For those of you who’ve been living under a rock for the past week or so, the tech house scene is apparently not content with Hollywood having its own nuclear crisis at the moment, and has decided to make its own Weinstein-esque viral campaign, big enough to even be labelled a Gate… So let us take a look at ‘Samplegate’.
The award-winning Material records bossman Mihalis Safras has been the subject of a witch hunt on social media sites across the board. The accusations levelled at him are pretty damning: plagiarism and systematic theft of original work from a range of producers, taking arrangements from demos that have been sent to him and releasing them under his own moniker. As the days have gone by since the original post by British producer Tennan, more and more producers have come out of the woodwork alleging that they too have been victims of Safras’ thievery, with even industry favourites Metodi Hristov and German Brigante adding their negative experiences to fuel the fire, Hristov commenting ‘I told him one day everyone would know’.
Tennan, the original accuser, even went to the effort of rounding up Safras’ ‘Greatest Steals’ on his YouTube channel. Be the judge for yourself.
As the allegations first came out a number of industry names pledged their support for Safras, with Eats Everything tweeting ‘It’s all nonsense mate. We all sample. It’s part of it. Big up.’, a tweet that was quickly followed up with his clarification that he hadn’t had chance to listen to any of the examples of the alleged plagiarism, but ‘if whole tracks are being copied then its not cool’.
Not cool indeed. Safras has since issued a formal statement on his Facebook page in which he identifies that he has made ‘genuine mistakes’, and argues that using the arrangements that he has was a ‘complete oversight’ on his part. But the statement has only served to cause even more anger amongst some, with many believing it was far from a simple accident, but instead a calculated under handing of his fellow producers.
The main damage caused here is not to Safras’ integrity, or his record labels. Its to the level of trust in the tech house scene that exists between a legion of budding producers and the mighty record labels. Safras has abused his position, exploiting people who have put their trust in him and sent him material in confidence that he would view it with a good heart. Given the weeks, months and years these artists put into mastering their craft, for them to have their livelihood undermined in such a scheming way is demoralising to say the least. In a scene thats supposed to be about support and cooperation, its a shoddy move, ‘oversight’ or not. While the level of coverage the issue is getting is verging on trolling, Safras’ actions are certainly something that need to be addressed and stamped out, to send a clear message to upcoming artists that their work will be valued, and also a message to others in positions of power that this wont be tolerated.
We can only imagine what the chat will be like behind the decks at the recently announced Kaluki Warehouse Project on 29 December.