He’s in the studio with singer Eva Simons, releasing a new track “Torrent” on Tiësto’s label, and just dropped “Better Than Yesterday” with Will.i.am. So, yeah, you could say that Dutch DJ/producer Sidney Samson is kind of a big deal. Vegas Seven caught up with Samson on his way to shoot the music video for “Change Your Life” with Far East Movement and Flo Rida. Before Samson makes his next stop in Las Vegas Nov. 9 at Surrender, he looks back at “Riverside,” plus proposes an alternate to the hotly debated DJ Mag Top 100.
You mixed the first-ever Ultra Music/Wynn compilation, Encore Beach Club: Las Vegas Sessions Vol. 1. What was the process for creating that album as far as including certain residents’ music versus other tracks?
The guys from Encore [Beach Club] and Surrender asked me to mix the CD, and I was really happy, of course. Because it’s released by Ultra, I only had a list of 40 or 50 [Ultra] tracks. It wasn’t like I wanted to have certain artists on there; I just chose the dopest tracks and mixed them into one album. … When you put the CD on, I want to give you the feeling that you are partying at [EBC and] Surrender again.
You’ve said, “I’m grateful for all the doors ‘Riverside’ opened for me, but I don’t intend to keep on riding out its success.” Yet you included the original mix of that 2009 hit of yours on the compilation. Why was that?
First of all, it was an Ultra track, and second, it was the first album for the Wynn. I played in Vegas because of “Riverside,” and it was just to thank my own song for being in Vegas.
How did the “Riverside” dance get started?
The guys who shot the video, they came up with the dance. I’m not a dancer at all, so don’t blame me. I feel like this is one of the first shuffle tracks ever, the beginning of the shuffle!
You’ve collaborated with and/or remixed Lil Jon, LMFAO, the Stafford Brothers, Roger Sanchez and a long list of others major players. Who’s been the most unexpected or surprising collaboration?
I did a song for Pitbull called “Get It Started” with Shakira. I’ve never met her, so that’s the strangest collaboration for me.
Do people even realize you worked on that song?
I don’t know. Maybe. I posted on Twitter and Facebook once and if you missed it, then, yeah, you don’t know.
As a kid, you were fascinated with the DMC DJ battles and have a background as a hip-hop DJ. These days it seems like everything has flipped, with people starting off as producers, then learning how to DJ. What are your thoughts on what’s going on in the booth and how it affects the party?
I respect everybody, and if you want to DJ because you’re a good producer and you can make money with DJing, it’s all good. What I am a little bit bummed about is that people don’t understand the difference. If you have 40 hit [tracks], people think you’re a good DJ, and the crowd is missing the whole point. I think that’s really lame or fake, because a real DJ knows his gear, has skills and does tricks that nobody has heard before. That’s when you’re a real and great DJ, and not the guy who sells the most tickets because he has the most hits—that’s not the best DJ, but the most popular DJ. That’s another thing: A lot [of DJs] are really popular, but they’re not great DJs. You have the DJ Mag Top 100—if it came to the best DJ, based on really DJing, then Carl Cox would still be in the Top 10. That’s my point.
Yes, Carl’s amazing!
That’s my point. He’s a DJ in his heart. The fact that he hasn’t got any big hits in the Top 100 doesn’t make him a worse or better DJ.
I’ll drive to California just to hear him play.
Of course! He’s an artist. He tells a story with his music in the DJ booth. Maybe we have to make a new DJ list. So, we have the DJ Mag 100 that is not the best DJ, but the most popular DJ. Then we have to make a Top 100 Best DJ [list]: Best skilled, rated by an official jury.
As you’ve toured the world, what has impacted you most in your travels?
I did a gig in India once, and we all know there are a lot of poor people over there, like really poor. To see all the poverty in the street, it was terrible. That, for me, was a life-changing moment. Of course I appreciate everything that I’ve accomplished and what I have, my friends, my family and my girlfriend. I’m really happy, but when you see something like that, you realize that you are happier than you thought.
Follow Samson’s DJ globe-trotting adventures on Twitter @SidneySamson.