Sampology & Charlie Hill Interview Each Other About New EP, 'Galaxy'

Sampology & Charlie Hill Interview Each Other About New EP, 'Galaxy'

Beloved producer and emerging drum prodigy chat to each other about their incredible new EP of jazzy, funky, electronic sounds

Image credit: Daniel Grima

What happens when a veteran producer and DJ teams up with an emerging jazz drummer? The incredibly dope sounds of Galaxy, the debut EP from Meanjin/Brisbane-based artists Sam Poggioli (aka Sampology) and Charlie Hill! Fusing elements from jazz, funk and surrounding sounds with housey & brokenbeat flavours, Galaxy sees the duo exploring a range of rhythms and styles, with Hill's incredible drums chops complemented by Sampology masterful MPC skills. The result is seven tracks of majestic, sweeping sounds that are as perfect for late night headphone listening as they are mid-afternoon dancing.

The genesis of the collab was Hill's first forays into production, coupled with experiencing Europe's jazz and electronic scenes in person just prior to the pandemic. Upon returning home, Hill approached an at-first reluctant Sam, who upon hearing the first demos made up his mind and the rest is history (and the Galaxy EP!).

While predominantly instrumental, the sessions did see a few vocalists enter the studio, with Tiana Khasi and Merinda Dias-Jayasinha both lending their voices to these boundary pushing beats.

To celebrate the release of Galaxy, we were stoked that Sam & Charlie were keen to interview each other about the project for Pilerats - have a listen and get to know below!

Sam:

Can you take me back to when you were overseas just before we started working on music together. I can't remember the details, I just remember you were really excited and full of energy. Why specifically were you so excited and inspired?

Charlie:

I think we had a big conversation just before I took off. I could be wrong but I think it was at a Jazz house gig when that residency was still at Barbera’s. I could have been playing and it also could have been with Uncomfortable Science (Laneous), which would be a funny full circle. I could be wrong though. We could have just been watching. Anyway, I seem to remember that time being really exciting because I think the university bubble had popped. I had finished my degree and a lot of my musician friends were creating and moving into areas I hadn’t previously been too interested in. I think I was wide-eyed because there was another direction I could see that was full of the energy that I was craving. University was fantastic, don’t get me wrong, but there was a really powerful mindset that I got stuck in there that I think hindered creativity for me. I placed a huge amount on importance of my technical ability and was probably blind to a lot of fantastic music in doing so. I feel like I was actually enjoying music for the first time in a really long time. Or maybe just enjoying music in a new way. That’s perhaps why I seemed wide-eyed.

Charlie:

What's your history with collaborative projects? And was it different to your previous experiences? What was it like collabing with an instrumentalist rather than a producer?

Sam:

I love collaborating in a way where two people are not hunched over a laptop. That’s why pulling out my MPC and playing in the ideas with my hands initially is fun. I’ve done a bunch of collaborations, some of which have come out like my ongoing Middle Name Dance Band project with Kuzco & Sam Stosuur. There have been a bunch of vocalists and instrumentalists I’ve worked with over the years under my Sampology alias of course. I think it all evolves from a good music hang, and getting to know someone for the first time over food usually. Even though I absolutely love DJing and playing live, my favourite thing is at the end of a day having some new musical creation that didn’t exist at the start of the day. Making a new friend at the same time makes it even more special.

Sam:

What are some of your favourite moments on the Galaxy project?

Charlie:

Two moments stand out a lot for me. The first would have been the first time we hung out at the studio. I had told you that I was keen on collabing in someway but I didn’t really have too many ideas at all. All I had was a bunch of reference tracks. We ended up getting into that thing where you’re just bouncing tracks off each other. I found so much great music that day. We also got super deep on what makes rhythm feel good, what makes people dance, generally what we love about the music we were sharing at the time and why. It was a real brain storming session for me and I learnt so much about my own music taste as well as yours.

The second was probably the second time we started tracking with all the gear. I think the first was super inspiring but when everything settled and we started building layers in the music naturally, that’s when I started feeling really excited. I think there were takes that were 45-60 min long at some stages. It was a completely different experience to any creative process I’d ever been involved in. I remember it feeling very meditative having a loop going and hearing you build layers on the MPC.

Obviously holding and hearing the test pressing was a super special moment as well.

Charlie:

What are a couple of things you really enjoyed about the process of making ‘Galaxy’

Sam:

I have really great memories of recording the title track in its original full blissed out 40 min live take. When I listen back to it I don’t actually know how some of the sounds came into fruition exactly. The second version we did of Galaxy ended up being ‘Wind and Willow’ and I love the drum sound we pulled for your main drum break with my old Yamaha kick drum. I really enjoyed the day we drove down the road from my studio and harvested some lemongrass from a neighbours curbside garden and made grass drumsticks. The memory of the lemon smell is still present, combined with the organic tone you got with them.

Sam:

How did coming into my space on the south side influence the recording of our project as well as your forthcoming project?

Charlie:

In so many ways. Firstly it’s a comfortable space and there’s something easy about how everything sounds in there. Obviously it makes playing an instrument hard if you find it hard to listen too. You also live in my childhood suburb with my parents house 2 minutes away. You opened your space up for any recording sessions I had in mind which ended up shaping a lot of the sounds heard in my EP, Yore. I had sessions recording my sister and a few close musician friends. I also had an abundance of drum kit samples that fed my sample library for the whole project.

Charlie:

Was the project what you expected, or did you have any expectations?

Sam:

I didn’t really have any expectations for a long time, but was definitely paying attention to what evolved as we spent time together. At a certain point a sound pallet started to appear, and certain grooves started to manifest. I also noticed you wear a lot more dark clothing, while I go for colour. I think that influenced the project in some way. I love making projects, and there’s always a certain point where you notice these little threads pop up which you chase down to develop a release. I just try and look for whatever the best version of a song or full release could be.

Sam:

How has the drumming world influenced the production world?

Charlie:

I feel most comfortable thinking in rhythm so it’s hard not to gravitate towards that immediately. I’ll tend to start tracks by finding a percussion world, or I’ll just open up the computer with the intention of trying to make a drum part sound good. The fun part about the production side of percussion is the fact there’s so many options you can explore so quickly. It’s fun to use the tools in a DAW through the eyes of a drummer or percussionist and discover all the possibilities it allows you to explore that would otherwise be impossible live.

Charlie:

Were there any moments where the direction of the project changed? What were they and why?

Sam:

This is a bit of a gear head type nerd answer, but when I first combined the Oberheim Matrix 1000 synth I’ve had for ages, but never really used, that made me excited. Another was working with the vocals of our good friend Merinda Dias-Jayasinha. Both of those two sonic elements gave me both an earthy, but celestial feeling which informed how the songs should flow and be arranged. In a very natural, earthy way that’s exciting and lifting but meditative.

Sam:

Even though you've been playing drums for ages in different groups and ensembles, you're just starting out on your solo release and performances / DJing, as Charlie Hill. What are you most excited about exploring with that stuff?

Charlie:

With my production… just more of it. I honestly have no expectations with my own production. I love the feeling of making a record so that will always be future goals but It’s something that I really enjoy and when I’m in it, I don’t feel any pressure. My own production has taught me how to like my own music and to just create for myself. I love producing for myself as an audience now and If I can keep that feeling, that’s what I’m the most excited about. With Dj-ing…. I want to make people dance so badly. I’ve had so many oh-shit moments with some of my favourite DJ’s and I want to pass that along to others.

Sampology Charlie Hill Galaxy

Sampology & Charlie Hill's new EP Galaxy is out now via Middle Name Records

Middle Name Records and Friends: Galaxy Live
Echo and Bounce June 25, Meanjin Brisbane
Full Line Up TBA

Follow Sampology: Instagram / Facebook

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