Sammy Dee has been hailed as an innovator of the “off kilter” sound, that very much defines Perlon’s style of music. He is not just a producer, but a celebrated DJ, party organiser, and a label & club owner too. He is of course known to many as a defining figure in Perlon with his own solo productions as well as his releases with Zip as Pantytec. Let’s not forget his efforts to co-run and DJ at the highly anticipated Get Perlonized parties in Berlin’s Panorama Bar, as well as Aufgebasst at Club Der Visionäre or Hoppetosse. The last time we saw him was at the Get Perlonized party as well as Toi Toi in Barcelona for Off Week… Was a beautiful weekend indeed!
What more, as an original native to the city, he was a resident for Tresor and Ostgut (AKA Berghain’s “father”) during their heydays, and experienced Berlin’s fundamental changes from before and after the fall of the wall. Even today he is there, and still going strong. His own projects include his self-started label Ultrastretch, comprised of young artists with each release usually paired with a remix from the bigger ones like Baby Ford, Fumiya Tanaka and Ricardo Villalobos. He even opened a gem of a local club named Anita Berber, with fellow Berliner Tom Clark. A friendly guy, he sat down to answer some questions about his projects for Say What? Here it is!
Your real name is Mario Radecki, but people in music know you as Sammy Dee. Where did you get your DJ name from?
Correct! It’s just an Artist Name such as Prince.
I do like performing with different artists, it makes it musically a lot more flexible, from my experience!
If you could play one Perlon track that symbolises an important part of your life, what would you play?
Excuse me, but it would not be just one track: The Pantytec album, since it adapts a lot to me, was my first album. It came out on Perlon, and it was just a lot of fun working on it. Also it was very interesting, the feedback we got and to see how people reacted to this kind of off kilter sound!
That’s correct! It was actually my first real co/production experience. Straight analog!!!
Back then I liked the label a lot, and I have to say that I was really thankful to work with Heiko Laux.
You released your first single ep, “Purplehummer” in 2008, after 20 years since you started your musical career. Was there a reason you chose to release an ep after all that time, and in that particular year? Can you tell me the story behind this ep?
Actually there was not such as reason. I did have a small set up, and I think it just felt right at that moment!
The idea behind my first solo ep happend in 2007! When I had a show in NYC I was staying with friends in Brooklyn and at some point we wanted to get back to Manhattan and we were thinking of calling a car service and we built up our dream purplehummerultrastretch -limo 😉 So I named the ep after that.
You have a track called “You are so 99”. Can you describe what the scene was like in 1999? What were you listening to and playing out in clubs?
Well that ep came out in 99, and we went on our first North American tour back then, which was quite an experience! Maybe this was the idea of it!
The scene in Berlin back then was quite rough and less developed! And of course the fees for Djs were not as ridiculously high! I was listening to all kinds of music like today, and played a bit harder techno since I regularly performed at the old Ostgut!
In an RA Slices feature about Berlin, one of the topics discussed was the development of the mostly illegal parties after 1990, when the club scene started quickly developing into an industry. You mentioned, “In Berlin it got more professional. People starting labels, starting businesses, merchandise, and it got more serious”. What do you think about this change? Are you happy about the result?
Since I’m from Berlin, I think we can be a bit proud of the Electronic Scene here! Berlin became more serious about their club life and musical productions, if you look at all the artist who moved to Berlin that shows some credibility!
You named your label, as well as your first single ep after your first child, Ultrastretch. How does having a child, or being a father, influence your approach to music?
The Ultrastretch Label is basically just a platform for younger artists!
Your label showcases some talented, budding artists. What was it about their music that inspired you to take the next step and take them under your Ultrastretch wing?
Well, some really good friends of mine are doing incredible music which influenced me, so it was just a matter of time to release their music on Ultrastretch. I just try to help those very talented artists to have their kick off in the right direction!
You are an experienced chef they say. Do you think it is a “thing”, that a good dj can also be a good cook? Can we make this relation?
Yes indeed. You are simply just going to mix the right ingredients and create something new and tasty, don’t you think?
It certainly seems like you have taste for good food, and drinks! You along with your business partner Tom Clark, founded the Berlin club, Anita Berber. You mentioned that when you started, it wasn’t something that you meticulously planned out. Despite that, it seems like it’s been doing pretty well for itself! As well as its fine cocktails, what makes djs and clubbers return to the venue? How did you even find the building itself?
Yes I’m quit surprised as well! Of course I believed in it, but never thought it would become like it is today! We’re really happy about it and will keep our passion! It’s not a secret that quality makes people return! My partner lived there already for 2 years, so we were pretty lucky!
Thank you Sammy Dee! Please check out his podcast he sent to us! It’s sexy!
We are also happy to see him play next in London for Lamache and Guillaume’s Discobar label release party on the 9th of October. Check out the event here!