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Houston, Texas, United States | Established. Jan 01, 1993 | INDIE

Houston, Texas, United States | INDIE
Established on Jan, 1993
Band EDM Electronic


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Travel to ancestral home inspires"

Andre Sam-Sin tugged on one thread from the family tapestry and followed it to China.

He could've chosen another and ended up elsewhere; it's a varied embroidery.

Sam-Sin, who records and performs music as DJ Sun, was born in Holland and grew up in the South American country of Suriname. His father's ancestry is African and Chinese, and his mother was born in New York and raised in the Caribbean. For more than 20 years, he's called Houston home and is currently the music programmer at The Flat in Montrose.

The thread he pulled was bound to Soon Sam Sin, an ancestor who left China in 1858 for indentured servitude in Suriname. With support from Asia Society Texas Center, Sam-Sin and photographer Jasmine Lee Richardson spent 10 days in China, visiting that ancestor's hometown and his point of embarkation, where he left his native country for good.

"I proposed to them a story," Sam-Sin says. "Something behind where you come from. To explore life that way with audio and video."

Their travel and research yielded "QINGXI" (sounds like kingsy), Sam-Sin's third album as DJ Sun and a gorgeous piece of music - ambient and evocative and built around synths, electronics and field recordings. Originally performed at Asia Society with the accompanying visuals, "QINGXI" has more recently been released as a standalone album. "QINGXI" gets its name from a city in south China that was home to Sam Sin more than a century ago. Sam-Sin arranged the album into seven thematic chapters that twist together moods inspired by that ancestor's journey and his own.


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A year after returning, Sam-Sin continues to exude awe over his travel. He scrolls through hundreds of cellphone photographs, stopping at one of a beekeeper.

"Maybe it's just me, but can you see some resemblance there?" he says.

The beekeeper proved crucial to the trip's success. Armed only with Google Translate and some information by professors and scholars, Sam-Sin felt disoriented upon arrival in China. Trying to explain his project, he didn't find much warmth at first.

"People see a camera or my little field recorder, and they'd turn off," says Sam-Sin, who has hosted the Soular Grooves show on KPFT for 20 years. "One shopkeeper asked if I had a permit, but it wasn't clear what kind of permit. My intuition was it was about money. But this beekeeper, he took me in with open arms."

The beekeeper lived at the foot of a mountain in the Qingxi Forest. He shared cultural information and honey and set a more positive tone for the remainder of Sam-Sin's visit. So the album opens almost tentatively with the slow-moving "Nature; Forest," before Sam-Sin moves into a more sprightly sound with a pulsing beat and little fuzzy pulses on "Beekeeper."

Sam-Sin sought ties to the past, so he reached out to several scholars, including Tjon Sie Fat, who spent his life studying Chinese migration to Suriname, a pattern that began in the 1850s with the abolition of slavery. Indentured servitude became an early substitute and likely drew Sam-Sin's ancestor to the country. He steered Sam-Sin toward cultural touchstones - towers and burial grounds - built by the Hakka people from the part of China his ancestor called home; Hakka commonly made the trip from China to Suriname.

He later visited Macau, the city from which this ancestor would have departed. The historical district of this island city west of Hong Kong is intact, giving Sam-Sin and Richardson a sense of the region more than 150 years ago. Another professor pointed out the barracoons, holding rooms for indentured servants and the likely quarters for his ancestor.

Amid the sights and sounds, Sam-Sin found himself contemplating the reasons behind his ancestor's travel at age 20, during a time of war and governmental unrest.

"Was it hardship that made him leave?" he says. "Could he have been tricked? Did he have gambling debts? Or was it some sense of elation instead? Looking for a greener pasture … He had to know he was starting a new life and he'd never see the old life again."

Some parallels are easy to find between Sam-Sin and his ancestor.

Their journeys took them to new places. Sam-Sin's father worked with Alcoa, so when Sam-Sin was 14 he found himself living in Victoria, a striking change from the cultural mix in Suriname.

"QINGXI" closes with "Journey; Sailing," a composition that gently begins with sea sounds and little Caribbean drum signature, before settling into a mix of peppery percussion and dreamier synth sounds. The piece suggests possibility and a new start.

Both Sam-Sin and Sam Sin found new homes at the end of their journeys.

Sam-Sin moved here in 1993 to attend the University of Houston and never left.

"From a musical standpoint, Houston provided tremendous opportunity," he says. "Maybe it's not the same as L.A. or New York. But it's been a great place for me to be. There's no reason to leave."

And though he sees "QINGXI" as a snapshot of the past, he also thinks it provides a map going forward. Given his far-flung ancestry, Sam-Sin is eager to begin again the process of research and roaming, finding inspiration for sounds while considering the complicated concept of home, wherever that may be.

Andrew Dansby
Andrew Dansby
Entertainment Writer, Houston Chronicle - The Houston Chronicle (Hearst)

"DJ SUN "Mystery""

DJ Sun embarks on an ancestral quest for his latest album, Qingxi, a seven track journey that is based around his travels through China. This audio project, which was commissioned by Asia Society Texas Center (ASTC), is inspired by a curiosity surrounding DJ Sun’s Chinese ancestor (Soon Sam Sin), who departed in 1858 from the South of China via Macau to Suriname, South America as an indentured servant.

DJ Sun has graciously offered up the fifth track of his project, "Mystery," as one of today's XLR8R downloads. DJ Sun had this to say regarding the feelings and personal questions that inspired this particular track:

"The more we trekked, the closer we began to feel to my ancestor—but only in the sense that the historical context drew us more deeply into questions around his personal situation. Why did my ancestor leave southeast China to embark on an arduous journey to a land unseen at only age 20? How did he do this? What was the impetus to follow through with such drastic measures like giving up his surname, his ancestry, his family, and land? Was this voluntary? Was he coerced? Was he duped? Was he abducted? Was there a debt he was evading? Was it for refuge from the chaos of war?" - XLR8R

"DJ SUN Heads to China"

Ok…I have to admit, I was a bit thrown by this record. Judging by what I saw on the cover I figured I was about to embark on a world music journey centered in China and can you blame me…I mean look at the record. What QingXi actually is, however, is a chilled out electronic album from DJ Sun constructed as a soundtrack to his personal journey around China; at least I got the China part correct.

Anyway, QingXi is an atmospheric excursion through sound and an imaginative travelogue authored by DJ Sun. Originally commissioned as an audio visual experience the record is a thoughtful expedition where following along with the liner notes is important and informative. Sun, through his writing, sets the tone and the stage for each of the pieces that make up QingXi and it provides some context of where Sun’s imagination and creativity were rooted while he was producing this record.

Featuring a bevy of minimal beats, synth washes and other haunting and natural sounds one can’t help but wonder how these musical ideas permeated Sun’s journey throughout China. With tracks about bee keepers, shop keepers, the island of Macau and even sailing in a non-Christopher Cross sort of way Sun keeps your imagination flowing as his story unfolds. His blending of minimal techno and chill out while honoring tradition and culture makes for an awesome listen. It might not be a dance floor monster but QingXi is an amazing headphone experience that will keep you mind incredibly busy.

While this isn’t what I was expecting, I got something much better. DJ Sun’s QingXi is an awesome listen and an interesting idea that works. One would love to see DJ Sun take the idea of aural travelogue’s and run with it. Imagine an Australian journey, an Indian excursion, an Arctic experience…the possibilities are endless in a Rick Steeves kind of way!
Posted by Paul POP! at 2:29 PM - The Pop! Stereo Reviews


One Hundred (Soular Productions, 2013)
Monday Drive EP (Alt Take Records)
Sure 7" (Soular Productions)
Para EP (Alt Take Records)
One Hundred EP (Soular Productions)



Rooted in a multicultural upbringing in Rotterdam and Suriname, DJ Sun’s work reflects his mission to introduce people to music they may not normally experience, but in a way that “makes sense.” And while his creative edge is steeped in the diverse musical influences of his childhood and in the innate resiliency of his spirit, his professional life is one that has been cultivated by a degree in business and a dedicated obsession to his craft. His album “One Hundred” is proof of this, gaining him a reptuation as a recording artist who is, as critics said, “never content to remain just another face among the multitudes.” And, in keeping with the acclaim of that album, DJ Sun’s latest release, “Qingxi,” stretches beyond the typical as a soundtrack to a multimedia event that was inspired by an ancestral quest to China. Due to this amalgamation of life experience and fortitude, DJ Sun has the privilege to work alongside renowned artists from around the world via his podcast, Everyday is Sunday. It has also opened doors to a variety of opportunities including a multimedia project with Asia Society Texas; MFAH Mixed Media, a sold out multi-sensory event series; and the development of one of Houston’s most popular bar and live-music venue, The Flat.