Samling Recordings


Every few weeks the boys behind Dutch record label Samling Recordings get together to discuss upcoming releases. Their expanding catalogue is characterised not so much by genre but rather by an indefinite atmosphere. We joined the four friends ‒ who are also active in Herrek, Mike Koldin and Luik ‒ at their headquarters in Rotterdam and tried to find out more about the Samling sound.


Interview by Brenda Bosma, photos by Xiao Xiao Xu. The photo of Lukas Dikker by Merel Visser


‘I guess what it all boils down to is that you share a certain feeling’



You have a history of being in bands together. What were the reasons for starting a label together?
Lukas: ‘A few years ago we organised so called “Kats”-evenings in Leeuwarden, the city where we all studied, and later continued in a living room in Utrecht. We played there ourselves, asked friends to perform, recorded the show and burned CD copies which we sold afterwards. In June 2010 as a result of that, Samling was born. It coincided with the release of the LUIK EP.’

Gerrit: ‘There was so much going on in our circle of friends; side projects, interesting collaborations.We realised we all had the same taste in music and wanted to give that a place.’ Keimpe: ‘In Frisian “Samling” means collective. That exactly describes what we are.

Lucas: ‘There’s also this scene from a movie where someone shouts “Samling!” In the subtitles it reads ‘“Truth”. I looked it up, unfortunately it was translated wrong.’

Wouter: “That’s from Offret by Tarkovski.’


Would you consider yourselves as guardians of a certain sound?
Wouter: ‘I consider Samling more as a snapshot of a certain period of time.’

Lukas: ‘For me personally it is that, protecting that. We all operate in the same area and we want to show and archive that, but to say something else about it, is difficult. In the meantime, we have also asked likeminded people, not necessarily from our group, to release their music at Samling. Those collaborations broaden the circle. It’s all about a personal and musical connection.’


Clockwise from top left: Gerrit van der Scheer, Keimpe Koldijk, Lukas Dikker and Wouter Venema


Can this connection be captured in words or a kind of manifesto, maybe?
Keimpe: ‘This is something we ask ourselves almost every time, but I guess the rules keep being stretched.’

Wouter: ‘There is no manifesto. The album by Vakantie, our next release, for instance, is very vibrant and raw, it will be the odd one out in our catalogue, but that’s not important. Foremost it’s about the vibe.’

Lukas: ‘We don’t want to focus on polished music. To us it’s about a certain spontaneity and freshness. To show the process of making something in a short span of time and capture that energy on record, that’s what we’re interested in.’


Where does the preference for this type of music ‒ let’s call it comforting and atmospheric ‒ come from? You seem to have built your own little island in Rotterdam.
Wouter: ‘We simply share this collective thing. There’s also a lot of stuff that you help each other with, that keeps the circle intact.’

Keimpe: ‘We just do what we do, because we enjoy it, because it’s fun. It’s almost frustrating. I’d love to have some philosophical theories and fancy words to say about it, but we don’t. I guess we can safely say we lean heavily on intuition.’


‘We built a space cave in Utrecht, transformed a prison into a forest’



Not only do you have a specific sound, but also an aesthetic very much your own. There’s a certain unity there. Do you direct that in any way?
Wouter: ‘In the beginning I only used black and white colours for all the artwork. Then Thijs from I Am Oak used lots of colours for his own release.’

Keimpe: ‘Wouter is very good at emphasising an atmosphere. Those little eyes from the Bonne Aparte artwork. That’s like a trademark.’ Wouter: ‘I just did what I was already doing and used it for Samling.’

Gerrit: ‘I guess what it all boils down to is that you share a certain feeling.’ Wouter: ‘It’s interesting to know what that feeling is, but I can’t seem to put it into words.’

Keimpe: ‘Every time it’s this chaos.’

Lukas: ‘Yesterday I saw an item about the ADM on TV. It focused on the social aspect of the free state. The people living next to it are not allowed within the confinements of the little society. When the ADM people were asked about their rules, they said they didn’t have any.’

Keimpe: ‘That’s it! We need a manifesto!’


Any big plans for the future?

Gerrit: ‘There’s no plan to do something big.’

Wouter: ‘There’s only limited ambition. We should print stickers of that and put it on every release.’

Keimpe: ‘We organised a few showcases for several festivals like Le Mini Who and Explore the North. We built a space cave in Utrecht, transformed a prison into a forest.’

Lukas: ‘Within the context of a festival we are willing to do something special like that.’

Gerrit: ‘But to do it from scratch would be too much responsibility and take too much time.’

Keimpe: ‘We don’t promote our stuff very extensively. We have a website and that’s basically it.’

Lukas: ‘We’re so underground!’


Head over to the Samling Recordings booth at the Label Market in the Gallerie from 19.00 to 23.00 at The Sound of the Dutch Underground – 21 March at Melkweg, Amsterdam.