Last week we had the pleasure of speaking with Italian techno titan Sam Paganini to celebrate the latest release on his JAM imprint – ‘Body Ride / Demon’. We discuss the label, his studio setup, life outside of the booth and more…
Hi Sam. Absolute pleasure to have you here with us, how are you?
My pleasure guys, I’m pretty good, happy to be back to normality after 2 horrible years.
Let’s jump straight in! What have been the highlights of your year so far?
I am touring constantly again, this year I already did 3 overseas tours, North and South America. Great shows. I also had the chance to be productive in the studio and I am very excited on what is coming.
We know everyone is eagerly waiting the forthcoming ‘Body Ride / Demon’ EP on your label JAM. Tell us a bit about the release and the inspiration behind it.
I am not that kind of artist that plans a release schedule. I mean, I am willing to wait until something comes up and I consider it good to release it. As I am releasing just on my own label I am free from any pressure from other record labels A&R’s. It is a great privilege. 2 good ideas came up, a bit different to each other, “Body Ride” is hypnotic, and has a relentless old school vibe. “Demon” sounds contemporary, the arrangement is more structured and more melodic.
You recently had another album out across your JAM imprint. How does it feel to have released two full length albums?
When Covid locked down everything I got the opportunity to work in the studio without any distraction. While most of my friends and colleagues where complaining I honestly was more than happy to be in the studio and do what I love most. Touring constantly means no time for the studio and I was really missing it. The first album, “Reflections” was intended as a side project, that’s the reason the full title is: Sam Paganini presents Reflections, a concept album of introspective music and an observation on a dark time in our world today. As it is a completely different direction, far from the dancefloor sound, a clarification on the title was needed. Actually the project started in my mind a decade ago, I recorded a couple of demo tracks ‘Fallen’ and ‘Far Away’ but I didn’t get the chance to finish the project because I was constantly on tour around the world as a DJ. The lockdown gave me the possibility to complete the album in a couple of months. With all the parties shut down I thought that was good to show to the people a more melodic and introspective side. Ambient, synth pop, 60’s B-movie soundtracks, rock, blues, the album was influenced by the music I love. The second one “Light+Shadow” is divided into two records, one daytime with more listening songs and one night time, pure dancefloor oriented tracks.
Tell us more about your JAM imprint and the inspiration behind that?
The idea behind JAM is simple. I am very strict on the sound quality. I want to release just bangers that work well on the dance floor. I test every single track carefully and there is no place for fillers. The label is growing very well and this year we already had two #1 on Beatport. I think that the label has a very specific sound, this is my present day vision of Techno music and the challenge is to be fresh on the sound direction.
What is your current studio set up? Would you say you’re a massive gearhead?
I must admit that I am more interested to the hardware instruments than plug-ins or new production techniques. I am a vintage gear collector, I proudly own instruments like Minimoog, Prophet5, Jupiter8, TB303, MS20, Juno106, Juno2, Fender Rhodes, Moog One and a Moog Voyager just to name a few. When in the studio ideas come mostly on the keyboards looking for new sounds. Regarding my studio set up is simple, Ableton LIVE and Cubase as sequencers, UA Apollo 16 sound card, Dangerous 16 channel analog summer, a Dbx external limiter/compression and a pair of Adam monitors.
What track never leaves your current bag?
Not an easy answer, I switched to usb sticks years ago and that gave me the possibility to have all my favourite records digitally ready to use. I would say Frankie Knuckles presents Jamie Priniciple “Your Love”. It is not a techno record but it is one of my favourite dance tracks of all time. Also Rolling Stones “Sympathy For The Devil”, I love to close my sets sometimes with an unexpected song.
What artists are you on your radar at the moment? Who should we have our eye on?
An Hungarian young talent, Aladarus. He released already 2 great Ep’s as Episode1 on my label JAM. I really love his techno sound vision, but please keep an eye out to the other great talents I am lucky and proud to have on board on the Label. There is great releases coming this summer.
What are your favourite artists / music to listen to outside of dance / electronic music?
I grew up listening to rock music, classic bands like Stones, Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Dire Straits, Duran Duran and then I discovered electronica, jazz, blues. I am a music lover first. Pink Floyd is my fav band of all time and over the past few years Radiohead.
What do you like to do to relax outside of DJing and producing?
Chilling on the beach under the sun with my family on the days off.
Summertime we live in Jesolo, a touristic beach close to Venice in Italy. The place where I feel very good.
What are your three favourite countries to visit when touring?
I would go more into the cities. I really love London which is at my personal #2 place, first is Rome ? and the South Of France, I love the Provence and Côte d’Azur.
Favourite venue to play in?
Crobar in Buenos Aires.
What’s the rest of your 2023 looking like? What more can we expect from Sam Paganini?
I will be on tour until the end of the year, although the summer schedule is a bit less busy compared to the last years. I am a father now, a 2,5 years old beautiful daughter and I want to spend some good time too with my family in Jesolo.
Sam’s “Body Ride / Demon” EP is out on 26th May on his label JAM
Grab it here – https://www.beatport.com/release/body-ride-demon/4108786