Interview: Five Minutes with Zeb Samuels

 Photography credit: Daniel Blenman

London-based musician and label-head  Zeb Samuels has just released his latest single ‘Positive Spirit’ via his label Deep Heads.

The single premiered via Magnetic Magazine and will feature on his long-anticipated EP release Vibration Exploration.

The self-taught musician and music producer talks shop with us below.

Set the tone for us. Why the arts?

Without Music and Art, there is no life.

Which comes first when you’re producing – the sound or the idea?

The sound most of the time. I like to improvise with music and normally record from there, but sometimes I have an idea form an inspiration, so depends really.

Does your material feature any collaborations?

I like to work with other writers & performers when I can and incorporate musicians on recordings, depending on the production. Sometimes other producers as well, but mainly my own productions. I have written with Synkro, Ash Walker, Escapism Refuge, Joe Armon-Jones, MckNasty & various other very talented musicians.

What’s on your current playlist?

James Blake, Masago, Kamaal Williams, Hector Plimmer, Synkro, Om Unit, Nubya Garcia, Royksopp & Snoh Aalegra & many many many many more……………..

What techniques do you experiment with to get your original sound?

I like to practice the piano and play as many things in my productions as possible. I spend a lot of time jamming over ideas and recording what I like the sound of. Writing lyrics also takes up a big chunk of time. If it feels good, then record it and get lost in it. All at the same time as trying to finish, which is a hard balance.

I don’t set out to make an original sound, but I try and write from the heart, so hope what comes out is uniquely me.

Take us through a day in the recording studio.

I like to spend my time rotating my projects that all need different things. I tend to dart around and can jam on a project for say half an hour, then open another project and work on editing for another half an hour say. Then I might need to record some lyrics or try and get a structure for lyrics I’ve written in my head before recording.

I like to think of it as having many paintings started and then adding some colours and splashes here and there, little by little and then as I move through the ideas and add things, they become more perfected and finished through the process of time and application. When I get bored, I just add more to the collection and keep going.

Was there a specific moment in your life where you thought, “this is what I want to do”?

It just sort of happened. I had always like to get involved with the music I have worked with as a label manager, but around 2017 I said, this is what I want to do for the rest of my life, after getting more and more involved with the artists I was working with at the time.

What do you keep close by while you’re playing a set?

I haven’t played a set in a while, but water is always nice.

Any emerging artists on your radar?

Nubla Garcia is making some great stuff, as well as Yuseef Dayes, Steve Lacy, Sidi & Sun Rain. Hard to name them all.

What gets your creative juices flowing?

Anything that I am feeling emotionally. If I’m feeling something, I like to write with that energy.

Take us through your collection of gear, tech or software that accompanies your creative expression.

I have a Nord Electro 4, Access Virus TI, Roland Juno 60, vintage drum kit, Genelec monitors and various Microphones.

Any side projects you’re working on?

Only the label projects. I am working closely with Andreas Kuhn who is Sidi on the label, so helping him develop as an artist is something outside of my music. I also have the Cosmic Vibrations Project, that is always about releasing new and existing music with that Cosmic, Deep Heads energy. I like to try to keep my ear to the ground through this.

How have you refined your craft since you entered the industry?

For sure. I believe through the application you can always improve and refine and is a natural outcome of the process. Things will always change, sometimes for better, sometimes for worse.

Breakdown the news for us: what can we expect from you this year?

I have my EP “Vibration Exploration” out in August & then another single in September that is a purely production project-based that I put together. It’s very Jazz inspired and there are no vocals from me, so a very different presentation than my album recordings. Other than that, that’s it release wise, but I will have another album out hopefully early part of 2021, so at this moment, I am trying to finish that.

Famous last words?


Vibration Exploration EP Tracklist

1. Positive Spirit 

2. Warm Vibration 

3. Yellow

Follow Zeb Samuels