Thinking outside of the box is crucial for success in today’s music industry. No one does this better than Australian-born A/V DJ Sampology, whose mixture of audio and visual performance dazzle even the most uninspired of concert goers. Sampology, AKA Sam Poggioli, has collaborated with, and remixed for hit makers such as Major Lazer, Beyonce, and Beenie Man, positioning him for nothing short of superstardom. Now, just imagine our collective squeal here at Joonbug, when Sampology agreed to take some time out of his busy schedule to talk to us about his mission, current projects, and plans for the future...
What are some of your most current projects?
Well, I come from a DJ/producing background, but the main thing that I'm going for is my AV shows, which is like a visual DJ set. So, I'm standing on a stage, the video screen behind me, people in the crowd, and I'm DJing with both audio and visual at the same time. The kind of visual shows that I construct can be anything, there's no rules. At the moment, I'm in the middle of a really big Australian tour. The current projects, beside that, and a really short – like, week long – trip to LA right now, are these couple of shows; one's a full show and the other’s a DJ set. So yeah, that's the main stuff that's going on right now.
How did you get your start?
Basically, it's been like...slow, organic progressions from playing in Brisbane from the age of like, 17, in nightclubs, supporting bands and being in a couple bands, to starting to travel to other cities in Australia, and then starting to travel overseas. I worked in a record store for four years, and yeah it was just...organic progression. Then in 2008, the technology became available for me to present a visual show in the way that I wanted to present it, essentially, just running between records, instead of just transitioning between records as I would normally. The energy is better, I can link to the visuals as well, to have my own look and to engage people in a bigger and better way; to connect to people. So, I've really been pushing that as much as possible. I've been trying to kind of...break ground in my own kind of way, and just pushing that.
Now that all of this new technology is available, what do you think the future holds for combined audio and visual production?
I think it will only continue to splinter off into more branches and different ways of doing it. At the moment, the community of people that do perform this way... well, the thing about it is, you can say that you're DJing to more people, and they have their preconceived expectations in terms of performance. What's going on behind that, like, how to DJ to both; that kind of thing. Whereas, with audio/visual DJing and performance, it's not as defined, so people don't really know what to expect or how to define it even. So, the people that do it – our sound, which is the best thing about it for me, is that everyone does it in their own unique way. Because it's not defined, there's no rules. So when people are putting stuff together, it shows that they can condense it in a completely different way, depending on who they are and what they want to do with it. So, in terms of where it's going...it will like, go off in a million different directions in a really creative way.
What's your favorite part about performing?
Generally, it's just engaging with people. In my show, I like to make a connection, whether it be through audio or visual, by using stuff that people don't necessarily recognize; it's a lot of fun. For example, using something that they might recognize visually, and then completely flipping it and juxtaposing it with something opposite, something you would not expect. I love just seeing people's faces in the crowd when they're listening to the music. You can't really get that feeling when you're playing to thousands and thousands of people because they're a bit more distant. But, in every little venue and club where you can see the faces of the people in the crowd, and see their laughter at specific spots in the show; well yeah, I like just connecting with people... it's fun.
What's been your craziest concert experience?
I actually have to say that about three weeks ago I played this Sydney show in this really cool festival. The thing with visual shows is...I like theming them. The current theme on this tour is stimulation, so it's very kind of raunchy, um...sexual kind of themed. Nothing like, nasty, but that definite kind of vibe to it. So about a half hour after I finished, I get a call on the radio from security that said, “two people were having sex during your show!” My initial reaction was...I think, happiness and pride?! I hoped, I mean – I imagined, that the show would have had something to do with it. Wanting them to like, not be able to keep it in their pants in that moment. So yeah, that's probably the craziest thing. There's been a lot of crazy stuff, but that's the most recent one.
Do you have a pre-show ritual?
Well, it depends on if it's a DJ set or a visual set. A DJ set, I like to get to the club early and kind of enjoy the party and have a few drinks. A visual set has more going on, it's more of a live thing where I'm controlling more things than I would with a DJ set. There's a lot more technicality to it, so a lot of my pre-show is just focusing on exactly what I need to do, and just doing three things at once kind of thing; so just focusing. I actually like having a few beers at dinner, and then having a tea in my hotel room before I go to the venue; it actually really works. It's a combination of like, the beer loosens you up, but the tea gives you a mini caffeine rush and focuses you as well. Anyway, that's just one thing that I've found helps in both situations.
What are your biggest musical influences and why?
The Avalanches. They're an Australian group that released an album in 2000, when I was in High School called, Since I Left You, which is kind of like the craziest collage record ever. It really personified hip-hop's ability to take a whole bunch of music and like, combine it in a whole new way. Like, basically, taking a whole bunch of content and flipping it and creating something new. That's always been a huge influence. Also, I'd say like, dub-reggae music in terms of when I'm working on tracks myself and producing. I take a lot from listening to dub producers, like Prince Jammy, Scientist, King Tubby, and like, listening to how they're like...doing things the wrong way, when it comes to mixing records and just breaking shit out and having it work in such beautiful ways. And, like, dub-reggae music in general. And I'm going to have to say stuff from Warp Records out of the UK, they're a cool label, I like a lot from them. Oh! And, Hudson Mohawke, the producer.
What's the most embarrassing thing you have in your music library?
Oh, I don't know, I have a lot of embarrassing things! [laughs] Probably a country western version of Beyonce's Single Ladies by The Pigs. It's like, really bad...but really good.
What's next for you, any big future plans?
I'm going to India in like, a month and a half! There's a really cool festival over there that I'm really hyped for. I love it because of like, all the places that I travel to, it's always really different, but always kind of the same as well. I'm looking forward to the Indian shows just because it's going to be a completely different experience, and a change. I'm also going to be doing some recording sessions with Indian musicians while I'm there. So yeah, I'm looking forward to that as well.