Starting a movement is never easy. It takes time, effort, and a proper message. But that’s exactly what Dave Samano, aka Keeplove?, is trying to do. Flying the banner of “Folkstep” high and proud, Dave is cultivating an energy surrounding the music he produces, rooted in love and positivity, to try and bring a different vibe to the exploding electronic music scene.
This musical trailblazer hailing from Detroit plans on carving out his own niche with his soulful vocals, acoustic guitar, and fat beats. Keeplove? made a guest appearance on GRiZ’s latest effort, Rebel Era, supplying his vocals to the song “Feel the Love,” (a chilled out tune I would’ve been sure bump on lots of blunt cruises if I was I still living in Montana, where I first met Dave at this year’s Pirate Party festival) and it’s helped Dave build some momentum for Folkstep’s future after a big summer on his “What the Folk is Folkstep?” tour.
Why did you choose the name Keeplove? ?
I wanted to see something more meaningful on fliers and billboards. My name is just a name. Keeplove? is a prompt to movement. For me it’s taking my talents or gifts and using them to benefit others while doing what I love most in this world, making and performing music. I’ve been blessed by the name more than I could have even imagined and it’s actually kept me true to my own message which is convenient when you’re trying to promote something, lol.
What the folking folk is Folkstep?
Folkstep is Folk music and Dubstep combined. But it’s also a movement of positive action and positive music by positive people. Sounds corny but together we can change everything.
How did you develop Folkstep?
I combined my two ultimate genres into something I’d never heard before because I was disgusted with the stagnation of the music scene and repetition of sounds I was hearing and general oblivion of attending scensters. There was nothing new or exciting to me. Except in UK dub, which I’ve been extremely interested in since I discovered it. Bassnectar is a huge influence as is Johnny Cash, I’m sure it’s obvious. I just wanted a more intense platform for my songs than my voice and guitar alone, and Folkstep gave me that.
What ultimately made you move from Detroit to Denver? Be honest, was it the weed?
Haha I moved to Denver because I figured it’s the hotspot for folk and EDM in the US. And I combine both so it’s killing two birds with one stoned, so to speak.
How are you enjoying the Denver music scene? How receptive have fans been to your music there?
I’m enjoying it thus far. It’s been everything I expected, people are ready for a new sound and Folkstep is what they want to hear, some of them just don’t know it yet.
When you’re writing tunes what sets off that creative spark?
Well writing tunes is an involved process sometimes. Sometimes I’ll just ponder a song for weeks and then record vocals and guitar and then start plugging away at production. Other times I’ll just record a guitar or a vocals sample into Ableton and start messin’ with it and rearranging things. Lots of different flows keeps it interesting. I’m really always working on music, it doesn’t ever stop because the day I stop is the day I’ll lose my sanity. Seriously. Always be improving, always be learning.
Tell me about how you and GRiZ worked together, how’d you guys link up?
Yea that was pretty dope. It was actually a friend of mine, Dan Green, who had booked Griz and was wearing one of my “DetroitFolkstep” hats. Grant saw the hat and was curious. So my buddy Dan showed him a few of my tunes. Dan called me up all stoked saying GRiZ was gonna call me cause he wanted to get me on a song. I was a little skeptical (sorry Dan) but lo and behold Grant called me up a few days later and the rest is history. Thanks Dan for wearing my hat, now I’m singin’ “Feel The Love” on Rebel Era.
What’d you think of the song when you heard it, after not knowing anything about how it would sound? Did he give you direction for the lyrics?
Well we talked a lot about vibes, he wanted a carefree 70s type vibe, he said “Think Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young”. He sent me a demo and I was actually sitting on a beach at the time we were conversing, and texted [him], “Ain’t got no worries” cause I was pretty stoked and didn’t have any worries at the time, lol. It was a beautiful sun setting over a lake. I was suggesting “Feel the sun” as a line but he wanted to stay away from the word “sun” because it’s a popular topic in Crosby, Stills, Nash ect. I guess, so I suggested substituting my favorite word, “Love.” It was perfect. He was down, I was down. I actually recorded the vocal samples in one take on my phone using the Soundcloud app and sent it to him as a demo to see if the vibe was right. In true DIY fashion he ended up using that sample (DON’T SPEND ALL YOUR MONEY ON RECORDING STUDIOS KIDS, use Soundcloud). So I spent a total of five minutes on recording vocals for “Feel the Love.”
Working on any other collaborations?
I’m always workin’ man, always, musically and otherwise. Some people don’t realize that you have to actually work hard to get anywhere in life, especially if you have a dream. Especially in the music business because there are usually at least seven cats out there that are better at what you do than you are, and they’re working just as hard if not harder.
How much do you love getting interviewed? This is the 2nd time we’ve tried this, we’ll get it…
I LOVE getting interviewed. Especially by you because we get to the end every time and I didn’t even realize we were interviewing. Maybe it’s the ‘homie effect,’ haha. Keep love.
Though he considers himself the “Godfather of Folkstep,” Keeplove? says recently he’s seen a rise in the popularity of Folkstep’s presence on the web. With the likes of Alt-J getting the label tossed on them, he’s in pretty good company. If you wanna check out Keeplove?’s folk music for bassheads pop on over to https://soundcloud.com/keeplovemusic. Also be on the lookout for him mobbing through a town near you in the future. Next up he’s playing a couple dates on Michal Menert’s SpazeJazz tour this weekend when they take over Iowa, stop by and show him some love!