Sam Feldt Hanging Out with Electronic Music’s Rising Star
Lets start from the beginning, how did you get started with producing and DJing?
I started a long time ago. I first started playing around with music production software when I was around 11, 12. I also DJed my own drive in show back then, I had small parties with my friends and stuff like that. Then I picked it up again when I was 17, basically started asking for gigs, trying to get my tracks signed, had the same struggles that everyone was having. Then after a while I got some bookings and I got a few releases on small labels, but I said to myself, “is this really the music I want to make, is this really what I want to do?” I was doing a lot of really eclectic stuff, everything from hip hop to hard style of play, just like a party DJ. And I wanted to make my own sound, make my own music, so I set up a side project, Sam Feldt and I said to myself, “In this project, I’m only going to do what I really enjoy doing, I am going to release music that I really want to release” and that kind of exploded when I got signed to Spinning[Records], didn’t really expect it to get big but it did. I released my first mix tape for Sam Feldt in September 2013 and was signed by Spinning in 2014, so it happened really fast.
So you have been in the EDM scene for a long time. What differences have you noticed between when you were just starting as a kid and once you made it big?
EDM goes through so many phases, you know, I think that’s the beauty of music, it evolves constantly. Of course we’ve scene an era where the biggest challenge was to make the hardest drop and after a while luckily that changed. The whole dance music scene got a bit more creative, now you see trap on the rise. There is a lot of things happening, which is cool, you don’t really have to stick to one genre. I just want to make Sam Feldt music, anything between 100 and 128 BPM, I’ll release it if it resonates with me.
Do you have any tips for young, up and coming DJs?
The biggest tip that I could give is the one that I would give myself in my earlier years. Ditch the idea of making something that will be big on beat board or be played by this and that DJ, just find out what you like and make that. If you like it, there will always be others that like it too. Then you can start to build your own fan base, your own brand, your own style. If you just keep copying people and hope to get the next big hit, it’ll never happen because its not you. People can sense that.
What do you try to communicate to your fans through your live sets?
I want to make people feel something when they listen to my music. That can be a very happy feeling, a more emotional feeling, inspiration through my mix tapes or the quotes in my mix tapes, could be anything but I think the most important thing is that people feel something when they listen to my music.
Do you have any particularly memorable interactions with fans or crowds?
Yes so many, everywhere I go there is really cool people. I started making this music behind my PC, I never expected anyone to listen to it when I first started, I was already really happy when I checked and it had 10 plays. And now I’m playing at all these great shows and after the shows I get to meet a lot of the fans. It is just really cool to see that there are people behind, for example having 400,000 fans on Facebook. When you look at it on the screen its like “huh, I dunno, it’s a lot of people”. But then when you meet these people in person you find out that you’re actually making a difference in their lives and even if its just for one night, making their lives more enjoyable.
So you’re from the Netherlands. Do you notice a big difference the European EDM scene and the American EDM scene?
Yeah, I think in America it’s a bit more fresh still. Of course in Holland, the Netherlands, where I’m from, house music has been around since the 80s. Here it’s just been a few years. And also you see different genres being popular here. Here it’s very bassy, like bass house, dub step, trap music. In Holland nobody listens to it, it’s a lot of techno, more underground deep house. I have to play different sets depending on where I am touring. So there’s differences in taste, differences in the crowd in general. Like you guys really live up to a festival, prepare for it, change your profile pictures to logos of the festival, that kind of stuff. You don’t see that in Holland, people just go and have a beer and enjoy it, or not, and go home. Here is the Road to Sunset Music Festival, for example, and people really live up to it. Which is great because as an artist you get a lot more recognition here.
So when you are jamming out on your own, what kind of music do you listen to?
Its so diverse, I enjoy listening to classical music, to folk, to rock music. I have a playlist on spotify, its called Heartfeldt, which is where I put in all the music I have been listening to. Every week I put in 10 new tracks, I have my weekly radio show, Heartfeldt radio, its on Soundcloud too. If you really want to know what I’ve been listening to check out these 2 channels.
Are you putting out any new music soon?
Definitely, I have a new single coming up with Deep End, the guys that did the Matt Simon Catch and Release remix, which was really big. Theres a new song coming out with the singer of Cheat Codes. I have an EP / mini album coming up at the end of the year, one other new single signed but there is a little problem. Its kind of a luxury problem, my single Summer of You is doing really well on the radio in Europe, so we might have to push back the other singles a bit to let it breathe. But as soon as there is room for it, I’ll blast out new singles, new music. There’s a lot on the shelf right now.
And what has touring been like for you this summer?
I’ve basically been touring Europe this summer. In two weeks I’m coming back to the United States and Canada to do a whole club tour, like 20 venues, with Bakermat, it’s a co headline. So yeah, I’ve been doing a ton of stuff. Mostly in Europe, mostly festivals, some club gigs, everything actually.