February 5 | 2024
About Sam Collins
We are thrilled to have Sam Collins, a dynamic Tech House producer and DJ, with us today. Hailing from Munich, Germany, and now rocking the scene in Amsterdam, Sam's journey is as intriguing as his grooves. With a distinctive style that's been making waves in German clubs, Asia, and Europe, he's earned his stripes in the industry.
We're here to dive deep into Sam's world – from his early musical roots to the mechanics behind his killer tracks. No fluff, just real talk. So, without further ado, let's get into it. Welcome, Sam Collins! Great to have you here.
Can you share a bit about your journey into music, especially how you started and what drew you to the world of Tech House?
I actually started as an urban or hip hop DJ when I was very young. Up until now I still think this has taught me valuable skills. But the first electronic sound I ever heard was Benny Benassi’s „Satisfaction“. This song was my first contact point with electronic music after starting off as a Hip Hop DJ. My sister constantly listened to it during our summer holiday.
I didn’t have an understanding for electronic music back then so it seemed annoying to me. But after getting back from the summer holidays, I heard this track in a nightclub in Munich and started to understand the energy that electronic music can inherit. How the combination of a powerful drop with a melancholic break can move the crowd was surprisingly new to me.
Who are some of your major musical influences in the Tech House genre, and how have they shaped your own style?
Back in the days Pleasure Kraft had a huge influence on my style. Artists I now find inspiring are for example Detlef or Walker & Royce. But rather than listing names, I'd say it's the global community of artists – the well-known and the yet-to-be-discovered – that continually excite and inspire me.
What elements do you believe contribute to your unique sound in Tech House, and how did you develop this distinctive style?
I think a big part of my sound comes from an intuitive approach to music. I've never been one to overthink my productions. My style has come naturally and has developed from what just feels right. It's an organic process. Whether it's choosing a particular synth sound or deciding on the structure of a track, it's all about what resonates with me at a deeper level.
The development of a distinctive style has been a journey of constant exploration and self-discovery. I've spent countless hours in the studio playing around with different sounds and techniques. Over time, these explorations have naturally shaped my sound. It's a style that's uniquely mine, but as I grow as an artist, so does my style.
Could you walk us through your typical production process for a Tech House track, from the initial idea to the final release?
It all starts with a basic idea, around which I - step by step - built the rest of the track. After I have a draft of the song, I often ask my friends and fellow producers or DJs for feedback, which then helps to finalize it. My management helps me find the right label for each track and takes care of further steps.
What are your favorite tools, both hardware and software, when it comes to producing Tech House tracks?
I’m more focused on sound design, which means using a lot of plugins. Therefore, I could name some synthesizers which I find very helpful. These are for example: Serum and Diva. I'm also a huge fan of Waves, Izotope, Valhalla and Sound toys.
Do you have any specific tips or techniques you swear by when working in the studio to achieve that perfect Tech House vibe?
I often find myself coming back to quite simple gear, which naturally constrains me to quickly and efficiently lay down ideas. These ideas are then further developed later in the process. When I'm on the road, which happens quite often, I rely solely on my headphones, making plug-ins more crucial. At home, my simple setup is usually sufficient.
How do you gauge and connect with your audience during live performances, especially in the context of Tech House music?
The key to this engagement is being fully present in the moment and responsive to the vibe of the crowd. I always keep an eye on how the audience is reacting to each track, each transition.
It's like a feedback loop - when I move to the music, it's a signal to the audience that I'm right there with them, experiencing the same journey. Through that I make sure to be approachable and interactive.
Can you share a memorable experience from one of your performances that had a significant impact on you as an artist?
One of the performances that has had the biggest impact on my career yet, was back in 2016. A girl on Instagram texted me she’s a huge fan of my music and knows the booker of the Warp Music Festival in Thailand and would love to see me play there. I ended up playing the main stage right before Lucas & Steve, Marshmallow and Valentino Khan. Ever since then, I have a huge fan base in Asia and at least two big Asia Tours a year.
Given your success in German clubs and parts of Asia and Europe, how do you adapt your sets to cater to diverse audiences?
Having had the privilege to perform in various clubs across Germany, Asia and other parts of Europe, I've learned the importance of adapting to diverse audiences while maintaining the essence of my own style.
One key approach I take is researching the clubs where I'm scheduled to perform. This involves understanding the club's vibe, looking at the resident DJs and the type of music that resonates with the crowd. While I make these slight adjustments to cater to different audiences, the core of my show and set remains intact.
How does it feel to receive support from renowned DJs like David Guetta, Tiesto, and others, and how do you think it has contributed to your career?
It's definitely an honor to be supported by such names. While their support doesn't directly impact my career, it certainly boosts my motivation and confidence. Knowing that artists I admire see potential in my work inspires me to push further. It's a reminder that hard work is noticed and appreciated, which is both humbling and motivating.
Your Spotify numbers are impressive. What strategies do you employ to engage and grow your audience on streaming platforms like Spotify?
In preparation for my shows I often make mash-up packs, which I then also upload to SoundCloud. Fans who want to download these mash-up packs need to follow me on Spotify. This approach effectively directs my SoundCloud audience to my Spotify profile, boosting my follower count and streaming numbers. Additionally, I put a lot of focus on creating Spotify playlists.
These playlists not only feature my tracks but also include a selection of songs from other artists that resonate with my style. By continuously updating these playlists and keeping them fresh, I keep my audience engaged and coming back for more. This strategy not only helps in retaining my current audience but also attracts new listeners who discover my music through these playlists.
Are there any artists you dream of collaborating with in the Tech House scene, and why?
For sure Eli Brown. I am a huge fan of his music and it would be an honor to work with him.
How do you stay updated on the latest trends and innovations in the Tech House genre, and do you consciously incorporate them into your work?
I am constantly working with new artists, which gives me a different view and new insights into other technologies and their style of working. Therefore, when it comes to navigating evolving trends, I find collaborations extremely helpful.
When it comes to new technological innovations, I find vocal extraction tools like RX10 from Izotope to be extremely helpful, especially for edits and mashups.
What do you see as the biggest challenges currently faced by Tech House producers, and how do you navigate them?
One of the biggest challenges for Tech House producers and DJs today is adapting to younger audiences who are influenced by TikTok. This new crowd likes music that's short and catchy, fitting the quick, engaging style of TikTok videos.
For producers and music lovers who have worked on a song as one whole masterpiece, it’s difficult to cut it only to the drop or skip half of it to match this attention span.
With a strong social media presence, how do you engage with your fans, and how do you think it impacts your career?
I engage with my fans on social media by regularly posting updates, sharing behind-the-scenes content, and responding to comments and messages. This direct interaction builds a strong community and keeps my fans involved in my journey. I believe it greatly impacts my career by increasing my visibility, strengthening fan loyalty, and creating a personal connection that goes beyond just the music
How do you prepare for a live performance, and what mental or physical routines do you follow to ensure a successful set?
To prepare for a live performance, my process starts with the careful selection of tracks. I typically choose between 60 to 80 songs. This selection helps me relax. Knowing I am well prepared eases my mind. Additionally, I place a lot of importance on my appearance. Choosing the right outfit and ensuring I feel confident - both visually and sonically - is the key part of my preparation.
Among your own productions, is there a Tech House track that holds a special place in your heart, and why?
A Tech House track that holds a special place in my heart is 'Coast to Coast'. This track came together very quickly, and from the beginning, I had a clear vision of how I wanted it to sound. It turned out exactly as I envisioned, and I'm incredibly proud of it. 'Coast to Coast' represents not just a creative achievement, but also a personal milestone in my journey as a producer.
What advice would you give to aspiring Tech House producers who are looking to make a mark in the industry?
Work as hard as possible, find something you have a special strength in, and constantly talk to other people and collaborate.
Can you give us a glimpse into any exciting projects or collaborations you have in the pipeline for the future?
Here’s a little sneak peek into one of my collaborations: I've been a long-time fan of Andruss, and I'm thrilled to share that at the end of last year, we managed to land a collaboration. While there's no release date set just yet, it's an exciting project that I can't wait to share with my fans!
Looking ahead, what impact do you hope to have on the Tech House genre, and what kind of legacy would you like to leave as an artist?
You can definitely expect some exciting collaborations. But apart from the music itself, I'm working on enhancing the visual aspects of my shows. Since the live experience is such a crucial part of electronic music, I want to make sure that every show is not just a listening experience.
And lastly, I'm committed to engaging more with my community. This means more social media presence, YouTube live sets, and using different platforms to connect more deeply with fans. I believe that the connection between an artist and their audience is vital, and I want to nurture that throughout 2024 and beyond..
Thank you, Sam Collins, for taking the time to share your insights and experiences with us. Your contributions to the Tech House scene and your dedication to music are truly inspiring. We appreciate your openness in answering our questions, and we look forward to following your continued success in the industry.
Thanks for having me!
Starting 2024 with a bang, Collins’ latest single is the undeniable Prayers On Acid. Built around hard-hitting drums and a thunderous syncopated bassline, Collins’ hammers home the drama with warped vocal samples, scything percussion and an epic breakdown.