To say the least, DJ Sun -- aka Andre Sam-Sin -- is a diverse product. He's part-Asian, part-Caucasian and part-black, with a white mother from New York and a mixed-race father who's a native of Suriname. Sam-Sin was born in Holland, moving with his family to Suriname as a child, and then to Texas as a teenager. As DJ Sun, he strives to create for his listeners the same undifferentiated wash of music he enjoyed as a child hooked on Suriname radio.
Sam-Sin could be considered a late bloomer. He was 26 when he bought his first DJ rig -- two outdated turntables and a worn mixing board he discovered at a Houston pawnshop. Like most DJs, he got acquainted with the skill by making mixtapes for friends. Soon after, he landed his first gig as DJ Sun, spinning at a party for an attorney pal. From laying grooves for lawyers, he moved to a regular Friday night spot at the short-lived Houston nightclub Soulstice. His sets focused on acid jazz, and often drew the craziest, most diverse crowds.
By 1994, New York had carved out its own acid jazz niche thanks to the wildly creative, communal vibe generated by Giant Step, a roaming contingent of fans and promoters that many credit with single-handedly creating a scene on this side of the Atlantic. Much of that found its way to Houston via DJ Sun, who's own interpretation of the acid-jazz experience contains elements so far-flung that an additional listing of genres -- namely hip-hop, funk, soul, reggae, and Latin -- is necessary before any sound can be defined. But lists are confining, and the very restrictions he tries to avoid in his work. Rarity mining or crate digging or rare groove is DJ Sun's passion, and he's taken his mixing skills on the road, turning in fully improvised performances on music festival stages from Austin to Toronto. The release of his Monday Drive EP in 2007 made his name as a producer, and his debut full-length, One Hundred -- a variety-packed assemblage of retro-future hip-hop, funk, and soul -- appeared on Giant Step in 2013. ~ Hobart Rowland