Resident Mix – Craftyzion
Guest Mix – Samantha Bagg
We also had a chat with Samantha about music, influences and found out more about the SKAM edits…
Welcome to Hometown Social Club Sam
Hiya Vicky. Thanks for having me!
When did you first start DJing?
I’ve been DJing for about 15 years now. I’ve collected music all my life and vinyl was always my preferred format. I had an old school record player (the massive old school rectangular one with the deck on the left and the tape player in the middle – hefty buggers). I got a set of proper decks in my early 20’s – after doing a music HND at North Glasgow College – we got money to spend on equipment – so that’s what I bought.
I’d been working on TripTych music festival for a few years after college then set up a promoter agency with a friend – Massiff Adventures (we brought the Skatalites to Scotland for their first show here and put on things like Soul II Soul in the Trongate). My friend had a wee cafe called Massiff and we used to do nights like Cook DJ and there was a long running dub/reggae night called Smokebelch. It turned out there were nights where we needed tunes so I used to end up DJing – Free Funk Friday. It took off from there I suppose. I started my record collection from 6 years old haha – my parents gave me my first vinyl under the Xmas tree – which included Boney M. My last vinyl purchase was The Rainbow Song by Art Of Tones. I tend to buy more mp3 now but still love vinyl first and foremost.
Can you tell us about the SKAM edits?
So there are 3 tunes uploaded just now. I’ve been working with acapellas written by some rappers from the US – Charlie Rose and New5ense. I’ve been laying down loops and samples then putting effects over them and arranging. The rap Real Man by Charlie Rose (lyrics written by Charlie Rose) is about gender identity. The beat I chose is driven on a breakbeat – I think you noted a Garage/UK Funky influence – I’ve always been drawn to the break. There’s a single heavy bass note repeated at the beginning of each bar. It’s stripped back and minimal with just a few chords in there. I have different versions but the one up there is the original one I made.
Then there’s Early This Morning/It’s a New Day which is a spacious, drawn out soundscape – there’s kind of two parts to it with two totally different vocals. The first vocal line is a cover of an old blues song called ‘Me And The Devil Blues’ by Robert Johnson. But on this edit, the guy singing is this old guy called Shamoozy. The ‘It’s A New Day’ rap (in the second part) is by New5ense and is about him being on probation and coming out of prison. It’s quite long at 10 mins, but I like the idea of music being movements rather than songs – I suppose like film soundtracks – I’ve always found that quite inspiring. I guess in the same way DJs fuse together tunes to create a vibe – you can make music to do that too. There doesn’t have to be boundaries of start and end.
The third one – ‘We About To Blow’ also features vocals by NewSen5e and I’ve laid over a dubby, hypnotic groove. It’s quite dark.
I go under SKAM edits to separate my DJ mixes from my tunes.
Was producing tracks something you always thought about doing?
Yes. I’ve played piano and keyboards since I was 13. I was classically trained (which can be both a help and a hindrance) and used to play in bands in my late teens / early 20’s so I’ve been writing tunes on and off for years. I used to muck about on Cubase a lot years ago but it’s only now I’m getting back into it. I use Ableton mainly but I also have controller keyboards and I own an M1 Korg. I’m in the process of getting myself properly set up so I can create better. I feel like I’m just at the beginning so watch this space! I’ve played live for years too – there’s nothing like playing with a band in the real space. The rehearsal room can be a total spaced out funk thing – much more fun than playing live as there are less inhibitions if you’re comfortable with the people you’re playing with…
Sounds exciting – Hometown Social Club would love to hear the results,
Korg’s are pretty.
Djing for 15 years – wow… You must have quite a list of influences?
Influences are far and wide. I’ve always been into loads of different stuff – when I was a kid I was listening to everything from hip-hop to heavy metal and I had a big industrial phase in my late teens. I was into funk, soul and blues before I was into house and disco. When I first started DJing I was playing funky breaks rather than a driving four and I also liked dub and reggae. To me it’s more like a journey and I feel influences from many places. I love, love house music and exploring it’s many sub-genres – everything from deep house to afro-beat. I guess it’s how music makes you feel at any given time in your life. My main thing is having a dirty funk undertone – it doesn’t matter what genre really.
Having made the transition from vinyl to mp3 (very different ways to think about your music as a DJ) I still feel there’s something lost by buying individual tunes. For instance, when you buy a 12 inch, you might get it for one tune and play that out. It might only be 6 months later when you ‘discover’ the rest of it properly, then that 12 inch is totally transformed. It might happen when you have mates round playing your collection and you’re like ‘what’s that?!’ – then that whole 12inch is opened up to you in a whole new way. When I buy tunes, I might be inspired by a particular sound – maybe afro-beat or something like that. Then I find everything I buy that day is based around that sound. So it just depends really.
I’m very lucky to have Glasgow and its unsurpassable DJs, dance music and passion to be my influence and benchmark for what is everything good about club culture. The obvious aside, local DJs who have inspired me – Jason (Furious Breaks) Reid, Gordon (GK Machine) Mackinnon, Tiff Peaches, Russ Forman, Billy Woods, David Barbarossa, Keith and Jonnie….the list goes on… And there’s a heap of classic long standing nights in Glasgow that could top any other city. It’s the only place where you can have 3 brilliant clubs on in the same night, go to them all, and find folk you know at every one of them. The clubbing crowd are into their music here more than anywhere – I notice it more now I’ve moved away (I live in London now) and it’s the thing I miss the most when I’m out.
But just to name a few additional influences/inspirations…
Chez Damier – obviously a legend in so many rights. He totally blew me away when I heard him DJ at Garden Festival last year. His productions are amazing but his DJing is something else. His sets feel like one long journey that just moves, twists and turns over a deep, hypnotic groove. He did a Podcast for Popcorn records recently.
I love Derrick Carter. Boompty Boomp Theme is laid back sleaze funk bliss and more recent driving disco stomps via his Derrick Carter Does Disco Sets.
Andrew Weatherall for his wide spanning ability to produce, remix, create and DJ across many different genres with total sensibility and ability to transition from lo-fi to techno in a seamless way. From his 1993 Essential Mix to his more recent Love From Outer Space project, he is timeless.
Ellen Allien – her 5 hr sets are the best as she journeys through ambient to techno in an eloquent and understated way. Again, I like the slow build but you can enter at any point and go with the flow.
Q Burns – massively under-rated DJ, sometimes producer. He has a great feel for mixing up genres and making it sound unique. I’m a big fan of his Invisible Airwave Mixes.
I’m a big fan of Moxie right now – she does a quality radio show on NTS and is a talented DJ – her sounds are fresh, vibrant – fusing dub, bass and afro-breaks – this Boiler Room Set is well worth a listen
That’s just a few…in no particular order. But if I had to choose the biggest influence it would have to be Stevie Wonder – Songs In The Key Of Life…And Kate Bush, David Bowie, Grace Jones, DJ Shadow, James Lavelle, Massive Attack Jurassic 5, Nightmares On Wax, Donna Summer, Nina Simone, Gil Scott Heron – there’s so many for many reasons – I need parameters!!
Highlight of 2015?
I’m really excited to be playing at Bestival at the Jagerhaus. I’m doing the Sunday slot 3-6.30pm – there’s an indoor and outdoor bit with a good crowd of sound people. I’ve done Beat Herder and Kendal Calling with Jagermeister and it’s been amazing. I love it because there are no boundaries and the sets are really long so you can get a vibe going, as well as explore new territories.
I also play at South Place Hotel in London – 23rd October. But for the rest of the year I want to get my head down and focus on writing tunes and obviously DJ as much as possible too.
What else is coming up for you?
I’ve been asked to get involved with a techno night (which is an interesting diversion for me as I also love deep, funky techno) with these guys doing a night called SWARM at Egg in London and I’m hoping to go up to Liverpool to play with some guys that are involved in nights at the Bombed Out church. I met some really fun guys from Liverpool who write for mags so they’re inviting me up. I played In Tisno during Garden Festival earlier in summer which was fun too. I played at Garden Festival on the beach bar a few years ago when it was still up in Petrcane – loved the vibe there. Basically I’ll play anywhere that’ll have me.
Last vinyl played in my house was Toy Tonics – Paradigm Shift (Maik Yells Edit) – its not new but I can only get it on vinyl and I love it.
Tell us more about your mix?
The first few tunes twist and turn a bit, then it gets into a groove then it goes into a sleazy stomp. There’s some new stuff alongside some old favourites. (in no particular order)… Castle Trancelott – Indoctrinate is a total classic – the first time I heard that in a club it totally blew my mind. The bass line is dark and dirty. I like to play it pitched right down. I’ve been getting into the Art Of Tones recently and then I discovered its the producer from Llorca – a French jazz-house band from a few years ago who I used to love. This new stuff from AOT is much grittier and darker. The Rainbow Song really gets me (funny because Romare has a killer tune called Rainbow too). Miss Kittin – Girlz stays true to form with a deep sleazy driving romp. And continuing the theme Giom and Got Some with Dr Zapp and Bassline. Also on the dirty front is Bilingual by Jose Nunez – this Jon Flores Undercool edit is the best one I think. And contains the best lyric ever ‘You Fucking Me Makes Me Bilingual’ – I’ve given the wrong impression before by singing it to an unwitting ear… The Simon Baker / Jamie Jones remix of Crazy P Stop Space Return is twisted and hypnotic – banging tune. This edit is not on the vinyl 12 inch strangely (well I don’t think so- I seem to have lost one of the 12inches). There’s a few Fouk tunes in there – been getting into them recently too. It’s a collaboration between two house producers who run Dutch label Outplay. The Cole Medina edit of Buffalo Bill is squelchy acid electro funk with Indeep sampled. More acid squelch is Lee Curtiss with Freak On and Late Night Tuff Guys aptly named 303. Mia Dora are Glasgow’s own on the Optimo Trax late – couple of tunes by them Raw Kiss and Et Elle Le Mien. Eli Escobar’s NY So High is hypnotic and transient with a swaying bass – apparently he wrote it on a plane. My two favourites tunes are Gershon Jackson’s Take It Easy – the vocal is blinding – I could listen to that all day – it’s earlier in the mix and mixed into NY So High. And the last tune is KHLHI by Percussions – which is one of Four Tet’s aliases. It’s banging – the way bass and beat cuts in the vocal line is really powerful. And it’s such a contrast between the sounds. I almost died when it got played out at Garden Festival – sounds even better on a massive PA.
just bought about 50 new tunes the other night but not all ‘new’ – but this is a flavour of what I’ll be playing at Bestival – Omegaman – Skankin’ Riddim (AGFA remix)
which is well old haha!
Thanks for having me!