» News and Features » Interview: Sammy Porter on releasing with Solotoko and his plans for 2022
Interview: Sammy Porter on releasing with Solotoko and his plans for 2022
The London-based DJ and LoveJuice Label Manager recently sat down with Skiddle for a quick chat, discussing his meticulous studio work, his plans for 2022 whilst also disclosing his weird Spotify listening habits
Date published: 4th Mar 2022
Internationally acclaimed dance producer, DJ and all-round music business don, Sammy Porter should be a name you're familiar with if you consider yourself a fan of house music.
A dedicated and prolific beat maker, he's been churning out huge dance floor anthems for way over half a decade now, long before his break out year came about in 2019. His breakthrough single, 'What We Started (A Bit Patchy)' issued via Mistajam's Speakerbox Records (Insanity Records/Sony Music UK), went stratospheric upon its release, reaching the charts and national radio stations, eventually being named a Future Anthem on BBC Radio 1’s Dance Anthems.
Since then, Porter has been as diligent as ever, putting in the studio hours and working at his trade as a live performer. He's unleashed a constant stream of hard-hitting club-ready tracks - the likes of 'Celebrate', 'Let Your Love' and his most recent single 'Go' - gaining him regular spots at club events and festivals all over the globe.
Not quite content with just creating music, the London-based muso has also moved into the business side of the industry, operating as an A&R representative and Manager for dance label and event brand, LoveJuice Records, whilst also manning his own imprint - Machine Made Records.
With his 2022 schedule looking increasingly hectic, we moved quickly to try and grab a couple of minutes with the sought-after selector before he heads out to destinations and venues across the world this Spring. Luckily, we managed to lock him down, to talk about his new single 'Go', released on Sonny Fodera's Solotoko label, his Spotify habits and most-listened to artists, and what we can expect from a Sammy Porter live show this year.
Continue below to read the full interview...
Hey Sammy, it’s great to speak to you! Where is it that you find yourself chatting to us from today? Paint the scene for us…
"Paint being the keyword there! I’m in the process of building a new studio complex and literally painting it in between typing this. It’s taken me months to even get the walls up but excited to move in and actually get back to some music rather than playing bodge it Bob The Builder."
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Let’s start off by asking how your schedule is looking this year, now that COVID seems to be retreating? How does it compare to previous years before the pandemic hit?
"2022 is looking so much better already, to have festivals and European gigs locked in and confirmed with an actual level of certainty that they are going ahead is hugely refreshing.
"2020 I was running on pure hope that the whole mess would suddenly end and we would go straight back to normal. 2021 was better but the whole socially distanced gig model was challenging, you play one big song and every one stands up and the bouncers come charging in like the COVID police. This year is definitely looking a lot better though."
Moving on to what has to be the main feature of this interview, your first release of the year and your debut on Sonny Fodera's revered Solotoko label - ‘Go’.
It’s chock full of that good-time, summer-sunshine energy. Think poolside somewhere in Ibiza with a crisp cold pint in hand… you get the idea. Did you go into the studio when producing this one with that sort of imagery/influence in mind?
"Yeah this was made with summer in mind. I feel like we didn’t quite get the summer we deserved last year and I’m so ready for it this year. I’ve already got some Ibiza gigs in the pipeline so this record is perfect for it. Piano records never fail for me and that staccato piano vibe worked so well with Sophie’s Brennan’s vocal performance."
How did the single come to be released on Solotoko? Did you have an existing relationship with Fodera before the deal was struck? And are there any future plans to work with him again - whether that be in a live setting, in the studio or via the label?
"Prior to this, I have actually been in a major label deal since 2017 and as great as that was, it was quite restrictive in terms of my release schedule. In terms of getting music out to the masses there’s nothing quite like the major label machine but now that deal has come to an end, this is the first record I’ve been able to release fully outside of that agreement."
"Solotoko seemed like the most natural progression for a record like this, they really know how to work records at a grassroots club level but also at a more commercial streaming and radio level. I play so many of Sonny’s records at gigs so have always followed the label closely. In terms of working with Sonny and Solotoko again, let’s be honest who wouldn’t want to jump in a studio with him and I’ve got a lot of music to finish off and send their way once I’ve finished pretending to know how to build a studio."
We read somewhere that one of your biggest tracks of 2021, ‘Celebrate’ took an unreal amount of attempts to get just right. Somewhere in the region of 47 if we’re not mistaken? Do you consider yourself a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to production? And, we obviously had to ask, how many versions of ‘Go’ were there before you were satisfied?
"I won’t lie, this record wasn’t far behind in terms of the versions numbers! I think this is V45."
"Every time I make a significant change I literally save another version and bounce where I got up to, it allows me to reference where I got up to last time when I open a session again. I can tell straight away if I’m making a record sound better, or often times worse! I wouldn’t say a perfectionist but I like to know if I’m taking a record in the right direction (or not!). I’d say most records I’ve actually realised are around that version number before they actually come out."
2020 and 2021 were pretty prolific years for you in terms of issuing new releases and remixes. Would you put that down to time spent at home during lockdowns or are you experiencing a sort of creative streak at present? If not, now that society is reopening, do you feel you could keep up with the pace you set in 2021 this year and in years to come?
"I actually found it a lot harder to make music in lockdown, I class myself a DJ before a producer so always found it helpful to road test music as I was making it, play something out and then go back in the studio and tweak it. Road testing something on a livestream from my sweaty non air conditioned loft wasn’t the best and by the end of the first lockdown my next door neighbours weren't the happiest bunnies. No one wants to hear a kick drum loop for three hours while 'working from home'."
"Release wise, I’ve got so much more coming up this year and keeping up the pace is never going to be an issue for me, I’m a workaholic and I love it."
Whilst the conversation is looking to the future and given how productive you currently are, can we expect more new music in the not so distant future? And what can we expect from said music if we are to be so lucky?
"I've got so much lined up for the next few months alone. I've got what could be a massive one (fingers crossed here) with Joshwa coming out on Fisher’s Catch & Release label soon and boy am I glad the clubs are open for when it drops. I've also got a remix of a track I made with Jess Bays back in the first lockdown coming out in April. We felt it was the right time to revisit it as we released it when clubbing was literally non existent."
Rounding things up here with a few quick fire questions, let’s start with… The event you’re most looking forward to playing in 2022 and why?
"I’ll have to say Sundown Festival. It was the last big festival I played before lockdown V1 and we are back there with the LoveJuice brand hosting the stage this time around. It's just recently been announced and the line up is massive. Also can’t wait to get back to Ibiza, it’s been way too long and massively overdue and I’ve got something dead exciting being announced in the next week or so."
Your top three most listened to artists of the year so far?
"Spotify kindly reminds me of this once a year! I’ve ended up with quite bad tinnitus so I randomly listen to this white noise sound effect loop when I’m trying to sleep. Every year my top artist is like “Noise Box – White Noise Drone (Loopable)” or some other random sound effect. After that, I’m such a fan of grime and old hip-hop. Spotify must be dead confused by my listening habits. I still bang out the first Dizzee Rascal album in the gym all the time. I’ve also listened to a good few hundred hours of a certain podcast that’s currently getting dragged through the mud."
Sash or Chicane?
"Ah I’m torn, I’ll have to say Sash, “Ecuador” is a banger. Reminds me of all that time (years) I spent (some would say wasted) at university."
Finally, what do you hope to achieve this year? What’s your biggest dream/goal?
"I could literally be here all day answering this one question but the goal post is high. Highest it’s ever been. Aside from finally finishing this studio build and getting set back up properly, I’m excited to have the freedom to release as and when I want. I’ve sat on so much music that didn’t quite fit the major label model."
"I think a sensible goal this year would be to set as much of my hard drive full of unfinished records free in a way that caters for both the more commercial streaming based music but also gives the world some raw club bangers."
A very exciting year ahead for an artist still on the rise. We cannot wait to see him deliver the goods at a festival or in the club in 2022. Want to join us? Click or tap - HERE - to find tickets to Sammy Porter events happening in 2022.
Check out our What's On Guide to discover even more rowdy raves and sweaty gigs taking place over the coming weeks and months. For festivals, lifestyle events and more, head on over to our Things To Do page or be inspired by the event selections on our Inspire Me page.