We caught up with DJ, TCTS (Sam O’Neill) to talk all things House and Techno, and life on the on the music scene!
1.) Hey Sam! How’s 2017 treating you so far? Have you been up to much?
Great so far thanks! We launched the club version of Icy Feet just before Christmas so that came bubbling into 2017. Now we’ve just released the vocal version ‘Do It Like Me feat. Sage the Gemini and Kelis’ – it’s been a pretty exciting first part of the year, with that and club shows and writing more music!
2.) When did it all begin? Tell us a bit about your musical background!
I started getting piano lessons from about 7/8 years old and then playing guitar through my teens too. I cut my teeth with song writing and creating music by playing in local bands with my boys from home, and then taught myself how to produce club music whilst I was at Uni in Manchester. Probably quite risky as I spent a lot of time neglecting my studies but somehow managed to pull it off! Manchester is an amazing place to live and study, my time there was super formative. A lot of my first ever DJ sets were in clubs like Joshua Brooks, South and ones in Fallowfield that I can’t remember the names of. Props to the promoters giving new Djs a chance and some money for a cab home ha!
3.) House music is your style! Do you ever produce any different kinds of styles/genres?
House is my main love, across the spectrum of house and techno really. I do write in other styles and I really enjoy being versatile by working on all sorts of records. I do ghost writing and additional production bits on everything from pop to indie records. Although TCTS is obviously a house project, I like to play with the formula and see where I can take a record that’s maybe not the most obvious direction.
4.) Who are/were your inspirations?
Artist-wise I remember distinctly being given ‘Moby’s – Play’ when I was a kid. That’s an important club record for me, that and a renaissance house compilation CD my Dad gave me. Without being too gushy, and I’m sure every artist can say this, day to day you get a ton of inspiration. Whether it’s playing on a bill with a great DJ or spending time in the studio with an amazing topliner, it makes you a better musician and makes you want to better your skill set. When I first started learning to produce there were a few artists making big waves at the time, Disclosure for example were on the way up, Bondax too. The movement in UK house and post-future garage a few years ago was a very exciting time to be starting out as a DJ/Producer in.
5.) Are there any other artists you’re really into at the moment?
Jynx – Who Kidnap Kid has released on his label. Its melodic wonky club music – check out a track called Ember, so sick.
Set Mo – a house duo from Australia who I met whilst out there playing some shows last year. They’ve just released a wicked new EP.
MANT – who I used to be on MTA Records with. They’ve been releasing loads of really great chunky tech house tunes lately.
The Golden Boy – I’ve known Dom for a few years now, he’s a great guy and he’s been smashing the releases lately. They’ve all been massive, notably his recent one on Hot.
Creation’s sub label Emerald City.
6.) What’s been the best event/venue you’ve played?
That’s a tough one… some cool venues that stand out would be Dragonfly in Jakarta. They have this ceiling made of glass balls that undulate and light up as you’re playing, looks like a mad sea creature or something. A big bucket list moment for me was playing the terrace at Amnesia in Ibiza, especially going after Fatboy Slim who isn’t the easiest guy to follow – I’m looking forward to doing it again this summer. Festivals are always in my favourite shows too, I played a mad stage at SeaDance festival in Montenegro where the stage was over the beach and the edge of the crowd went into the ocean. There were loads of people and I played from about 4-6am as the sun rose over the sea – it was goose bumps for sure.
7.) So talking along the lines of your new track… How long did it take to put together? Good tune by the way!
Cheers! The initial idea came about quite quickly. It actually started on a cafe on my laptop and then finished it over the next day or two. I’d just bought some new trainers so I was channelling that, hence Icy Feet. It was always meant to have a bit of swagger and make you feel good about yourself. I usually end up forever tweaking tracks but this was quite a quick process and once I’d made the weird riff the rest of the song fell into place quite naturally. Having it working as a club record before we even considered a vocal was a nice play to start from. Sage sent through a rough idea over the club version and immediately it was like “yeah, I love this.” He got in the studio and wrote a couple verses, and then Kelis jumped on and that was that!
8.) What’s next for TCTS this year?
I want to keep the music coming, I’m sitting on loads. There will be more releases and more shows. I’m really excited to get stuck into festival season and Ibiza too!