DanceTrippin asks... Sam Divine
As we find ourselves nearing the peak of this year's spectacular Amsterdam Dance Event, one DJ from the Southwest of the UK is only just warming up. Sam Divine, now an impressive 7 years under the realm of Defected Records, spoke candidly and excitedly in an exclusive DanceTrippin asks… From her early days growing up to her show on Saturday’s Defected In The House 500 night, find out more about one of the industry’s much loved characters.
Firstly, how much are you looking forward to this year's Amsterdam Dance Event?
ADE is always a big event in the calendar! It marks the end of the summer and I look forward to bumping into promoters that I have worked with throughout the year and also DJ friends that I may only get to see very often.
We can't wait for this Friday when you'll be taking on the Amsterdam crowd together for the Defected In The House 500. How excited for this are you?
I absolutely love Amsterdam, almost as much as Ibiza and London. The vibe and crowd are always on point. You can really play all your best tracks from the summer but it has a more underground feel.
You've been a jewel in Defected's crown for as long as we can remember. How did it all come about?
I’ve been signed with Defected for 7 years now but even before that when I was working in a record shop, the warehouse was underneath the office, I was literally sat on top of a goldmine of vinyl. I would spend my lunch breaks going through all the vinyl, Defected had me off from the start. I made it my mission to go to all the Defected parties in London even when I was still living in Bristol. I did my first season in Ibiza in 2005, I played 6 nights a week in San Antonio’s west end, my only night off was a Tuesday which happened to be when Defected was at Pacha at that time so I got to hear all the records I loved every week. I moved to London in 2006 and ran a record shop in Notting hill , the A&R guy at the time used to come in and buy vinyl from the shop, he introduced me to Simon Dunmore the next year in Ibiza, it was about being in the right place at the right time.
For the past 17 years, Defected has been a cutting-edge, independent label at the forefront of the industry. Now it's reached its 500th release milestone. On a personal note, how proud are you to be apart of this?
I’m massively proud to be a part of Defected’s success because before I was part of the family I was a young DJ buying Defected records so I made it my business to learn house knowledge through the records that defected were putting out which lead me onto many other labels and artists that I still till this day respect and look up to.
Being from the Southwest of the UK, did you feel there was a major difference in passions for electronic music in this part of the country compared to others growing up?
Massively! I didn’t really know anything about house music until I moved to London. I come from a Drum‘n’Bass and hardcore scene, that was the first music I raved to. As soon as I passed my driving test I would drive to London every weekend and as soon as I got to slough I could lock onto Passion FM and hear underground house music on pirate radio. I didn’t hear this music anywhere else.
The UK's clubbing scene has come under much scrutiny of late, with the recent closure of Fabric silencing the industry. In your experience, how has the face of the industry changed?
As long as there is a safe place where you can go to hear good music with your friends, nothing changes only the spots you can dance in.
Did you enjoy your summer 2016?
This is the first year that went by so quickly, they say time flies when you’re having fun but I didn’t feel this summer that my feet even touched the ground. I know I played heaps of gigs that were really cool but you never have any real time to digest anything as you’re always on the move to the next one. One big highlight this summer was Defected Croatia , I played 4 sets over 3 days in different settings , it meant that that I could dig deep and play tracks that I have in the locker that I wouldn’t normally get to play. I was given the opportunity to play warm up, closing a stage, a boat party and and an after party which felt like a whole summer season all in one.
Your hit Remix with Curtis Gabriel of Sweet Female Attitude – 'Flowers' was arguably the summer tune of 2015, receiving over 2.28M plays on Soundcloud. Does the modern, online world of today suit you as a DJ?
As an artist you adapt, built If I am absolutely honest and if could go back to rocking up to a record shop listening to vinyl and walking away with a nag full of records in my hand knowing that I can tell a story with the music that I have just bought that would be picture perfect but without social platforms like soundcloud there's no way Curtis & I would have had that much exposure.
You've been fortunate enough to play all over the world including Brazil, Chile, Japan and Dominican Republic to name a few. Where has been the most crazy? Or, is there no place like home?
Wherever in the world I play, there are always people there that make me feel at home.
This year saw you release your Sam Divine In The House compilation album, a huge series featuring some top names out on Defected Records. Was this a real chance to choose tracks that meant a lot to you?
I guess that is true to a sense. The album is more of a vibe that represents me rather than the tracks I am attached to. My sound changes all the time but I always stick to my roots under the House genre umbrella. The album gave me a chance to show that and that I can be versatile whether it’s deep house, tech house or more on a house/garagey tip. I guess I’ve never decided what type of house I really love so I blend it all in.
Aside from electronic music, what is your favorite thing to do or aspect about Amsterdam? Is there anything you've been meaning to do?
Shop, shop and more shopping. My favorite clothing brand up until a year ago didn’t deliver to the UK so every time I played in Amsterdam I used to take an earlier flight, check into my hotel and go straight to the shop to stock up. There are also some really cool vintage shops here.
What else is on the cards for Sam Divine 2016 and beyond? Can you let us in on any exciting plans coming up?
I’m in the process of building a home studio so expect a lot more music from me next year, lots of tours in the pipeline and also doing a lot more label parties for D-Vine Sounds. I’m super excited for next year, my main thing to do is have fun and really appreciate everything I have achieved so far as I haven’t really had time to digest the last 7 years so I will make a conscience effort to take everything in a bit more.
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