Getting To Know… Sam Skilz
Sam Skilz is from the generation of artists who breathe, eat and think house music. His potent productions and remixes have featured labels such as Sony Music, Virgin Records, Warner Music, Hed Kandi, Urbana, Just Music, Krafted, Hi-Bias, freakin909 and his own acclaimed label Gaga Records.
Please tell us a little bit about where you’re from and what turned you on to making dance music specifically?
I am from Luxembourg and was born in Casablanca 46 years ago 🙂 now I live in Germany close to Luxembourg where I also have my studio. Music was always a part of my DNA. I don’t remember the exact time when I have decided to make music but it feels like since I was born 🙂
Describe your sound?
Its hard to describe a sound but I would say, I create music depends on my mood. I guess this is the way I choose the happy or sad keys from my keyboard. Making House music is magic, you can implement any type of sound into your track. Actually, you can get inspired from any kind of music to make underground groove. My sound has been changing over time, from House to Techno. I would say a ton has changed in the scene since my career began and the biggest challenge is to keep it up with time and stay up to date with the sound!
What was the first dance record you bought?
I still remember it, it was nothing to do with underground music thought. The first record I bought was “Billie Jean” by Michael Jackson. One of the biggest tracks of all time.
Who are your musical influences?
I alway live with the idea of imitating your influences is a bad way to honor the artists you respect. I am very often inspired by artists that are not doing electronic dance music. I try to be brave enough to do something new, take risks and embrace bold ideas to see if it comes off as bland and uninspired.
Which of your own tracks was the biggest labour of love to create?
I have few tracks in my mind, but recently, the track “Release” was very much fun to do. I have joined forces with one of America’s most loved Soulful divas, Michelle Weeks. Michelle commands the dance floor with her powerful directive over an uplifting backdrop of my TechHouse groove. We also had much fun doing the music video in Barcelona.
And what has been your biggest release to date?
“I Love America” in collaboration with the American singer Emory Toler. The single was hitting all the house music charts. The release was also including a remix from David Penn and get licensed to tons of compilation through time.
You run your own GaGa Records label, how’s that going and who can we find on there?
We are celebrating 12 years of GaGa Records. It has been a long journey since 2006. GaGa is simply a tool to express myself musically, and put out records and remixes from people I love and have a strong musical connection to. The music policy is always the same, to represent all shades of house music. We have onboard many respected artists such as, Roland Clark, Dany Cohiba, Inusa Dawuda, Michelle Weeks, Eddie Amador, Coqui Selection, Terri B!, Oscar P, David Penn, Lenny Fontana, Groove Salvation, Zonum and many more…
You’ve just released your new single ‘Rise’, what we can expect to hear?
The Name “Rise” came from the fact that lately, I have been through some though time in my personal life and decided to Rise up!
I feel this track is a mix of what’s currently going on in the Progressive House scene, where things are getting back to arpeggios, sequencer synths and heavy basslines with lots of attention to detail and plenty of tension. I was projecting myself into the upcoming summer festivals while I was working on this track. I tried to visualise the outcome from the breakdown on the dance floor and actually I put much feelings into the vibe, so I hope you enjoy it!
The single is somewhat a change from your usual musical style, is this the shape of things to come in future?
Definitely true. As I have mentioned before, my challenge is to keep it up with time and shape the music for the future. I try to be upfront. House Music sound is changing constantly, either you choose to stay with the same sound or try fresh and new things. My issue is I get bored if I don’t try new stuff 🙂
How do you typically go about writing a new track?
I listen a lot to the music. I usually build the track in my head before I get to the studio. I already know the vibe I want to bring out and then decide for the tools I am going to use for that. But still, the real fun starts when I try to make it sound in the studio like I have it in my heard!
How is the music scene in Luxembourg and where are the best clubs to hang out?
The underground scene in Luxembourg is suffering much. Actually there is no real underground clubs. The packed clubs are only with commercial music. Event organisations manage to invite special guests into private venues to make it happen.
I heard Amelie Lens is coming in June to “Rockhall” and Dave Clark at “The Room” in end of May.
You also run the Skilz DJ Academy, what can you tell us about that?
The Academy is like my dream comes true. I always wanted to share my passion with the new generation and transfer my knowledge to keep it alive. Now we have been training hundreds of students, from all over Europe, and the love we receive back is just amazing!
Any tips or advice for aspiring producers / DJs looking to break through on the scene?
The best advice I can tell is, don’t try to do everything yourself. Try to collaborate with people that are sharing the same passion with you. If you are good in producing, find someone else that is good in sound engineering. Try to hookup with good musicians to record great melodies and toplines. Just keep in mind that you can’t be good 100% in all aspects and, remember, most of hit makers are working in team.
Who are your current top 5 producers?
They are so many amazing producers out there doing great vibes. Hard to bring out few names. I like the work from Eric Pryds, Chus & Ceballos, Claptone, Veerus, Coqui Selection, Black coffee, Eat Everything, Hot Sine82 and so many more…
What are you most looking forward to in 2019?
I have great plans at the studio with many tracks ready to go. I want to release more often this year and do some nice collaborations. Also my label has lot of releases on the pipeline and I am very excited about it. Stay Tuned…
What else are you working on at the moment that you can tell us about?
We are working on expanding Skilz DJ Academy into other cities in Europe. Very exciting!
Sam Skilz ‘Rise’ is out now on Gaga Records.