"With all of the predictability in dance music now, who doesn’t like a little element of surprise?" | Sammy Legs talks with Guestlist

House | Thursday 1st July 2021 | Arren

As the world begins opening up again, we speak with Californian-based Sammy Legs.

Sammy Legs, a DJ/producer from the US’ West Coast, has been turning heads with his unique blend of glitchy, quirky beats. He recently returned to Slothacid with two expertly crafted cuts - full of all the oddities fans have come to love him for.

It’s just the latest release in a string of dance floor ready beats which have begun shaking things up. Legs’ unique appeal is the house focused beats with a definite shade of techno/electro thrown in - leading his records to beefy their way across dance floors and beyond. As the world begins opening up once more, we speak with him on his past, the present and beyond…..

Hey, how are you?
Doing well, thanks. I’m working A LOT but I thrive on stress and lots of running projects so it’s a good head space to be in with everything returning to normal now.

What’s got you motivated right now?
In terms of who’s got me motivated to work, I’m motivated primarily by my super- group/band Boiz House, as we have been finessing our live show and preparing for a bunch of new material in the fall. I also am just generally motivated to get this new Sammy Legs sound I’ve been working on for the last couple years out into the wild more as I haven’t released very much of it yet.

In terms of who’s motivating me sonically, I haven’t found a ton of inspiration from current music for my own productions but I do find a lot of arrangement ideas from 10-15 year old minimal music and a lot of sound design ideas from progressive psy. Some artists doing cool things right now: Luis M, Kleiman, Lewis., Nikki Nair.

As the world slowly starts to open again, how are things looking for you?
Bookings are just now rolling in again so I don’t have a bunch on the horizon already but I’ll be headlining our collective’s first show back in SF July 31st at Public Works which has me really excited. Boiz House also has a sweet gig at a festival called Luminescence in upstate NY the weekend after. I have hours of new material waiting to be shared on a dance floor so I can’t wait to start getting out into some new cities.

You’re based on the US’ West Coast, describe the Californian music scene in 5 words…
quirky, clique-y, wiggly, spicy, boho

What does the Californian music scene have that Europe’s doesn’t?
People that actually dance...

You lived in Berlin for a period, what did you do in this time?
I did a semester abroad from UCB studying acoustics and machine learning. I also spent the whole time learning music production. I lived with this Japanese guy I met in a German immersion class. He didn’t speak much English, and even less German, but we were able to communicate that we both wanted to learn music production so we ended up collaborating for a good portion of my time there. I know it’s cliche to say music is a universal language but in this case it really was how we interacted the whole time that we lived together.

Has that helped shape you today?
This was integral in so many ways. It was an opportunity to not interact with anyone and focus entirely on what I wanted to learn without having to attend to most of the normal day- to-day distractions we experience. I had some friends there but we’d mainly meet up to go out, where I got to experience one of the most renowned nightlifes in the world. I’d spend most meals watching tutorials or reading books on music composition, and spend these nights out listening to some of the world’s best and taking notes on my phone to bring back to my little studio. I gathered so many different techniques and had absolutely no idea what I was doing, but the experimentation during that period gave me so much to bring home and run with in later years.

One thing about Berlin that the world needs to know?
Not necessarily that the WORLD needs to know this, but most of the U.S. certainly does… I think one of the secrets to their scene is that they are not in a rush. I believe it has to do with their drinking laws being 24/7, but the clubs run successfully all weekend. DJs play minimum 3 hour sets, attendees go to venues at all hours of the day without knowing the lineup and trust the curation of the promoters. People don’t “get in” because they have a bunch of money and are going to buy a table. They get in because they have sneakers, joggers, a sacked lunch… they’re here for the long haul. This invites for a much more interesting club culture and I really hope we here in the US can find a way to move in that direction, because it makes curation as an artist so much more interesting.

You recently returned to Slothacid with the 'Clamtastrophe' EP. It features two glitch heavy house cuts which are banging, were there artists who you’ve looked to as inspiration for these songs?
No, not really. 'Clamtastrophe' has had a number of different forms since I first wrote it and it’s final form actually came from it being paired with 'Rony Tobbins'. It used to be a little more melodic/anthemic but I like it more now that it's a little twisted. 'Rony' was originally Britton’s idea and the ridiculous vocal really caught my attention, so I took that and ran with it.

The two tracks are quite similar to your other records, with sounds and textures that offer elements of surprise; how would you describe your sound to those who’ve not heard your music before?
I like to think my music is sneaky. Some people say it’s slippery. Someone described my music last year like it made them feel like they’re about to rob a bank and I thought that was pretty awesome. With all of the predictability in dance music now, who doesn’t like a little element of surprise?

Where’s the ideal place to listen to the tracks in your mind?
Late night. Preferably on a cozy dance floor with room to wiggle, an excessively nice sound system and with a couple of your weirdest friends.

It’s your second outing on Slothacid, happy to be back?
Absolutely! Sacha has been a long time supporter and has really supported me through finding the sound I’ve arrived at today. It’s easy to conform when you’ve been in the music space for long enough without big success and I really appreciate how much he pushes the label’s artists to be who they are. I think these songs, along with Slothacid’s discography, are exactly that.

You’ve worked with a fair few artists in the past, even in your latest you have a track with Britton. Who would be your dream artist to collaborate with and why?
Probably Grouch. In my mind he has the all-time sneakiest music and I think our sounds would make something pretty wild.

Following its release do you have any more works in the pipeline?
I do! I’ll have another EP on Box of Cats out within the next month. After that I’m going to be shopping a bunch of this new catalogue, so you may have to see me live to hear that stuff this summer.

If you could play anywhere in the world, where would that be and why?
It’s hard to answer this because there are so many amazing options, but my top three would probably be Boom Festival in Portugal, Shambhala in BC, or Fusion Festival outside Berlin. Mainly because these draw some amazing crowds open to weird music, they have incredible outdoor spaces with great sound systems, and I think those dance floors would understand some of the weird aspects of my music better than most.

What can’t you live without right now?
My family dog Thumper… He’s been my best friend through quarantine and we’re quite the duo. There have been some lonely weekends in the past year but he’s always there to lift me up when I can’t look at a screen anymore.

What’s your life motto?
Sometimes you gotta zig or zag.

What does the world need more of?

Sammy Legs’ latest EP, 'Clamtastrophe' is out now via Slothacid - Buy/stream

Sammy Legs
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