DJ, A&R, wax addict and Defected golden girl, Sam Divine is one of the UK’s most successful exports. She’s back on the White Isle for her eleventh season this year — DJ Mag Ibiza meets her to find out what keeps her coming back...
Sam Divine is no stranger to the White Isle. She’s been coming to the clubbing Mecca since her early twenties, first putting down roots in San An’s boozy, late-night bars before working her way up to become the toast of Defected’s Ibiza club-nights. She’s just mixed the latest ‘In The House’ compilation for the legendary UK label and party brand, something she’s describing as a mix of “new tracks from D-Vine Sounds, some absolute classics, old skool favourites plus some newer records” — basically, it’s Sam’s sound in a nutshell.
Ahead of her debut set at Space for Defected’s In The House event alongside BBC Radio 1, DJ Mag Ibiza meets Sam Divine to talk her new label, famous DJ pals and her ongoing partnership with Defected...
How did your story with Defected start?
“It started in 2009. I was running a record shop in Notting Hill and the A&R guy for Defected at the time used to come in and buy vinyl from me. He introduced me to Simon (Dunmore) and the next year in Ibiza they put me on the Defected Street Team — basically, I was listening to what was being played in the clubs, what DJs were supporting Defected. I think they just made up the role for me [laughs]. The following year, Simon told me they were going to give me a try at Ministry Of Sound on the warm-up slot — I played it and on the Monday I was signed to the roster.“
That gig must have been nerve-racking?
“It was, but I had about 50 of my friends there supporting me! I think what sold it was I was playing Kings Of Tomorrow ‘Finally’ and I got up on the decks and I was singing it. I looked to the left and Simon was there and he was shaking his head and smiling [laughs]. The year after I came back to Ibiza again as the events manager for Defected — looking after the DJs, making sure the production was right, just general co-ordination stuff. And now seven years later, I’m still with them!”
How important has Defected been for you professionally?
“Very! Simon’s like my dad [laughs]. He’s like my mentor and my dad. He’s guided me through the last seven years and given me some amazing opportunities — that’s how I’ve got here. There’s always been a game plan with him. It’s not slowing down at all, it’s only been seven years, which isn’t that much time for a long- standing DJ, but it’s still growing — it’s amazing!”
And Ibiza, how important has the island itself been?
“Yup, this is season number 11 for me! I started at the bottom of the West End in San Antonio — I did four full seasons there playing in a bar called Hush. The first year I only ever played for drinks [laughs] and came out here with only enough money to cover rent and eat. Those days are gone now — I’m flying backwards and forwards from London each week.”
Talk to us about the ethos behind your label, D-Vine Sounds...
“We want to give a platform for artists that don’t necessarily have loads of followers on Soundcloud, or loads of fans on their Facebook pages, but are amazing artists. I guess it’s kind of like how Simon sort of plucked me out of the crowd — I was the one on the dancefloor singing all the words, I knew all the tunes, he recognised that passion. I feel like I want to do that for other artists. To give other people the opportunity that I had, and I’m not sure if some of these producers — as talented as they are — would be picked up by the bigger labels. I think a lot of people have really been ‘keeping it in the family’, so to speak — it’s hard to break into a crew.”
And perhaps because dance music is a lot more saturated these days — it’s harder to get noticed?
“Massively! These guys are house producers and there’s a lot of those out there already. But I’m lucky that I’m a known name in the industry and that if I can shout about an artist — I can say ‘Hey, this guy is great!’ — that’s a strong platform there. We’ve proved it with Jess (Bays) and a few other artists from D-Vine Sounds. We’re trying to make it really organic, we’ve literally only just had our first release with a big name DJ. We did that on purpose, we wanted it to be totally organic for the first year.”
It probably would have been easy for you to call on all your famous DJ pals to release on the label...
"Yeah, I’m very stuck in my ways like that — I don’t want to give anyone any ammunition for anybody to say anything negative about me. I’m very aware of the whole female DJ thing, I think you get slated a lot quicker than what a guy would. I’ve been very conscious of doing things the right way, step by step. I want to be able to look back in ten years and be really proud of the journey — we’ve got really big plans for the label. We’ve also started a new label called Soul D-Vine, which has a focus on soulful house. It feels really right to do a soulful label at the moment, we’re just rolling with it, it’s a bit of a slow burner. We just want to sign records that we absolutely adore.”
And you’re playing Space this season with Defected — how do you feel about its closure?
“I’m sad, of course. But for better or worse, things always change. I went to the club at the beginning of the season and absolutely fell in love with it all over again, there’s no other club in the world like Space. I’m playing there on the Space Terrace for the Defected In The House event with Radio 1 Dance on 5th August — it’s the first time I’ve ever played there. To play there in the last year is going to be really special. I can’t wait.”
London outfit went under alias, Major Tom...
London collective Rudimental have been revealed as the mysterious producers behind Ibiza smash hit 'Healing'.
Previously released as a white label before appearing under the alias Major Tom, 'Healing' was finally exposed as a Rudimental track by Annie Mac on her BBC Radio 1 show.
The track, which features vocals by Roc Nation-affliate J Angel, is available now via Rudimental's new label, Major Tom's, and Big Beat.
8/29/2016 by Joe Lynch
When it came to performances, what the 2016 MTV Video Music Awards lacked in quantity they more than made up for in quality. In fact, it's hard to remember a VMAs where so many of the performances were so damn good. That's why when ranking this year's worst and best, the worst is really more like "the least good."With that in mind, this is our take on the 2016 VMAs performances, from least memorable to most astonishing.
Future nabbed history's most decorated Olympian for his VMAs introduction, and for good reason -- his "Stick Talk" helped hype Michael Phelps to victory at the Olympics in Rio. As for Future's performance, while it was a solid delivery of the instant classic "Fuck Up Some Commas," his low energy stage presence and minimal choreography place it at the bottom of our list. We're not saying we didn't like it, but when every other 2016 VMAs performance was an A or A-, this B+ performance was out least favorite.
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The Chainsmokers & Halsey
While "Closer" is a killer combination of two rising talents, it didn't sound quite right at the VMAs. The Chainsmokers' vocal portion of the song was a little weak, and the level of showmanship could have used a little bit of a visual boost -- especially considering the staggering level of artistry Beyonce brought just before they took the stage.
Britney Spears & G-Eazy
Yes, Britney was lip-syncing, but her VMAs performance of "Make Me" was as beguiling as the song itself. It opened with Britney's silhouette performing behind a glowing panel while massive, shadowy arms reach for her, trying to grab her without ever quite succeeding. After G-Eazy came out to deliver his verse, she returned the favor by singing the Bebe Rexha hook on his hit "Me, Myself & I" (while crawling under his legs) before returning back to "Make Me." A solid VMAs return for Britney, whose 2001 VMAs moment is arguably the show's most iconic performance of all time.
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Ariana Grande & Nicki Minaj
Two years after taking the stage together for "Bang Bang" at the 2014 VMAs, Ariana Grande and Nicki Minaj were back together for another VMAs victory this year. Turning out their reggae-tinged "Side to Side" from Grande's Dangerous Womanalbum, they augmented the laid-back jam with some highly energy choreography. Ariana and her dancers pumped the exercise bikes (OK Go would be proud) at the start of the song, after which Ari hopped off to lift some weights and hit the pommel horse in a nod to the recent Olympics. Even with her back stretched over the horse, she still hit every note. Minaj didn't do any cardio or gymnastics during her portion of the song, but she certainly brought the attitude as per usual.
Nick Jonas & Ty Dolla $ign
Even vegetarians had to be digging Nick Jonas' "Bacon" during the VMAs. The smooth crooner took the VMAs' cameras outside of Madison Square Garden and through a tour of midtown NYC diner Tick Tock. Jonas served his "Bacon" to a restaurant full of patrons, including Joe Jonas and DNCE. Outside the diner on 34th & 8th, Ty rapped his verse while lowriders bounced to infinity and beyond. Jonas gets bonus points for the inventiveness of his performance.
VMAs 2016: Best Memes
Rihanna was given the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award at the VMAs by Drake. But instead of delivering one lengthy performance of career highlights, Rih split her VMAs performance into four parts, each one focusing on the different sonic palettes in her discography. She was joined by a massive troupe of dancers for her dancehall-centric segment ("Work," "Rude Boy" and "What's My Name"), but the absolute stunner was the final performance, where she donned an elegant old school Hollywood gown to slay "Stay," "Diamonds" and "Love on the Brain." Her vocals, which are sometimes under-appreciated by critics and even fans, were gorgeous and impressive, reminding everyone that beyond the chart-toppers and DGAF behavior, there's an astonishing voice that propelled her to where she is now.
Given that we didn't even know Beyonce was performing until this weekend, we weren't expecting a full 15-minute visual statement from the Lemonademastermind. But Bey gave us nearly half the visual album, augmenting her songs with visuals different from her 2016 tour. "Pray You Catch Me" was especially affecting. While singing the harrowing, mournful song, her backup dancers dropped to the ground after getting hit with red spotlights, as if being gunned down one by one. "Hold Up" -- featuring a brief breakdown of the 4 track "Countdown" -- was another visually stunning moment, with Beyonce turning a baseball bat on the VMAs camera itself.
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The cinematography of Beyonce's performance was unlike anything you see at an awards show, too. Instead of sharp realism, the camera's focus was soft, gauzy and otherwordly, bringing to mind televised disco performances from the '70s or even the original Battlestar Galactica. After "Sorry" and "Don't Hurt Yourself," she closed with -- what else -- "Formation." While VMA medleys have run longer in the past, they never felt this fully realized. Simply put, Beyonce brought capital 'A' Art to the 2016 VMAs.
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