For Sam Brook, the DJ and electronic music community is a family. But it wasn’t always easy to connect with like-minded locals and book shows in the Charleston area. He founded Holy Tech Collective to create a community of techno and house music-enthusiasts who could join together to play and host shows throughout the city.
Holy Tech Collective’s next show at the Purple Buffalo is Saturday. The event will feature artist MUUS for his debut show in Charleston. He will be supported by Tuler, Sam Brook, Jerm Jelly, Edwin S, Only Nick and Eclypse.
Brook’s enthusiasm for music began at an early age. “I was always interested in music. I played the violin and accordion. As I was growing up I developed an interest for electronic music,” Brook said. His brothers and their friends introduced him to techno, which was gaining popularity in Germany, where he was raised. The genre stuck with him.
“I started DJing in 2014. I started in my bedroom, by myself, practicing every day after work,” said Brook. Then he got his first club gig in a well-known venue in Germany.
When the opportunity came to move abroad to Charleston, Brook, never one to pass up an adventure, took it. Upon his arrival, he noticed that interest in techno and house music was budding, but there was no sense of an organized community or platform available for DJs. He decided to do some digging. “When I moved here, I realized there was an electronic music scene here, but there was not much of a house scene. I searched on Instagram and I found a few people that were playing house music here in the city, so I reached out to them,” said Brook.
He was invited to the Purple Buffalo, a space that was putting on a show every Wednesday. It was there that he became friends with DJ Freesurf, who was also hosting his own house night every Thursday — the first one of its kind in Charleston. When Freesurf moved to Charlotte, he asked Brook if he’d like to take over the show. “I was a little nervous, but I was confident that this scene could be developed, and so I took a chance,” Brook said.
Things picked up quickly after that. In 2019, Brook was booked to play at Deco. While unloading equipment, he met fellow DJ Michael Wishman. The two started talking and realized they had the same interests and the same vision for what the Charleston scene could be. They got an offer to host a Wednesday house night at Mynt, where they began to make connections with other local DJs who hadn’t yet had a chance to gain exposure.
Then Brook and Wishman received what they consider the breakout show of the collective: an opportunity to host a house night at electronic hot spot Trio during Thanksgiving in 2019. Soon they were hosting their own show there every Thursday, forming relationships with other DJs and producers throughout the area.
“We all created a family, all of us. We really got close. That’s how the Holy Tech Collective was founded and developed,” he said.
When the pandemic rolled around, venues shut their doors — a difficult time for those who play live music. Brook is grateful to the Purple Buffalo for finding a way to keep the Holy Tech Collective going by creating the open-air Concrete Jungle event series in the warehouse’s parking lot. The social-distanced, outdoor show became a monthly event.
“Everyone had been sitting at home, wanting to get out,” said Brook. “We thought this would be a great opportunity for us.” They began inviting local DJs to perform, and the Holy Tech Collective began to solidify its community influence.
The group has started to book international and renown artists, including NYC-based DJ Westend and tech house producer DJ J. Worra.
Holy City Tech Collective continues to produce shows at the Purple Buffalo, giving local artists an opportunity to play, build connections, gain experience and be heard.
Tickets for the July 31 show are $20 in advance and available here.