Q&A with SAMPOLOGY – Australia’s leading Audio Visual DJ Talks: Defying Expectations & Breaking Genre Boundaries and More.
Posted On 11 Nov 2014
Tag: All Access, All Access Music, All Access Music Group, Artist Interview, Australian, Australian musician, Bigsound, Brazillian, Brisbane, Caribbean house beat, Chaz Bundick, Clap! Clap!, CMJ, CMJ Music Festival, Daniel Merriweather, Djemba Djemba, DX-7, Electric Wire Hustle, Flying Lotus, Flylo, India, Lone, Mad Decent, Mumbai, Nelly, Nicole DeRosa, NYC, Sam Poggioli, Sampology, SBTRKT, Shine A Light, Taylor McFerrin, Toro Y Moi
Defying expectation and breaking genre boundaries, Australian artist Sampology is a pioneer of performance, blending a musical and visual experience to become what many consider Australia’s leading Audio Visual DJ. His live AVDJ performances have earned praise from The New York Times and The Independent while his creatively effervescent, almost rugged technique and cheeky, irreverent sense of humor have caught the attention of artists like Peaches, Sinden and AC Slater. With influences ranging from the Beastie Boys to Bruce Willis, Sampology AV shows, DJ sets, mixes and original productions are unexpected and always ready to entertain.
Born Sam Poggioli in Brisbane, Australia, where he’s currently based, Sam’s early entry into DJing started at home at age 15, around the time The Avalanches released their legendary album Since I Left You. While Sam had that album on repeat for about a year, he began learning his way around a set of turntables. His cousins, musicians themselves, were giving him occasional lessons in audio software Logic, and even invited him on tour with their band including their slot at Big Day Out in 2002.
However, by 2008 Sam had gone from DJing, turntable scratching and sampling to incorporating video mixing into his performances, becoming a full-fledged Audio Visual DJ. In recent years, Sam has transitioned from being a AVDJ/performer to being a producer as well.
In 2011, Sam released the Super Sounds EP, following it up in 2012 with a full length Sampology album, Doomsday Deluxe. Sam’s vast mental musical reference library that you hear in his DJ sets (where he can go from Jamie Lidell to Toro y Moi to a Justin Martin remix of an Uz track in a matter of beats) also shows up in his own productions, which blend elements of hip-hop with electronic music.
Sam’s offbeat humor and standout personality, showcased prominently in Sampology originals as well as his remix videos (sometimes of artists like Major Lazer and Beyoncé), caught the attention of Australian entertainment icons Chris Lilley (Summer Heights High, Angry Boys) and The Wiggles both of whom commissioned Sam for official remix work. Most recently, DJ Butcher tapped Sampology for a collaboration with Grammy Award-winning reggae star Beenie Man on their single, “Dancehall Queen.”
Sam’s unique approach to a mixed media live performance has made him a popular performer at creative festivals around the globe – from Edinburgh Fringe Festival and Splendour In The Grass to SXSW and Tropfest, not to mention the Big Day Out tour in 2013.
In the studio, Sam primarily uses Sony Vegas for his video work while still using Logic, Ableton and Maschine for audio. Sam admits to having a synth obsession, with 7 and counting to his name (he’s partial to his Oberheim Matrix 1000 and a Moog Little Phatty). Watching Sampology’s career is a lot like listening to one of his DJ sets: you can’t predict what’s coming next, but you know it’s going to be good.
All Access Music writer, Nicole DeRosa got to catch up with Sam during the Culture Collide Tour in Los Angeles. Check out their Q&A below:
Hi Sam! How are you doing? What’s on the agenda today besides our interview?
Some hotel room rehearsals for the upcoming shows + record shopping in San Fran!
For those not as familiar with you, how did your musical journey begin.
I started as a DJ, then as an AVDJ, and now leading into an album release next year, I’m all about my new live show which combines all my own original music as well as a strong visual element to the show with animations that I trigger from within my live setup. I also worked at a second hand record store in my home city of Brisbane for 4 years, musically I learnt so much during my time there.
You work with fellow Aussie artist Daniel Merriweather on your new single, “Shine A Light”. How did collaborating with Daniel come about?
For ‘Shine A Light’ I wanted a soaring soul, almost gospel vocal and he was actually one of the first that came to mind when I thought on that, even though we are both Australian when I reached out we both happened to be in LA at the same time earlier this year. We recorded his vocals in Burbank at the Mad Decent studios which Djemba Djemba who uses the space and was nice enough to let us use!
What was the inspiration for “Shine A Light”? I love the Caribbean house beat mixed with synths, percussion and gospel choir-like harmonies. It makes for a delicious mix! Did the music or lyrics come first?
Thanks! The rhythm of it came first, both in the actual drums and the rhythm of the piano part which is really important to the overall groove. But the inspiration came out of really lovely moments in my DJ sets where I was transitioning between an upbeat older Brazillian carnival track and a newer electronic track, there was a sweet spot when they both layered up and I really wanted to recreate that feeling as a track of my own. With Dans part the melody came first and then the lyrics followed.
Sam, what is your writing process like? How do you capture inspiration when it comes to you?
I like to take my time with the actual specific sounds, I really enjoy trying to find either individual sounds or combinations of sounds that attempt to have their own unique space rather than sounding exactly like someone else’s pallet. Actually writing the parts I feel is a bit quicker from that point onwards, there’s lot of DX-7 on the tracks I’ve been working on at the moment.
Who were your major influences growing up?
The Avalanches plus all of the local Brisbane bands and DJs I was seeing play and dancing to.
Who is in your current playlist? Anyone we would be surprised to find in there?
New albums I’m liking.. Taylor McFerrin, SBTRKT, Flylo, Lone, Clap! Clap!, Electric Wire Hustle. Randomly, I just found a Nelly remix from an artist who handed me their music on a USB stick at Bigsound in Brisbane a month ago.
Touring is nothing new to you, Sam. What is your most memorable show so far?
Too many to mention, but touring India last year was really special. I got to play some really fun shows, record shop in bizarre ways and record with some local musicians in Mumbai. You can check out the little mini documentary video we shot from that trip here .
How’s this current US tour run going so far? What show are you most excited for?
I’ve only done San Francisco so far which was really fun, I really enjoyed checking out that city a bit more this trip. I’m really excited for all of the shows, two in LA this Friday and Saturday (17th and 18th) and three shows in NY next week for CMJ .. Playing my unreleased album material in the new live show and meeting heaps of new people in the crowd is really enjoyable for me right now!
Any favorite spots you plan on hitting up while you’re in LA? How about in NYC??
I’ll definitely get some more record shopping in in LA & NYC, in New York I’m going to go back to the little cupcake shop in Soho for a mini Oreo Cheesecake cupcake, damn I’m salivating even mentioning these..
Who else would you love to tour with and perhaps collaborate with in the future?
Chaz Bundick/Toro Y Moi would be cool, I’m open to whoever would be fun to play/record with and I can also learn from.
What’s on tap next for you? What are you most excited about for this year?
Just putting myself out there even more than I have previously, I love expressing myself both in my DJ sets and my AVDJ sets, but with the new music I’m working on for the album and the live show around that there’s even more of me in there. So whilst working on that at the moment might be daunting for me, it feels really special and is something I’m looking forward to having people see and hear bit by bit as I tour this new show.
To stay up to the latest with SAMPOLOGY, visit his website here .