Music by VICE

Keeping Your Creative Juices Flowing, with DJ SOSUPERSAM & Kilo Kish

The LA-based DJ talks Stevie Wonder, hotel beds, and leaves us with an exclusive mix.

by Kilo Kish
Nov 20 2015, 6:50pm

Photo by Chris Chang

Kilo Kish: How did you get started with DJing and throwing parties?

Samantha Duenas, a.k.a., SOSUPERSAM: I started DJing in 2008 as a creative outlet for my boring 9-5 job. It was something I was always exposed to as a Filipino kid in Southern California, and I thought I'd finally give it a try. I've always had so much fun with it that it eventually became my career. In 2013, I started throwing a party called 143 with my friends, just as a way to be able to hang out, play slow jams really loud, and get free drinks. It sort of just grew from there and it's been almost three years now!

How do you mentally prepare for a performance?

I get super nervous. I usually just stay really quiet and it's hard for me to socialize or have dinner before a performance.  

Artists who have inspired you?

Stevie Wonder is probably my GOAT. I'm also currently inspired by Kelela. I love her music. It's very progressive but also nostalgic and soulful.

Photo by Taylor Okata

Favorite past projects of yours?

I just started a mix series called SUP? I will be putting out more volumes of it soon.

I know you’ve been slowly transitioning from playing music, to making remixes, and now writing and doing vocals for your own original music. How has that process been and what have you learned?

It's been a positively challenging experience that has been happening slowly over the course of the last few years. The main lesson I've learned is how awesome it is to collaborate.  

How/what do you do to get inspired to create work?

I'll start my day by setting a timer for 10 minutes and then freewriting. It sort of has been helping me get creative juices flowing for the day ahead.  

Are you always proud of the work you make?

I am! And then five years later I'm usually like "What the F was I even thinking back then?"

Photo by Taylor Okata

What are some of the physical and emotional tolls of your work?

The travel is physically grueling, lots of sleepless nights, hotel beds that never get slept in because I had to go straight to the airport after a show. There's expected achiness from being crammed into an airplane, and in general it's hard to establish any sort of consistent sleep or eating or exercise pattern that the body needs. This eventually takes an emotional toll, but at the same time my favorite part of my job is the travel because I get to meet so many people and go on adventures and see different parts of the world.

Views on collaboration?

I was always scared to collaborate but I recently learned that it's fun and also so necessary. You're not always gonna have the "creative juice" and it's fun to see how a sketch of a concept can snowball into a cool idea. You can't do that alone.

Frustrations and solutions: if you're stuck creatively, what do you do to get unstuck?

I usually will do a freewrite or get a massage or go for a walk. Anything to untangle the brain for a little bit and press the reset button.

Is it ever a struggle to juggle the business side of the music world?

Absolutely. I'm the neurotic organized sort who loves a good spreadsheet and doing admin tasks. It's definitely hard to stay on top of that and simultaneously feel creatively free and loose.

Photo by Ja Tecson

Something that you'd like to improve in yourself/your work as an artist?

I'd like to be able to embrace my creative freedoms more. I love rules and guidelines and artistry is about embracing chaos and realizing that the process isn't always going to be the same.

If you weren't doing this, and had to get a "day job" where would you see yourself?

I would either be 1.) a publicist (which I was!) or 2.) a Laker girl (really wish I was).

Anything you'd like to promote coming up?

My R&B party, 143, is going to tour the Pacific Northwest and Miami for Art Basel. Then we're closing out the year back home in LA with a performance from Ginuwine.

Related:

Introducing Kilo Kish, Our Editor at Large

Kilo Kish Interviews Millie Brown

Kilo Kish Interviews the Founder of DEERDANA

Kilo Kish Presents: Photographer Emmanuel Olunkwa

Awol Erizku Talks Creative Voice and Duchamp Detox Clinic

On Creating 'KISHA'