Meet the musical wizards behind Sample Magic...
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
There’s no doubt about it, cutting-edge sound designers Sample Magic have had a hugely successful 2008. Twelve months on since its release in January, Minimal & Tech House continues to feature in Time+Space’s Top 10 Shipped Products while the release of Nu-Rave in July also proved to be a massive hit with high scores from numerous music-making magazines including 5 stars from Sound on Sound.
October brought the long-awaited follow-up to Sample Magic’s debut sample collection – Funky House Grooves 2 – and this month sees the release of two more libraries – Tech-Funk Breaks and Minimal Techno.
In the latest of our exclusive online features, the guys behind Sample Magic – Sharooz Raoofi and David Felton – talk about their personal highlights of the year, their plans for 2009, clay pigeon shooting and not impressing women...
For those of our first-time web visitors that are not so familiar with Sample Magic, please introduce yourselves.
Sample Magic is run by DJ/producer Sharooz Raoofi and producer/designer David Felton. We produce cutting-edge sounds across a variety of musical genres and because we play and make music for dancefloors we are able to bring a freshness to our sounds that we have become known for.
What is the story behind the beginning of Sample Magic?
Sharooz: I´d already produced content for a number of labels such as Zero-G and Loopmasters, and thought the logical next step was to do our own thing.
Dave: The two of us had worked on a number of production projects and both used lots of samples. We thought there was an opening in the market for bang up-to-the-moment sounds that some sample companies were missing out on.
Which is your favourite Sample Magic collection and why?
Dave: The original Funky House Grooves was a true labour of love, with some great live playing from a range of musicians, but probably my favourite is Minimal and Tech-House, which came out just as the minimal scene was exploding around the world. It´s still a huge seller and the sounds are as current now as they were on release.
Sharooz: For me it would have to be Nu-Rave or (the forthcoming) Minimal Techno - I get emails on a daily basis, from a great many named producers too telling me how good the sounds in Nu-Rave are.
Nu-Rave was released back in June to great acclaim within the industry – six months on, have you been surprised by it´s popularity and the fantastic reviews?
Nu-Rave is such a fun genre and we loved making the collection - letting loose with old analogue dance gear in a way we hadn´t really done before. We also did a load of studio work with vocals, guitars and bass to add the musical edge that the average bedroom producer doesn´t have the resources to produce.
In addition to the success of Nu-Rave, what have been your highlights of 2008?
Picking up the Best Sample Collection gong at NAMM in LA for Electro-House. The sample industry doesn´t get a huge amount of recognition in the pro-audio world and we were really proud to be recognised on the world stage.
You´ve recently released Funky House Grooves 2 which is the eagerly awaited follow-up to your debut sample collection how did it feel to release this compared to the first time round?
It´s the only sequel we´ve done and because the original went down so well (it´s completely sold out and only available to buy digitally now) there was an extra pressure to make it live up to the original. The scene has also changed a lot, with the original disco sounds replaced with deeper, more afro and tribal sounds. We had a bigger budget to play with so there are more musicians on this - including an authentic African percussion ensemble for that big-room sound, and a fantastic three-piece brass section.
What´s been the most surprising event to come out of Sample Magic products?
Dave: We often hear our samples on big club tracks, which can be fun during a night out. Knowing that you made a bassline in a killer track never impresses the women though.
Sharooz: I´ve been stopped dead on my DJ travels by other DJs and even clubbers who´ve been raving on about our samples and who told me I should start using them in my own music. Little do they know!
Do you know of any well-known DJs or producers that incorporate your samples within their tracks?
There are many. Every day we discover a new one, but like Max Clifford, we never name names...
What type of music do you most enjoy and do you have any favourite DJs/artists/bands?
Sharooz: Where to start? I love the more outrageous end of the electro/indie divide - bands like Steed Lord, Designer Drugs and Kavinsky, the whole minimal thing - Huntemann, Kanio, Dubfire et al... and the UK fidgety sound is really firing at the moment - Fake Blood, Stupid Fresh, Lee Mortimer etc..
Dave: A range of house and chillout artists. Currently loving Khonnor and there´s this dude Jake Island who´s producing some of the best organic house around at the moment.
What are your other interests and hobbies outside your musical activities?
Sharooz: I´m pretty good at clay pigeon shooting and love cooking.
Dave: I enjoy country walking and I´m writing a thriller.
What projects/forthcoming products are you currently working on for 2009?
Incoming are our big end-of-year releases, Tech-Funk Breaks and Minimal Techno. They both sound awesome and will take us into 2009 with a bang. Thereafter watch this space. We try not to plan too far ahead as musical trends change so fast and we like to turn around projects within two months so the sounds are as fresh as they can be.
And finally, as we´re approaching the end of the year, do you have any new year´s resolutions for 2009?
Sharooz: No more clean living.
Dave: Fewer pizzas and the purchase of an Aston Martin DB9.
Tech-Funk Breaks and Minimal Techno are both due for release mid-December.
SPECIAL OFFER! Save £20 on selected Sample Magic collections – Click here to view all Sample Magic titles