Scenezoned: Eternal Summer With Sam Feldt
Growing up in The Netherlands, Sam Feldt has long been exposed to a dynamic House scene“”but the 23-year-old’s sudden rise to fame as one of the most bankable DJs in recent times surely did not happen overnight. Although Sam struggled getting labels to take notice of his music for years, it wasn’t until the young Dutchman decided to stay true to his sound that he found himself catapulted into EDM superstardom, serenading crowds all over the world with tantalizing melodies and lush soundscapes that tell of endless summer. In our latest international feature, /ESCAPE finds that music is emotion, and Sam Feldt is ready to take us on a ride through it all.
/ESCAPE: When did you first start producing music?
Sam Feldt: I think around 11 or 12 years old. I started off making hardstyle and jumpstyle, all that weird music that was popular back then.
Did you ever think it would eventually become a career?
SF: Not until I got signed with Spinnin’ Records years ago.
You used to produce a different type of genre under a different name. What made you transition?
SF: I wasn’t really liking what I was producing. I started Sam Feldt as a side project for my friends, family and myself. I made mixtapes to play in my car so at least I’d have some good music to listen to while I was on the road. I never expected any tracks to get signed, I never expected to get any bookings as Sam Feldt, but it exploded!
How would you describe your overall style production-wise?
SF: I think it’s a blend of melodies and good vibes in general. Sam Feldt stands for summer and all the aspects that come with it. I mean, during the summer you can fall in love and be the happiest person in the world or feel sad that your vacation is coming to a close. There’s so many emotions involved with summer and Sam Feldt just blends it all together.
What’s your take on the current state of EDM?
SF: I think EDM and dance music in general has always been evolving, and it will continue to do so in the future. What we saw in the last two years was it going from a drop-based approach“”who can make the loudest drop“”to a song-based approach where it’s all about the lyrics and melodies. I think I’ve always been in that line. Three years ago when everybody was still producing big room I was already looking for the right vocals, melodies and chord progressions to spark an emotion.
Who do you look up to in the industry?
SF: So many people! In every genre there’s people I look up to. There are DJs who are good technically, there are DJs who are amazing producers, DJs who know what to play”Â¦ these are all qualities of a good DJ. That’s why it’s really hard to name just one person.
People forget you’re only 23 years old. Is it difficult being in such a competitive business at a young age?
SF: I think I’m quite old for a DJ, actually. If you look around me, Oliver Heldens, Martin Garrix”Â¦ all these other guys are all younger than me, you know? Also, I’ve been doing this since I was 17, so it feels like I’ve been doing it my whole life. But better earlier than late.
If you could give your younger self some advice on how to make it in the industry, what would you say?
SF: Find your own style and stick to it. I spent too long making music that I thought labels were going to sign and I never really asked myself what I liked. So when I started making music I enjoyed, that’s when I really saw progress. Make music that you like, there’s gonna be people that like it too.
Aside from being an international DJ, what else do you occupy yourself with?
SF: I’ve always been entrepreneurial. I started my first business when I was 13 years old, selling electronics online. Right now I’m co-founder of a company called Fangage, and we basically build websites for influencers. We just launched oliverheldens.com and currently working on Laidback Luke. We create portals for artists so that fans can have access to their content. That, and video games.
You were born and raised in the Netherlands. Can you teach me a Dutch phrase?
SF: Sam Feldt is mijn favoriete DJ.
If you could eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?
SF: Sashimi. I love that.
Beer or whiskey?
Place you want to visit?
SF: I’ve been pretty much all around the world, but I’d really like to go to Russia. I just think it’s a different world. I’d like to experience that.
What’s been your favorite place to visit so far?
SF: That’s a hard question because there’s so many cool places all around the world. For example, when I came here to Manila I was surprised to see all the green and how nice the city is. There’s a lot of good restaurants and the people are so friendly. My favorite city in Europe would have to be Barcelona because it offers the beach, the nightlife, the restaurants, the culture“”everything in one city.
One thing about you most people don’t know about?
SF: I’m one of the few Dutch people that don’t like riding a bike and don’t like football.
One trend you’ll never get behind?
SF: Snapchat, for some reason. I prefer using Instagram Stories.
Fill in the blank: If I wasn’t a DJ, I would be a ________.
SF: Graphic designer. I’ve always done graphic design so I think that would be my job.
What’s next for Sam Feldt in 2017? Have you been working on anything big?
SF: Yeah I have a new song coming out with Inna, coming out June 9th. And then I have a double album with around 24 tracks in October. And another single with a huge artist just before that so a lot of new music!
It’s your first time in Manila, are there any places you want to visit or things you want to try while you’re here?
SF: Well I’d love to try Filipino food but for some reason it didn’t work out. We went to the Taal Volcano, got in a boat, we had very little time but I’d love to come back to really experience the city and the country.
Any words for your Filipino fans who can’t wait to see you live?
SF: I hope you’re all there! I’m gonna be playing all of Sam Feldt music. It’s my first time here and I want to have people know what I stand for. It’ll be a great night so see you guys there!
Photography by Karlo Torio (@karlotorio)
Videography by Sara Paredes (@highwithchasa)
Words by Kimberly Lynch (@kimberlynch)
Styling by Kaye Pernia (@kayepernia)
Produced and edited by Dan Buenaventura (@danbuenav)
Assisted by Kiana Heart (@kianawbu)
Shot on location at The Peninsula Manila (@thepeninsulamanila)
Clothing by Bershka (www.bershka.com/ph)
Follow Sam’s tours around the world on Instagram via @samfeldtmusic.