techno sam, feel so real, LA underground, LA techno

Music is 4 Lovers is extremely excited to announce our new podcast series, Hometown Heroes, celebrating the best regional DJs who are bound to go on and do huge things in this big wide world. Our first stop will be Los Angeles, to visit Sam Allman, aka Techno Sam. An LA native, who then left the nest to spend time in the Bay Area and Berlin, Sam currently runs his own label, Feel So Real, is active as a DJ in the LA underground and assists at Morgan Geist’s imprint, Environ. We chatted with Sam about where he comes from, techno, crate digging and what’s next:

1. Tells us a bit about this mix, how and where was it recorded, and what tracks are really special to you in this one?

I recorded this mix one the fly in my living room in Koreatown one morning recently. It was recorded using two Technics 1200s and a Vestax PMC 25 rotary. It’s really just a collection of some of my favorite tracks to play at the moment, but still trying to keep a focus on narrative. It’s important to me to feel like I’m being taken on a journey when I’m listening to a mix. In this case, it starts off a bit mellow, then gets more fun and then goes hard for the finish. I only ever play tracks I really love, tracks that I regularly listen to when I’m not DJing. It’s really disheartening to me to see DJ sets where the DJ obviously just downloaded a bunch of stuff off Beatport earlier that day and doesn’t know the tracks well. It makes all the difference to truly know the songs in your crate, you gain a special intimacy with your music that’s reflected in your mixing.

2. Where are you from? What was the scene like when you were first getting into it and how is it now?
I was born and raised in LA. I started getting into dance music my first year of college at UCSC so I didn’t experience LA’s dance scene until summer 2007. The first party I went to was thrown by Droid Behavior. My friend who brought me told me the party went till7am and I literally didn’t believe him – I was so new to it. Since then the scene has grown a lot. There are a ton of new promoters and the scene has expanded to include more and more styles of music. The underground here feels as though it’s stronger than ever. There are multiple warehouse parties every weekend with some expertly curated bookings – in the last year alone we’ve gotten to enjoy extended sets from Phil Mison, Paul Mudd, DJ Sprinkles, Felix Dickinson, Cosmo Vitelli, I could go on.. I feel very lucky to get to enjoy this level of talent in the context of an underground warehouse party, escaping the Hollywood-style club culture most often associated with LA nightlife.
3. Tell us about a favorite electronic music experience – what was a spot you felt a seemingly magical energy?

When I was in college I did a semester abroad in Berlin. Being immersed in perhaps the most vibrant and fulfilling club culture in the world was a definitive moment in my life and one that affirmed my passion for electronic music. The energy there is truly magical. It’s probably the only place in the world where you can go out on Friday and not come home till Sunday while seeing world-class underground talent the entire time. A place like this could never exist outside of Berlin and that’s why it is so special. Stateside, some of the more special parties I’ve been to would be the AYLI parties at The Compound (RIP), Sunset Campout, Sarcastic Disco and Music for Dancers.

4. How’d you first get into techno? I know you’re a big crate digger and have a wide-range of influences, but what really gets you going in an electronic music record?

I started listening to electronic music in high school, mainly things like Boards of Canada, Aphex Twin, Squarepusher. It wasn’t until a close friend made me reconsider Discovery by Daft Punk that I really started to become aware of dance music. After I realized I was intrigued, I became addicted to finding more music like this – I remember listening to Teachers by Daft Punk and looking up all the artists they listed off. When I really started getting into it it was around 2007 and the minimal techno sound was the dominant movement at the time. I’m glad we’ve moved past that. What I look for most in an electronic record is dreamy, immersive soundscapes. I’m especially attracted to records/artists that are driven by a strong concept. I love being able to get fully lost in an artist’s alternate universe. I think that’s why Boards of Canada is my favorite group of all time. Of course I like to keep things fun, too, so there is a certain groove I’m always looking for…

5. That being said, do you have a favorite vinyl shop where you love to pass the time?

Mount Analog in Highland Park is my favorite record shop here, easily. They have an amazing and up to date selection and best of all they have listening stations. They also have tons of cool in-stores, I’ve gotten to see intimate sets from Beautiful Swimmers, Suzanne Kraft, Lovefingers and more.

6. What are you up to these days? Do you have anything coming up as Techno Sam?
Other than my day jobs, I’m the assistant for Morgan Geist’s Environ imprint which is always very exciting for me. I’m also fully focused on my own label Feel So Real, which debuted earlier this year. I don’t have anything coming out as Techno Sam, which is just my DJ name, but I will say that I’m very closely involved with everything that comes out on FSR. We’re very hands on with our artists and work together closely to make sure our product comes out sounding perfect. I’m very proud of my boys in Rare Times for the incredibly high quality of their musical output so far and I couldn’t think of a better or stronger artist for us to have made our debut with. I truly think they’re one of the most exciting artists emerging out of the dance scene and it feels great to put out music that I so strongly stand behind. You can check out their first FSR release, Missionary EP, here, and their new Mist EP comes out on August 20th. Watch the FSR Facebook page for details, and check out our Soundcloud to see what we’ve put out so far.

Follow Sam on Soundcloud here.