SAM DIVINE – STRAIGHT DOWN THE MIDDLE

Sam Divine is a DJ that knows exactly what to play and when to play it. The hours she spent rifling through vinyl in the warehouse of Chemical Records, where Sam once worked as a house buyer, gives her an insurmountable understanding of the genre. Having played nearly every club in Ibiza – including residencies at Ushuaia, Amnesia and Sankeys – and landed at top-end festivals, there are few who can offer a house music education like Sam Divine. Last year, she racked up over a hundred gigs and is well on track to exceed that in 2017, having already hit up the likes of Europe, North America and Asia. And her reputation for energising a dancefloor has been acknowledged by her inclusion in Pete Tong’s Selector Series for Radio 1.

Defected describe you as a “GUARANTEED FLOOR-FILLER AND PARTY STARTER”. Do you like that description?

I do like that, I think that’s pretty true. It’s nice to be the resident at Booom, It’s nice to dig deep and play those records you wouldn’t normally in your peak time set, I get to set the tone for the evening, yeah I like playing warm up.

What do i get when i come to see Sam Divine?

For me it’s a feeling and a vibe. Back in the day you could take people on a journey but it’s not that so much now as you’ve only got 2 hours to do it. I try and cram all the best records I’ve got into the set. I’m happy to say I’m a party DJ. I’m not underground, not commercial, straight down the middle. A lot of my stuff is very vocal, people can sing along to it, it get’s the girls dancing. I’m really happy when I’m playing. What’s not to be happy about when you are playing records you love?

You’ve long been associated with Defected, who won Best Label at DJ Mag’s Best of British Awards. How did your history with them start? What does being their resident DJ entail?

I bought my first record on Defected in 2003, I went to my first Defected night in Ibiza in 2005 and I was signed to them in 2009, so it’s been a long serving relationship I’ve had with them, even before I was signed. Simon Dunmore, the
owner of Defected, has been an amazing mentor. He’s guided me through every level of my career and he’s given me some incredible opportunities as a resident DJ; closing Amnesia terrace, closing We Are FSTVL, playing peak slots at tons of major festivals and headlining shows in Europe, but also letting me play warm up slots, which I still love to do but never get the chance to anymore at clubs like Pacha, Ushuaia and Air in Amsterdam, all my favourite places to do warm up. As a resident DJ you are expected to be put into any situation and bring you’re A Game every time. Simon trusts me to fully fly the flag for Defected all around the world and that’s a great feeling which makes me want to do my best every time.

Tell us a little about Defected. Simon must be one of the industry’s more hands on bosses.

It’s a dream come true. My first house record was a defected vinyl, Barbara Tucker, Precious Love. I fell in love with it and that took me into Defected as a label. I did 5 seasons in San An in Hush and every Tuesday was my night off, luckily the same night Defected were playing Pacha. I was introduced to Simon who flew me back to London to play Ministry of Sound and the following Monday I was signed to the artist roster as their first female DJ.
Simon is one of the hardest working people I know. He is my mentor. He has given me the confidence to play for myself, be myself. The only two people I take advice from are my Dad and my Boss.

You played Mambo for several years warming up for Frankie Knuckles amongst others.

That was really special. Frankie asked my agent in London if I could do the warm ups for him. That is something I will take to my grave. Frankie always said to play with your heart on your sleeve, to play the music you love and not worry about anybody else. I get that you have to play to the crowd, but when you play with so much love and passion you cant go wrong. Frankie was such a wise guy. We had a really cool relationship. No1 house legend!

Are there any djs you want to play with but haven’t yet?

Kerri Chandler. We’re really good friends. I’ve played with so many I’ve admired but I’d love to play with Kerri.

https://soundcloud.com/djsamdivine/sam-divine-openers-mix-live-from-xoyo-17112018

You talk a lot about warm ups.

Don’t get me wrong I love the headline peak slots I’m playing every week, but Ibiza has been more about warm ups and I love it. It gives me the chance to play the deep soulful house I love, it’s not about smashing it out, it’s about setting the tone for the DJs to come on later and do their thing.

Where did the idea for La Vita come from?

My Nan had breast cancer. I wanted to do something that was totally about giving something back. We have an annual party and we’ve raised over £30,000. I’m an ambassador for the breast cancer research charity now too.

What’s coming up?

It’s just busy, busy, busy. I’m pretty well booked up right through the year!

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