This week we are excited to have the legend Sam Young better known as Vanilla Ace with us for the weekly mix. We are big fans of his here at LAMP. I personally have been collecting his music for a very long time. The list of accomplishments is long, and his collection of individual works and collaborations with other artists is vast. He has been DJing now for over 20 years and for some of the coolest parties on the planet. His work ethic and output are like very few other artists I have ever come across. His mix is a fun filled ride of House and Tech House sprinkled in with his own tracks including a brand new one not scheduled to be out until next year. As per usual we got a chance to ask Sam a few questions and you will definitely want to give that a read down below. The complete track list can be found at the bottom as well. Enjoy and hope the start of your Holidays have been festive.
He has 4 more stops on his US tour if you want to catch him. Nov 29th in Sacramento, Nov 30th in Albuquerque, Dec 5th in Austin Tx, and Dec 6th in Denver
PZB: Hello Sam and thank you for putting together this weeks mix for us. I personally am really excited to share this with our audience. For our listeners that are discovering you for the first time what should they expect from your mix?
Vanilla Ace: They can expect to hear a lot of forthcoming music from myself and artists I’ve signed to my label WyldCard. It’s a mixture of House & Tech House for the clubs, stuff I’ll be testing during my US tour.
PZB: Let’s get started with what’s new coming out for you? Looking at the playlist I see a handful of tunes from you in the form of a few collabs with the likes of Ordonez, RDJ & Mr Fitz, as well as Ayarez. What can you tell us about those releases and Do you have any other solo works we should be on the lookout for?
Vanilla Ace: ’The Bomb’ with Ordonez will be out early 2020 on Glasgow Underground, can’t wait for that to be out. The track with newcomers RDJ and Mr Fitz is out Nov 29th, the hot Mescal Kids remix is out Dec 6th on my label WyldCard. Ayarez is a talented producer from Miami, the ‘Fattoush’ EP is out now on my label via Beatport.
PZB: What came first DJing or Producing? Tell us about your background in music. When did you start writing/ producing music? Who are some of your major inspirations or mentors in the music community and what ultimately led you to the world of house music?
Vanilla Ace: I’ve been DJing for over 20 years now, time flies! I got crap belt drive turntables with my older brother when I was 14 years old as all the music we loved was only available on vinyl during those days, but I didn’t want to DJ till my later teenage years and realized I could give it a good go. One of my best friends used to DJ the clubs with me, he was a natural and taught me how to mix. Gradually I was doing more and more clubs in London, to a point I was DJing 6-7 nights a week and then started doing lots of private events as well which led me to playing George Clooney’s wedding in 2014, Idris Elba’s wedding this year, Elton John’s 60th birthday bash, things like that. I first started making Hip Hop & R&B beats in the mid 2000’s, nothing really came of them, I wanted to be Kanye and Just Blaze for awhile lol, I did a few white label ‘Sam Young’ releases on a early imprint of mine called Nod Factor. After that I did mess around trying to be a poor man’s Swedish House Mafia but I didn’t really know what I was doing, the best thing I did from the period was a remix for Mark Knight and a great prog house bootleg I did of Lykke Li. I got into House music in the late 90’s as I realized that all the main set DJs in the clubs I was playing also played House music so I took my love for Armand Van Helden, Daft Punk etc and put it into my sets. Also when I was growing up house music was on the radio and Top of the Pops, I didn’t realise it was ‘house music’ at the time.
Collaborations can take on many forms. You are someone that I recognize as collaborating with other artists quite often. What role do they play in your approach and what are your preferred ways of engaging with other creatives through, for example, file sharing, jamming or just talking about ideas?
Vanilla Ace: Usually one of us comes up with an idea and then we go from there bouncing ideas back and forth. Or if we are in the same city I’ll jump in the studio and work on the tracks. I’m working on two Vanilla ACE tracks with Sllash & Dope at the moment and Kokiri under my Sammy Deuce alias.
PZB: Can you take us through a track or album that’s particularly dear to you, please? Where did the ideas come from, how were they transformed in your mind, what did you start with and how do you refine these beginnings into the finished work of art?
Vanilla Ace: We can talk about ‘Damn Hot’ which is a collab with Jean Bacarezza featuring vocals from Blak Trash as its a original track. Me and Jean were chatting on Skype and were messing around with some beats. He had recently discovered Blak Trash and he emailed them about getting on this demo we had. The vocals he sent back were really cool and fun, sleazy but kind of to the point lol, we then worked the bassline around his vocal phrases and we had ‘Damn Hot’. The track did better than we expected and the recent remix pack on Safe Music is great.
PZB: What is the best guidance you have received regarding your work with music? [and/or] If you think about someone first starting out as a producer/DJ, what guidance would you give them?
Vanilla Ace: The best advice I’ve ever received is to always hold on to your publishing if its a original piece of work, never let a label sign that away from you unless its for a good price. For someone starting out producing I’d say don’t rush it and make sure your stuff stands up to people you admire before sending it to labels etc.
PZB: Let’s say you’re working on a new tune and you’ve got the chance to program some remixes for the EP. If you could have your pick and money, time etc were no object who are some of you favorite producers right now that you’d want to have a go at reworking your tracks?
Vanilla Ace: I like a wide range of music so lets say the track had some vocals I’d ask Dabeull, Soulwax, Daft Punk, Shadow Child…
PZB: Our industry is constantly going through changes, and we as artists are competing for ears with so many others out there. On the flip, listeners are bombarded and overwhelmed with the amount of music out there. How do you try to connect with your audience, and what do you feel helps you stay relevant?
Vanilla Ace: If I’m honest I don’t always feel relevant, its hard to judge if I’m honest. I just try and make music that is true to me, something I like and what I would play, obviously getting signed to big labels helps anyone stay relevant so guess that helps but the social media aspect of being a artists these days can be draining. I think within our industry fans change every 4-5 years as people grow up, someone who’s clubbing from 18 isn’t going to like the same music when they are 23 etc, its forever evolving.
PZB: Outside of music what other passions and creative outputs do you have? What are some that you’d love to add to your mental vocabulary?
Vanilla Ace: When I’m not handling Vanilla ACE, Sammy Deuce & WyldCard records business my day job is DJing a lot under my real name and that does take up a lot of my time. Staying up to date with music and listening to promos can take up whole days. But apart from music I love film, art, cycling around London, cooking and my favourite sport Football.
PZB: Is there anything else coming up in your world that we should know or you want to tell us about that we should be keeping an eye/ ear out for?
Vanilla Ace: I embark on my US tour Nov 27th – Dec 6th alongside Worthy, DJ Scotty Boy and LA Riots, looking forward to being back in the USA.
Thank you so much for your time and the incredible mix you put together. Please keep us posted on future releases and we would love to see you in Los Angeles soon.
1. Vanilla ACE, Ordonez – The Bomb
2. Ausem FF – Wanted Thing
3. Vanilla ACE, RDJ, Mr Fitz – Nightcap (Mescal Kids Remix)
4. Get Real – Jolean
5. Vanilla ACE, Jean Bacarezza – Damn Hot (Sllash & Dope Remix)
6. Sebastain Park, So Vogue – Vibrate (Doc Brown Remix)
7. Space Jump Salute – Champagne
8. Kuestenklatsch – Garage Tape (Mindek Remix)
9. Vanilla ACE & Ayarez – Fattoush
10. Dean Chapple & James Daniels – Sleepless Nights
11. Needs No Sleep & SWOOP – Big Tings
12. Ammo Avenue – Hard 2C
13. Bajau – Mandos