Joey: What’s up, Sam?
Sam: I’m good. As you might expect, a bit more quiet than usual, but on the other hand, also quite busy. I launched my record label, Heartfeldt Records, a few months ago. I’m also busy with the complete relaunch of Fangage, an artists platform that I started a couple of years ago.
Joey: How do you feel about the current circumstances?
Sam: It’s two-sided. On the one hand, mentally and physically, I feel a lot better. On the other hand, I miss my hobby of DJing and performing. The rush and energy you get from the crowd are addicting. So yeah, I definitely missed that, but I’m not depressed or anything.
Joey: I think one of the significant advantages that you have is your multiple sources of income.
Sam: I see many DJs around me that are focused 90% on touring, and when that falls away, it’s pretty hard to fill. I’m quite lucky that I’ve invested in multiple income streams like real estate and my other jobs. My music is also a bit more radio-friendly, so I don’t rely on only club tracks like some artists. Obviously, 80% of my revenue from touring is gone, so it’s not the best year ever, but I’m not lying awake in the middle of the night.
Joey: The way I see it, you approach an artist’s career more like a business.
Sam: I think the bigger guys are doing it. If you look at guys like Tiesto or Calvin Harris, they all have a brand. They realize they’re a business, and that’s what keeps them relevant. Investing in content and your brand helps you during these tough times when you can’t tour.
Joey: I’ve got some artist career and entrepreneur related questions that I’d like to ask you. The first one is, how did a failure in life help you to become successful as an artist?
Sam: Oh wow, it was years of failures. Before Sam Feldt, I had several different artist names, begged people to play in clubs, and spammed all the labels with my music. I was also making music that I thought I should make, and ripping off other popular people because I thought that was going to make me famous. These were all mistakes: begging for shows instead of building a profile, spamming labels instead of finding the right person, and ripping off other people instead of finding my own sound. However, seeing that they didn’t work taught me the path to success. So yeah, I think failures are inevitable. They are a stepping stone for growth.
Joey: What’s the most valuable investment you’ve done?
Sam: The time I invested in my DJing and producing career, rather than giving up and finding a job. It didn’t pay off for over four years. I felt like I was investing in the wrong thing. In the end, my biggest business and success right now is the business that came out of that investment. It sounds super cliche, but success is always around the corner, and sometimes it takes a little longer. It’s a matter of persistence and feeding and growing that business. Whatever you’re building, it will happen. But sometimes it takes too long to happen. And then you give up.
Consistency is another big thing. I see so many great producers that are either too perfectionist or not releasing enough music to break through and keep fans satisfied. They might release three tracks in a month and then no tracks for half a year. You should have a consistent schedule and sound that people recognize. I’m not saying you can’t be creative or think outside the box, but I think it’s essential that fans recognize your style. Otherwise, what are they fans off? If you switch genres, the people who love the first record will hate the second one. Create an alias if you want to make different stuff. Or at least make sure you have a consistent sound throughout all your tracks.
Joey: What tip would you give an artist that is on the verge of breaking through?
Sam: Guard your sounds. When I started Sam Feldt, I had a very distinct tropical sound, and now it’s evolved into a dance-pop sound, which is great because I like the music. When you have success, it can be very attractive to keep making the same music. Success can get in the way of creativity. Also, don’t change your studio setting too much. If you always produce in your bedroom and then start producing in a spaceship studio after your big paycheck, you might not be inspired.
Joey: Which advice should artists ignore?
Sam: One thing that I’ve now realized with COVID is you don’t have to play every show. Your manager or booking agent will push you towards making a lot of money. I would ignore that because if you’re consistent with your music and brand, you will increase your fanbase, which will reassure you that you will keep having shows. You can have confidence in the fact that you have a profile that is bookable.
Joey: Is there anything you believe will always remain in the industry, no matter the circumstances?
Sam: Yeah. I was with Spinnin’ for five years, and their slogan was, “it all starts with good music.” No matter the scenario, if it’s live streaming or shows, 20 or 30 years from now, people are still going to want to listen to good music and celebrate it.
Joey: Thank you!