/ Music

5 minutes with ... DJ Sammy Bananas

On Saturday the 28th of February, TICT is bringing Brooklyn based producer and Dj Sammy Bananas. The party is going to be at Arkham and the entrance fee is 80 rmb. We had a little chinwag with him to find out more.

Where are you from originally? Brooklyn is synonymous with all types of music; is this place an inspiration to you and can you tell us about scenes in other parts of the city?

I'm originally from Cambridge, which is a city in the Boston area about 4 hours north of NYC, but I've lived in Brooklyn for almost 8 years. There are so many people creating and making things in Brooklyn (including music) that you could write books on it all. One scene that I've been getting inspired by isn't music at all, but street art. There's an amazing wall near my studio that has new pieces go up every few months. This is traditional graffiti, more like giant collages or paintings. It's really cool to see the different styles all right next to each other.

I read you've shared the stage with the likes of Kenny Dope; is that like playing alongside your favorite basketball player or whatever?

I have had the honor of being on the same bill as him, and many other DJs that are influences of mine, but it's more like playing on the same court in front of the same crowd, just not really on the same team.

How would you describe your musical background? How did you get into DJing and where do you draw inspiration from these days?

I grew up playing Saxophone in Jazz and other bands, and I think the funk and jazz samples of Hip-Hop and House music are really what made me want to start DJing and producing music. Today I've been drawing inspiration from both older stuff, much of it from the 90s, as well as very new stuff. I've been taking as many cues from Dallas Austin and Pal Joey as Miguel and Disclosure

Can you introduce the Fools Gold label for us? Who are some of the artists on the label etc?

Fool's Gold is run out of Brooklyn by A-Trak and Nick Catchdubs. The label has been putting out music for over 7 years, and I've been lucky enough to be releasing through them for just as long. I think my favorite artists on the label right now are Anna Lunoe, 100s, Danny Brown and Oliver.

How important is the design and presentation of your releases? It looks like a lot of thought goes into that.

Indeed there is! Design is very important. In today's world with most becoming exposed to new music online, many see the art before they even hear the music. I've recently gone back to releasing vinyl as well as digital, and I get very into the design of the packaging. My new EP Flexin' comes on bright blue vinyl with a Do-It-Yourself cut out banana figure called Mr. Flex!

How did you hook up with Defected? That's a label that flirts with both the mainstream and the underground; where do you place your productions on that spectrum?

Defected really liked my song "Feel House" and licensed it for a compilation the did last summer. I'm very interested in that line between the underground and mainstream, and I think they picked up on that. I'm always taking recognizable hits from the pop or R&B world and re-mixing, or really re-making them, to serve a different purpose.

The last ten years have seen a boom in all kinds of alternative electronic music in the US. Which people and places have been particularly influential would you say?

Without a doubt it all goes back to the Daft Punk Alive tour in 2007. They toured America stadiums with their now famous pyramid light show, sold out every date, and pretty much changed thousands of young kids and promoters minds about the US and dance music. It's just been building and morphing since then. These shows opened up the door to festival dance music culture in the US, and that helped the music grow even more. It's very fitting that the robots are back on top this year!