Sam Poggioli, aka Sampology, is a DJ, producer, recording engineer, visual artist and former Worldwide FM host from Brisbane/Meanjin. Over the last fifteen years, Sam has been a key player in the rise of Australia’s burgeoning hip-hop, deep house, future jazz and broken beat scenes. Since 2017, he’s released records through Soul Has No Tempo, his own Middle Name Records label, and crafted uptempo remixes for Quantic, Kerbside Collection, Winston Surfshirt and Myele Manzanza.
In the early days of his career, Sam made his mark by performing acclaimed audiovisual DJ sets at festivals and nightclubs throughout Australia, New Zealand, South Asia, Europe and North America. In more recent years, however, he’s balanced his considered skills in the DJ booth with his personal evolution as a composer, producer and recording engineer. Revelling in lush, atmospheric soundscapes which draw from the grandiose splendour of the natural landscape that surrounds his hometown, Sam’s music embraces ornate melodic beauty, blending with syncopated rhythms, low-end theory and lush vocals.
Before he took his audiovisual DJ sets to the world, Sam sharpened his musical knowledge and skills while working at the iconic Butter Beats record store and spinning a mixture of hip-hop, breaks and drum and bass at nightclubs across Brisbane. The road he walked to that point began in his mid-teens after he was exposed to New York’s Native Tongues collective and The Avalanches from Melbourne/Naarm.
Fascinated by the sampledelic production techniques that helped take hip-hop to new levels in the 90s, Sam learned the basics of computer music production from his cousins, who were already performing nationally in a live electronica group. However, for the first act of his career, DJing was where Sam really shined. Soon enough, he was gracing stages alongside underground US and UK hip-hop stars like Blackalicious and Roots Manuva.
After proving himself nationally and overseas, Sam felt compelled to reconnect with Brisbane’s musical community and focus on his own growth as a producer and composer. This time around, as opposed to DJs and beatmakers, he was hanging out with a generation of trained instrumentalists and singers like Laneous and Noah Slee, who were reshaping the sounds of neo-soul, RnB, broken beat and jazz in the city. After learning more about recording equipment, he began collaborating with them on the material that made up his debut EP, Natural Selections (Soul Has No Tempo, 2016).
Sam also began to spend more time in the grandiose natural landscape that surrounds Brisbane and found himself reflecting on the formative musical experiences of his childhood, like being exposed to string music ensembles by his father and aunt, who’ve both spent decades as members of the Queensland Symphony Orchestra. Sam also thought back to his early teens when he sang in a cathedral choir. As he began to carve out his own composition and production sound, choral music, harmony, and string textures became a crucial counterpoint to the rhythmic sensibilities he’d learned from DJing hip-hop and dance music to audiences across the globe.
By 2018, Sam was recording local choirs and string sections and had built a strong community of like-minded musicians around himself. That year, he established his own independent label and recording studio, Middle Name Records. He inaugurated it with the release of his soulful deep house EP Mt Glorious featuring Dudley Perkins, Georgia Anne Muldrow and Jordan Rakei, and Middle Name Dance Tracks Vol 1, a collection of broken beat, disco and house tracks he’d recorded with friends as Middle Name Dance Band.
In 2019, the tastemaker Gilles Peterson invited Sam to host a monthly online radio show on Worldwide FM, giving him a platform to share his ever-expanding musical taste with a global audience. Through his shows, emerging soul, jazz, RnB, hip-hop, and club music from Australia and New Zealand stood shoulder to shoulder with the freshest new cuts and reissues from the global underground.
Two years later, Sam released his debut album, Regrowth, through Middle Name Records. Featuring collaborations with Laneous, Allysha Joy (30/70 Collective), Silent Jay, Seven Davis Jr (US) and James Chatburn, the album showed off his hard-won growth as a composer and producer with inimitable style. Through a heady mixture of live instrumentation, synthesisers, machine beats and soaring voices, Regrowth charted a course through hip-hop, dance, ambient and jazz-funk, earning him comparisons to Bonobo, Jamie XX, Kaytranada and Jon Hopkins along the way.
After the release of Regrowth, Sam realised he’d spent the first half of his career chasing the cutting-edge underground sounds of North America and Europe. When he looked around him, he saw that in the wake of Melbourne/Naarm jazz-funk band Hiatus Kaiyote’s international success, the world was looking at Australia. Since then, he’s been working to document the sound of Brisbane’s underground through Middle Name Records. Sam hopes that in the future, the label’s discography may inspire a new generation of music lovers. Maybe in a decade, someone going through the bins in a record store in London or Manchester will become fascinated by the 2020s Brisbane sound.