- Words Miriam Balanescu
DJ and producer, Sam Divine, dishes on her year ahead and creates an exclusive mix for Notion.
When Sam Divine, the now Defected DJ legend, was whisked away to Ibiza in the early noughties, it was the beginning of a stunning career in music. Since then, she ritualistically returns to the Spanish clubbing hub every summer.
Divine was a Defected Records devotee, piously frequenting their Pacha parties in London where she first started out working in a record shop. There, she met Defected radio host Aaron Ross and, eventually, founder Simon Dunmore. Divine persisted her way backstage, joining the company as part of the ‘Defected street team’, Ibiza events manager, then gradually working her way up to become a DJ signee in 2009.
The First Lady of Defected has been cherry-picked for residences at Pacha, Mambo, Amnesia, Eden, and Ushuaïa and debuted at Printworks in 2019. The DJ is also a producer, striking gold with remixes of garage anthems “Flowers”, “My Desire” and more. For Divine, 2019 comprised global tours and playing at 21 festivals worldwide. If that wasn’t enough, she also raised £40,000 for Breast Cancer Research with her charity D-Vita that year. In 2015, she launched DVINE Sounds, her own label promoting the work of upcoming artists. With 58 releases to date, this year holds a fresh new signee.
2021 is another busy one for the DJ’ing giant. She’s already whetted her appetite for the summer season by playing the opening weekend of The Estate Festival on Saturday 5th June.
Now, Divine took some time out to chat with Notion about what’s next and to create an exclusive mix for the Ibiza poolside holiday that’s still pending!
What made you get into house as opposed to other music genres?
My first love was 90s R’n’B and it’s still my favourite genre. In my late teens, I was into
Garage, so I didn’t get into House until much later on. My friend played me a Sasha &
Digweed album at an after-party and I was immediately hooked.
What are your best and worst experiences of your career so far?
I haven’t really had any bad experiences, not any that stand out to shout about. I tend to
take anything negative in my stride and I always try to see the best out of a bad situation.
My best experiences are definitely working in a record shop when I first started DJ’ing.
Shortly after that, I did my first season in Ibiza which cemented my love for House music.
Those stand-out moments carved my whole career. Being signed to Defected as the first lady
was a huge moment in my career and was the start of something really special.
You’ve worked with some incredible DJs, from Frankie Knuckles to Sandy Rivera. What’s
been your favourite collab so far?
Frankie Knuckles RIP is the godfather of House. I was so lucky to warm up for him on many
occasions and he taught me so much. He’s such a kind soul and his work ethic was second to
none. Probably one of my favourite artists to tour with is Dennis Ferrer. He has a wealth of
knowledge and I’m like a sponge when I’m with him. He’s also so much fun to play with.
What are you looking for when signing new artists to DVINE Sounds and what can we
expect from the new EP?
I just look for someone who has long longevity. We are all about family vibes at DVINE sounds.
It’s not just about signing a record and moving onto the next thing. We invite our artist to
come play at our parties and we like to build a bond with them. We haven’t put any records
out in lockdown, so I’m really excited for this year’s releases that we’ve got lined up. First up
is Aliaia and Gallo who are super dope from Italy. ‘Should Coulda’ drops on 25th June
When did you decide to start producing and how do you pick tracks to remix?
I’ve been producing for quite a while now. I tend to either collab or remix big records. I’m
kinda known for remixing Garage tracks because that’s a huge passion of mine and they
meant something to me back in the day. I’m working on a lot of originals this year that I’m
super excited to put out.
You had a number of sold out socially distanced parties in the summer last year. What
was this DJing experience like for you?
It’s very different. I still have a lot of fun but it’s definitely not the same, nothing will
compare to playing at a festival or in a club when people have to sit down. God gave us legs
to dance. I’ve been very lucky that I’ve been able to play outdoor socially distanced festivals
so at least you can dance within your area. I’m not gonna lie though I’ll be glad to see the
back of them!
Tell us about the mix you’ve made for Notion. What inspired it?
I’m really pleased with how this mix came out. It’s actually one of my fav mixes that I’ve put
out in a while. It’s a lot deeper than I would usually put out but I was in that kind of mood,
and I just caught a vibe.
How did your latest collaboration with Kormak come about?
Kormak and I hit it off straight away when we met. Rewind to his record “Love on the Line”, I
would champion that record on my radio shows and in my sets. We connected through
Instagram, then I was booked for a tour in Australia. He was playing also and we became
best mates. We actually started our collab on my last visit to Sydney. We hired out a studio
for the day – it was so much fun. We’ve been going back and forth throughout all of lockdown
and we’ve got it to a beautiful place now so we’re on the last leg of the project.
What’s in the works for you this year?
So much actually. I’m fully booked till Christmas day. I’ve got a lot of festivals and a few club
shows, plus 2 America tours, tons of music, and a merch line dropping. As my dear old dad
says, ‘Sleep when you can’.
If you were made to choose another career, what would it be?
I would definitely be a Crime Scene Investigator.
Lastly, talk us through your mix – why did you pick these track and what vibe did you hope
I’m going to Ibiza tomorrow so I wanted to put something together that you could listen to at
the pool. When you’re getting ready or for the afters. It’s definitely a vibe.