Meet Sam Feldt, The Peace Loving Musician
By: Alexis Rene Moten
At first glance, Sam Feldt’s website, quickly acquaints you with everything that fashions the perfect Playboy lifestyle: Women, private jets, parties on the beach. The necessities. However, like most things, when it comes to Feldt, there’s more than what meets the eye. Behind that boyish grin is genuine friend, looking for a good time and a better world.
In 2015, Feldt, 25, was launched into fame after he released a remake of Robin S’ “Show Me Love.” The single accelerated up the charts, peaking at No.4 on the UK Singles Chart. The following year, the Dutch artist found acclaim in his home country, with his single “Summer on You,” receiving a Platinum award in the Netherlands. Described by Billboard as “ a modern House superstar,” the artist’s young music career has continued to acquire several triumphs and shows no evidence of slowing down. Currently, Feldt sits with over 10 million monthly Spotify listeners and has over 375K followers on Instagram.
Yet, where ego could have bloomed by popularity, Feldt has filled with philanthropy. The DJ and music producer, founded the Heartfeldt Foundation (embed link: https://www.heartfeldt.me/), a non-profit that encourages fans to adopt a sustainable lifestyle and reduce plastic usage. Last year, Feldt released a line of 100% eco-friendly phone cases. ( embed link ‘phone cases’: https://fashionthings.com/collections/heartfeldt-collection) and this past Spring organized a beach clean up with Goldfish and Orca Sound Project during Miami Music Week. Through his work he hopes to promote that the best parties happen with a clean Earth.
This week, I had a chance to catch up with the artist before his homecoming performance at Cleveland’s FWD Nighclub to talk about music, the environment and his new EP, Magnets.
FWD: First off, I’d like to say welcome back. You’re a veteran to our stage and now it’s your second time perform. What was it about your last experience that made you want to return?
SF: The last time I played here at FWD was actually my first show I did in the US after I had a scooter accident last year. So, I had been home for a long time and I was really excited for it and the crowd really lived up to that. That was really cool. (Laughs) Unfortunately, last year, it was raining, so I had to play in a tent half the time. Hopefully today it stays dry.
FWD: I think we’re going for a redemption round.
SF: Yeah, 100%. Even last year, people went crazy. It’s gonna be a good night.
“I try to provide something unique, that isn’t just the electronic stuff.”
FWD: Europe and the United States in a sense are like fraternal twins. There are a lot of similarities but culturally, specifically music, there is a gap. In the European charts, Hip-Hop seems to still be following rhythms that were common here in the late 90s but, when it comes to EDM, it feels like you’re so far ahead. What’s your take on that?
SF: Yeah, it’s just different. I think America is evolving in dance music, now more than before. The US market is very bass heavy, very dubstep-y, and I think in Europe, at least for my sound, it’s a bit more live, ya know? A lot of the shows I do now I do with a saxophone, trumpet, piano, drums. I try to provide something unique, that isn’t just the electronic stuff. I don’t know, I think it’s just two different markets, especially in the last couple of years. I think the US market has matured its substance when it comes to dance music.
FWD: Deep House and Electronic music is nothing new. These genres have for so long been adjacent to mainstream pop culture. But then there was that Renaissance of EDM and Dubstep, like Bassnecter, Steve Aioki, Skrillex, that kind of pushed that culture forward. We can even reach further to the early aughts and give credit to Daft Punk and The Chemical Brothers for how they impacted American charts and sound. Did those music moments have any influence on you and your music career?
SF: I got inspired the first time I saw Tiesto when I was 17. Actually I think I was a bit younger than that, like 11 or 12. I remember watching him DJ the Olympics and was like ‘Wow, I want to do that.’
“I think it’s all about influencers like myself to use their influence and reach for the better and inspire their fans to create and make better decisions in their lives and inspire change.”
FWD: I noticed on your website you were raised by activists, can you tell me more about that?
SF: They are really not like activists and more like hippies (laughs). Ya know, my mom drives around in a BMW van like, a hippie van. She goes to all these festivals like, Reggae festivals and both my parents are vegetarians. My dad is like an activist when it comes to music. He’s in bands, writes music, plays the guitar, sings, so yeah I come from a family of peace loving musicians. I think that’s what I should call them. Growing up and being influenced by different styles of music, I think, that has shaped me into who and where I am today.
FWD: It always seems that people exposed to a lot of music in their childhood tend to be ahead of the curve.
SF: Yes, 100%.
FWD: I want to talk to you about your Heartfeldt Foundation. I appreciate that you are encouraging people to make better decisions and to be conscious of their impact of the environment. It’s not finger-pointing, it’s not “I’m the best guy at this-”
SF: No, maybe I am the worst. I think it’s all about influencers like myself to use their influence and reach for the better and inspire their fans to create and make better decisions in their lives and inspire change. It is also for myself, looking critically at myself. Like, ‘ What am I doing? What can I stop doing? What can I do extra?’ I want to make sure I am doing my best. I am
flying across the world, I know what my impact is. Now, I am just trying to find ways to mitigate that and at least work to be as close to climate neutral as possible.
FWD: Right. It’s essential for these types of topics that we don’t punish the person for using a straw. There are several ways we can adjust our own lifestyles but, at the same time be forgiving for the small things. I love the “no pressure” angle your foundation has. SF: Right. That’s exactly what I am saying. When I started the foundation, I thought I was the most polluted person in the world. I could never say that I am better than someone else. I’m just trying to find a way, on this journey to find out what we can do.
FWD: So this is when we roll into your Plastic Promise
SF: Yeah (laughs). The Plastic Promise is actually a bigger promise made my large corporations made like Coco-Cola and Heineken, to use less plastic. I am an ambassador for that movement, which means that I request to travel only with reusable water bottles.
FWD: I’ve gotten a tip we are to expect more music. What can we expect from that?
SF: I recently put out an EP called,Magnets. I actually dropped it tonight and plan to play a few songs from it.
FWD: What inspired the EP?
SF: It’s a love story. It starts with ‘Magnets,’ which is the title song. Then it moves all the way up to a song called, ‘Post Malone,’ which is about self-love. If you listen closely to all the songs in the album, you can hear all the different phases of the relationship. It starts with romance, then it falls apart, then in the end, you’re back solo and working to attract good people around you, ya know, living your best life.
FWD: Love is a Spring topic. Tyler, the Creator’s recent album, IGOR, explores a similar journey.
SF: Yeah, it’s fun to write about. Love connects with a lot of people.