The Beats05 May 2016
Can't Stop Listening: Beat Sampras
Beat Sampras is a Cape Town based duo influenced by golden era hip-hop and boom bap. Their genre-defying rhythms and eclectic live performances have seen them carving out their own space in the South African music scene. We caught up with them a week before their WEHEARTBEAT performance to chat making music.
Beat Sampras’s self-titled EP is the first that the duo (Dylan and Dave) have done together, and the music is hard to describe. One song can see you wandering through emotional riffs into soft-trap, while with others you can feel jazz and hip-hop fusing together over soft low-fi. It’s music that belongs in chilled headphones and, at the same time, on packed dancefloors - and that’s exactly how they wanted it.
Dave: “Our EP is this amalgamation of a bunch of different influences and tastes, I grew up on hip-hop and soul, and Dylan adds this classic jazz musicality. We didn’t want to pigeon-hole ourselves into one genre, so we experimented. Now, when we release our next EP it can be exclusively beat, or soul, or whatever we want – because nobody knows what to expect.”
“We didn’t want to pigeon-hole ourselves into one genre, so we experimented.”
This idea of experimentation is something you can’t avoid within their EP, and it’s apparent in their musical process too.
Dylan: “We basically have three ways of writing songs. The first way is I think of something and bring it to Dave and he lays over it. The second way is Dave comes to me with this cool new sound, and I work with it. And the third is way is sometimes when we’re making music, we go into a room with absolutely nothing, until we figure it out, and something happens. That’s how one of our favourite tracks on the EP – Heaven – came about. We went into a room with absolutely nothing, 20 minutes later we had this track that we were both happy with.”
“Sometimes when we’re making music, we go into a room with absolutely nothing until we figure it out, and something happens.”
It’s easy to spot their song writing techniques within their music, at some points a track will venture off in an unknown direction, only to be pulled back to its base and tied together. It’s rare to find two musicians so comfortably in sync with each other, where experimentation is the norm, and it’s something that they put down to their relationship.
Dave: “Collaboration doesn’t make sense just for the sake of it. But I think if you meet someone and you like them and you can hang out, and make music with them – that’s the most important thing. It’s more about the relationship you can have with a person over the music you can make together. Because if you like them, and you have similar tastes but different ideas - getting together and making music can be a really fun and awesome.
“It’s more about the relationship you can have with a person over the music you can make together.”