Dave Giles II and Sam O.B. may come from different musical backgrounds, but their work together as Dave + Sam sounds like they have been together for decades. Combining Dave’s spoken word, rapping and uncompromising message with Sam O.B.’s electronic and deep house roots; they put out an album titled No Shade that effortlessly blends those two styles together. It tackles corruption, body image and the ability to express yourself freely over fun, subdued beats and a poignant message from Dave.
Stream No Shade and get a copy here.
With the new album out now, we wanted to learn a bit more about their message on the record, protest music in electronic music, how their collaboration came to be and more. They are also made us a Magnetic Mix with a collection deep and soulful records to warm your heart.
Read on for the interview and find the tracklist for the mix at the bottom.
On the song “Facts,” you go after the president and corruption in America. What do you think of the state of protest music in electronic music and why there isn’t more of it?
In my opinion, the inception of house as an expressive haven for queer, black and brown communities was inherently political — and landmark records like Mr. Fingers’ “Can U Feel It MLK Edit” or Aly-Us “Follow Me” come out of that legacy. I firmly believe that life influences art — and as electronic music expanded and ultimately shifted its demographics, the priorities of the genre changed.
While the next 2 decades in the US were far from sweet, the corruption, instability and inequalities perpetuated by our establishment have probably never been as transparent and far-reaching as they have been under the recent administration. As of right now, I look at what’s happening on Classic & Glitterbox with records like ours, Snips & Will Stowe’s “The Product,” Fiorious’ “I’m Not Defeated” and the upcoming Honey Dijon LP Black Girl Magic and I can assure you that the spirit of protest and social awareness is alive and well at Defected.
Was it difficult at first to make your two different projects and sounds work together?
Never. We initially linked about 10 years ago when I was in a rap duo and Sam was DJing and producing. We respected each other’s crafts and influences, collabed on some hip-hop & footwork fusion on The Paxtons’ “Stay In Love” (2011) and ultimately, Sam was intentional about attempting some records inspired by early Chicago house and the legacy of NYC’s underground nightlife. When we did the first records from 2012-2014 remotely, Sam would send a track and I’d send him back loosely structured verses, hooks and chatter that he would masterfully turn into complete songs. Once we signed in 2017, we took that same trust into more focused collaborative sessions and the rest is No Shade.
What was the moment you realized you wanted to make this duo an official project that would make an album?
When we finished the first batch of songs and began to play them out in 2014 & 2015. The first record in particular “You Da Sh*t Girl” felt special and would kill everywhere from Sam’s DJ sets to my indie rap shows. We believed in it, shopped it for years, produced a visual and eventually dropped it as a reaction to the 2016 election. The labels came in 2017 and after we sat down with Luke Solomon & Simon Dunmore in 2018, we officially set upon making an album.
What are you guys doing to stay sane during quarantine? Anything new you are learning or working on?
Dave: Working out with my kids, teaching myself to play the drums and watching producer battles with my wife on IG Live. I’m also sitting on an EP’s worth of new slaps from Sam, but y’all ain’t hear that from me.
Sam: I’m making the slaps! But seriously, it’s been a lot of music making, cooking, some reading, a few TV shows. I’m also trying to get back into piano lessons - going to be trading production/mixing advice for lessons...I’m into bartering.
What were some of the most important lessons you (Dave) learned from Mos Def, Mike Dunn, Moodymann and Gil Scott Heron?
Gil was like a punchline rapper with a scholar’s awareness of politics. He was also was my father’s favorite artist and his music has helped me stay connected to his spirit since he transitioned. “Facts” & “Worth It” were the result of imagining what 70s Gil would do on a soulful house record. Mos Def was like a bridge from Gil Scott Heron to hip-hop for me. “Home” bears references to “Umi Says” and “Home is Where the Hatred Is.” Moodymann’s delivery and vocal fx were part of the album’s moodbord and his effortless cool was something I wanted to convey in my banter and adlbs. And Mike Dunn is the king of call and response club music. There wouldn’t be “You Da Shit Girl” without Phreaky MF and obviously “Til the World Blow Up” wouldn’t be what it is without his presence.
Magnetic Mix 092 Tracklist:
1) Groove Committee - Just Play The Music
2) Dego - Celestian Ditton
3) Steve Summers - Analogous Desires
4) Dave + Sam - Mainframe (Inst)
5) Recloose - Soul Clap 2000
6) Andrés - Jazz Dance
7) Todd Terry - Rock That Groove Ft. Doug Lazy
8) Max Graef + Glenn Astro - Magic Johnson
9) Sammy Bananas - Thrilla
10) The Mole People - Break Night
11) ??? - Cabana
12) Matthew Progress - Lemon Pepper
13) Gil Scott-Heron - The Other Side, Pt. Ii