Our newfound friend from across the pond, Sam Young grabbed our attention by offering a refreshing and raw sound comprised of a fine blend of funk, soul, disco and house and tech house. With a purist agenda to keep expanding the boundaries of electronic music and delve deeper he has been able to travel the globe playing big sets at HARD Summer festival in LA, Holy Ship in Miami, Green Valley in Brazil, Ministry of Sound and Egg in London and Chinese Laundry in Sydney under his most notorious moniker, Vanilla ACE.
The prominent UK Producer, Vanilla ACE offers a distinct edge to house music that the world is loving.
Beyond his progressive sets, Vanilla ACE’s mixes for the likes of Data Transmission and Toolroom Radio, his breakout single ‘Bring it Back’ that spent seven weeks in the Beatport Deep House top 10 and collaborations with Destructo & Wax Motif on Night Bass and Sharam Jey & Illusionize on Bunny Tiger further established him within the scene.
As Vanilla ACE heads on a USA tour with Dirtybird’s Worthy, Country Club Disco‘s LA Riots and Armada Deep’s DJ Scotty Boy, we got the exclusive interview to offer a proper introduction.
So there you are, behind the decks with the best sound system known to humankind, what track do you drop?
It would have to be CJ Bolland ‘Sugar is Sweeter’ (Armand Van Helden Remix), the bass line on that track is ridiculous and its one of my favourite house records ever.
If you could do a b2b set with any DJ, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
I’m a massive funk, disco & soul fan so David Mancuso would be top of my list. He wasn’t known for his technical mixing but I can just imagine him pulling out some top notch rarity’s that I would love.
I feel it is part of a DJs responsibility to be at the forefront of electronic music, offering something fresh and exciting for the crowd to dance to. Would you agree? If so, how do you make an effort to stay at the forefront of electronic music?
I agree 1000%. So many producers and DJs play it safe these days by playing or making what is obvious, rehashing over used samples on tracks for cheap thrills. I get sent over 100 promos a week from various labels so I’m always listening to them and digging for new music on Beatport, Traxsource etc. Personally I’m very aware of trends and what people are doing and I think its important to take risks. For example one of my latest tracks ‘187’ with Modefi samples a obscure reggae track and breaks down to the reggae sample in the middle, I haven’t heard anyone do something like that for a long time.
What else is important for you as a DJ and Producer?
DJing and making music is about feeling, so if your into it follow your gut and hopefully others will be to.
You just released a fresh, tech house record ‘OK’ via WyldCard Records with Branzei that has all the ingredients to get the dancefloor going (even a hint of future bass layered in), what do you like about this track?
I love the energy of this track and it’s a bit different to everything else out there at the moment.
Can you tell us a little about WyldCard Records and Branzei?
Branzei is a talented producer from Vancouver and he’s had some big tracks on Solotoko, Dirtybird and Bunny Tiger. WyldCard records is my label set up at the end of 2018, I just wanted a home to release my own material without having to wait on any A&R from other labels and also to release good music that I would play myself in a Vanilla ACE set.
You have garnered a loyal following based out of London. What have been some of your favorite sets? Do you have any residencies or favorite clubs to touch at?
London is my home so always love playing here. I’ve loved playing at parties for the likes of Audio Rehab, Audiowhore and House of Silk. My first time at Egg in 2015 was good fun as well. Londoners really know how to rave and let loose. I do lots of residency’s under my real name but thats a whole other story! Haha
Playing all around the world from South Africa to South America probably amounts to a lot of your following. Where was the biggest crowd you played for? Which events had the best sound system?
Touring the world is great fun as you get to see different cultures and see how far your music has reached. The biggest crowds I’ve played for has to be in Brazil. First time at Green Valley there must of been around 6,000 people in attendance. The sound system there is no joke either! The Brazilians have a good club culture, the parties start late and go till sunrise.
I recall once playing a Carnival party in Salvador and my set starting at 8am in the morning…and it was still packed.
Can you tell us a little about your South American tour? What cities did you play in? Do you plan to return?
I’ve played in Brazil over 25 times since 2013 in most cities but weirdly not anywhere else in the region apart from Mexico once and a festival in Guatemala. I’d love to play in Chile, Argentina, Peru etc. I need to organise something! I’ve seen from other artists social media posts that the crowds are great.
How do you feel your signature style offers something new for the scene?
I always like to think that I’m using samples and ideas that people haven’t heard before, I kind of pride myself on that. So it annoys me when something blatant like ‘Got Your Money’ by Ol Dirty Bastard is used on a track for the 1000th time, its boring and very unoriginal.
I started the Sammy Deuce alias so I could delve deeper into all the disco and funk samples I wanted to use on tracks, thats been going really well with big releases on Glasgow Underground, Nervous, Good for You Records etc.
How do you prepare for a set? Do you have any preset rituals?
I make a folder on my USB of all the tracks I want to play, being organised is key as you never know which direction a set is going to go in. I’ve been DJing for over 20 years so I don’t really get nervous, the bigger the crowd the more excited I get.
A ‘never have I ever’, what is one thing you have never done that people may be surprised you have never done?
I’ve never skydived or bungee jumped! I actually suffer a bit from vertigo but strangely love flying and scary roller coaster rides. The other week I did a private event in one of the tallest buildings in London and the lift ride up made me weak legged haha.
Do you have any nuggets of knowledge to drop on our readers?
For my producer friends I would say always make sure you keep hold of your publishing and make sure you register your tracks so you get paid from them. And invest in some good ear plugs so you don’t hurt your hearing at a festival or club.
You have a bunch more releases coming out with Mr Fitz, Ayarez and This Culture. Do you have a release date yet or anything else you would like our readers to know?
The collaboration with This Culture ‘Lose My Mind’ is out now on my label WyldCard, Ordonez and Pinto (NYC) is up next then a big three track EP from Doc Brown, then its a new EP from me and Ayarez from Miami, then its the ‘Nightcap’ release with Mr Fitz and RDJ.
Next year I have some great releases lined up already from Space Jump Salute, Ausem FF from Berlin, Dean Chapple & James Daniels from the UK and Sebastian Park from NYC. All great up and coming talents.
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