Throwback Interview: DJ Sam Divine


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Neon Nettle Chats To Resident Defected In The House DJ Sam Divine

Ibiza’s Defected In The House parties tend to get messy, as a favourite for house heads in the popular club holiday destination. The events attract a multitude of clued-up house fans and celebrities including; Justin Bieber, Kanye West, Orlando Bloom, Leonardo DiCaprio, Diddy and Kate Moss.

Sam Divine was the first-ever female DJ signed to Defected thanks to her dedication to the brand, extensive knowledge of house music from her years working in record shops and memorable persona. She is now starting to branch into production and would rather be considered an artist than just a female DJ.

Fresh from the Defected In The House closing party in Ibiza, blonde bombshell Sam Divine sits down with Neon Nettle to talk about breaking the glass ceiling as a female DJ, her charity event La Vita and her thoughts on talent shows like X Factor.

NN: First of all congratulations for such an epic season of Defected In The House! Last month you performed at the closing party in Ibiza, how did it feel performing for such a clued-up audience? Did their knowledge of house music add pressure?

SD: Thank you very much. It’s been a great season. We’ve had some amazing roadblock parties throughout the summer. Defected parties, especially the closing and openings, are pure party vibes so it’s not about getting clever, it’s about making people dance from the moment they walk through the door. It’s safe to say that’s exactly how it went down.

NN: What is it about house music that you enjoy so much? Would you ever experiment with other genres?

SD: House music touched me from the moment I [first] heard it. No other genre gives me that feeling. I love old skool Garage to 90’s jams and even 80’s music, but my love lies with house music. 

NN: You were also the first female DJ to be signed to Defected Artist Management, what did that news feel like? Can you see more female DJs being signed in the near future?

SD: It was a dream come true. I have supported Defected from the early days, so when I was signed it was a great feeling of accomplishment. Simon Dunmore is a very good business man, I’m sure if an opportunity raised for him to sign another female DJ he would.

NN: You are known within the industry for your animated personality and passion for house music. How else can upcoming female DJs get noticed and what advice would you give them on breaking the glass ceiling?

SD: Have passion and believe in what you do. Set yourself a goal and stick to it. The music industry is a man’s world, so you have to be as good as them or in some cases better. The female artists that have broken through in the last few years can 100% hold their own. I look at Maya Jane Coles as inspiration. Maya set the standard for all female artists to follow. I can’t think of many artists male or female that have her work ethic. She’s definitely a grafter who does her own thing, which has made her stand out. I think that’s the key to success. Be yourself and don’t stop until you get where you want to be.

NN: You had your big break in the industry by winning a DJ competition. Do you think having a platform like X Factor for DJs would be beneficial to the industry?

SD: I won the competition nearly 10 years ago; it’s been a long road to get to where I am now. Every decision I have made has brought me to the path I am on now. You can’t teach people to play records, for me it’s [having] experience [in] what makes a good DJ. From track selecting [and] knowing the history behind house music to researching classics, mixes, watching other DJ’s; how you deliver a record, reading [the] crowd, knowing when to drop a certain record to change direction and knowing when to pull it back if it doesn’t work. Not many artists on X Factor go on to do big things afterwards for whatever reason, so I don’t think it would benefit the music industry.

NN: What was the most useful lesson about music that working in record shops taught you?

SD: I learnt everything from working in record shops. I gained knowledge of house music from artists and labels to engineers and even how records are pressed. I was like a sponge, I wanted to know everything. It was a pleasure to go in every day; I never saw it as a job. It was some of the best years of my life working in record shops. To be around that much vinyl every day and around like-minded people, who loved house music just as much as you, was really special.

NN: With loads of international performances under your belt, which country would you say has the best energy and is your favourite to perform in?

SD: I always say it, but Ibiza has a very special place in my heart. All DJ’s play the very best music they have in Ibiza, everyone goes in. The crowds are there for one reason and one reason only, to party. There’s so many nights happening on the same night, so you know that the people are at the Defected nights because they want to be there. That makes a huge difference.

NN: What inspired you to begin your annual charity night La Vita six years ago? As an ambassador for breast cancer research, do you feel as though enough is being done to raise money and awareness?

SD: My nan sadly passed away with breast cancer, so I wanted to do something in her memory. The more I got into it, the more I learnt that it truly does affect most people somehow; whether it’s someone close to you or someone you know. It’s a horrible disease that ruins people’s lives, so I wanted to raise awareness, but at the same time donate all the money raised from our parties to help families get their lives back on track as much as possible. To date we have raised over £30,000 for breakthrough breast cancer and are about to celebrate our 7th birthday. I’m very proud of that.

NN: Are there any other causes you can see yourself getting involved in with your work as a DJ?

SD: I’d love to work with under privileged kids and show them that they can achieve anything. Music is so powerful. I’m a very passionate person, so I would love to pass on my knowledge to a younger generation.

NN: Finally, as a female DJ, do you ever get asked any annoying questions when you’re performing from people that don’t take your work seriously? How do you normally respond?

SD: I’m really lucky that I don’t get any negative feedback. I’ve always seen myself as an artist rather than a female DJ, so I think I have gained respect from people because I have that attitude. I don’t think I’m anything special, I just love playing house music to people that love to dance to it. How can anyone say [anything] negative to that?

Like this interview? Check out my interviews with similar artists like Joey Negro, Zoot Woman and Anna Lunoe.


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