Sampology has a fairly unassuming appearance for a young DJ. His floppy hair and rail frame is compelling in a world of flashy superstar producers and overnight sensations, but Sam Poggioli is taking a different path toward recognition. He hails from Brisbane, Australia, and is making a name for himself with a blend of dance music and visual imagery, but not in the way modern dance shows exist. There is a screen, but on it is a time-synched display filled with pop culture imagery and in the case of the current "Stimulation" tour, plenty of sexual images and icons. Sam then remixes both the music and visuals, scratching and chopping up the visual element the same way he would the music. The whole idea is to give your brain a double dose of entertainment, but not simply flashes of color and light in order to turn your brain off. The full intention is to compliment the music with the proper visual element and vice versa.
I spoke with Sam over the phone after his Monday show and a few hours before his Dim Mak Studios slot. Here he speaks about playing in America, his inspirations, and doomsday scenarios.
How was the show last night?
It was great. A lot of people that wanted to come down and see this show specifically got to see it. It's cool, the visual show, because it's one thing to see an online video and that kind of stuff, but until you are in front of the screen, it's kind of not the same experience. And it's cool traveling to a lot of places and people seeing that kind of stuff, their first time seeing that style of performance that they haven't seen before. Its cool to hang out with people after and get feedback. It was good.
Did you have any preconceived notions before the show or about America in general before you started touring here?
Hmm...well, I've made two or three trips before. One thing that surprised me about America is that, in a lot of ways its completely different, but in some ways there are a lot of similar tendencies in terms of like what way people move musically. I don't know...I think it's more just how the touring the States is completely different, because of the amount of cities you can play in America. That's the main difference between here and America. There are differences, but not like huge, huge differences I would have expected.
Tonight you're playing at Dim Mak Studios. That's one of the cool things about LA, where you have places like Dim Mak or Low End Theory, where one label or a bunch of guys that are all friends kind of run the show. Is there anything like that back home, where one label or collective runs a venue?
Definitely. There's a lot of that kind of stuff happening in Australia because if you're enjoying music, even like between the band thing and the DJ thing and all of the drummers, maybe with the exception of the hard. hard dance thing; everyone knows each other. Everyone's cool between Sydney, Melbourne, Perth; all the main cities. It's inevitable, everyone knows each other, so there definitely are the different crews in each city that when you travel to their city, you end up having dinner with them playing their parties and there definitely is that big community vibe happening that you were talking about. There are parties like that going on all over the place in Australia.
So there's no East Coast/West Coast rivalry going on in Australia?
Pretty much, West Coast is only one city, which is Perth. Most of the cities are on the East Coast, so there's no real...well, there is joking between the cities, but nothing serious. Everyone's friendly with each other, it's a good vibe.
The last tour was called the "Super Visual Apocalypse" and now it is "Stimulation." What's next?
I've got a few floating around in my mind, yet to lock down what it will be. It's kinda hard, leading up to the "Stimulation" because basically nothing sells like sex really, not that I'm being like too anything derogatory or too nasty. It's a hard one, man, I've gone really well with this current theme as it lends itself to some really cool stuff that I've been able to put together and I've been happy with it. Short answer is "no," it's not locked down yet on what the next tour is going to be, but I dunno, I have a bunch of little stuff. I'm going to India in a month and a half and doing some visual shows over there for this little touring festival, and that one I'm going to expand...use it as an excuse to expand on my cheekiness on early 80's Bollywood movies. There will be a small section where I am kind of paying tribute and juxtaposing and remixing that kind of content for those shows.
That's cool, make the show more specific for where you are playing.
Yea, not make it like a full 60-minute show, but maybe a 20-minute reference thing where I can take advantage of the fact that I'm actually there.
You're working on new original material right now, right?
Yea, I've got a whole bunch of original material right now. A track called "Dancehall Queen" which is a collaboration with an Australian producer called DJ Butcher and Beenie Man, a Jamaican vocalist. Touring off that and the current visual show at the moment in Australian and then here for a week.
Can you remember a specific mash up that you heard that caused that spark in your brain?
For me it wasn't a specific mash-up, it was hearing an Australian group you may be familiar with called Avalanches. They released an album while I was in high school called Since I Left You in 2000 and basically the whole album is made up of like 2,500 Vinyl samples. People might to compare that to Girl Talk, but its nothing like that. It's not recognizable samples at all, it's just really creating something really new and so many levels of depth and warmth. Like every time you listen to the album it's like a new add-on to the experience. There are so many levels to what I wanted to do when I listen to that album about 50 times over that Summer, which was like finding out so much more about each drummer on each record i was hearing. So for the first time I was listening to Caribbean music and styles of soul and funk and then also wanting to share it with all of my friends. I think that kinda started the spark for DJing and then also, at the same time, wanting to do something creative like what they had done myself, in my own way, which kind of sparked the producing and putting together DJ sets that were a bit more creative and spoken in my own voice, kind of thing.
That reminds me of what Pretty Lights did on his new album.
Yea, I saw the documentary behind that. That was cool. When they tour in Australia I'm going to try and catch that, as well. Yea, he's great.
I always liked that idea, that you make samples out of beats as opposed to whole sections and then turn that into your own thing.
Yea, yea, the Avalanches thing was directly from records that they found, they didn't record stuff for it. But, yea, I saw that documentary and that was fucking huge thing he did and I give him massive props for being able to pull it off and having full confidence.
Worst case scenario: What's the backup plan incase vinyl and djing becomes illegal?
Becomes illegal, oh man...
I don't know. Some kind of video work, some kind of graphic design. As long as its creative and I don't have to work for clients, just do my own creative stuff. Yea, but I mean, to be honest, if I wasn't getting paid and being able to tour from the stuff that I'm doing at the moment, in terms of like anything creative that I'm doing, I'd still do it anyway whenever I get a chance. If it was the end of a boring day job, I'd still do exactly what I'm doing with my music at the end of the day.