Since 2007 Samurai Music, owned by DJ Presha, has been blessing us with high quality releases both from Presha's home New Zealand and also some of the world's most exciting and respected drum and bass artists such as Calibre, S.P.Y and Klute.
The first LP came in 2009 in the form of label compilation "Way Of The Samurai" and was met with critical acclaim.
Samurai also has a deeper and more experimental cousin in its offshoot label Red Seal which strives to build a strong sense of quality and cutting edge music in its catalogue of releases.
We wanted to catch up with the man behind Samurai. Presha, like so many people in the music industry today, is not only a label owner but also a DJ, Promoter and Agent.
He recently relocated to Germany as did I, which puts him bang in the middle as an essential link between his New Zealand home and scene and the home of drum and bass in the UK. Whilst allowing him to have one foot in the also thriving minimal techno scene which finds its home in Germany.
Example : So Geoff what inspired you to start a label and what did you want to achieve?
Presha: I had always admired labels like Metalheadz, 31 Records, V, Commercial Suicide and felt I had a unique approach to offer like they had before me. I had always dealt closely with artists as a promoter for many years and had a lot of friends who had music that wasn't necessarily finding a home that easily. Not being a producer I felt I had more time to focus on what the artists really wanted. My goal was to offer artists from New Zealand and abroad a place where they could experiment and express themselves freely and work with me on projects. I also wanted to focus strongly on the aesthetic of the releases. At the time I started vinyl was beginning its sales decline and people weren't putting much effort into their releases so I went the other way.
Example: What drum and bass tune would you say got you hooked?
Presha: Rufige Kru 'Terminator' definitely. I had been hearing tunes but that one was the hook that dragged me in. The imagery and atmosphere it created spoke to who I was instantly. I had been DJing house, techno, & hip hop, but that was it for me, I was sold.
Example: Samurai is committed to exporting and supporting drum and bass artists from your homeland New Zealand. What is the scene like out there?
Presha: I haven't been there since April this year so hard to say. We have a very passionate crowd of people in the New Zealand scene hough, and they know their music. Sometimes it can be a bit small, hence my move, but a good night there is pretty much on par with any I've experienced.
Example: What was the first and last piece of music you bought and why ?
Presha: The first was a Ted Nugent album on vinyl when I was very young, mainly because my oldest brother loved him and I was dying to hear more. Last piece of music I bought was Joey Anderson 'Dive Deep' on Strength Music. I bought that because I heard it on a Levon Vincent mix a while ago and finally decided I needed to own the 12". Berlin has me buying lots of house and techno records on vinyl! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MKJNr8mU-xo
Example: Being in your position are you ever tempted to start producing or have you already?
Presha: I have always had a working studio, and in the past I''ve dabbled with Marcus Intalex, Digital, State Of Mind, Tokyo Prose, & Mosus but nothing has ever really come out release worthy. I've just had not enough time and too many jobs already underway. Amit has spurred me on to have another go now so we will see what happens
Example : You've played all over the world. Where's your favourite place to gig and why ?
Presha : Sun and Bass, without question. It's the place where everything is perfect and Drum and Bass music breathes a new life. I can't explain the magic you feel DJing in that big rotunda there. Its like everything you have ever wanted out of DJing Drum and Bass comes true for every second you are privileged to mix there.
Example : Whats next in the pipeline for Samurai?
Presha: We are about to release 4 new singles on Samurai Red Seal from artists Tokyo Prose, Phil Tangent, ASC and newcomer FIS. Watch out for FIS, he's a great guy who gave me a CD in my record store in Wellington, NZ a while ago that blew me away. I introduced him to Consequence who introduced him to dBridge and he has music coming on Exit now. He is totally unique and will turn a lot of heads for sure. Tokyo Prose & Phil Tangent have collaborated on one of the best pure liquid 12"s I have heard for some time, and ASC as always took my head off with so many amazing tunes it was hard to select the right ones. He is a true innovator. These releases will come in a new release approach that we will be trying out.
There are a few other things close to completion with some new names to the Samurai fold, but we're not ready to show our hand totally just yet!
Example : 3 tunes that are never out of your box at the moment?
Presha: Calibre - 'Hummer' / ST Files & Calibre - 'Falling Down' / Dub Phizix & Skeptical feat Strategy - 'Marka'
Example: Interesting / strange fact?
Presha: I toured the USA in the 80's skateboarding, sponsored by Texas boardmaker Zorlac. I used to do a party trick there where I threaded a chain through my nose and out my mouth. Gator gave me $5 to do it for him.
Example : Favourite Food?
Presha: Currywurst? No ha ha, Im partial to anything Japanese
ANYTHING YOU WANT TO ADD ?
Thank you to all supporters of the label and the artists that have helped me make it what it is today.
Ick bin ein Berliner!