! I’m getting about 200 emails with promotional material a week. Yes, a week! It’s very hard lately to remember about the label’s names to be honest and even the artists. It’s mostly impossible. 10 years ago, at the time of vinyls, DJ’s were buying a maximum of 10 tracks a week, around. There were much less labels on the market and producers as well. It was easier to remember at least the label or the artist. Nowadays, it’s pretty hard to do so. I know tones of DJ’s who don’t really know the name of the producer of the music they do play. Ask them, you’ll see.
Must of us are copying and pasting the name for our podcast, but except a few exceptions we don’t remember about it. Way too much information. Of course, we do remember the best ones and the trendy producers, labels etc…
I wont be original but I will say that Pryda is by far the best label in terms of quality of the releases. But Pryda has a particularity, its only Eric Prydz release on it. Except only one if I’m right. That’s what I’m doing with my own label Appia Music for years. I wanted to make it easy for the DJ’s to find my music quickly. But I also wanted to be free as a bird to release anything I wanted on my own imprint.
You have several vocalists featured on your latest album “Pop Model”. In what ways do you believe the vocal tracks enhance the overall feeling of your album?
Mr Sam: I do like working with vocalist even if I nearly didn’t for the last 2 years. Last one I did was “Cygnes” but it was a very special vocal that surprised more than one DJ’s.
For “Pop Model” it was different. I wanted to work with some very different singers from one to another. From House to Trance vocalists. No boundaries at all. I wanted to give some tracks a different sound and then I needed vocals. I searched for each of them really carefully. In an album, you simply can’t make all tracks instrumental; it will quickly become boring I think. For club tracks its different but for an album you definitely need it. I think only 30% of the album’s tracks are with vocals if I’m right. It’s a good balance I think. Too much isn’t good and the opposite as well.
Were you involved with writing or collaborating on any of the lyrics?
Mr Sam: Yes, and no… depends which ones. I still think that the singer, vocalist, song writer or all at the same time still have to express a very personal feeling on my music otherwise it will be like using the vocalists as plug-ins! I wanted them to feel the track and express what they felt about it. What I did is giving them the directions as well as let them know what I didn’t want as well. It does helps sometimes.
We are glad that the track Seven 7 Seven is included on your latest album.
What took the track so long to see a release?
Mr Sam: Seven 7 Seven was only done for “OPUS Secundo” back in time. So many people asked me why it never has been released separately. What I can tell you is that it was planned. I even have an Andy Duguid remix (done years ago and if I’m right the first remix he made for Black Hole) and a Moonbeam remix as well. Both never got released.
That’s life! Now it’s on “Pop Model” for the maximum pleasure of many fans asking for it. I wanted to pleased as much as I could the fans with this album. This is the reason why I did edit all tracks to be able to do a 21 tracks album. Its already boring for me to hear the 2 min beats of track in my car so imagine for the others….
Some of the track titles featured on the release are a bit uncommon such as Ing Ong, and Rydem Koba, and Menkayo. Do these titles have any meaning?
Mr Sam: Yes, sounds weird but they all mean something of course. So… ‘Ing Ong’ is an electro track containing the “Pong” sample from the Atari game from the 80’s. In France it was called “Ping Pong”… and I simply didn’t want to have the double P (*_-) so I delete them. For “Rydem Koba”, I was flying to Australia when I started the track in the plane and I was sitting next to a beautiful girl and she started talking to me, asking what I was doing. I told her. ‘I’m doing Music”. She was surprised and amazed and we started talking for hours. She told me…. Your cute and you’ll have success with the girls in Australia. I was a bit surprised and she told me ‘you gonna ride them cowboys”. Aha, I didn’t know really what it meant and I asked my booker in Australia and he explained me. He told me how to pronounce it in Australian Slang and “ride them cowboys” became “Rydem Koba”. Now for “Menkayo” ask my friends from T4L from Rome and they’ll you more about “The Story of Jenk Menkayo”.
What inspired you to remix the Pat Benetar track Invincible?
Mr Sam: I was in Andy Duguid studio in Scotland when he played me the track (original one). I was like, damn it rings me a bell and forgot about that one. Andy told me he made a bootleg of it years ago and we thought we could make it together. This is where the whole story started. I’ve done my own mix alone and Andy is own mix as well as it was hard to find a middle of the road deal together. It was very hard to get the sample clearance etc. but I do love this tune and it will be my new single pretty soon with massive remixes and a massive video we did shoot in Miami.
How is your progress coming along for the Opus 4 compilation?
Mr Sam: I’m working on it as we speak. As usual I’m working very hard on it. I do want this new volume to be different than the previous ones but at the same time it needs to be a good follow up and needs to fit the OPUS concept. I made some adjustments on this one, you’ll see why soon… It’s even more personal this time and spiritual as well.
Since I started my OPUS series a couple of years ago based on the concept of collecting only exclusives tunes for it, and I was the first one ever to it, it became a standard in the industry. All big DJ’s are doing it, without any exceptions. Look what I wrote in my last OPUS ….
“With time, I am also happy to see that my OPUS concept, which I created completely independently several years ago, has inspired many others to do the same in the field of electronic music. Many famous Djs have been inspired by OPUS to create their own mix album. I am at the same time flattered and happy to see that finally my basic and adventurous idea has now become the norm in the field of mix albums.
Many of them have complimented me on this revolutionary and innovative concept using exclusively titles composed especially for OPUS. This approval was not won quickly and I had, at the time, to convince people of the relevance of my artistic approach as well as the viability of the project itself. I take no personal glory from this but simply the feeling of having, in my own time, been able to analyze the evolution of tastes in music, thought deeply about it and set my project in motion in a sustainable way.”
It says all.
This new Volume, OPUS 4 (Quarter) will be a very special one for me. It’s again a big challenge but I’m working hard to bring again something new on the table with it.
All I can say is that it will be another big step for me.
How would you describe your personality to someone who has never met you?
Mr Sam: It’s a very good question and I’m glad you’re asking it. It’s pretty hard to describe yourself with words sometimes. I should I’m an easygoing person; funny (mostly a kid sometimes), passionate by Art in general (music, painting, sculptures, architecture history in general etc…) who love to travel more than everything.
I’m ultra acute and rigorous first with myself but also with the people working with me and also family and friends. I do feel the need to adhere firmly to the rules. It comes from the education I received from my parents. I’m straight and honest and damn of a perfectionist, which can be very annoying for the people living with me. The Devil is in the details! So I’m doing all things close to my own definition of perfection until I’m fully satisfied. I never leave a job half done. Never.
The funny thing is wherever I go for my gigs around the world, all the people I meet (promoters, fans etc..) all have the same reaction after they met me… ‘I never thought you were like that Sam!”. Why…? Easy… because all they have to base their opinion is interviews and some Music videos, singles covers and press pictures in general! I have to admit that there is a big difference between the Mr Sam in a suit and tie and when you meet me. I’m an easy going guy who like to laugh more than its permitted etc…
So I’ll give you a good advice… don’t like the suit… (*_-) Look further!!!
What is the largest audience you have ever performed for and where was the event?
Mr Sam: Hmm, I think it was in Poland for “Beach Party”. There were 25,000 people in an open-air gig with ATB. It was great, but to be honest, you barely see the first few hundreds/thousands, especially at night! Its more impressive for the crowd than the DJ, believe me. This one ‘against’ all is impressive when you see it on video but when you’re on stage, you’ve so much light on your face that you don’t see much of what’s happening more than 100 meters from you and you’re concentrating on your set. So better be in the audience dancing to have a blast!
What tactics have you used to brush up on your production skills through the years?
Mr Sam: I haven’t changed that much with productions skills. The technology is helping which is good and making it easier or lets say accessible. As I already said a lot of time, machines don’t do music, ideas do!! And the man behind the machine is always the most important! But it’s true that I like the fact of being able to compose music everywhere with mostly a laptop and headphones! I think I’ve done that in planes, airports, cars, trains, on the beach, hotels rooms etc…. It’s very fun!
What is the most interesting thing you learned this year?
Mr Sam: That you can’t always rely on your friends!
Who designs those fancy suits that you frequently wear?
Mr Sam: Depends! I got a lot of request about it. Sometimes its Armani, sometimes Boss, sometimes some less known designers but also Franco Ferre, among many others; I’m always surprised to hear people saying… Wow you look so cool Sam, you known as the French Dandy DJ playing with a Suit and a Tie! I’ve to say that I’m dressed like this most of the time and not only for playing. It’s a not a Gig costume at all!!
Can you share any information regarding any other projects you are currently involved in?
Mr Sam: “Pop Model”, “OPUS 4” and I’m working on a new Techno album… but shhhh you didn’t hear anything (*_-)
Do you have any closing comments for your fans out there?
Mr Sam: In those very hard moments of the music industry; please buy music instead of leaking it please!! I said the following thing on skype last week and got tons of comments! “People buying my music are my fans. Others who are leaking it are evangelists of my music!
And one more thing, please do add me on facebook and twitter here below for the latest information and gossip!!!
This post originally appeared on Electronic Nightlife, now a part of beatcue.