Trance Farmers. Is that a word play on Transformers or is it a nod to psychedelic farming as a pastime? The man behind the name, Dayve Samek, is a wanderer from Los Angeles to Louisiana, and his music has picked up just about every influence it can along the way.
Using tags like "gasoline" and "pomade" is commonplace for Samek when referencing his music. His practice of using verbal icons along with a fascination for vintage sounds and images, has revealed his love for Americana artifacts. Although his music appears to be the embodiment of beloved pieces of historical american-culture (ranging from fashion to music) Samek's history and inspiration has remained an enigma for us until now.
MP: How long have you been making records and where did you grow up?
I'm from a town in Boston right outside of Cambridge and started recording in high school in 2005. MySpace had just come out and I would put up field recording collages and weirdo beats and stuff, and ended up actually connecting with a lot of the friends and associations on there that I still have today. That was kind of the beginning to my making tunes.
MP: How did Glue Moon Records come about? What type of music do you look to put out on the label?
In about 2011, I put out a handful of tapes of original music under the name Trance Farmers and started selling them online and eventually between doing that and traveling and meeting people, it came to grow into the kind of family it is now. The releases are from friends and contributors I connected with along the way (whom I admire and am continually inspired by). The common thread to the releases being the headspace to the music and "left field/DIY" aesthetic.
MP: How did you become acquainted with and get signed to Leaving Records / Stones Throw?
Matthewdavid ran Leaving Records out of Highland Park in Los Angeles and I was living in Venice Beach. He ended up acquiring one of the original aforementioned Trance Farmers cassettes and asked me to do a tape for Leaving. In the meantime, they signed up with Stones Throw and what was concocted in those years was what went on to become Dixie Crystals.
MP: Tell us about the name Trance Farmers. Are you a big transformers fan? (terrible pun/question) Are pomade and gasoline doo-wop tags to describe your experimental blend of country and psych? What inspired your sound and name?
The name was something that was born first, and it's meaning realized later. I wrote it down in some notes on a napkin one night and liked how it looked and what it meant when I thought about it. My great grandpap who I never met was a luthier who built instruments in West Virginia for the country stars of the time. I wanted to honor those roots and the blues etc. with a future spin, and designate TF as a project based on time.
MP: Who were some of your biggest influences musically, and otherwise, growing up?
It started with my mom and dad showing me Hendrix and James Brown and all the classics.
CCR, CSNY, Beatles, etc.
Nina Simone and Billie Holliday.
Then got into hip hop like Wu-Tang and Gang Starr which turned into listening to Madlib, Dilla, Edan and more experimental forms.
I loved Beck and Prince since a young kid and big producers for me are Spector, Joe Meek, Serge Gainsbourg and Bruce Haack.
MP: Who were you listening to/inspired by when recording your debut album, Dixie Crystals?
A lot of Spacemen 3, doo wop groups, early rockabilly and British pop/60s psych.
MP: You seem to be very comfortable describing your music, which is something I really appreciate. A lot of musicians tend to shy from applying tags or descriptions to their music but you create so much intrigue with yours - "nxt record is a testament to psychedelic absurdism.. a play on acid/60s culture and where it's gotten us in time" Are all of your records, concept records? Tell us how you feel about attempts to define/describe music?
While "Dixie" was kind of a hodge podge, all the other records are intended to be conceptual and referential to a particular era. That is why I find it natural to describe the music, because it ends up saying something that I like to point out as context for the listener.
MP: What can we expect on your next album, SUGAR LEMON HOGWHISTLE, and what inspired it? When might it come out?
I think it will be out at some point next year and is an exploration of the connotations of psychedelia, and the role of "the candyman" as a psychedelic character. I was hoping that the label in the center of the record could be a lemon scratch & sniff sticker and that the vinyl would come in different flavors and colors, including banana surple and cotton candy swirl vanill.
MP: Your latest single, "Crimes", with Brogan Bentley is pretty lush and almost R&B sounding. Quite different from your previous psychedelic endeavors. How did the Bentley collab and song come about?
It is that sound. It has a lushness to it that when I made the instrumental, thought it would compliment Brogan's smoky, dark R&B sound. So when he came to New Orleans after SXSW, we did it up. There was a beautiful feeling surrounding the process. He felt moved by the lyrics and where they came from in relation to what he was going through at the time and we felt it to be a healing and cathartic testament to that.
MP: If you could recommend one artist to us right now, who would it be?
Slim Twig (from Toronto) s/o partner!
MP: What's your favorite way to experience music? (tape,vinyl,live, playlist) And find new music?
My favorite and most memorable listening experiences tend to be around campfires, and digging for old 45s at flea markets and swap meets keeps my world going around.
MP: It's so great to see you coming to SLC. What can we expect from this tour? Who are the fellas you're playing with and how do you know them?
You can expect us to bring our barbecued boogie to your town and smoke a J with your Dad. As well as be highly enjoyable gentlemen. This group is some of my favorite kids. Most of them are from Lexington, KY and we know each other from playing there together this past July 4th and in New Orleans last year. They have great releases out under their monikers, Street Gnar and Trailblazer. And Emotional and I have a split 7" coming out soon on Lawn Chair records that we'll have on the road with us!
MP: What do you see in the future for Trance Farmers? What's your next priority after SUGAR LEMON HOGWHISTLE? (projects, collaborations)
I would love to get more into film scoring and sound design in addition to crafting pop records. After SUGAR LEMON, I have a fashion-based album concept that I want to be the score to a live runway. It is a commentary on the directness and prevalence of fashion in today's world as an art form and means of expression. The record explores funk and glam styles and the music for it is soulful and dance-y. Also, working on a collaboration record with Odd Nosdam.
MP: Is that the main purpose in the creation of your music? To create a new genre or share a certain message / perpetuate a certain subculture etc.
Absolutely. I wish to pose a question with each release. Something to think about that causes you to question the world around you. Something that lets you know you can free your mind and look outside of the world we are in and create one of your own. Something that recognizes the importance of and need for beauty and magic. Something interactive that you can actualize.
Samek's work transcends time, yet reminds us that time is a crucial marker for styles and memorable evolutions in sound. He's a crucial bridge between various forms of experimental music, and we're looking forward to everything he has yet to share with us.
Trance Farmers has a show in Salt Lake City, at Diabolical Records, on 9/26. You can check out his current work here.