Luka Sambe: House music has changed and educated me

Our latest artist interview features Australian producer Luka Sambe who has a new single out this week on Agara Music.


1. How old are you, where are you living and how long have you been producing and/or Djing?

I am 29. I turn 30 next Friday on the 24th of April and I live in Sydney, Australia. When i was 14 my parents bought me a Sony Playstation game called Music 2000, I received it for a christmas present, from that moment I was hooked, started to DJ house parties and learn the basics of music production. I bought Ableton in 2009, and that is when i started to seriously make music.

2. Where do your musical roots lie, what are your first memories of electronic music and when did you know you wanted to pursue it seriously? Are there any particular productions or artists from the past that really made you think to yourself ‘this is what I want to do.”

There is no musical connection in my family, but i grew up with R&B and hip hop, my first memory of house music was when my friend showed me this track by ‘Who’s Who’ called ‘Not So Dirty’. I remember being addicted to this raw energy that I had never discovered before, I became obsessed with finding out more about house music, I dug deeper into the underground and the adrenalin and spectrum of emotions that I felt, I knew I would never be the same person. House music has changed and educated me.

3. Progressive Music is and always has been quite strong in Australia, how often do you get a chance to play there? and did the sounds of the scene from 10-15 years ago like Vapour Records and Zero Tolerance influence your path at all?

These days, unfortunately, I don’t get to DJ much, but I am definitely working on that, as I feel like I have a lot to say through my sets, so I will be DJing more in the very near future. Vapour and Zero Tolerance did not influence my path back then, but I constantly go back and listen to their releases which inspire and motivate me.

4. I think I first listened to your music through Traum, your ‘Locus’ production was included on the labels ‘Tour De Traum IX’ compilation released late last year, tell us a bit about it, it’s one of your more techno inspired productions yes? and is that one of the tracks you’re most proud of?

I made 95% of Locus in one weekend. The lead melody I created with two similar layered synths but at the time it sounded very full, so I deconstructed it and added notes as the track progressed to give it this feeling like it was constantly building.

It is one of my more techno sounding tracks, I’m very proud of it, last month I saw Guy J play in Sydney and just over and hour into the set, Guy played Locus, I struggled up to the DJ booth and pointed at him and then at me, he smiled and invited me on stage, I gave him a hug and he told me how much he loves Locus. That is something I will never forget, a very special moment.

5. You have a new single out this week on Agara Music entitled ‘Nini’; it’s a very strong, melodic composition, tell us a bit about it, the inspiration behind and also the name, does it have a special significance for you?

Nini is inspired by the peaks and troughs of life. I wanted it to be a long, dreamy track that invited the listener through many landscapes. The title means ‘sleep’ in the language of Hindi but in Spanish it means a young rebel only interested in partying. So its a contradiction, a track that can hold its weight in a club, but still not sound out of place in a cafe.

6. The remixer on the project, Filter Bear, is someone who you’ve collaborated with in the past, how did you meet and begin working together?

I met Filter Bear when I was 18 through a mutual friend, he asked me to dj his 16th birthday party, I said yes and from that day on I think we have talked about music together every day. We are absolutely obsessed with music, I lived just down the street from him and when we both bought Ableton, it changed our lives. Every weekend we would make a track, we learnt so much from each other and still do, without him I definitely wouldn’t be the producer I am today, he is like a brother I never had, every success and disappointment we both go through, we both feel it, we have been in this together from the start and we will both be here until the end, i’m truly grateful to have Filter Bear in my life.

7. Tell us a bit about your studio, where do those gorgeous melodies come from?

I have a Mac desktop, I use Event 2030 monitors, Novation Impulse midi keyboard. The melodies are crafted mostly from the plug in synth Massive. I can spend a whole day creating a new synth with the 3 oscillators to try and make my sound unique. Sometimes I feel like my hands create something before my brain knows what is happening, it happens very fast in the studio, I don’t have a formula or a method as such, it just happens.

8. How difficult was learning to produce for you in the beginning? Did you take any Audio Engineering programs or production courses to help you out or are you pretty much self taught? And did anyone give any advice early on that really helped?

I’m completely self taught, which made it very difficult, and it is still difficult today. I didn’t take any Audio Engineering programs or courses, I don’t have a musical ear, it’s taken years of listening to get my ears to a confident level. The hardest part was trusting myself, I would complete a track and I knew I liked it, but putting it out there to the world, you open your soul up to criticism and the world can be harsh, but I’ve learnt to love the negative feedback you get, because it has definitely made me a better producer. With production, you just have to keep at it, the more I produce, the better my tracks sound. The best advice I was given was to make music that you love.

9. What parts of the production process do you find the most difficult and what comes easiest for you? When you do hit a creative block what helps you through it?

The most difficult part for me is definitely the mix down, I am still learning so much everyday about the science of music, and again just learning to trust my ear I find very challenging. The easiest part is definitely the creative process, nothing excites me more in life than sitting down in front of Ableton and creating a groove out of nothing that just instantly takes you somewhere and sets a scene in your brain. Filter Bear read in an interview somewhere that if you hit a creative block, instead of adding something to try and get it sounding right, take something away, and you will be amazed how much life it breathes into the track.

10. What’s a normal day like for you? Do you have a job outside of electronic music? And what do you like to do when you’re not working on music?

A normal day, I’m an electrician,  I wake up at 4:30am, drive an hour to work, I finish at 2pm, drive 2 hours through traffic to get home. When I’m not working on music I am with family cooking and eating, I love to read books, I love to explore my beautiful country and I go to the odd gig if a touring DJ I like is playing in Sydney.

11. Apart from electronic music what other genres do you listen to and who are your favourite artists outside of electronic? and do these genres or artists have a direct effect on your own productions?

I’m in my car driving to and from work quite a bit, so that is where I listen to the majority of my music. I still love R&B and hip-hop, and I love the cafe del mar cd.’s. I find myself listening to Drake and Frank Ocean lately,. They do influence my sound a little bit, I love the instrumentals Drake raps over and how they really focus on the warm mid frequencies, that made me do the same more often in my productions.

12. What are you currently working on? and what can we expect to see from you over the remainder of 2015?

I’ve currently just completed my remix for Filter Bear and his upcoming Agara Music release, I have an EP coming out on Australian label Temporum Music and I have a single coming out on another Australian label Mesmeric Records.

As well as that I have a single coming out with Filter Bear called ‘Archipelago’ which is inspired by the soul and energy of the Balearics. Some big things happening in the second half of 2015 which I can’t say too much about yet, so 2015 is busy for me, I love to keep very busy.

13. What was the first and last physical (CD, Vinyl, Cassette etc)  piece of music you bought?

The first,  from memory on cassette was ‘Coolio – Gangster’s Paradise’
The last was the Guy J EP ‘Once In A Blue Moon’ on vinyl

14. Tell us something about yourself that might surprise people?

I am actually on a Sony Playstation game, I think it was Championship Manager 2003. I played football (soccer) at quite a high level when I was younger and my friend found me on the game, you can actually purchase me hahahaha.

15. Which producers in your opinion get consistently overlooked?

Andre Lodemann. One of my favourite producers doesn’t so much get overlooked, but many people have not even heard of him, I am amazed by his music all the time, and his DJ sets are simply perfection.

16. Which producers consistently inspire you? And where else does your inspiration come from?

Andre Lodemann, Guy J, Luciano, Gui Boratto, John Digweed, Eric Prydz.
My inspiration comes from emotion and the desire to add to people’s lives through my music. I love how Progressive House surpasses language barriers, I can tell a story to somebody without even meeting them. Getting messages from fans all over the world telling me how much they loved one of my tracks gives me goosebumps, it brings me close to tears, that positive connection is one of the big reasons why I do this.

17. There are countless producers out there trying to find their way and create their own unique sound, what advice do you have for them?

First of all I would say, make a whole bunch of tracks that you have no intention of releasing, this will not only give you lots of practice on your chosen program, but it will help you find yourself as a producer. Nobody knows what their unique sound will be once they start off, it is a journey that never ends, so practice and experiment with different genres. Also, listen to as much music as you can, across all genres, this will inspire you and give you ideas that you can relate back to your chosen style. Lastly, make the music that you love, be true to yourself and have faith in yourself even if nobody else does.

18. If the final DJ/live set of your career was next week what would your last track be?

Gui Boratto – No Turning Back

‘Nini’ is out now on Agara Music, you can purchase the release: here

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