Sammy Virji Interview: "I've not seen the Garage scene this strong for a while"

When talking about today's UKG scene, the name Sammy Virji is not far from anyone's lips. After an insane 2023, and even more on the horizon, we caught up with Sammy to chat all about it. See what he had to say below!

Thomas Hirst

Last updated: 24th Jan 2024

When talking about today's UKG scene, the name Sammy Virji is not far from anyone's lips. Firmly imprinting his signature style on the scene, and continually riding the crest of the Garage wave that is going global, he is a producer at the very top of his game.

Having been nominated by DJ Mag for Best Producer in their Best of British awards, and having his recent live set at their HQ clock up over a million views on YouTube, as well as a sold-out North American tour on the Horizon, and a wicked new single, 'Moonlight', released last week; Sammy is showing no sign of stopping. 

With all this going on, we caught up with him to chat about it all, as well as his whirlwind of a year in 2023 and what's on the horizon in 2024. Scroll down and check out what he had to say!



Hi Sammy mate. How are you doing today? Where are you calling from?

"Yeah, I'm good, I’m calling from my home. I've just moved house to London, so I don't have a desk, so I'm just sitting on my bed haha."


So, you’ve got a new single out, Moonlight. We first heard it in your DJ Mag set, but now have had a proper chance to listen. It sounds wicked. What can you tell us about it?

"It's smooth, I keep saying that, I keep saying it's a smooth tune, but it’s also a bit housey, a bit garagey. It's a relaxed tune, sort of one to ease you into 2024 I guess.

"I really liked it when I was making it, proper felt it. So yeah, I'm excited to have it released into the world."


How’s the reaction been when you played it live?

"You know what it's been surprisingly good for how calm of a tune it is because it's a lot less ravey than my other stuff. 

"But it's still been getting quite a nice reaction, I've had quite a few messages about it, from what people have heard of it, from the DJ Mag set. 

"So yeah, I'm getting a good reception, but for me, I'm just happy with the tune itself. Obviously, if it does well, I'll be really happy, but I'm just happy with the tune itself, so I'm already satisfied with it in that respect."


Whilst we're on that DJ Mag set, it was so good man, and the video on YouTube has well over a million views now. What's it been like seeing it get that much love?

"I honestly didn't think that would happen at all. I didn't think it would go down as well as it has done. It's just been crazy. 

"If you told me that all of this would have happened a few months ago, I would never have believed you. I worked quite hard on trying to finish off certain tunes for it. So for it to pay off as well, I'm just really happy that it's done so well.

"That set, I would still say it's one of my favourite things I've ever done. 

"The fire alarm went off, and there was the incident with the fish…

"My mate Krishan from uni his nickname was Fishan. So he brings a rubber fish to the set and then I think I was playing 'Hot In Here', my tune with Champion, and then he just handed me this rubber fish and I was like, yeah, I've got to wheel it up with the fish!

"So yeah, there were loads of little things that happened throughout. It was just wicked. 

"Flowdan turned up later than expected, so I sort of planned a few bits, planned for him to come at a certain time and then he didn't come and then he turned up and it was just mad."


One thing I love about watching you, particularly during that set, is that you always seem to be one of the people who's having the most fun in the room. It's a great thing to see. Is that kind of like a natural reaction for you, just proper feeling the love in the room?

"Yeah, definitely, when a crowd's like that, really into it, it gets me excited. Then my getting excited makes the crowd get more excited and then it's just this exponential level of gassness that everyone gets."


You mentioned previously, the tune that you did with Champion. I've seen in other interviews that it would be a dream collaboration for you, what was it like making that, and working with such a legend of the scene?

"Really good, we've actually made a couple before, but this one just felt like the one that was ready to release. 

"Champion was someone that I've looked up to for a long time, particularly when I was at Uni, getting into bass music and now to be able to do a tune of him; I wish I could show that tune to my younger self. I just think it's sick. 

"He's such a G too. We just went to a studio in Hackney and made it quite quickly, actually. I just think it's sick."


Image: Sammy Virji & Cunning MC at Reading Festival 2023 // Instagram

We’ve spoken about the back end of 2023 with the DJ Mag set and all that stuff. But the year as a whole for you was just massive. Now it's finished, have you had the chance to reflect on all that madness? and are there any kind of standout moments within it for you?

"There are a few big moments when I look back, where I just think to myself: ‘That's insane… that happened.’

"A big one was Reading Festival, Leeds too, but I went to Reading when I was like 14 or something. So then to be playing that same festival, in that Dance Tent, especially with my mate MCing, whilst also clashing with Central Cee and still packing out the tent; It was definitely one of the best sets I've ever done.

"But then another one would be in my UK tour, the Newcastle date in particular.

"I went to Newcastle Uni and we used to go to a club called Digital every weekend as ravers. So then to be able to sell out Digital for my tour, it was just unreal and a proper full circle moment.

"There are actually just too many moments to mention; Obviously getting Unknown T and Flowdan to perform at the London show was insane as well. But there are just too many things!"


UKG really seems to be having a moment, with you at the forefront, what do you make of the scene at the minute and where it's going?

"I've not seen the Garage scene this strong for a while.

"There are a lot of different branches now. I think the base-orientated side is quite popular especially, but I'm just very excited that it's happening.

"I think we've all got Conducta to thank. 

"Conducta, who owns Kiwi Records, is the person who allowed me and many others to have an output making Garage.

"Now it's flourished into a big thing, reaching out to places like Australia and the States."


It really has, what's it been touring the world and seeing the impact of that rise?

"It's pretty mad to see.

"I think the maddest place to see was Japan, I just came back from there last week and they know the tunes and they're all singing along and going mad, and just baffles me that it's reached that far. It's really cool."


Is there anyone who is a part of this burgeoning crop that you think deserves more props than they are getting?

"Even though she’s already blown up or blowing up, Oppidan has to be mentioned, MPH is in a similar bracket to her. All my sets are just filled with MPH and Oppidan tunes. So definitely if you don't know about Oppidan or MPH already, then they’re obvious ones. 

"Bakey, again he’s quite big now. But I think Bakey's the best two-step producer around, he's unreal. Skeptic deserves a shout too as he has this brilliant old-school feel about his music. 

"But one producer that I think people still don't know enough about is Hans Glader, a guy from LA. He's one of my favourite producers, and his stuff is just unbelievable. He plays the drums himself and he makes his own drum fills and his music just sounds really authentic and he's extremely talented, so he's really good.

"That's just to name a few, and there'll definitely be some people I'm missing out, but there's just so many."


Just kind of move on to looking forward a bit to your upcoming live shows in the UK. You've got a few dates coming up in March. All of which have sold out on Skiddle. Are you looking forward to playing on home soil again after going around the world?

"Yeah, I'm really excited to do them. I’ll have just finished a tour in North America before them, so it’ll be quite nice to come back to the UK and play for a home crowd, you know?

"One of them is quite mad actually. It hasn’t even been announced and it's already sold out because the tickets got leaked, which is crazy, that's never happened to me before."


Now, I hate to be the one to break it to you, but unfortunately, your sets for these gigs have been reduced to just three tracks. What are you playing and why?

"Okay, you're going to have to give me a second, haha, this is hard.

"Right, first I'll probably have to go with the Oppidan Bootleg of 'Adam F - Circles'. That just always goes down really well.

"Then for the second, I'll have to go with 'Shella Verse'. That track is usually the peak of my set so we can’t not play that. 

"And then last, I’m gonna say an unreleased tune...

"It's by Bushbaby and it's called 'Untitled Emo Organ Banger'. I’m so certain that this tune is going to be a timeless tune once it's released. It's a ravey, organy type tune, but I'm certain that it's going to blow. I hope it does because it's an amazing track. 

"Bush Baby is another artist that is just amazing. I think he makes some of the best four-four stuff.

"So yeah, those are the three tracks; Oppidans Circle Bootleg, Shella Verse, and Untitled Emo Organ Banger


Just to round it off, 2024, what's it looking like for you? Is there anything you're particularly excited about? festivals, Ibiza, world tour, new tunes?

"Yeah, I'm really excited for this North American tour. I'm going next week and it'll be my debut tour there. I did three dates out in America, sort of midway through last year, and I really, really loved the crowds, it's just a bit different to the UK. So I'm excited to just have a full, like, six weeks of doing that, a I think a lot of the shows are sold out as well, which is really cool. 

"The rest of the UK tour we spoke about will be really good. 

"I think there's a bunch of stuff that's maybe not announced, so yeah, I can't say much yet, but watch out for them. I'm just really excited for this year."




Want to see Sammy Virji live? Check out all of the events he's playing at, which are on sale on Skiddle, by clicking or tapping - HERE

Sammy Virji has just been announced for Parklife 2024, and is doing a B2B with Interplanetary Criminal! Find out more information, including how to get tickets, by clicking or tapping - HERE



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.