DJ Dossier

DJ Sam Groove Talks Underground Raves, Cops, Dirty Trickz, Oliver Twizt, Cool Kids, and More

Name: Samuel Groove

AKA: DJ Sam Groove

Current schedule: Audiometric is the next event my company, United Groove, is throwing at Club Stratus on November 6. You can usually catch one of my sets on a Friday or Saturday night at any given underground event in the Valley, and from time to time I rock clubs such as Cream, Myst, Afterlife, and Bar Smith.

Genres spun: I'm a house-head, so pretty much anything funky and banging. I'm also a sucker for a dope breakbeats, so I'll mix it in to keep people on their toes.

How did you get started as a DJ? Back in my high school days, I would spend hours downloading music and burning mix CDs for friends. These CDs seemed to always end up in the stereo system at parties. So when I got my first MP3 player, I would hijack any stereo system that I could get my hands on. During college, a friend of mine introduced me to turntables, vinyl records, mixing, and a gave me a deeper insight into electronic music. I bought my first set of tables and mixer, and became absolutely obsessed. Vinyl took over my life.

What do you dig about raves? Most of the time these events have a theme, and it adds an extra fun factor to the party. For this year's Discotropolis event, we gave out disco ball necklaces to the ticket holders and I even dressed up in a shiny pimp suit with a matching hat and pimp cane. All night I was getting the strangest looks from people, but it was a total blast!

Do you prefer raves to club gigs? I have fun playing every show. A party is a party, it doesn't matter where.

Sample mix:
House Play by SamGroove

Best experience as a DJ: By far the best experience Ive ever had was at my last Dirty
Disco event. It was a huge one stage desert party, with over 1000 people in attendance out in the middle of nowhere. The vibe was incredible all throughout the night and when morning came, I played the sunrise set. When the sun was finally up, there was still over
300 people dancing in the desert and every single one of them had a smile on their face. "Its all about the nod"

And the worst? Some nights are better than others, but when I get the chance to play out, I always make it a good experience.

What do you like best about the local DJ scene? Arizona is full of good talent. There are tons of great producers and performers in this state, and unfortunately many of them do not get the recognition they deserve. I would really like to see artists become successful, not because of politics or popularity, but due to their skills and hard work.

Explanation behind your DJ name: In 2008 when I started my production company United Groove I adopted the name Sam Groove. I give a lot of credit to a good friend and old mentor of mine, Lil Ernie Groove. He opened a lot of doors and helped guide my career.

Have underground events you've worked at been shut down by the cops? Way more than I can count. Between all the house parties, desert parties, and warehouse parties Ive been to in the past few years, I've been threatened with arrest simply because I had my headphones on. DJing is not a crime!

How has the local rave scene evolved over the years? Its great that events are now being held a large, legitimate venues like the Marquee and Stratus. Although I miss the thrill of calling the infoline the night of to find some random warehouse, I don't miss worrying about cops shutting the party down.

What other clubs have you worked at during your career? The first show I ever played was at the Sets in Tempe. Cream, Myst, E4, Cafe Carumba, Bar Smith, Dirty Pretty, and Jackrabbit are some of the clubs Ive played. There's been so many different rave spots over the years that its hard to name them all. The most memorable ones would probably have to be the Marquee, Icehouse, Madison Event Center, and Stratus.

Craziest shit you've seen at a gig: Cupids Revenge 6 at the Madison Event Center in 2008. I played the opening 2 hours with Luminous and I've never seen an event get packed so quickly. About halfway through the event I leave with some friends to get some alcohol. When we get back to the party I'm hammered and I see tons of cops on horses, flashing cop lights, and hundreds of ravers being hoarded out of the venue into the streets. "What the hell did we just miss?" "I don't know, but lets go inside and find out!" Mmm, there's nothing like the smell of sweaty ravers and pepper spray inside a warehouse.

Whats your mantra when it comes to DJing? "I wanna rock. ROCK!" No, Im kidding, I dont really have a mantra.

Worst request you've ever gotten: Every now and again a bug-eyed raver asks me to play hardcore. I respond "You want me to play hardcore?!? Alright! Hell yeah!" and the guy will walk away and I wont see him again all night.

What sites do you use for music? I don't kiss and tell :)

Do you shop anywhere locally? Those days are over with, R.I.P. London West Records.

Which underground artists you're been championing in your sets lately? Local Arizona favorite DJ Louder has dropped a couple bombs lately that I'm really into. His breaks remix of Benga's "No Bra No Panties" is straight fire, and his Fedde Le Grand "Back & Forth" re-rub is super dope. Also, local producer Dirty Trickz has caught my ear with his funky house tracks. His bootleg remix of Far East Movement's "Like A G6" is produced very well and has gotten recognition from some blog sites.

What else have you been listening to lately? Everything electronic. I listen to basically all the channels on But when I need a break from the techno, Ill bump some classic hip hop or some old school punk rock.

Last album purchased: Cool Kids, Bake Sale. I actually bought it on CD and on vinyl. I love this album. These guys are clever, fun to listen to, and their track "Bassment Party" is money. God bless good hip-hop.

Track currently stuck in your head: Oliver Twizt's "Rich Bitch"

Any projects you're working on? I'm keeping future plans hush hush, for now.

Future gigs you'd like to promote: Hard Dance Nation has teamed up with my production company United Groove, to bring you Audiometric on November 6 at Club Stratus. Headlining the show is hardstyle legend Brennan Heart, Delirium, and S-Factor, along with local DJs Matt Dunn, Dirty Trickz, and myself.

When not djing, where can you be found? On the streets promoting, in the studio working, or at the party gettin crunk. My life revolves around the music.

Prefered poison while DJing: Water and Red Bull. Actually, I drink Red Bull all the time.
Alcohol? Yes, please!

KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Benjamin Leatherman is a staff writer at Phoenix New Times. He covers local nightlife, music, culture, geekery, and fringe pursuits.