DJ Sabrina The Teenage DJ shares highly nostalgic house single ‘Try Not To Be Afraid’ [Q&A]
Coming off their triumphant three-hour-long LP Charmed, DJ Sabrina The Teenage DJ is back with another nostalgia-soaked house offering. Similar to the bulk of their work, “Try Not To Be Afraid” draws on a wealth of samples and filters above a pounding kick drum, striking a distinct balance between a one-of-a-kind sound and an immediate familiarity. The feel-good single is another example showcasing why the anonymous producer is quickly gaining a reputation as a must-watch artist going forward.
“Try Not To Be Afraid” arrives on MUTANTS VOL. 4: LOVE, a 40-track compilation featuring the likes of Dorian Electra, 2021 Grammy nominee Arca, and more. Additionally, the single marks Sabrina’s first collaborative release to date, featuring the talents of Delilah Brao, Luke Markinson, and Anyelisax. Dancing Astronaut caught up with DJ Sabrina The Teenage DJ to chat about their new single, their signature sound, and the nostalgia omnipresent in their discography.
Your songs always have a very unique sound, immediately recognizable as a DJ Sabrina The Teenage DJ track. How would you describe your sound?
DJ Sabrina The Teenage DJ: “AOR/MOR/AC-Filter House-TV Movie-Indietronica or Hallmarkwave for short ;) “
When I listened through ‘Charmed’ I felt an overwhelming sense of nostalgia, is that something you intentionally look to instill in your tracks?
DJ Sabrina The Teenage DJ: “Most of the music I listen to is pre or slightly post millennium, so to me it’s just a reflection of what I listen to I guess, hehe!”
“Try Not To Be Afraid” is your first collaborative release, what brought about the collaboration?
DJ Sabrina The Teenage DJ: “Deliah and Luke both wanted to work on a project with me and when the Mutants later asked I come up with a song for the compilation, I knew exactly who to ask ;) Anyela replayed a sax line I wanted and improvised the entire solo. It was great fun working with them and I’d love to work on a collaboration again!”
You use an enormous range of samples throughout your releases, how do you find your samples? How do you know a sample will make for a good song?
DJ Sabrina The Teenage DJ: “Sometimes I hear something and keep it for later, sometimes I’ll get to work with a sample immediately, sometimes I’ll look for a part somewhere when I need a certain sound for something; it totally depends on the situation, but there is no recipe!”
All of your releases have such standout artwork, what inspired the aesthetic?
DJ Sabrina The Teenage DJ: “I love 90’s video games, they have some of my favorite art styles and I guess it’s just another reflection of what I’m used to!”
I take it you’re a big fan of Sabrina the Teenage Witch, do you have a favorite moment or episode?
DJ Sabrina The Teenage DJ: “Any scene with Mr. Pool is incredible, he was a talented and extremely cute teacher, taken from this world much too soon :'( “
What do you hope people take away from your music?
DJ Sabrina The Teenage DJ: “There’s nothing that fills me with more satisfaction than hearing that someone’s life has been changed listening to one of my little songs. I still can’t believe some of the amazing stories I’ve heard of people’s experiences with my tunes, it’s incredibly humbling and emotional for me. So much music has given me immeasurable inspiration over the years, and to think that something I’ve done could affect anyone even slightly as much as my favorite artists have affected me is just astounding to me. Ultimately, I just like making songs that I wish other people would make for me so I don’t have to, haha!”
Featured image: DJ Sabrina The Teenage DJ / Facebook