Virtual Festivals: You've just finished DJing in The Strongbow Rooms. Sticking round for a bit?
Sam Hardaker: Yeah. I came on my own after a big night out last night playing records at a mateís party, but Iíll definitely hang around for a bit and see whatís going on. It seems a good vibe at the moment.
VF: Did you enjoy the set?
SH: Despite the hangover it was cool. The stuff I play is a bit random and Iím the first to admit Iím not a great DJ in the technical sense. I was a bit unsure where to go, playing at such an early hour. But thatís pretty much what I always do Ė just see where it takes me.
VF: Is that why you're always on early?!
SH: Yes probably! I did the Clapham Common thing, B-Live, where again I was first on. Iím always put on first because I think people expect me to be a chill out DJ, but I like bits of everything. Admittedly, I donít play hard stuff and wouldnít be seen playing a big arena, I prefer intimate venues, but Iím also not some ambient, noodly chill out DJ. In fact I donít even like the type of chill out that people would probably expect me to play.
VF: Does The Strongbow Rooms fit into that 'intimate' bracket?
SH: Yeah it does. Itís always got a really good vibe, with people hanging out having a drink. Itís a great place to drop in to in between bands. I also like the selection of DJs it puts on, perfect festival fodder. I think thatís a very important part of festivals, bumping into something you donít necessarily know much about and really enjoying it.
VF: What's happening with Zero 7? We hear a new album is due soon.
SH: Me and Henry, the guy I work with in Zero 7, have just been writing and recording the third album. Heís moved down to Somerset and built a studio. Weíve done the whole record there over the summer, which has been great. Itís a bit of a change from Willesden and great to get out into the country. Iíve found itís been really helpful in getting things done. There are far fewer distractions and weíve managed to do more production, whilst spending less time actually working.
VF: You've always had a lot of collaborators, like Sophie Barker and Sia on vocals. Is there going to be less of that?
SH: Yeah, itís mainly just me and Henry. Weíve had singers coming down to do sessions and there are live elements to it, but itís more electronic than the last two albums. It still sounds like us but weíve just explored some new avenues and, well, youíll just have to wait and see! In the history of what weíve been doing we felt like we needed a change. Things reached their conclusion and so weíve evolved.
VF: When's it out?
SH: I donít think itíll come out until February or March. Weíve pretty much finished it but I can see us tinkering with some really small part for weeks! But weíve done pretty well in getting it done as we usually have people shouting at us to finish an album, so Iím pretty relaxed about it.
VF: Finally, you've said in the past that Glasto is your favourite festival. How does V compare?
SH: I don't know. Glastonbury is definitely my thing. Thereís really something special about it and itís not just about bands. Iíve been going there since I was a teenager and itís still always a unique adventure. I donít really know that much about We played here as a band a few years ago but didnít really see much of it. But I reckon Iíll go and have a wander about now. I quite fancy checking out I Am Kloot and The Roots.