Artists

 

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Sammy Goossens aka Sierra Sam has been active in the electronic music world for more than 15 years. Starting as a party promoter in his home town Liege (Belgium), he shortly hit the studio to produce music for labels like Reload, R&S, Rotation, Pure Plastic, Muller, Teknotika. In the past, Sammy was also the co producer for other artists like Suburban Knight (UR, Peacefrog) or Bloody Mary (Contexterrior). A few years ago, he met Marcus Vector and they started their own Toys For Boys imprint, which has been very successfull and supported by the major players in the scene. More recently he relocated to Berlin to work as label manager for Jay Haze ‘s Contexterrior and TuningSpork, which brought him to release on both labels (as Sierra Sam or D.I.Y.) as well as Dirt Crew, Trapez ltd, Einmaleins, Supplement Facts, Serialism, Souvenir, Upon You, Nordik Net, Dame Music. Sammy is also a great remixer with work for Tim Xavier & Par Grindvik (LTD 400), Monika Kruse (Terminal M) or B Pitch Control (Fuckpony). Last but not least, Sammy is a performer : he played in clubs like Fabric, Rex, Watergate, Goa Madrid, WeekEnd and Fuse to name a few.

 

 

To celebrate the first release under Best’s Friends imprint, we asked Sammy Goossens aka SIERRA SAM a few questions about his career and plans for the future : 

Where do you come from and when did you start producing music?

I was born in Belgium where we have a big heritage of electronic music.
I was always fascinated by different types of music. I remember
seeing the Man Machine record from Kraftwerk in my uncle collection
when i was very small and listening to the strange sounds. After that
i loved electro pop, of course i was totally into New Beat as it was
a big fashion phenomena for teenagers (we were going to Brussels to
buy vinyls with a friend from school : first R&S etc..)

I was always a fan of music, as long as i remember, i got 7 inch
records for bdays, xmas… I always had a little player at home and
listened to music for hours. When i was 13 i received a Yamaha CS01
for my xmas, i started messing around.
When i was  14 i was the young kid helping a disco mobile and playing
music for warm ups (no sl1200, no techno at the time). I was also
the one taking off the lights and sound after the parties finished .
this was my first encounter with that world.

First trip to London with school when i was 16 was also a big
influence : i bought 2 acid house compilations (there were smileys on
the covers and smileys were big in belgium due to New Beat fashion)

I started playing in bands when i was 15 / 16 with older people than me.

We ended up having a home studio and tried to produce music that
sounded like Soul 2 Soul we even had a real producer and tried to
record a single… I had my first 909 and Emax sampler at the time as
i was also a fan of Cold Cut, S Express, Technotronic.

Around 19 i was living on my own in a student apartment not far from a
club where they started techno parties on thursdays. I went there,
met people, tried xtc and that was the beginning.

Why are you such a fan of vintage analogue gear. How did this start?

I think it all started when i was around 14, 15.
I spent my wednesdays afternoons at equipment shops, i was the annoying kid
trying stuff for hours and asking tons of questions. I was dreaming
in front of drum kits, synthesizers, drum boxes. I remember when
the local shop received the Ensoniq Mirage with its yellow LED screen
it was such a big deal. I also remember the original prices of Juno
106 and Jupiters.

I managed to get my grandmother to buy me a Yamaha CS 01 when i was 13
(Xmas gift), but i had absolutely no idea how to use it !

What are you your favorite machines? How do you work with them?

I love all machines , i have to say the 909 is really cool to start a
track , even if i feel i should stop using it for a while as it ends
up on every track at the moment.  I really love the Korg Polysix and
Monopoly for the chord memory. I always go back to MC202 for basslines .

What is your artistic process?

I really rarely have an idea in mind , i prefer to hit the studio,
turn a machine on and tart messing around till an idea comes.
I also like to synchronize them together and try to build a basic loop.

Sometimes i hear an idea in a track and try it out ( like sequencing
filters of different synths), i like to experiment with analogue
sequencers , effects…

You have been doing analog live shows since 20 years? Which machine
have you been using for this and who has your show changed over years?

When i started it was 909 / emax/ 303 but it was very bad music and very messy.
When it got serious , we used mainly a MPC 60 with 909 juno , 606 .
Then Ableton live arrived on the market : REVOLUTION.

So i started to do as everyone else : digital live sets as it was sooo
special . Nowadays i am back with analogue boxes. Sometimes i use a
mix of computer and machines : Elektron Octatrack , Analogue Four ,
Acidlab Miami. Or i go full on and replace the computer by 909 / 303
/ MOC with moog filter. When i can i bring more toys , at Panorama
Bar last time i brought analogue sequencer with Minibrute and a
Simmons SDS8 brain triggered by the 909 , was super fun.

This release is a small collection of your work. Why didn’t you do
this earlier? Many of the tracks where not available digitally. Why
Not?

Because i didn’t really think about it until my friend Daniel Best
offered me to do it. Daniel is one of the first people i met in
Berlin when i arrived 7 years ago , he’s been in the business forever
and really knows his shit.

We started by making a list of all tracks i got out and we realized
there were more than 250. Some of them i even forgot..

He asked me to select what i still like, i went on discogs and bought
old vinyls etc.. My good friend Lad Agabekov from Geneva who runs
Caduceus Mastering (and does all my mixes) did a an amazing
restoration work and mastered the whole project.

You have done quite a few collaborations with other artists over the
year. You are not normally a team-player how did it come to your work
with Suburban Knight or Kink?

It is always a question of vibes with someone, it is never planned.
With Jit (Pennington), he was in Belgium for some shows and was
staying at my place for a while. He had this request to do a remix
for DJ HEll and asked me to help him out. In 1999 we were in Detroit
and the Technology Team (who used to do parties in an abandoned
theatre) decided to hit Europe with a tour. I was part of the tour
with my friend Gerome Sportelli (as The Sense live) and they asked
Jit to play live as well. As he never did so, he asked me to
play the shows with him (so i was playing twice a night). We added
new music to the shows and we ended up recording them as new SK
material . We toured a lot together, Mike Banks even “approved” me..

As far As Marcus Vector, we were running Toys For Boys together, we
were always together so it was a normal process.

The project with KiNK started when Strahil had a day off in Berlin and
called me, we went to the studio, started messing with gear and did
the track My Space a bit by accident. We are both like kids with toys
and we really enjoyed playing together, and it worked well and fast,
so we decided we would do it again.

Are there any tracks that inspired you of the years? Please name a few
and say why.

I have a lot of influences, i can say Carl Craig always did and will
always do. I love Detroit Techno, one of my all times favorites is
Neptune by Model 500. The synth intro is so dreamy and spacial, the
beat comes super late. I also love Dark Comedy album on Elypsia, the
arrangements are so clever .

Whats does the future hold for you? Are you working on an Album?

I will have now a release with Holic Trax : a great label ran by my
friend Tomoki Tamura. The next project involves KiNK : Watergate
offered us to play live together in the club and record it as a ” Live
At Watergate ” So we will program , perform and record in the club.