Logic1000 on DJ'ing, Couples Therapy, Anxiety, and Berlin vs. London

Logic1000 on DJ'ing, Couples Therapy, Anxiety, and Berlin vs. London
Photo by Jared Beeler

This is a free post from Larry Fitzmaurice's Last Donut of the Night newsletter. Paid subscribers get a Baker's Dozen playlist every Friday with songs I've been listening to as well as criticism and thoughts around those songs.

I was a big fan of Sydney-via-Berlin-via-London DJ and producer Samantha Poulter's 2021 EP as Logic1000, You've Got the Whole Night to Go. Her debut album Mother builds on that release's promise, providing heavy doses of euphoric electronic pop and dance that are always appreciated. I caught up with Samantha a few months ago to chat about everything she's been through in the last few years alongside making this great record.

You've lived in Berlin for a minute now. How's that been compared to London?
It's good. I've been talking a lot about Berlin vs. London with my partner Tom. There are so many things we love about Berlin, but I think there are more things that we love about London, so we're going to leave Berlin in a couple of years—but I like it for now. I feel like Berlin is a really great city for young people who are interested in nightlife. There's an infinite number of clubs and so much going on. I do often talk about the fact that it's a great city to have young kids in, but there's only a finite amount of interesting things to do with a two-year-old in the city. Because London is such a massive city, there's something for everyone there. It's not only good for young parents, but it's also good for young people. There's so much more opportunity to explore different facets of the city, and it's so diverse in so many ways. That excites us. So that's why we've decided to move back.

I watched the Resident Advisor video essay recently on the German government cracking down on pro-Palestinian protests. I know that in Berlin, there's been a lot of movement and action and conversation when it comes to action on behalf of artists. Has that crossed your radar?
Maybe not as an artist, because I don't consider myself an artist who is very active in Berlin—I don't really get booked, I don't really fit into any scene here. But as a person in Berlin who is very pro-Palestine, I've found it really strange. It's scary to see how the government has responded to this whole thing—it's terrifying. I mean, I know the UK is not a utopia in any way.

Sure, but it's been especially rough in Germany.
Yeah—and I've been to protests in other cities, but I didn't feel safe taking my daughter to protests in Berlin, just because of the sheer police violence and lack of safety for protesters. 

You've obviously had a lot of life transitions take place leading up to this record. Talk about how those dovetailed with the creative process.
I don't know where to start. Tom and I began writing the album around the time I became a mother and he became a father, and obviously that's a massive transition—seismic. For me, things snowballed. We were having conversations about our relationship, because that happens to a lot of couples once they have a kid.

The newborn and early postpartum period shook me. I had all these aspirations and hopes—these creative urges—but I felt like my hands were tied. I wanted to tour, I wanted to write this album, I wanted to have a social life, I wanted to travel. I had a real thirst for all of that. But, you have a small child that needs you 24/7—and it's the most beautiful thing you've ever seen, and you just want to spend all your time with that. I've never felt that like that before. Every morning, I wake up and she's crawled into my bed. I'm literally shook that my love has grown even more. I thought I was in love with her when I first laid eyes on her, but now I'm realizing this is never going to stop growing.

I created this thing that I love so much. I created life. When I realized that I was capable of that, I wanted to create more things that were suitable, nuanced, and unique to me and Tom. That's why we started writing the album. Then, all that stuff happened between us and we were going to break up. Once the album was finished, we went through counseling. We really worked on ourselves in our relationship. Now, it feels really complicated but beautiful to reflect on what we went through the writing period.

My wife and I did couples therapy after lockdown ended. It's one of those things that needs to be normalized. Our generation was raised on the belief where, in general, you don't need therapy—but we were also raised with this belief that couples therapy is a last resort. In reality, it's something that can make your relationship a lot stronger. I'd love to hear you talk about your experience.
It was an interesting experience for us. I've been seeing a perinatal psychiatrist for about four years, and she knows me and Tom deeply, because he used to come along to appointments with me. She was like, "Look, I'm 100% not a relationship counselor, but I know you both really well, and I feel like I can do this like right. If it gets complicated or there's a conflict of interest, I'll stop." It was super helpful. We saw her on a regular basis and got to root causes of things.

Tom and I have been together for 13 years now. We were so young when we met. Over the years, we felt like we weren't really mindful within the relationship. We were just going through the motions of life and relationships. But then we kind of got to this point where we were going to break up. And we were like, what in the world? Why have we ended up in this place, and what can we do to fix it?

It was a huge task, because it's about trying to unpack 13 years of complicated dynamics and all the shit that comes up in relationships. It's a crazy thing to do, but we realized that it was worth it, because we really do value each other as friends first and foremost. He's literally my best friend, and I'm his. We adore spending time together. I realized a lot about myself. I'm super controlling, he's super conflict-avoidant. All of last year. I was working on that, and so was he. We've come out the other end in an incredible place—super healthy. I obviously find myself in moments of being controlling, but ultimately, I've unlearned that.

Tell me about how taking care of your mental health coincides with working as a musician and DJ.
After becoming a parent, DJ'ing was pretty regular, but then I got burnt out and took a year off. After doing a lot of work on myself last year, I've come out the other end ready to regularly DJ again. For the past few months, I've been back, and it's been great. It's a really cool job. In therapy, I realized that this is literally my dream job. I never knew that previously. I had repressed that a lot and because of trauma and various things—but I'm really relishing and appreciating the fact that I have a job that I love and is flexible.

How was it for you when things shut down? I know a lot of people who thought maybe they'd never play live again, but I've also found post-lockdown that crowds are really not the way they used to be. What was your lockdown experience, and how have you seen things change since everything opened up again?
I wasn't really DJing that much pre-pandemic. I'd only just moved to London and started my DJ career, so that was a slow start. Then, I moved to Berlin and the pandemic happened, so it didn't really change that much for me. Luckily, because Tom and I make records, we managed to survive off producing music.

But coming out of the pandemic, it was shocking. The first show back was Coachella, because I was pregnant during the pandemic. I remember just being so overwhelmed—and, also, really excited to be out of my apartment and in another country. But there was a lot of untreated anxiety that I was dealing with, and I had to actually cut that tour short because of that. Being isolated for so long and then going into a massive festival—it was kind of insane.

Yeah, those first few concerts back, I had this feeling of awe and terror at the same time—like, "Oh, I haven't done this in a long time."
Do you still feel remnants of that still?

I'm not sure. I will be very honest with you, during the pandemic I also quit drinking, so coming out of that and back into social situations, there's been a lot of getting used to stuff in general. I saw Jacques Greene and Nosaj Thing last weekend, and I was like, "Oh my God, I missed being in the club so much." Then I was like, "I guess I finally feel comfortable with this again after nearly three years." But things still feel a little weird. I'm not sure if that's ever going to go away. I think what we all went through was really traumatic, and a lot of people are still pretending nothing happened, or that everything's fine—which, both notions seem pretty false to me. I'm happy to hear that you've been enjoying playing shows, though. Everybody is so wildly mixed on the touring experience these days. In terms of managing your anxiety while gigging, what helps?
An incident happened when I was 25, and since then I've been learning about my triggers—things I need to yeah avoid, how to take care of myself. It's been a very long journey of realizing this stuff, so things didn't really change for me after the pandemic. I was still not taking drugs, getting enough sleep, taking my medication, eating healthy, making sure I rest before I play a show. If I'm playing at 2 a.m., I'm not going to be staying up and going out. I need to relax in the hotel, eat a meal, have a nap and have a cup of tea.

Since I was 25, I haven't taken any party drugs. That's a big no-no for me. Drinking, I don't really enjoy it, so that helps. So it's just about doing all those things to keep my mental health in check—and, also, not committing to four shows a weekend or something.

You did the Essential Mix in 2021, which is always so much fun to listen to. Beyond the fact that it's an institution in terms of British radio and dance music, it's also an opportunity for producers to do interesting things with a mix. Tell me about the experience of putting your entry together.
Oh gosh, it's hard to think back to that. It was a bit of a blur for me. I remember getting the email from my manager, and I didn't realize the weight of it, so I went into the mix very naively. Coming from Australia, I knew that the Essential Mix was this amazing thing, but in the UK and other places, you really understand the weight of it. So it was a blessing, in a way, because if I got asked to do one now, I would be freaking out—I'd be planning it, I'd have a mind map, I'd approach it very very differently. I obviously treat all my mixes that I put out with a lot of seriousness, but it's so funny to think back about how little I knew about that whole world of the BBC.

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Jamie Larson