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Sample Gee - Spreading the sound

Author: michelle pirovich
Tuesday, June 11, 2002
You could easily be forgiven for turning an enviable shade of green when you see how much New Zealand born Grant Kearney aka Sample Gee has accomplished in his first thirty years.

Sample Gee has just released his 8th album in the 'Lagered' series and with people cynically viewing a cd series that has gone anything beyond volume number five as mass marketed crap instead of seeing it as an accomplishment, Grant decided to take on a more creative approach to the naming of his latest work. 'I chose the word elevation as it describes both the uplifting feel of the cd as well including a hint of the number 8...elevate.'

The album, which is a spine tingling mix of trance anthems both old and new came at a time when Grants music collection was exploding with tracks that had to be heard by a wider audience. 'I get a lot of great music thrown at me, and I also had DJ Tiesto's manager quite keen for me to include 'Dallas 4pm' which is a compliment you can't turn down.'

The 'Lagered' series came into being in 1996 with the tracklist including bands such as the Prodigy, Chemical Brothers and Underworld. The idea was spawned from the NZ dance music TV show 'The Pulse' which Grant was the host of. 'The show was incredibly popular and people constantly called to find out where they could get the tracks I was playing, so taking on the 'Born Slippy' theme of 'lagered, lagered, lagered ' I put together the first 'Lagered' compilation'. It was well received in small pockets both in New Zealand and here in Australia, but that was not enough.

Possessing a characteristic uncommon among many djs/producers Grant wanted to open dance music up to the masses. 'I didn't want people in the far outer suburbs to be exposed only to rock music. I want everyone to have access to the fantastic world of dance. As long as you remain faithful to yourself and maintain a quality standard then your music will sell really well.' The proof as they say is in the pudding 135,000 people now own copies of the 'Lagered' albums.

Faithful is one thing Grant will clearly remain, there are no signs of pretension or superiority here whatsoever. In fact Grants passion for music and his desire to share the joys that come from it with as many as possible have you feeling that Grant has inadvertently become somewhat the musical missionary, spreading doof to us all. He has been pretty darn successful at it too, single handedly launching New Zealand into the world of dance music.

On top of the TV show and the 'Lagered' series Grants contribution to music started back in 1996, following every boys dream Grant was a member of NZ rap group 'Total Effect', they had an ep with two tracks on it, but with the introduction of clearing samples the financial stretch was too much and the boys decided to lay Total Effect to rest. Sort of, from its ashes rose 'The Chain Gang' and alongside producer Alan Jansson of 'How Bizzare' OMC fame Grant produced 2 house tracks, which reached the top 20s of the NZ charts. 'It was so cool I was only 21 with two top 20 hits' laughs Grant.

Realising New Zealand was in need of a specialty dance music store, Grant with long time associate Sam Hill opened up Auckland's first dance music store 'Bassline Records.' 'Everyone said we were crazy' but Grant knew it was time and NZs dance scene finally began to emerge. 'Bassline Records' is no longer but Grant who sold his share is confident that he 'poisoned enough minds' to get people interested in the dance scene. 'There are quite a few highly reputable stores in Auckland now.'

Grants achievements don't end there. There are also the 'Brain' parties. Starting in Auckland in 1991, playing jungle, acid house and trance, the parties still continue to this day making them the longest running dance party in Australasia. 'They are all ages events now and for a lot of these kids it is their introduction to dance music, so there is a lot of enthusiasm, people are on a natural high'

With New Zealands