S.A.M: explaining the inexplicable through music

    In occasion of the 33rd chapter of Trommel podcast series, we deliver a mix from Samuel Andrè Madsen, also known as S.A.M. or 1/3 of Mandar trio. We could not resist to ask him some questions on his career so far, future plans, studio time and a lot more, starting from the very beginning!

    Hi Samuel and thanks for being part of our series! Let’s go in order and start from the beginning: how and when you find yourself working into music as a DJ and producer? What were you doing before?

    Ok, here we go! I was actually working a lot in a church as a drummer, church keeper, and incense deacon for an ecumenical Eucharistic service. I studied Theology at the University of Copenhagen at the time. All the metaphysical topics interested me a lot – the topics dealing with the rather mystical aspects of theology, so for example how to address the concept of eternity using language or religious art. This topic of explaining the inexplicable or bridging the gap between the transcendent and the immanent was so interesting to me, and at some point, I realized that music has that power. The bridge usually happens in form of an experience or epiphany that’s impossible to put into words by the person experiencing it, and a very similar thing happens with musical experiences.

    We know yourself with the artist name of S.A.M., formed by the initials of your full name, as well as one of Mandar’s member together with Lazare Hoche and Malin Genie. How did the trio was originally formed, how has the project evolved and where is going now?

    We met in Paris to hang out and became friends right away and started making music from day one. We finished two tracks the first day the three of us were together. We constantly inspire each other and I think we evolve together. We are almost never satisfied, and never dwell on a certain vibe or track but always try to evolve into a new musical territory. There are of course markers that remain pretty stable, like classic records we love or sounds we love like the warm sound of a Fender Rhodes or the sound of an 808 kick drum. We are currently DJ’ing a lot and absolutely love it! We had such a great experience playing in Paris for the Vryche party the night before France won the World Cup. The energy was something else that night!

    We know yourself as a pretty active and experienced producer, with several important releases: Elephant Moon, Fathers and Sons Productions apart from your own imprints. We also saw recently on your Instagram stories a quick and interesting tutorial on the main components involved when building a track. Where do you find the inspiration when producing and what do you want to achieve from a track/EP?

    The main thing that inspires me is silence. Simple as that. When I take a break from music and conversations and embrace solitude for a while I feel a huge boost of energy and ideas I want to try out. I don’t have one goal with my music. Each EP is different, some I put my heart and soul into, and so it will have a deeper energy like my debut album, while other records I put out because I find the music fun and uplifting and some others because they will be functional for DJ use. Versatility is important to me.

    One of the comment we found on Discogs is “Monstrous producer. Buy on sight”, and we could not agree more.  – How much time do you dedicate to producing and how you balance it with the life on the road?

    I produce nearly every day. It’s my job as well as my passion. To live from it I can’t just lay back, but have to push myself further always. Even when I take a few days off from the studio, I think music and get ideas. Life on the road is a privilege. Of course, it can be tough with all the flights and lack of sleep. It can also be tough as you lose a bit your home base. But it’s all circumstantial to your being and just challenges your ability to adapt and do what’s needed to adapt. I hardly ever get drunk. I don’t do drugs, and I try to stay healthy with good food and exercises. Monday is always dedicated primarily to sleep and self-pampering.

    What is your studio like, and how long time did it take to build it and perfect it?

    Hahaha, I think everyone passionate about production will never be satisfied with their studio. They will always have some kind of idea how to make it better. In my case, I like to limit myself and get rid of stuff more than buying stuff. Limitations demand something from my own self – it somehow boosts my creativity. I have a bunch of great gear that I haven’t even plugged in almost two years.

    Oscillat Music, Mandar’s main platform, plus Delaphine and DAHLIA, your two current creatures. What are the differences between these projects and how do you see them evolving?

    Oscillat Music is about playable but often edgy tracks that we all three like. Delaphine is my own thing for my own thing – with that I like to surprise and take risks. Dahlia is my other label where I can finally release some demo material from friends and people sending me demos.

    More than one year ago, your first album, “Dream State Of A Bellmaker”. Often for a producer, the debut album is the sign of maturity reached, and probably a career turning point. What does this album mean to you?

    Well, this album is indeed representing a very important time in my life. I think I’ll just leave it at that and let the music do the talking.

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    One of your latest effort, String Theory, had a great impact on the scene after being road-tested for a long time. It is a very versatile EP, and the marketing choice for the sleeve is very nice. On our side, we are totally on the flip side of the record, Poisoned Words, but we have to admit that String Theory played on a proper sound system creates an amazing atmosphere. What else can we expect from Mandar in the coming months?

    We have folder after folder of material, but as I said earlier we are hardly ever satisfied and we always move forward creatively. At the moment we are working on a follow-up record to String Theory, but even bigger things are happening as well. Some important remixes are going to drop soon as well, so stay tuned.

    Being often on tour, you have the chance to see several different countries, cities and venues. Can you name a few for each category that had an impact on you? 

    Rome because of the history, food and the charismatic language. Lisbon because of the beautiful streets, tiles and chilled attitude as well as the food. London because of the many record stores and extremely vivid scene, not just in electronic music but also in Jazz. Lyon because it’s a beautiful city with a relaxed atmosphere and cool people.

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    Records collection: how and when started, how many do you have and which is the one which is always with you? 

    I try to keep my shelves neat and minimal and store away the stuff that has aged badly. I don’t like to just keep records for the sake of it looking like more. The first vinyl I got was a gift from my sister who gave me the Kraftwerk record titled ‘Ralph & Florian’.

    Apart from music, do you have other passions to cultivate?

    Food and art.


    Trommel.033 – S.A.M.

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