“Success, I don’t know what the textbook definition is of it. I just want to be content with myself and the work I’ve done. I’m never fully satisfied and I don’t think I will be, I’m learning every step of the way and just trying to be the best I can be, I think that’s what it’s all about.”
Last year a spritely seventeen year old got his name heard loud and clear, Ownglow’s ambition and drive flew him from Arizona to LA, eventually landing down in the UK with the hope of bringing his dreams to reality. Sparked with an undeniable passion for the music we all love, Sam is shining bright and a talent that we’re very happy to announce we’ll be working closely with over the coming months!
Originally tipped on garage and dubstep, once upon a time Ownglow could be caught spinning the likes of N-Type, DMZ, Steve Gurley, Burial and Four Tet. However it was B-Complex’s ‘Beautiful Lies’ VIP that flipped the switch to drum & bass, “I heard that track and was just blown away by the production and emotion in the tune, it was something so enthralling to me!”
Since then he’s been hooked. At fifteen he left school and the small-town sights of Flagstaff Arizona, settling into the LA lifestyle where he’d meet our then Hospital stateside rep Samantha Marks, “I would hit her up every week with my newest tracks asking her opinion and she sent them out to Chris [Goss]! Eventually we started emailing and built up a decent relationship.” Yet for Ownglow that wasn’t enough, he found himself limited by the opportunities across the pond and decided to move to our shores at just seventeen years old. “I think that was the most insane and risky thing I’ve done to date…I knew for a fact what I wanted to do was make drum & bass, I needed to make it, I still need to.”
And it seems the risk has paid off! Not only did he catch the attention of UKF founder Luke Hood – who quickly released Ownglow’s two debut singles on Pilot Records – he also enticed one of our co-founders, “[Chris] found out I was living in the UK, so he invited me up for a little meeting and to chat about my general direction, influence, music style and what exactly I was thinking leaving education. It eventually progressed to him asking me to be a part of the Hospitality Bank Holiday BBQ, which when I got the offer I was beyond excited for! Soon after I got the offer to be a part of the ‘Hospitality 2016’ compilation, a huge goal of mine!”
Creative in every direction, his (even) younger years were spent taking commissions for brands. This added talent still weaves its way through his work to this day, “it’s still a huge part of my creative process and sometimes I’ll design music around a certain image or design.”
The year of 2015 turned out to be somewhat life changing for Sam. He stepped up for his debut DJ set at a little known London venue, Building Six. His set at our second sold out Hospitality BBQ of the summer caught even more attention now it seems the shows are rolling in…“Last week I played at the sold out Hospitality in Birmingham and then I’ve got a couple of USA shows in LA and Miami on the Hospitality tour! I’ve been slotted to play my first festival this summer at We Are FSTVL as well as making my O2 Academy Brixton debut. I’m stupidly excited for these, the line-ups are all immense.” Working on four decks, Ownglow looks up to the likes of Friction, Andy C, AMC and Skism in terms of DJ style, meaning a constant height of energy, although his vibrant mixing also has the potential to get him in a bit of trouble now and again, “I absolutely wrecked my face one time playing, I dropped DRS & Enei’s track ‘Count to Ten’ blasted my face on the crossfader, blood everywhere! It was a moment for sure. Raving out, spitting bars with blood down my face, brilliant.”
Now a proud voice for a younger generation of American producers, his controversial Facebook status caused conflicting opinions on the current state of the US drum & bass scene. “The main consumers of electronic music [in the USA] are my age and being a consumer of it myself and a fan, it’s upsetting to know that we’re not welcome into clubs to see our favourite artists. I wasn’t able to experience a D+B show until I moved [to the UK], I wasn’t able to feel the music and the passion for it, to experience what it is actually about until I was 18, I feel earlier you are able to feel that, the more likely you are to be passionate about it.” However there’s still an incredibly positive movement rising from the underground in the USA, Ownglow tracks a long list of artists who he feels are strengthening the scene, “Legion & Logam, Consouls, Kasper, Kid Hops, Iris, Quadrant – all of them are bringing something so unique to the table and making serious moves!”
With a prolific year behind him we asked Sam’s what he’s looking to in the year ahead. “The aim is to write a ton of music, hopefully knock a couple of collaborations out and just give some vibes back to the people supporting!” With the best advice he’s ever been given being to “break the rules” it fits that so far Sam hasn’t done anything by the book and moving to London has definitely sparked a creative outlet before untapped – “It’s a never ending city of creators and influencers, each have different backgrounds and each contribute something to the experience you have. It’s a really incredible vibe to have.” Now he’s settled down the road from the Purple Gates, we’re very excited to reveal what he’s been working on! Just watch this space.
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