23 Feb Sam Blacky Invests in Herself
By Danielle Ilag
*This interview is older and was in our Issue 67 magazine.
Samantha Black is a multitalented DJ/producer, model, and influencer professionally known as Sam Blacky. Originally from San Diego, Sam spent several years in Australia, where she first fell in love with producing music and performing live.
Since moving back to Los Angeles, music and performing have taken a front seat in her life. In addition to her hectic modeling schedule, Sam has performed live across the world from 2017 to 2021, from Mexico to Ibiza to Bali, racking up over 120 gigs a year at some of the premier electronic festivals and clubs on the planet.
With the global pandemic in 2020, Sam released a series of videos on Youtube called “A New World,” where she streamed live sets from some of her favorite places in Mexico giving viewers a taste of vacation vibes even while staying safe at home.
Sam’s direction towards funky yet soothing blends of the finest sounds of house, techno, and tribal music has gained traction in the underground and burner dance culture earning Sam a global following with an international and loyal fanbase. With the launch of Sam Blacky’s label, Stabby Records, and her first releases, 2021 is set to be a breakout year for Sam as she expands her artistic brand.
Who was the first musician that impacted you to really fall in love with music? Can you describe that moment and what it was like for you?
Honestly, it’s all over the place. You can’t imagine. It was super old school Calvin Harris, Ghost Land Observatory, Surkin, Boys Noize, and Claude Vonstroke.
How would you describe your sound without using any genres?
I’d describe my sound as fun, happy, hyper, and something you can obviously jam to!
Where do you draw inspiration for your music?
I draw inspiration from traveling and my friends. I have so many incredible musician friends it’s unbelievable just being together. Honestly though, the more you can experience different places, things, sounds, and cultures – the more you understand people and music in general.
How long would you say it takes you to create and produce a new original? What digital audio workstation do you like to use?
It can literally take from 4 years to a few days. I have worked on FruityLoops, Protools, and Ableton but the one I prefer is Ableton. I tried Analog a few times and I wish I was more patient and better at it but I’m not lol. I have worked on songs that still sit there to this day which maybe will never come out and sometimes I work on songs for a few days and they’re perfect.
Tell me about “No More.” What was the inspiration for this track?
It’s so funny because that was one of the first tracks I actually made with my friend Jorik but it was super, super different than it turned out (there is actually an Instagram video of the original idea months earlier) but the main inspiration for that song was Iglesias.
This year you’re releasing your debut EP Summer Solstice. Pre COVID-19 did you already have the idea in your head to create this album?
I’ve been wanting to take the next step in music for years and COVID honestly gave me the time to learn more, dive deep, get a puppy, and focus on everything other than touring.
How has quarantine changed your work ethic and inspiration?
It was such a mixture. I didn’t want to work. I was hyper, tired, and anxious. It made me more thankful for my life and my career because I realized how unique and special it was.
What has been your most enjoyable song to write and why?
Honestly, all of them but I love love love the new one coming because it’s in Spanish and the beat is the most tribal (Mexico and their culture is super close to my heart).
How do you prepare for shows? Do you have a pre-show ritual?
I get super duper nervous always no matter if it’s 10 people or 10,000.
When playing a set, do you create your tracklist before the set, or do you freestyle and let the energy of the crowd drive your track selection?
I download the newest music I’ve found and put it according to the club or festival as best as I can but 100% of the time I freestyle and read the crowd.
What do you want fans to take away from and/or feel while attending your live shows?
Literal pain from smiling, laughing and dancing.
Stabby Records is your record label. Tell me more about your label and how this came together.
Honestly, my manager and I decided it was the best idea as a new artist to go freelance so that I could put out whatever I wanted with no restrictions and see what happens from there. My dream is to find amazing artists that are undiscovered and help them create beautiful music and a name for themselves.
What would you say is a challenge you’ve had to deal with in the process of becoming a full-time DJ?
Literally, everything has been a challenge, but most importantly is being taken seriously. It has been a lifelong struggle being a female and originating from the modeling industry. What people don’t know about me is that I have a background in marketing and music management but unfortunately, people see you and judge you. It’s been a very long process of word of mouth to get people to understand my sound and my talent.
Mental health is a topic that doesn’t seem to be discussed too much. What have you learned about yourself while touring in regards to taking care of yourself?
I’m actually pretty good at touring because I learned early on that it’s not a good idea to party and tour. For example, you will see me have fun with my friends on a vacation but never at a show. I do not mix drinking and partying with heavy touring. I find it impossible on my body and my mind.
What are your top three proudest achievements of the last few years?
Definitely having a Las Vegas residency is the top tier anyone could reach. After that, I think starting my label and finally putting out my own music. Thirdly, it’s just every day I’m lucky enough to travel and play and meet new people across the globe.
How do you define success in what you do?
I define success if I’m making those around me smile.
What are you most thankful for?
I’m most thankful for my friends and family.
What is something unique or interesting about you that might surprise your fans?
I was almost a professional soccer player like hard, hard core. I was recruited by Ivy Leagues and almost pursued it all the way.
What advice do you have for artists just getting into music production?
My best advice for artists just getting into music production is to learn, learn, learn YouTube.
What kind of legacy would you like to leave as an artist?
I’ve always wanted to be a female-empowering badass. I don’t care about the status. I care about the people I touch and most of the time it’s a confidence issue. No matter what, I’m happy as long as I make others happy.