Logic doesn’t always prevail in real life, but on the strength of her new single, “Perfume”, Samantha Poulter (AKA Logic1000), has plenty more in the proverbial bottle. But the stuttering drums, percussive groove, and sweet, soulful vocals of “Perfume” are actually from a finessed version of the very first track that Sam made as Logic.
“About four years ago, I started making Logic1000 tracks with my husband, and we would upload them to SoundCloud as DJ Logic,” she explains. “The very first tune I uploaded was ‘Perfume’. It sounded quite different though — the drums were super dry and it was a lot harder. We lost the original project, so once I decided I wanted to release it officially, we had to recreate it from scratch. It was fun because we ended up changing a few things, and now it sounds a lot more in line with where my sound is now. The fact that it’s the first song I ever made makes it really special to me.”
And while she’s open to everything that the world has to offer, in many ways Sam already has her perfect creative partner in husband, Tom McAlister. “I think I’ve already found my ultimate collaborator!” she smiles. “We work so well together in the studio. We’re always open to each other’s ideas and I think that comes from the huge amount of respect we have for each other’s taste in music. We’ve also been in each other’s lives for nine years, so we’re a well-oiled machine!”
As well as “Perfume” and a haunting vocal mix of Lapsley’s “Womxn” on XL Recordings, plus a smart re-fix of “La Vita Nuova” by Christine and the Queens, there’s plenty more to come from this seriously talented Sydney-born producer, who is as inspired by classic ‘90s soul divas and Aaliyah-esque R&B as she is the latest trick from Four Tet and Caribou.
“I think my love of R&B is probably mostly the result of being born in 1986,” she starts. “Growing up in the ‘90s and naughties meant I was constantly exposed to R&B; I still adore it too. New artists like Summer Walker and Erika de Casier still scratch that same itch. To me, it’s just undeniably good music.”
A forthcoming release from Sam also samples “Never Forget (When You Touch Me)” by Hardrive 2000, a project from the mighty Masters At Work that was originally released in 1999. Thankfully Louie Vega himself has already approved the usage, which means that rather than releasing a mere bootleg, she has the seal of approval from a bona fide Master At Work.
“A friend of mine sent me a huge pack of acapellas, and this one stood out — I knew I had to use it,” she says of the new song. “I think with a lot of the samples I use, it’s about the feeling I get when I hear it for the first time. I usually know within the first 15 seconds whether I’ll be using it or not. Because of my deep love of R&B, they tend to be samples from that genre. There’s so much personality and musicality and soul in the vocals.”
Instead of sampling, say, Deborah, Cox, or Masters At Work, would the ultimate dream be to actually work with them?
“Yes, most definitely! I would love to work with vocalists instead of sampling them. That’s my ultimate goal. I’m actually working with a vocalist at the moment and I am really loving the process. I think she’s quite new to the game and has a huge amount of talent. We’ve nearly finished the track, it’s an absolute banger. She’s nailed it. It’s also kind of a weird process because of COVID — we’ve done this collaboration over the Internet! So yes, I’m looking forward to being able to work in the studio directly with artists.”
But this isn’t the first spike in Samantha’s career. Four Tet seriously backed her music when she released the Logic1000 EP on the SUMAC label back in 2018. “That was a huge moment. I have my friend Gus from Skylab Radio to thank. It’s weird how these things pan out, and strangely I’ve had a lot of offers and interest since Four Tet played it at Coachella.”
The success of the record resulted in her moving with her husband Tom to London for music opportunities. And, she admits, as a total spur-of-the-moment decision. The adventure was either going to take them to London or Berlin: and now they’ve actually made the jump to Germany as a couple. (Logic also played Printworks with Moodymann and Theo Parrish last August, her favourite show to date, even though she’s only played a handful so far.)
Asked to describe herself, she fires back with “resilient, generally very positive, needy, and I like to laugh at really stupid things”. Despite the state of the world, Sam remains resolutely positive. “Things are so grim at the moment for so many people,” she muses.
“If you had asked me this five years ago, and all of this stuff was happening, I probably would say I’m feeling really depressed and anxious, and there’s no hope for anyone. I was in a bad place and a lot of bad things were happening in my life. But on a very personal level, I’ve never been more stable and happy. This is obviously a lot to do with my privilege as a healthy, white-passing, mixed-race woman. I think 2020 and all the years preceding it have been super hard for a lot of people of color. I think about this a lot, especially with the brown side of my family, and even with my siblings, but especially my black friends.
“There’s no escaping what’s going on in the world, they can’t just switch off,” she continues. “I try to use my stability at the moment to listen to and help my friends and family who might be struggling. But I’m feeling optimistic. I think with the BLM movement and seeing how we are all adapting and changing to the new world we are living in, I have hope for the future.”
But what’s been the biggest surprise of lockdown for Sam? “That my mental health didn’t take a beating. With my illness, stress is a huge trigger and also when “weird” stuff happens, I sometimes freak a bit. But I just took it in my stride, which I am so proud of. I started cooking so much. That was the main joy of lockdown. My mum is writing a cookbook of all the family recipes that have been passed down through the generations, so I definitely gave that a good go. Lots of curry and rice for dinner. Also I bought a KitchenAid mixer, so I was able to tap into my British/Scottish side and got into baking cakes. I’m actually pretty bad at baking which is a huge shame because I love naughty treats!”
Aside from all the baking and cooking, she also has a career to balance, and she admits that while she thought about never playing shows again, she now hopes to release an album in 2021.
“Fingers crossed!” She pauses. “I’d also like to get back into playing shows if that’s even possible by that time. During lockdown I said to myself I never want to play shows again. The thought of it really scared me. But I think that was because of the isolation anxiety. But now I’m getting out more and doing some mixes.” Which brings us to a close to where we started: talk of collaboration.
“I’m still open to working with other producers,” she clarifies, just in case we thought she was part of a husband and wife production duo only. “It kind of intrigues me to see how other people work. Four Tet and Pearson Sound would be at the top of my list.”
Ralph Moore is a freelance journalist, presenter at Worldwide FM, and music director at Mixmag. Find him on Twitter.