Exclusive Interview: Sam Feldt discusses Heartfeldt Foundation and bid to help the environment

Bursting into the scene during the tropical house movement which saw his huge hits such as “Show Me Love” and “Midnight Hearts” thrust him into the spotlight, Dutch DJ and producer Sam Feldt has cemented a reputation as a true superstar of the modern electronic music scene. Hosting his own Heartfeldt’ events during his native ADE and Miami Music Week, Sam’s bursting back-catalogue, filled with tracks like ‘Been a While’ and Akon collaboration YES’ has seen the producer build a fanatical fanbase, with over 15 million listeners tuning in to his Spotify account each month!

In recent times, Sam Feldt has shown himself to be much more than just an artist, and has tapped into his entrepreneurial spirit to show his philanthropist side, setting up the Heartfeldt Foundation as he looks to make a serious impact on the subject of saving the environment. This was the main topic as our very own Laura De Graaf caught up with Sam Feldt in the idyllic conditions of Bali’s luxurious OMNIA Day Club to discuss climate change, recycling, and our carbon footprint.

Sam! You first started the Heartfeldt Foundation in 2018. What was the driving force behind this project for you and when did this idea first come to you?

“Well we decided to start it during ADE last year. The idea first came to me about 2 years ago, it was around New Year, and I remember being in an aeroplane in Brazil looking back at my year, and seeing the kind of polluting person I am. Also taking in account how I was raised. My mom and dad were kind of hippies, they are both vegetarian and they raised me in a way to take care of the planet. So I asked myself what can I do in order to still do this job and still follow my passion but also be more responsible about my sustainability. I want a platform where everyone can come together and get inspired and hopefully create some change in their life too. I want to lead as an example and hopefully show other DJs that it isstill possible to do your job but also be more responsible about it! Hopefully we are also inspiring fans to do the same.” 

In the last year, you’ve already started numerous projects. Tell us a bit more about some of the projects you are most proud of right now!

“Well the first things we did was creating some changes in my own life. I quit all plastic from my rider, I traded in my car, I did co2 offsetting, did a lot of beach clean-ups all around the world in places like Miami, and Amsterdam Dance Event. We work based on 4 main pillars; Give, do, inspire and empower. I think you have to do all 4 in order to create a successful transition. The first one is give, that’s all about raising money. We were able to raise over 25,000 euros profits from my Sam Feldt party that will be donated to the Heartfeldt foundation so that we can support more projects. ‘Do’ is changing stuff in your own life. So that is for example going plastic free, doing a vegan challenge for a week, stuff like that. ‘Empower’ and ‘Inspire’ is showcasing all that on your social media account. So for example, my slippers are made out of used tires. We don’t invest in that but I’m actively promoting it by wearing it. It’s important to showcase the smaller companies sometimes that don’t have that marketing budget yet but need your push and are doing well.”

Tell me, what projects do you have planned for the future? And can you describe the detail of these for our readers?

“The main goal for 2020 will be to make this bigger than me. We have some interest from other DJs that want to join the foundation as well, so we are really able to build the platform we want to build now. 2019 was more about Sam Feldt becoming more sustainable and in 2020 I want it to become bigger than that and get at least 10 other DJs on board under the same project – The ‘Give, do, inspire, empower’ scheme.”

If you could name any dream ambassadors for the Sam Fedlt Heartfeldt foundation, who would you name?

“I want it to be a mix, so not only DJs but also celebrities, athletes, maybe a movie star. To get the biggest range as possible in the way we can reach a diverse amount of people and hopefully create some change. If I can sign up a hundred influencers and they all have a million followers we can reach 100 million people. And that can really make a change.”

Would you consider spreading your message through lyrics in a future song, and if so, what would they say?

 “Yes, it is written in a lot of the songs that I have written the last couple of months. The songs that are coming out right now have been written over a year ago so its only recently that I’ve decided to work with it in the studio but yeah there is definitely some songs coming out with a special Sam Feldt sustainability theme around it. We don’t want it to be to corny like Band Aid. We want it to be subtle and hopefully spread the right message.”

You travel all around the world! Which countries have you seen making the biggest impact on environmental changes so far, and what could other countries learn from them? 

“It’s hard for me to say because I only see the outside layer. So for example, I know that Singapore is very green on the outside but I also know that inside it’s a very polluting country. So it is very hard to judge a book by the cover. I know that in the Netherlands there have been a lot of changes. Looking at how big ADE Green has become, going from a 100 to 2000 people with a sold-out event. So I’m very proud of the Netherlands. I think we are in the top 10 when it comes to implementing these things and I see this change happening all around the world. We are in Bali right now and for example we have plastic free straws and they don’t give away plastic bags. It’s still progress.”

Which changes will have a big influence on the environment?

“There are so many things and it really depends on your own personal life. You have to scan through it and see where your polluting the most. I’m a strong believer of the 80/20 rule. That you should focus on the things that have the most impact. For me it can be very different than for you. I fly 250 times a year so that’s my number 1 because of pollution. It is way bigger than eating meat or anything because I do it so much. So look at your personal life and see what you can focus on!”

(BA Hons Journalism), 30, London. NCTJ-accredited journalist and dance music lover specialising in interviews, features, editorial work, and reviews. www.journojake.com

[email protected]