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Sunday 25th, June 2006
Mr. Sam Interview

To celebrate the success of his second album Lyteo (read the review [link=http://trance.nu/v3/review_show.php?id=1433]here[/link]), trance.nu caught up with experienced DJ/producer Mr.Sam for a chat about the album, the artists he worked with, the history of trance and his plans for the future.

T.nu: Firstly, congratulations on the release of your album. How have reactions been to it so far?

Mr Sam: Hello and thank you! Making this album was a big challenge for me and I wanted to achieve it in the best way. Reactions so far have been really great. Without hiding anything, I never thought it would be so great... I made this album without thinking about making crossovers tunes and so on, just the way I wanted it to be, thatís all. Reactions have been so great that it has been exclusively licensed to more than 10 countries/labels around the world, which was a big surprise for Black Hole Recordings as well as for me. The fast craze for the album was a good sign for us at the very begining. Even in my wildest dreams, I never thought it would be like this, especially in nowadays music market. Iím glad of everything happening.


t.nu: You managed to get an impressively diverse range of artists on there, which were your favourites to work with?

Mr Sam: Well yes youíre right. ďLyteoĒ covers a large panel of singers and music style and that was my main goal. Iíve no preferences on any of them because they are all so different from each other as you can hear. They all have their own quality and musical identity. I did make some of my dreams come true as I worked with Kirsty Hawkshaw for who have the biggest respect and now weíre big friends. Crash Course In Science were one of my favourites bands in the late 80ís as well. I had already collaborated with Rani (from Delerium) for the track called ĎSurrenderĒ. Iím also glad I had the chance to collaborate with 13OR, an amazing African singer who has a true sensibility. Simply listen to ďKimia Eya Na MokiliĒ and youíll know what I mean.

t.nu: If there was one other vocalist you could have worked with, alive or dead, who would it be?

Mr Sam: Dreaming is free you know so if only I could, it will certainly be Lisa Gerrard from Dead can Dance without a shadow of a doubt but like I said... Dreaming remains free!
Iíve loved her voice and charisma for so many years that I would die to collaborate with her. Also Enya. Both are so mystical and this is what I prefer the most... mystical.

t.nu: Do you have any favourite tracks on the album?

Mr Sam: Difficult to say because each track reminds me of a story and a certain period of my life as well. Each song is important in my eyes but some a bit more, so I think I would say ďSplitĒ together with Kirsty Hawshaw, ďLyteoĒ for personal reasons, ďKimia Eya Na MokiliĒ for its sensibily and timeless feeling, Alegrya for its soul purity and of course ďInsightĒ together with Kirsty Hawkshaw... and so on!

t.nu: Some of the tracks have a very Ďliveí feel to the instruments Ė is it all electronic or were there any real instruments used?

Mr Sam: Yes, youíre right. Some songs sound a bit accoustic in a way. Nowadays with technology itís becoming more and more difficult to know if it is real accoustic or not.
I personally think that it doesnít matter at all. Only the result counts but to answer your question most of all instruments are not accoustic, which means it has been well done then? Itís also true that I wanted to have this special sound on some of the albumís songs. You need this to create a special atmosphere, feeling and this is sometimes where the limits of the synth sounds are, despite the fact that I love synth sounds of course but not always in this special case.

t.nu: Iíve got to ask this for the tech-heads. Do you use mainly software or hardware and what sort of studio set up do you have?

Mr Sam: Once again, it doesnít matter how you produce your music. It can be all hardware or software, itís still about the man behind the machine who is important. I do know producers who only use a computer who are extremely creative and talented. I also know people who have a massive studio and who are not productive and creative at all, blinded by the technical side of music. You need to see the technology as a creative tool and not as a solution. Nowadays you can produce a record with only a computer and good speakers and Iím fine with that.
Itís for me a big step in the Music Democracy. I mean, before people need to get an expensive studio to create or record some music and it was only reserved to a few people but now with creativy and talent you can do it by yourself. We can be happy of this because many new talents have emerged the latest years because of this technologic revolution and some of them are now on the top of the list as producers and DJs as well.
Due to this Iíve been in contact with lots of new talented and upcoming producers and Iím helping some of them. Iím playing their ďunsigned recordsĒ in my radio and DJ Sets. So if youíre interested, send me your new tracks! ([email protected]). I'll get back to you all with feedback. For me Itís important to push the new producers.
By my side, in the studio weíve both software and hardware. Most are plugins of course but I do still buy the new synths I love, like the Access Virus TI for example. As it does not exist as a plugin, Iíve no problem to buy it in the shops, the quality of Access is so high that itís worth buying it...Iím sure many will agree with me on this point.

t.nu: Who were your early musical influences?

Mr Sam: When I was a teenager, I grew up in the 80ís so I couldnít escape listening to bands like Yello, Depeche Mode, The Cure and so on... but Depeche Mode stay my main inspiration.
I was a DM freak and will always be. The quality of the composition and production was so great for the time. It has inspired me a lot for my tracks as well. In a more commercial way, Iím addicted to Cock Robin, I know it will sounds a bit strange for many but I love these nice pop records from the late 80ís, the composer is a genius. I only listen to music I like even when thereís no hype at allÖ who cares?

t.nu: You have been a DJ since you were sixteen in the early nineties Ė how did you start out and what sort of music did you play?

Mr Sam: Yes thatís true, I started with DJing like most of producers nowadays. DJing for me was nothing else than a crucial need, I coudnít escape it. I first started buying lots of records I was listening to in the clubs where I was going during the weekend, it was in 1992 (can you imagine?!). Step by step I started to work in a record shops and have been in contact with all the biggest DJs in the country and quickly been invited to play, at the begining from time to time in some clubs or parties all over the country. After a short time, I got my first residency in some big clubs over here. The story was just starting.
At this time, I was playing alternative and upfront records as I wasnít resident so no need to play the big hits. I remember it as a great time of my life... I was fascinated but the American music and was a die-hard fan of the US imports in the shop where I was working at.
With time, my tastes have evolved and I started playing many different styles of music, more and more melodic, always! Then came my love for atmosphere music, so called Trance. Artists like Cosmic Baby, Paul van Dyk, Jam & Spoon have influenced me a lot for sure. Respect to the pioneers.

t.nu: Your musical career began pretty much at the birth of trance and has followed it ever since through itís commercial peak and to the present. What do you think of the current state of trance music?

Mr Sam: Well like I just said, I have been building up my sound at the birth of ďTrance MusicĒ and I must say that Iím pleased with that. At this time EDM was not as popular as it is now... no Internet, no radio broacasting EDM (or only a few indepedent radios) no big DJs like now or a only a few as well so it was still an alternative style of music we were all juming into. I think there is not a big difference between before and now to be honest. In both times, good and bad records have been released. Many people are complaining now about the music quality and I do agree with them. Iím sometimes having problems to find a great piece of music but it was the same before in a different way. The main problem nowadays is that weíre all swamped by a huge amount of releases every week and of course quantity doesnít mean quality. In the other hand, there are great producers and upcoming talents as well that Iím following and still keeping an eye on.
Trance Music has become with time a bit repetitive and clichť, especially lately. Iím receiving far too much average and Ďall sounding the sameí records, with all the same kick, percussions, melody (even the same sound preset), arrangements and so on but I think itís the same not only in Trance but in Electro, Techno or even in House as well. Itís part of the Music style rules! Itís true that Iím most well know for making melodic records but Iím not only playing Trance when Iím DJing around the world. I do like a large panel of music styles. Together with Dimitri Andreas, Iím behind Mojado on TiŽstoís Magik Muzik label. Itís a more techno minded. Itís my dark side! Iím my DJ sets I can play from Trance to Techno, depends of the crowd I have in front of me!
Back to Trance music, I donít think that Trance music is dead to be honest. It only needs to evolve and merged into a new dimension. Prodcucers like Andy Moor or even Gabriel & Dresden have done great melodic records close to Trance but have been played by all DJs from different styles. So this is where an effort needs to be done. A good meltingpot of music styles is the solution I think.

t.nu: Considering your success as a producer, why did you get into it quite late in your career, your first release being in 1999?

Mr Sam: Building up a career takes time. I wanted to take time before releasing my first solo Artist album. During all this time Iíve been releasing many successful records with different aliases as well as making many remixes (more than 60) for well known artists as Age of Love, Sinead OíConnor, Timo Maas, D Note, Delerium, Todd TerryÖ I also released the first Non-Tiesto artist album on Magik Muzik as Mojado with Dimitri Andreas besides more than eight releases on Tiestoís own label Magik Muzik. I prefer building up rather than going too fast which isnít the best solution. Now I achieved releasing my artist album ďLyteoĒ (my second one with Mojado ďArenaĒ) and things are evolving in a very good way lately. So little time and so many things to do...!

t.nu: Have you got any festival gigs or Mojado live performances planned for the summer?

Mr Sam: As DJ Iím still touring for the Lyteo World Tour, Iíll playing this Saturday at City Parade Belgium together with David Guetta, Dave Clarke and Pole Folder. After that I will be off to Poland for four days for a few gigs out there (Poland is one of my favourite places in the world). Iíll also be back in Rome later in July for another fantastic gig. Iíll be playing at the FFWD Parade in Rotterdam in collaboration with Black Hole Recordings. IĒll have the honour to head a truck on the Techno Parade in Paris, begining September, it will be massive playing in the streets of Paris! Iíll go to Germany as well to share the decks with John Askew and Chris Bauland for a party called Synthesia. Beside that, many new dates are in process for September and October in many different countries, mostly in the countries where the album has been signed. Have a look on www.myspace.com/mrsam_tv for more info and see you in a club near you!

t.nu: With your success as Mojado with Dimitri Andreas and well received productions with Fred Baker, do you have any other collaborations or projects lined up?

Mr Sam: Yes! Good news for the numerous Mojado fans, weíre already working on a new album for Magik Muzik. Be sure to have some nice surprises for this new album. Weíre working hard on it to deliver only the very best for our fans. The only thing I can say is that this time weíll do some collaborations.... a bit more patience and youíll know all.

t.nu: With such a broad range of styles in your productions, what sort of music do you listen to relax to?

Mr Sam: Iím glad you asked me this. I try to explain in all my interviews that I donít really have a specific music style. In the ĎLyteoĒ album you can definetly understand it. I mean I donít feel good with only making the same kind of music all time. It can be the ďLyteoĒ or ďArenaí album, both contains differents styles of music and not always the same, I also think that some Mojado tracks could have been on my album and the opposite as well. It simply means that Iíve no boundaries at all while producing music. For me, there are two styles of music, the good and the bad. I prefer a good deep house record rather than a bad techno or trance one. So for relaxing, itís also really large. It can go to ambient like Pete Namlook's Music to a French pop singer called Pascal Obispo. I do like the last CD from James Holden when Iím in the office. It can also be classical music like Craig Armstrong, Rob Dougan and sometimes Jazz.

t.nu: Many thanks for your time and we wish you best of luck with the album and your future career.

Mr Sam: Youíre welcome. Iíd like to thanks trance.nu for their support over the years and thanks to all trance.nu members who sent me many messages and kinds words lately about the album and my radio show. Take care all of you and lots of love!

t.nu: AwwÖ we send our love back to you Mr. Sam!

Related links:

Contact: [email protected]
Myspace page: www.myspace.com/mrsam_tv
Made In Trance Radio Show: www.contactmusic.fr/Radio/Mr-Sam.php5


Written by:
frombeyond

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