If you are following the Fokuz Recordings catalog, read on. If you like catchy vocals and tracks that shoot music up to the roof, read to the end. Sometimes a real pearl arrives in our promo inbox and this time it gave us a surprise, that´s hiding behind a hitherto little-known name Septabeat. We decided to investigate who bears this nickname and we did not regret for a second that we cared about a few well-aimed questions. They fell on fertile ground. Sam was not afraid to talk not only about his new EP´s and it is worth mixing at least one evening drink to really enjoy this interview. And play all the great tracks.
Obligatory question right at the beginning. What does your artist name mean? Does it refer to “septum”, a biological term? Is it something that beats in our bodies? Please, explain…
Guys, I love it, you’re giving me great ideas of how I can justify the name! Actually it’s named after a synth called the Septabox. Not even a particularly exciting synth, but I just liked the name. I also have a fascination with the number 7 in music. I studied a lot of Indian Classical music (tabla), and its all about number. 7 crops up a lot!
That sounds interesting! You have a rich musical career: you have played on double bass, piano and drums since you were teenager. Can you remember the very first time you realised that music is something you are going to dig deep into?
Absolutely. I was in school, maybe 7 or 12 years old. I was in a practice room, minding my own business, practicing my C major scale on the piano, when I heard the most insane drum beat come out of nowhere. Some older kid next door played something that unleashed some kind of beat demon inside of me and I became obsessed immediately!
When we researched your artist profile, we thought of Calibre who is a multi-instrumental artist too. Who is your biggest inspiration in music in general? Do you have any in D&B itself?
Oh, hands down for me it’s Break. That guy is just such a monster. Unfortunately I’ve never been able to access that level of heaviness and musicality combined myself, but I hope to get even 50% of the way there one day!
Yeah, Break is definitely among our best producers ever as well! What was your path through music like? How did you get into D&B? We know you worked with Submotion Orchestra and they combined a lot of styles. It looks that it was inevitable to get through their electronics to D&B. Tell us more about how this journey of yours evolved. What was really crucial for you?
Good question. I was introduced to D&B when I was 18, a student of Leeds college of music. My friend took me to my first rave: it was Dillinja and a bunch of other peeps on the valve soundsystem, and it blew my face off. I fell in love with the genre at that moment, and knew I one day had to learn to play it live. Working with Submotion Orchestra though was the first inspiration to combine electronics with my acoustic drums, and it grew from there. I downloaded my first sample pack, got myself Ableton Live, and began producing tracks like a total novice. Years later, I can actually make something which vaguely hangs together as a piece of music, so I’m a happy man!
No doubt you are, Sam! We can’t help but ask – why do you like D&B? Is there anything you can´t find in other genres? Why is it attractive for you?
It’s the raw visceral feeling I get from it. It makes me want to move. It’s all about drums (I’m a drummer) and it’s all about bass (I’m a bassist). I don’t get such intense emotions from any other music!
Let’s look at your last work. You released the Sundance EP a few weeks ago. It is full of energy and very precise. How did the EP get to Marco Grijsen? I don’t think it’s a coincidence that it just came out on Fokuz Recordings…
It was Sofi Mari who sent the EP to Marco. It was a great move, because the guy has been a real source of positivity and the release process has been really easy. But if not for Sofi, I might’ve just sat on all this music, so I have her to thank!
Tell us something about your collaboration with her. I noticed her work with Alibi a few years ago. Her voice complements perfectly D&B patterns. How was your cooperation? Can you tell us more about Sundance? It is really great!
Thanks a lot! Sofi is a real bundle of joy and energy. She brings great positivity to everything, which is why I guess we ended up with such a bright title as Sundance. I messaged her on Instagram before we’d ever met, and after a bit of coaxing I managed to convince her to meet me and have a jam, and it all grew from there. She’s great at freestyling, so gigging was super easy – we never really rehearsed, just went straight into it. I knew she’d be able to handle it, and she always does! Our writing process was interesting – we would write together, me on the piano, her singing. We’d draft lyrical ideas, melodies, then she’d go away and record her vocal arrangements. It was a seamless collab!
It looks lovely! What about You Fill Me? It is part of another EP called New Dawn which is forthcoming on Fokuz Recordings on 23rd November. We have already listened to the whole EP and it is really really excellent! What was your cooperation with Syren Rivers? You both seem to understand each other very well in music.
Yes, indeed, Syren and I just seem to click musically. I always love what he sends back to me – his ear for the harmonies I write is bang on. Not many vocalists can navigate the kind of jazz chord changes I use – he does it effortlessly and with style. It’s a great vibe!
It must be satisfying to work with people like this. By the way how does your live performance influence your studio work?
Massively. My studio setup features electronic and acoustic drums and I play a lot of ideas into the computer, chop them up, trigger various virtual instruments, etc. I can play grooves far easier than I can click them in on the computer. It’s a constant back and forth between the kit and the computer. I love the feeling of bringing the two disciplines together!
Do you miss live performances? You seem to be a very passionate musician so it can be hard for you not to perform. How do you deal with that?
It’s been incredibly hard. I am working a lot on new directions as a producer, moving into music for film, TV, ads etc. But still pushing Septabeat hard and loving it! It willl come back one day.
Good things come to those who wait! What are your plans and future projects?
I have another 2 EP releases coming up this year on Fokuz, and after that I will look to bring out an album of my own stuff – solo this time! Will be interesting to see if my music stands up to scrutiny when it’s not hiding behind amazing vocalists!
Sam, we are pretty sure it will! We are looking forward to your future production. Thank you so much for this interview!
Thanks so much for taking the time to get in touch!
Don’t forget to follow Septabeat on social media and check our last podcast too. Except of Septabeat´s awesome track Keep It Moving you can hear plenty of great new tunes there!