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Creating on the go with a big splash of acid

  • Sergio Niño
  • 1 June 2024

SAMOH has carved out a unique space with his compelling blend of techno, trance, and psytrance. Known to his friends and fans as Thomas Gruppen, SAMOH’s passion for music ignited at a young age, starting with DJ gigs at school events. His journey took a transformative turn when he moved to Rotterdam, a city whose gritty, electric vibe deeply resonated with him and profoundly influenced his creative path.

In this interview, SAMOH opens up about the powerful impact Rotterdam’s techno culture has had on his music and career. He shares candid reflections on his early struggles and triumphs, from experimenting with sounds in his studi to finding his true artistic voice. With heartfelt honesty, SAMOH discusses the challenges of merging diverse musical influences into a cohesive style that is unmistakably his own, and how this journey of self-discovery has shaped his approach to DJing and production.

As SAMOH continues to push the boundaries of techno, he offers a glimpse into his creative soul, revealing the passion and dedication that drive his work. He talks about the joy and freedom he finds in live performance, the significance of his beloved acid machines, and his hopes for the future of Rotterdam’s techno scene.

In the heart of Rotterdam’s vibrant techno scene, Thomas Gruppen, has made a name for himself with his distinct blend of techno, trance, and psytrance. SAMOH’s relocation to Rotterdam marked a pivotal moment in his musical career. Initially producing house music with an electronic twist, the gritty and profoundly impacted his work. Frequent visits to iconic venues like Perron and Maassilo exposed him to a raw, intense vibe that resonated deeply.

“Before moving to Rotterdam, my music leaned more towards house with an electronic twist. However, living on my own in Rotterdam transformed mycreative direct ion. Frequenting parties at venues like Perron and Maassilo exposed me to an intense, raw vibe that resonated deeply with me. The atmosphere at these events was electric and gritty, and it began to influence my work. I found myself producing and playing harder, darker tracks, reflecting the unique, hard-edged character of Rotterdam’s music scene”.

The city’s unique energy inspired him to produce and perform harder, darker tracks, mirroring the hard-edged character of Rotterdam’s music scene. Blending techno, trance, and psytrance into a cohesive sound was a challenging yet rewarding process for SAMOH. Initially struggling to find his unique voice he eventually developed a style characterized by fast-paced grooves, rolling basslines, and dark, melancholic atmospheres.

“I started DJing at around 10 years old, As I got older, I moved on to weddings and high school events, but by the time I turned 15, the thrill had faded. Playing what everyone else wanted to hear made me lose my connection to DJing. Around that same time, I began experimenting with making my own music. Eventually, I grew tired of commercial tracks and decided to stop playing at high school parties and weddings altogether”.

“I wanted to create and play my own sound. It took several years in the studio to develop tracks that truly satisfied me. From ages 15 to 18, I stepped back from performing, focusing on refining my craft. Everything changed when I moved to Rotterdam. There, I finally got the opportunity to share my own sound and make people dance to the music I loved”.

Acid elements play a significant role in his music, adding a distinctive texture that sets his tracks apart.

“I almost always incorporate the basslines from trance and psytrance, while playing with various elements from techno,” he says.

This fusion results in a signature sound that is both hypnotic and intensely dynamic.

“Initially, I wasn’t just creating techno but also experimenting with trance and psytrance. I struggled to hear my unique sound in those tracks and needed to find a way to unify them into what would become the signature sound of SAMOH. Nowadays, I almost always incorporate the basslines from trance and psytrance, while playing with various elements from techno, trance, and psytrance. My style is heavily influenced by acid, and I usually find a way to weave this into my tracks. I would describe my sound as fast-paced techno with driving, groovy percussion and rolling, bouncy basslines, all intertwined by dark and melancholic leads or atmospheres”.

SAMOH’s live performances are renowned for their dynamic and improvisational nature. Utilizing a versatile setup that includes Ableton Live, the TR-8S for live drum performance, and various synths and acid machines, he creates unique, engaging shows.

"My live setup is a dynamic and versatile assembly. At its core is Ableton, where I arrange multiple drum grooves, basslines, kicks, and some custom vocals and FX/atmospheric loops. For live drum performance, I use the TR-8S to layer additional rhythms."

"Ableton sends a clock signal to my Torso T-1 sequencer, which then controls my Virus TI Snow for leads and pads, as well as my Arturia MicroFreak. Complementing these are two acid machines: the Roland TB-3 and the Behringer TD-3-MO, running through an RMX-1 Distortion pedal. Depending on the event and set time, I might swap out the acid machines for a modular setup to dive deeper into sound exploration. When I first started performing live, I created 12-15 tracks to fill an hour with my own music. However, I soon realized repeating the same set was not fulfilling."

"I began crafting a unique live set for each show. Over time, I accumulated a substantial library of my own tracks and loops, which allowed me to mix things up. This approach ensures that my live sets are never the same twice, keeping the experience fresh for both the audience and myself."

SAMOH’s creative process is deeply rooted in exploring different genres and drawing inspiration from each to develop his unique sound. His tracks are known for their groovy and dark drum patterns, achieved through techniques like overdriving his Mackie mixer and adding swing to his rhythms. This results in powerful, compelling beats that drive hismu sic.

With the TR-8S, I craft diverse drum patterns, which I then distort by overdriving a Mackie mixer and routing it back to itself. This technique allows me to EQ different parts of the distortion, adding a gritty texture to the sound. By layering various groove loops with the TR-8S as the main drums, I create powerful, groovy rhythms.

The magic isn’t just in the overdriven patterns; it’s also in the swing I give to the drums and grooves. This swing accentuates the rolling basslines, giving the entire track a compelling, driven feel.


One of the most transformative experiences in SAMOH’s career was performing a live set without any preparation.

“I believe an artist should always explore different genres and draw from them to create a unique sound. By incorporating diverse elements, each artist can develop their own distinctive style. When I’m influenced by a different genre, it blends with my artistic vision and style, shaping how I create, build up, and mix tracks”.


Thank you! With this album, I wanted to showcase the essence of SAMOH. Divided intofour parts, each part captures a different side of my sound and musical influences. The first part dives into a deeper journey with rolling basslines, trippy polyrhythmic leads, and melancholic Arabian vocals. The second part highlights the style most people associate with me: acid techno. Here, I crafted a variety of acid-infused tracks, each uniquely utilizing the acid machine. The third part is a harder mix of tekno and trance, featuring raw, bouncy Basslines and nasty leads. Finally, the fourth part is a trance-inspired selection, characterized by huge-sounding leads and a more emotional, introspective vibe.

This album has been a year-long project, but it was totally worth it.

I aimed to encapsulate all the sounds that influence my track writing and live performances. I’m thrilled with the variety and depth of the tracks. My hope is that listeners are taken on a journey, enjoying both the listening and dancing to it. Besides that I am really eager to see how other artists will incorporate the tracks in their sets.


There’s been a lot of movement in the techno scene in Rotterdam and beyond. Post-COVID, thetempo and intensity of techno hav e increased, and Rotterdam is following a harder techno sound.

Before the pandemic, I was part of the harder techno segment, but I wouldn’t place myself there now. I now also see a division in the techno scene where there are harder parties but also more parties that go back to the roots of techno and that it’s all about groove. This is part of a cyclical trend: techno speeds up, then the genre splits between those who push for even faster beats and those who prefer a slower pace. This evolution happens in any genre, and I’m eager to see where it leads. Besides that I hope to be an influence for people and finding ways to work together with other artist to create something never heard before and keep pushing boundaries of what is possible

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