This weekend I was lucky enough to grab an interview with Fool’s Gold’s Sammy Bananas. Unless you’ve been on Mars for over the last year, you have heard his epic bootleg of N.E.R.D’s “Everybody Nose” which has been played in clubs, festivals, and my car since its release in early 2008. Sammy has also released multiple remixes over the past year that have been given high praise by the likes of Fool’s Gold kingpin A-Trak, BBC Radio 1’s Annie Mac, and DJAM. His funky, feel-good tracks are at the top of the game, and he will be gracing Los Angeles with his presence this Friday at the Avalon in Hollywood alongside Dubsided’s Switch. Without further adieu, let me introduce you to Mr. Sammy Bananas.
GDD: Thanks for taking the time to answer a few questions with us Sammy I know you are all over the place this week. Sticking to GDD tradition, what’s your usual drink order? I’ll send one your way at the Avalon on Friday…
SB: It’s funny, I actually don’t have a usual drink. Surprise me! (but make sure it has tequila in it.)
GDD: So Sammy, you’ve been a busy man in the last couple of years; simultaneously releasing killer remixes while touring all over the globe. How do you manage your time to produce while being on the road?
SB: I’m really lucky to make enough from music to not need to hold down another job, so I actually have more time for the studio than most. I just try to be disciplined about getting up early and working on a regular schedule when I’m home. On the road, I actually really like working on planes.
GDD: Are we going to see that Sammy Bananas blue stamp on any new tracks any time soon?
SB: I have a new remix that I did for Bag Raiders that’s dropping soon, and without giving away all my secrets I just turned in a remix that I’m super amped about for an artist who’s name begins with Kid.
GDD: What is it like working with A-Trak and the guys from Fool’s Gold? You guys all definitely put on some great parties together.
SB: The best thing about Fool’s Gold, aside from the music, is that it really is like a family. Both A-trak and Nick are completely passionate about their artists, and its really great to see us all growing along with the label. When we all get together for a showcase at CMJ, or WMC it’s bonkers since we don’t get to all be together that much and we’re all friends. Some of those shows have been my favorites.
GDD: Being from Brooklyn and the East coast electronic music scene, do you see any differences when you come over and play here in Los Angeles?
SB: Generally it feels like LA prefers the harder side of dance music, but I really think the main difference is in mindset. I think that people in southern california are more open to a summery, laid back lifestyle and I think that really translates into making the parties in LA more energetic. Sometimes on the east coast things can feel a big frigid and I’ve yet to encounter that in LA.
GDD: Is New York still your favorite place to throw a party or have you found a new favorite spot on the road?
SB: I think people don’t really talk about how hard it is to do parties in New York. People from the birthplace of the DJ are spoiled, and there’s always so much going on that it’s hard to make a night really pop. When you smash it in NYC though, that’s the best feeling there is. Otherwise I’ve had excellent times in both Madison, WI and Portland, Oregon this year. There’s something about DJing in smaller cities that is really special, people get so excited.
GDD: How did your early music influences make you the DJ and producer you are today? I’m guessing you were open to multiple genres growing up?
SB: Yes, I grew up listening to all kinds of music, and still do. My parents were big fans of bands like Talking Heads and Paul Simon, and I started playing the saxophone when I was 10 so Jazz had a big effect on me early on too. In the early 90s I fell in love with R&B, all the New Jack stuff, Boyz 2 Men, TLC and of course MJ and Prince. I came up DJing through Hip-Hop and it was only fairly recently that I got so into dance music. I really think my sound is heavily rooted in Hip-Hop and R&B.
GDD: I really have to commend your moustache. How long have you rocked that thing? Does it give you special powers?
SB: The mustache has been going strong for over a year now! It’s funny, because I started it just to see what would happen, but it turned out looking kind of awesome! The main comment I get is how my face is the right shape for a mustache, which I agree with. I have yet to discover the special power, but I’m sure it gives me one.
GDD: You’re headed back to Europe at the end of this summer. What are you most excited about being out there?
SB: Europe is great, I had a such an amazing time over there last fall. I’d have to say I’m most excited about playing in Berlin. I’ve heard great things and of course it’s an Electronic Music Mecca.
GDD: So tell us a little about Telephoned. How did you and Maggie get the idea to come together and collaborate on this?
SB: It all started one night when we were joking about doing a House cover of the T-Pain’s “Can’t Believe It.” We kept coming up with ideas, but they were all actually good! At some point we decided to stop joking around and actually make the song and it turned out great. Maggie has a really unique voice and is great to work with, so that has helped the collaboration flourish.
GDD: Will we see Telephoned touring around before the end of the year?
SB: We are just getting started on doing a live show and hopefully will have it ready by the fall. Around the same time we’ll be dropping an EP with two brand new covers plus the 3 that are already floating around. Also on the horizon are Telephoned originals!
GDD: Lastly, does Sammy Bananas like to Dance Dirty? What do you say to all the kiddies that will be jammin’ on the dancefloor on Friday night?
SB: I love to Dance Dirty but I can’t stand Dirty Dancing. I want everyone to be forewarned that I like to talk on the mic and tell the crowd to do things. Imagine Fatman Scoop as a 130 pound nerd and you’ll get the idea. Looking forward to it!
GDD: Thanks again for your time Sammy we really appreciate it. Can’t wait for Friday!
Here are a couple of superb remixes by the man himself:
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