Everyone has their sneaky cheat codes. Maybe you brush your teeth in the shower to save time. Or perhaps you’ve guessed your parents’ Netflix password.
Logic1000 has her own original life hack. The Sydney-born, Berlin-based DJ and producer makes beats for her burgeoning electronic music project on tinny laptop speakers: the shitty ones that sound like a shrunken band is being held captive inside your PC.
“Because once the track is finished, you plug in the headphones or the speakers and you’re just like Oh. My. God,” she says, raising her arms and blocking out Berlin’s elephant-grey skies from NME’s Zoom view. She gives me an intense, you-know-what-I-mean look through chestnut brown eyes. “It’s like, this sounds really weird and… really good!”
It’s a fine litmus test, the dance music equivalent of playing songs on acoustic guitar or piano to see whether the hooks and choruses pull their weight.
And Logic1000’s method is obviously working.
Samantha Poulter grew up in the Sydney suburb of Yarrawarrah then Botany Bay. Obsessed with Michael Jackson and Peter Andre, she graduated to Destiny’s Child and Notorious B.I.G. as a teen before snarling dubstep came along and slapped her upside the head. “It sounded naaaasty,” she says, a wicked grin flowering across her face while her Macedonian terrier mix rescue dog, Biba, sleeps next to her on the couch.
“Early dubstep was super moody, it made me feel tough. And I hate to say it like this, but it made me feel sexy.” The pivotal track Poulter remembers is Loefah’s ‘The Goat Stare.’
The 34-year-old late-bloomer may be an electronic music lifer now, but she only got into house music in 2017. Within four short years, her UK bass- and funky garage-flecked productions found fans in Caribou, Ben UFO, DJ Python and Floating Points. Four Tet altered the course of Poulter’s life with a seven-word tweet… but we’re getting ahead of ourselves.
“Early dubstep was super moody, it made me feel tough… it made me feel sexy”
On the strength of her self-titled debut EP, released through Melbourne label Sumac in 2018, Logic1000 went on to remix Christine and the Queens, Major Lazer, Låpsley and Don Toliver. She’s racked up 3million streams, snared a spot on the NME 100, scored Pete Tong’s Essential New Tune for ‘I Won’t Forget’, and DJed at Victoria’s Meredith Music Festival to 12,000 people.
“I was anxious before that show,” she remembers, “but then a wave of calm came over me because my friends were there and it was such a beautiful landscape. The energy there was super calm, and it wasn’t like this turbo, hectic festival which would have made me really anxious.”
Acute anxiety is something that’s been part of Poulter’s life for around 10 years. It’s actually the lesser of two evils – the other a serious condition she’s never spoken about in detail, until now.
“I have schizophrenia which is really well managed through being sober from drugs, sleeping well, taking my medications daily, eating well, talking to a psychologist and regular checks with a psychiatrist,” she says, fidgeting with a half-smoked rollie.
In June last year, she opened up on a link between her severe mental illness and an encounter with the criminal justice system on social media.
She wrote, “Nine years ago (the last time I took illicit drugs) I was so psychotic and so afraid of everyone who loved me that I stole my mum’s car keys and drove off in a reckless manner.” Poulter then described a grisly car accident where she was put in an induced coma, airlifted to hospital, had her heart stop (!) in front of her parents, was later arrested by police for dangerous driving and narrowly avoided conviction, she says, on grounds of her mental illness.
Once Poulter had fulfilled her legal obligations, she was released from her forensic order. “It was honestly the best day of my life. That is where my music journey started,” she reflects now.
Logic1000 took that carefree headspace into writing music with her partner, producer and ‘Ableton Certified Trainer’ Thomas McAlister, aka Big Ever (formerly Cop Envy).
“I wanted to make music I was craving to hear,” she explains. McAlister would shuffle through his sound bank of samples. “I would say ‘OK, let’s go through an a cappella’ and I’d be like [jabs finger] ‘OK, I want that one! Now give me a kick drum’, He would go through all the kick drums: ‘That one!!’”
Poulter managed another Logic1000 life hack through pure serendipity. New York jock Anthony Naples heard the seismic groove of her track ‘DJ Logic Please Forgive Me’ which samples Deborah Cox’s ‘It’s Over Now’. He loved it so much he showed it to Four Tet, aka Kieran Hebden.
On April 15, 2019, Hebden pronounced ‘Please Forgive Me’ “one of the big tracks of 2019” to his 260,000 Twitter followers. It was a huge co-sign – but Poulter had had an inkling it could happen, as days earlier Four Tet had done her another solid.
As Poulter enthused on Facebook and Instagram: “GUESS WHAT!? Four Tet played my track at Coachella the other night!!!!!! Feeling blessed.” More clips emerged of the DJ spinning the track across Europe to crowds who were mad for it, and a banger was born.
“After he sent that tweet I started getting emails from major labels hitting me up. I was like, ‘Is this real?’ But I didn’t go with any of them. Bookings started coming through and I had already decided to move to London with my partner. It worked out perfectly because by the time I got to London, the release was popping off,” she says.
“So, it just sort of made way for a career in dance music, which is crazy to me. Because y’know, in Australia, you rarely hear people doing music full-time.” Poulter found a manager in London she vibed with, but due to her anxiety, found Old Blighty “a bit too turbo”.
So she and McAlister moved to Berlin – just as COVID-19 was spreading rapidly through Europe, shuttering clubs in the process.
The last time she boogied at a club, it was January 2020, and Poulter was watching Sydney’s DJ Plead (her collaborator on low-key banger ‘Na’) at Panorama Bar in Berghain on a four-point line-array system with six Studt Akustik subwoofers – somewhat more substantial than PC speakers.
Poulter, who’s growing out of the bedroom producer tag, hasn’t been able to road-test her new material on those big, fuck-off sound systems in sweaty clubs. But she’s still a teeny bit excited about her new EP, ‘You’ve Got The Whole Night To Go’, which drops this Friday on Therapy / Caroline Music.
The project is a self-described soundtrack to a club marathon. “My friend Lenny heard the EP demos and said, ‘This is exactly the moment in the club when everything’s going well, you’re feeling good and you’ve got the whole night to go’,” Poulter explains. “That’s the kind of the energy I wanted for this release.
“‘I Won’t Forget’ is a euphoric one I made with festivals in mind; a real hands-in-the-air moment. ‘Medium’ has a Miami bass feel and it’s fun and bouncy. I think it’s a great car song,” she gushes.
“After Four Tet sent that tweet I started getting emails from major labels hitting me up. I was like, ‘Is this real?’”
And with the future of nightclubs as clear as mud, a car might be the best place to listen to Logic1000’s music right now. Event promoters are also pivoting to outdoor events with crowds penned up and cordoned off, away from each other and the DJ.
This last bit may be a silver lining for Poulter. “I get way more nervous playing a club gig to 100 people,” she confesses, as Biba stirs on the couch. “I find playing big festivals way easier, you have your set planned out, you run on stage and do it and you’re away from people, I know I won’t be as anxious.”
That’s a relief, because playing festivals – and eventually headlining them – look an inevitable part of Logic1000’s exciting trajectory.
‘You’ve Got The Whole Night To Go’ is out January 22 through Therapy / Caroline