FARRAGO – interview by by Jack Ramage photos by KEYI STUDIO – Izabella Chrobok & Grzegorz Bacinski

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Farrago emerges as a fresh presence in the Belgian techno landscape, though with a familiar face. In 2013, Sam Deliaert, formerly known as Talbot Wood, caught the attention of compatriots Jorn and Tom—representing Other Heights and Curle Recordings, respectively. Under their banner, he participated in numerous showcases and live performances across Europe in ‘13 & ‘14. 

The decision to adopt a new moniker is driven by the intrinsic meaning of the word “Farrago”—a perplexing mixture. It symbolizes the amalgamation and evolution of his earlier works with novel ideas and recent developments. Arpeggiated melodies echo endlessly, rendered tangible by the rhythmic pulse of a classic 4/4 kick drum. It represents a harmonious union of body and soul. 


Recently debuted with his album “Blesssed”. In his story, he has releases also on ARTS, a burgeoning yet well-established techno label based in Berlin, housing notable artists such as Dax J, Keith Carnal, Inigo Kennedy and label boss Emmanuel. 

Name Farrago: means‘a perplexing mixture’. How does it relate to you personally and musically? A mixture of his earlier influences combined with new sounds?

I thought the name was fitting for someone like myself who likes to play genre fluid with loads of switches in BPM and sound. Also I’ve always felt like my own DJ sets keep surprising me and I hope they continue to do so in the future. 

It all starts somewhere when it comes to the passion for music, especially at an early age. When younger you mentioned you made punk rock and other genres, how does this influence your sound today? 

I was never actually in a band or anything but I spent a lot of time at the skate park and kids there were mostly into hardcore punk, hard rock, and metal. It influenced me mostly into becoming more interested in different subcultures as up to that point I was mostly just listening to what was on the radio in Belgium: dance music and pop.

Belgium has a unique techno sound and community: Why do you think that is and how does it influence your work? 

My country has always been at the center of progressing and evolving the music industry. They were the inventors of new beat and have been very influential ever since. Dance music and techno have always had their place here so as a techno DJ, it’s a blessing having grown up in an environment with direct access to those genres. The more I travel the more I realize that although Belgians generally love complaining about their country, they actually have no idea how good we have it here.

How important is it to tailor your sets to the crowd? For example Ibiza vs Berlin?

I would say it is very important indeed. Every crowd is different, even within the same country. This is where experience comes into play and DJs who have a big library or history of different sets can shine. I love the diversity you can bring in these different types of situations. Those who have seen me play already know my sets are multigenre and the BPMs just go all over the place. So the contrast is always there in my sets and even more so when comparing different types of venues and parties. The truth is I sometimes prepare something entirely different for a certain night and then I end up playing much harder or faster than expected just because the people seem to react to a certain type of sound more than others. I stay in control but I really do let the crowd influence the flow of my sets.

Has there been a particular set you’ve played that has stood out to you? 

Lately, I just feel like my sets are getting better and better. Each weekend I return home with a higher sense of fulfilment. Mainly because I’ve been producing a lot more. Testing out your own new music for the first time and seeing the people their reaction to it is a feeling I can’t even begin to describe. For a while, I was a bit burnt out because everything sounded the same and I was sick of it. I started bouncing some ideas off of other producers close to me and we really hit it off. Collaborating reignited my love for being in the studio. I honestly never realized it but it just gets quite lonely to always be working alone. The pressure of doing it all yourself also doesn’t help.

What environments do you prefer to play the most? (Nightclubs, festivals, house parties, illegal raves, etc)  

All of them actually, I just don’t like to do the same thing for too long. A good mix of everything is just what I need. I will say I haven’t played any house parties or illegal raves for a couple of years though.

That said I feel like the music I’ve been playing lately works a lot better in a big warehouse or a big festival stage/tent after dark. I just don’t really vibe with sunshine during my sets, I tend to play a whole different set and I know people are expecting something harder/faster when they come to see me so it’s better for me to just be programmed at night.

Defqon 1 – You played the first ever techno stage at the festival, How did that feel? 

Well, first of all, it was very exciting as you never know if these kinds of things will work. I felt like: “Why would anyone want to come and watch a techno DJ at a hardstyle/hardcore festival?”. The fact is in techno sets lately you can hear a lot of those early hardstyle and early hardcore sounds and the people were there just for that. It was brilliant and I hope to play there again next year. My set there also influenced the rest of my summer festival season as I kept going back to the playlist I prepared for it and the people have been very vocal about how much they love that sound.

Coming to your last album BLESSSED LP, congrats on that solid piece! How has the new release been received? 

The feedback was everything I had hoped for. Some tracks really surprised me with how they were received. In general, I am super grateful and satisfied with the whole project. It was a lifelong dream for me to release an album. I wanted it to be a timeless piece so I decided to go with a more trippy, minimalistic sound over the harder more bigroom sets from my sets. That said, I never had any trouble finding space to play the album tracks in my sets. I love plenty of contrast in track selection while DJing.

Could you reveal the inspiration behind the name? 

Well, most people already know but I had a stroke in 2020. It was very unexpected as I was in good health at the time. I just got very very unlucky… A freak accident basically. Anyway, it made me realize shouldn’t postpone any big goals I had in my life, and started the album as soon as I regained the confidence to make music again. It was a struggle because I had suffered quite a lot of brain damage. The doctors warned me it would be possible I might not ever write a song again.

How has the event changed your outlook on life?  How has it changed your approach to creating music? 

An event like this especially at a young age will change your life for sure. For me it made me realize it’s not worth it to only think about the future and prepare for old age. I decided to live more in the moment and day by day. It’s a bit cliché but I also promised myself to not take things for granted. I say the things I wanna say to people without sitting on them for too long. I think in a way this experience really changed me in a good way. I like to believe I became a more considerate partner, a better friend, and a more loving son/brother/husband and (soon to be) father My approach to creating music hasn’t changed really. Or at least it’s hard to say as the event happened during a time when so much else was happening and I can’t say for sure that the way I work now was influenced by it much or at all. Techno changed and so did the world so who knows?

What did you want to convey with this release? How did you find the inspiration for vocal samples?

Honestly, there was no deeper meaning to it than simply fulfilling a dream and producing a timeless piece of music. I mostly look into different forms of media for vocal samples, like movies, TV, radio, documentary films, anime, and old records. I’ve recently also started recording more of my own vocals which is now easier than ever to manipulate thanks to AI.

How long have you been working on these tracks / When did you know when it was finished?  Are there any other artists/tracks that have influenced this release? How does it differ from your previous releases? 

For me, a track is not finished until I have tried it out at least once and get the approval of the crowd. Which is also why I never released anything during pandemic times. I didn’t feel like producing at first and when I did I struggled to finish projects. A handful of tracks that I started during COVID did come out later on Lenske and Vermillion Trax though. I don’t generally allow myself to get influenced by other people’s work. It’s really important for me to stay true to my own interpretation of techno music and while I take interest in what others are doing I can’t stay it actually ever comes to me being influenced into doing something similar. In the past, I always just made music that would benefit my DJ sets, which many times translated into trying to incorporate sounds that are in a way most effective. But for the album had a whole different angle. I just wanted to release tracks that would still sound fresh in a decade or more. As it turned out psy bass and trance became also very meta. So in the end this turned out to be a good thing as many of my colleagues did support the release because the release stood out and fit in a lot of people their sets. It was a very successful release in my eyes.

How do you keep your music fresh and current – while also avoiding falling into the echo chamber of tech production? How do you keep your music unique in an oversaturated market of techno?

I don’t listen to promos or other DJ sets. I know what I like and I look for it regardless of whether it would be considered techno or not. This strategy has kept my sound fresh and progressive I would say. It’s easy to play what everyone else is doing and you know that would work but I was never a crowd pleaser, I want to stand out with my own unique definition of techno.


Do you find inspiration in other forms of art outside of music? If so, is there a particular form of art/media that stands out to you? 

The internet as a whole gives me a lot of inspiration. There are just so many impulses. I try to avoid getting influenced by them but it’s not always easy. My ideas usually come from DJing and touring and thinking about what kind of tracks I would want to hear in my own sets. I just supply a demand for my own DJ sets basically. I always find plenty of ‘bangers’ that’s what everyone else is already making so… I focus more on making melodic, trippy sounds. (Like I said I love contrast and diversity in my sets).

How have you seen the techno scene change over the years?

This is a very loaded question. I think the biggest factor here is social media and how it influences all of our lives, for better or worse. There’s a huge duality to it all. I love social media for the fact you can very easily find very niche communities to share and enjoy different kinds of art together. And I hate social media for the way it tries to make people feel like they are not good enough. They’re always showing something to you that is bigger/better than what you have or are and people are very susceptible to it. I wish there would be stricter rules or education towards it because as much as it affects all ages, I believe kids can get hurt by it much more.

Over the past few years you’ve received even more widespread acclaim in the scene: how do you keep up with this? Do you ever experience imposter syndrome?

I like to believe it’s just a natural evolution of my work and time in the music industry. I am very happy with the steady growth I’ve experienced throughout the past years. It does feel like things have been moving a bit faster for a couple of months. I believe it is because I have been getting better set times and more chances to prove myself. Anyhow, I am ready for whatever comes next. I haven’t no. I am very blessed to be in perfect mental health. I think that is one of my best qualities, especially in the music industry where it is very easy to go down a spiral of envy and overwhelming jealousy. Social media can make you feel like you’re not doing good enough. But to be fair it is something you can learn to control. For me, it was simply about finding happiness in my own achievements.


Traveling a lot to gigs is not as easy as it looks in Social Media. How do you decompress from a hectic touring schedule? How does it impact your personal relationships? Any tricks on how you avoid burnout? 

Everyone has their own ways I guess but for me it is focussing on my personal health. I go to the gym, go grocery shopping, and prepare meals for the week. Cooking in itself is more decompressing than yoga for me. That and just chill for a day or 2 like other people do when they are off from work. DJ weekends are Mondays and Tuesdays! This is an interesting topic and one of the things most people overlook when they ask how amazing it is to travel the world for your work. Without making a big effort: I am rarely there for my friends and family. So it has a huge impact on personal relationships and maintaining them. That is why I am so happy that my wife has the same occupation and we have the same lifestyle. I couldn’t imagine being with someone who works 9 to 5 on weekdays. We would be unable to coexist. I try to stay true to my feelings and listen to my body at all times. Learning to say no is very empowering and actually has a lot of benefits career-wise. You create less availability and by that demand goes up. Simple economics basically. The fewer days you play the more requests you have for each single date. So it’s easier to become picky about certain logistical aspects of touring or whether or not I wanna play a specific venue or festival or disagree on running order/set.

You and Amelie seem to be on the same wavelength for such a long time. Impressive how you connect love with what you do. How does your shared passion for music influence your relationship? How was your wedding? 

Music has always been the main theme in our relationship, we met at a club after all… After the club, we went to an intimate afterparty with just us and 2 others. We talked about music for hours and after 15 years, our love for it hasn’t changed. I think it is amazing to share something you are so passionate about between lovers. I really do consider her my best friend more than my partner. After 7 years of engagement and then postponing twice due to COVID, we finally got married last year and it was the perfect day. We flew all our family and some close friends into Tuscany in Italy and finally got married. It really was the perfect weekend. 


Have both your careers ever caused friction in your relationship? If so, how do you overcome it?

There have been times when we needed to take a step back and look at a situation realistically and make some changes. Friction is natural in my opinion. I think just like in every other relationship, communication is the only way to prevent stuff from snowballing into a problem. Which is what I think we do very well. We get along very well and are very understanding of each other’s feelings and goals in life. We somehow always find a way to both get what we want while respecting the other person their expectations.

Advice for future DJs and artists? 

Don’t copy others but try to create your own unique identity and stay true to it. Even if it takes a couple of years, eventually times (and what people wanna hear evolve or change) so it doesn’t make sense to only chase what is working right now.


Interview: Jack Rampage
Translation: Hiroyoshi Tomite @hirotomi1201, Sara Hirayama

Photos & styling: @keyistudio WWW.KEYI.EU
Izabella Chrobok & Grzegorz Bacinski @eyes_dice & @berlin_bunny_
Agency: @acrylicartists@emmalchambers
Fashion: @maisonvalentino , @kuboraum , @carhartt , @camperlab , @gentlemonster , @amesh.wijesekera , @magliano.insta , @roussin.world
Special Thanks to @referencestudios
Asistants : Ola Domagalska @velolaa , Karolina Merda, Iwona Truska @capri_sja
Production @keyistudio
Make Up : Danielle Bonati @danibonati