He has been an industry heavyweight for nearly 15 years, going from strength to strength as one of Australia’s most respected, skilled and successful hip hop DJ’s in the scene, representing Sydney to the core. DJ Samrai is your consummate DJ, encompassing all of the attributes of the battle, turntablist, show and party DJ all rolled into one power charged, super hyped and razor sharp mix master who embodies the very essence of his DJ moniker.
The true legend of a Samurai lends its doctrine from the ancient Japanese military warriors dating as far back as the 10th century, creating a path for those with the warrior spirit to live within its teachings of honor, emphasizing duty to one’s master, and loyalty unto death. As it was then and through the ages, the Samurai’s simple yet honest values and ways of life continue to resonate with man today and are applied to varying aspects of everyday life. Follow DJ Samrai’s journey from young DJ on the come up, practicing daily, monthly, yearly perfecting his craft to precision, witness his DJ battle ground in DMC Championships of the past ( Samrai won the 2001 DMC Australian Championship and was ranked 14th best DJ in the world at the World DMC DJ Championship in London in 2001) and check his tour logbook to see the who’s who in the Hip Hop world he has toured with and supported across the nation and you will discover all parts of a warriors footsteps, in keeping with the ancient Samurai teachings of honour, duty and loyalty.
His achievements have been great, his journey has been grand but the lessons, oh the lessons have been epic. He was born to be DJ and he wears his title like a badge of honour. A badge that has caught the sponsorship eyes of Jim Beam, Spader Clothing and countless record labels like Universal and Ministry of Sound and has seen him appear on radio shows and TV shows across the country. Still extremely active on the nightclub circuit in Sydney and nationally, Samrai, was, is and will continue to remain at the forefront of the game with ease. On a personal note, I have been chronicling DJ Samrai and his growing successes from day one, capturing this incredibly driven, spirited and ridiculously talented young man’s journey through the landscape of hip hop’s terrain. To say I am proud of him is an understatement. He has won some, he has lost few but he has remained steadfastly true to himself and his craft, playing the game on his terms.
He is not Samrai, the young, wide eyed swift- fingered DJ beginning his journey, he has graduated to Samrai, the pioneering career DJ that takes the additives of fame and celebrity all in his stride, remaining hungrily ambitious , walking in positivity and humility and reaping the rewards of the hard work he puts forth. Just like the ancient Japanese teachings of the Bushido, Hōjō Shigetoki (1198–1261 AD) wrote; “”When one is serving officially or in the master’s court, he should not think of a hundred or a thousand people, but should consider only the importance of the master!”
Hey Sam, it’s been a while between interviews my friend ;o) How are you and how has life been treating you?
Yes it’s been some time, I have been great and life is very blessed.
You have been a DJ for close to two decades now, cementing yourself as a firm favorite in the urban music industry in Australia as a pioneer Rnb / Hip Hop DJ. How has the journey been for you and how has it changed over the years?
Wow, I know i been in the game for some time, but it’s only just over a decade, still have many years to go before 2 decades. But 14 years has been very exciting for me, and I’ve gained more than most which is an understatement, so I’m grateful to be in this position as the best turntablist club dj in Australia. Technology and Internet capabilities changed the aspects of it, over the years, which has its creative positives but with that it did make djing more accessible for just anyone to become a dj in the industry. I came up knowing that hard work and talent would open the doors, where now seems like any pretty face can succeed in being a dj without even knowing how to DJ.
As a DJ myself I have always looked towards the original pioneers like you when it came to calling on inspiration for my own career ….. Who would you say has been your inspiration during your career and why?
I’ve always been inspired by the same 4 main djs : Kid Capri for his presence and approach to being a club and mixtape dj , Dj Cash Money for his ability to combine Turntablism and Club djing , Mix Master Mike for showing me to be Raw with my talent, go with what your feeling is and be creative in a free styled element, & Dj Craze as a turntablist, to always be ahead of everybody else, yet be humble in yourself but when it comes to what you do, battle and destroy them all.
What are your thoughts on the current role of the DJ in today’s music industry? Taking into account the changes in technology and celebrity status, do you believe the DJ is still an integral part of the 4 elements of Hip Hop and why?
I’d say the role is exactly as it’s always been which is to entertain people with music. With the changes over the years, as mentioned earlier it can just take being socially attractive to succeed in this industry, but each to their own. The one thing I’ve seen over the years, and it’s been a valuable lesson for myself and others, is the simple fact that only people doing what they do for the right reasons will triumph and succeed further in the long run. Djs will always come and go, people will usually lean towards the flavour of the month, but once the trend of it wears off, they always support what they know is realistic. The 4 elements is something all true realist of Hip Hop will have respect for, but nothing can change that.
You have gained a multitude of respect amongst your peers and fans alike for your Battle DJ status and being a competitor in the DMC DJ Championship competitions ….what was the aspect of battle djing that appealed to you and what do you think are the ingredients to creating a battle DJ?
I just enjoyed it, and all the aspects of competing, but i never was competing to compete when i first started, i just wanted to showcase my skills. It was only till later when the thirst for beating djs appealed to me and I was more concentrated on how to battle djs, how to beat djs mentally before they even stepped up to battle. Even to this day I can intimidate the most skilled DJ’s. I love being the battle dj, as it’s self empowering knowing at any time you can challenge any dj without a thought to it.There is no secret ingredient, you either have it or you don’t. The only way to know is to battle. It’s that simple.
What is it about the art of djing that has kept you in this game for as long as it has Sam? Has the art form changed due to technology such as Serato and USB ports etc. …..or has it enhanced the DJ’s capabilities even more?
I guess I’ve stayed in the game by just being a star player (lol). Hard work and determination is key, and patience! Which is what you (Ms Henny) taught me, and schooled me on. The one thing I’ve lived by and what i think has kept me at the top of it for so long is being amazing at every gig or show, no matter how I’m feeling at the time emotionally, I am always Samrai and perform as expected.
Your name has been integral in the involvement with Blazin mixtape series alongside DJ Nino Brown, as you co-mixed on about 4 or 5 of the series right? What was that process like for you and do we see any DJ Samrai mixtapes due for release anytime soon? Are mixtapes as relevant to hip hop today as they were say 10 years ago?
Blazin was amazing to be a part of, and to have built it for so many years. I’ve never been a dj to stick to one thing so it was a great compilation as so was the ‘Ministry Of Sound Maximum Bass Compilation’. Right now I’ve been enjoying ‘The Magic City Mixtape Series’; I consider it to be my greatest releases. Its gets a better response then all my previous releases, and has set in that I’m known to be a part of a few djs to have the most creative mixtape intro’s globally. Right now I’m about to release my 3rd Magic City mix tape which I’m very excited about.
You are still an active DJ on the local and national circuit spinning in clubs all around the country – where can we find you these days Sam?
As I say to everyone who asks me that question, I’m everywhere (lol).
Something interesting or surprising you can share with us about DJ Samrai?
Ummm, I love cooking good food for people. Fitted caps are my safety blanket and vanilla coated almonds are amazing.
Your favourite artists / tracks you are feeling right now?
Next question because my mind changes every 5 seconds, like a shark (lol).
What would you say is the greatest misconception people have about DJ’s?
I guess that we get heaps and heaps of girls, that’s so untrue. We only get a lot of girls hahahaha jokes jokes, kinda (lol).
What advice would you give to anyone wanting to become a DJ today?
Best advice I can give to ANY DJ new or current…..you never want to be spinning after me lol. Just do it for the love of doing it, and practice and become the best you can be and be patient. If you’re meant to be doing this, then the doors will open up naturally.
For more information on DJ Samrai visit : www.djsamrai.com
Always Hip Hop,