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Sax In the City With Sammy Bananas

The super-producer and all around great dude goes sax bombing in New York City.

by Jessica Gentile
Oct 9 2013, 7:00pm

Let's face it, Sammy Bananas is cooler than you. He is talented, nice, has a good sense of humor and looks great in a suit. He can even wear sunglasses indoors without us thinking he's a total jerk. His collaborative projects like Fifteenth with (thee) Mike B and Telephoned with Maggie Horn make us all smile and he is on legit record labels like Defected and Fools Gold. He's an all around cool guy making you feel some type of way.

This week I sent Mr. Bananas out on a mission to jam with some local musicians around New York City. Then we recorded it all on his Instagram account, and I asked him a few questions. Afterwards he gave me a free song for you all to listen to and download. See? Totally cool dude. Now for some #saxinthecity:

THUMP: Why do you call yourself Sammy bananas ?
Sammy Bananas: Like many great names I didn't chose it, it was given to me. My debut on the DJ world stage was as part of the duo Certified Bananas back in the mid 00s. I used to go by another name, but it was Chris Devlin (of Spankrock and now Win Win) who suggested that I call myself Sammy Bananas, since Sam is my first name. It stuck immediately since it's obviously very appealing.

Why did you make so many songs before we found out you played the sax ?
I've actually played sax on a bunch of my tracks! If you're looking for more, check out my Chromeo remix and the Sax dub I made for Free Magic & JKriv. I'm also known to make saxy cameos with Chromeo in concert.

How long have you been playing the sax?
At this point, over 20 years. So basically longer than you young buck DJs have been alive!

Was that your intro to music?
I actually studied piano a bit before picking it up, but the sax was the first instrument I felt was my own, and it set me on the path of a professional musician. When I was 12, I decided to perform on the streets and would take the train to busy Harvard Square, Cambridge, near where I grew up. I'd put my case down in front of me and there were times when I made over $100 in an hour!

Do you play anything else?
I can get by on the keyboard, guitar and bass, but sax is the only instrument I can really play live.

How did it feel to play sax on the streets again?
It was great! I was nervous that the street performers I approached wouldn't be into it, but everyone seemed real happy to have me join them for a bit. I haven't performed in the subways since I spent the summer of '03 in London, playing laptop beats out of a battery-powered amp (that's a whole 'nother story...) but it's really exciting to put yourself out there in public space.