Ahead of our back 2 back set ay The Sudbeat Showcase night for The Gallery at the Minstry Of Sound in London, two former journalists play both interviewer and interviewee. In a perfect world, all Q&A sessions would be as much fun as this!
Dave: Hi Matt, It’s been a long time since we last DJed together. Wasn’t it at Shindig in Newcastle 6 or 7 years ago? How’s things? Are you still loving DJing and producing just as much as you always did? Or has the digital age taken any shine off one of the best jobs in the world?
Matt: Yeah that was a long time ago – though we last crossed paths after the Renaissance gig you & Henry played at Village Underground a few years back; you returned to the hotel just as I was giving an extremely angry blonde stripper with a mascara-pencil beard her cab-fare home. There really was an innocent explanation but your best discrete thousand-yard stare was much appreciated So the job, yeah – still enjoying the actual time in the studio & the booth as much as ever, maybe more. Loving the industry a little less on the other hand; on the production side it seems that Silicone Valley has finally succeeded in turning us all into unpaid interns for previously salaried roles. A society where all the effort & love that goes into making music is held to be as good as valueless hurts my heart a bit.
Dave: I’m about to do the next Across Borders mix CD following in your footsteps after your Across Borders: London release earlier this year. I must admit, I’m finding it harder and harder to do these compilations, mainly due to licensing issues and the amount of time they take to complete. How did you find the process this time? Do physical Mix CDs still have their place today or are they a breed on the edge of extinction?
Matt: It was a big issue for me too before I accepted. I think I answered this quandary by turning all the constraints on their head; I didn’t worry about time, I didn’t worry about being bleeding-edge upfront, I didn’t worry about exclusives. I just made the mix that most captured what I wanted to say about music at that moment. I invested lots of effort into developing an artwork concept that complemented the music, which was as rewarding a process as the musical selection. The physical CD aspect was actually a late change of plan – Armada originally envisaged the mix as a digital release; although I gently urged them to reconsider (i.e. bombarded them with cheeky/begging/wheedling messages throughout the entire process) it was only once we got towards the end that it became unanimously agreed that this would have to be a physical release too. I guess that says something about the physical format today – for all sorts of reasons artists, labels & fans alike still want that object that they can play in their car or stick on the shelf alongside their other favourite music.
Dave: I saw a post of yours recently that said you’re sick of artists never speaking their minds anymore. How everyone is scared nowadays of upsetting someone. Which artists do you admire in regards to that? Who do you think never gives a fuck and always tells it like it is despite the consequences?
Matt: Well, first of all I’m as guilty as the next person – who wants to be bucking the trend when the big bucks are in trending? If you don’t bring something of mass appeal to the table you’re looking down the wrong end of a Facebook algorithm that’s already decided that you’re basically weird – and not in a good way, more in a ‘the kid everyone shunned at school’ way. Brash opinionated guys like Deadmau5 & Diplo cut through all the noise, but not because they have anything truly controversial to say; it’s all 90% music, music industry gossip & bitching – & Facebook LOVES that. it’s ruthlessly on topic, they’re behaving in the way the lowest common denominator expects a DJ to behave (no interests outside of DJing, no introspection). If you’re not riding that particular train then you better be hand-hearting & ’thank you (insert city), really felt the love last night’-ing because that’s the only other thing Facebook has deduced the aggregated fan-entity wants from us.
And maybe that’s the point – there could very well be a whole host of socially conscious, awakened, eloquent polymath musos out there but they’ll never pop up in our feed as long as one pop/EDM buffoon is slating another for forgetting to plug in the mixer during their 20 minute set at WonderValleyDaisyLand.
Dave: Culture Vulture time, tell us a few things that you have heard, seen or read that have particularly inspired you so far in 2015.
Matt: Petrels “Flailing Tomb” is a wonderful album, the latest offering from the insanely prolific Oli Barrett; it covers the monumental noisecore symphonies & intimate mogadon introspection that Petrels is known for while also setting out a full-on three part krautrock exploration that entirely won me over by the time it reached an unexpectedly ferocious climax that even Motorhead would be proud of. Just caught the full live band version of this last week featuring no fewer than three drummers – ROCK. Actually, come to mention it – at the same gig was a band called Mothers who were fantastic live. Get on them too – they used to be called Aeroplane Flies High if you want a look on youtube. I really never watch TV unless it’s old comedies with my kids, so I can verify that Father Ted & Flight Of The Conchords are still funny. I’ve got a few interesting books on the go – Tacitus “The Annals”, Alfred Lansing “Endurance” & I’m re-reading Robert Harris “Officer & A Spy” – all historical.
Dave: When was the last time you cried and why?
Matt: Last week I got a bit teary watching “Wreck-It Ralph” with my 5-year old daughter.
Dave: What do you do in moments of weakness?
Matt: Forget that it was all my own choices that lead me here.
Dave: In a nutshell, what is your philosophy?
Matt: There’s a Haruki Murakami quote about beliefs, which I think applies equally to philosophy & any judgement-based perception of the world -
“Most people are not looking for provable truths. As you said, truth is often accompanied by intense pain, and almost no one is looking for painful truths. What people need is beautiful, comforting stories that make them feel as if their lives have some meaning…If a certain belief—call it ‘Belief A’—makes the life of that man or this woman appear to be something of deep meaning, then for them Belief A is the truth. If Belief B makes their lives appear to be powerless and puny, then Belief B turns out to be a falsehood. The distinction is quite clear…It means nothing to them that Belief B might be logical or provable. Most people barely manage to preserve their sanity by denying and rejecting images of themselves as powerless and puny”
So the nearest thing I have to a philosophy is to keep in mind the ‘truth’ so eloquently stated in that quote; which also makes for a great circular Catch-22 mind game.
Basically I’m an upbeat nihilist
Matt: First time I played MOS I found myself standing in the street trying futilely to get back in about 7 minutes after I came off the main stage, & ended up being rescued by 90s ‘yoof’ tv icon Normski. What was your first/weirdest Ministry Of Sound experience (as either a dj or clubber)?
Dave: I can’t recall any quirky or crazy stories from the Ministry to be honest but I do remember my first time. It wasn’t long after it opened, David Morales was playing and the sound system was something else. It was the best the UK had seen at the time and remains mightily impressive to this day. The Ministry is such an institution now. As much of a tourist attraction for young people visiting London as Madame Tussauds is for waxwork enthusiasts or Tower Bridge is for people who like dungeons. Long may it continue.
Matt: If you were to head a particular ministry (real or imaginary & bearing in mind that Sound is already taken) what would you be Minister of? What would you do in your role?
Dave: Definitely football. Although I’d probably have to work on my corruption skills. First of all I’d find a very rich sugar daddy for Leeds United and then I’d basically make the rules up as I went along to ensure England held and won every World Cup from here on. And for half time entertainment at every game I’d throw Mr Blatter and his cronies to the lions for a little light hearted fun
Matt A long time ago in a galaxy far far away you edited iconic dance magazine Mixmag & I wrote for music-tech bible Future Music – was the writing ever its own passion for you or was it always subsidiary to the music dream?
Dave: I did really enjoy my time at Mixmag. I was Editor from ’88 to ’91 so they were really exciting times. Covering the cultural revolution that was going on back then was something I have fond memories of but to be honest, DJing was always my first love and I prefer writing songs to articles.
Matt: Do you think you’ll ever write the book(s) Dave Seaman’s got in him? What would it be about?
Dave: I would love to do a book. I’m pretty sure I could come up with a half decent memoir. There’s plenty of stories to tell. But having the time is my biggest problem with this. It’s a big undertaking and I struggle to keep on top of everything as it is. Maybe one day though, perhaps when I slow down a little on the touring, but I can’t see that happening anytime soon.
Matt: Who’s your favourite seaman (either historical or fictional)?
Dave: Captain Pugwash
Matt: Who’s your favourite Dave?
Dave: Well it’s definitely not Cameron. And Beckham and Dangerous ‘Roll Another Phat One’ Pearce don’t quite have the credentials to be real favourites. Dave Grohl seems like a very nice man, but I think I’ll go for Attenborough. He’s a Dave’s Dave if ever there was one!
Hi Dave, thanks for taking the time to do this interview. How have you been lately? I’ve been great Thank You. It’s been a really busy period but I wouldn’t want it any other way.
There was a big Selador Recordings event held on May 20th at Berlin’s famed Watergate venue. It was the first time for your label hosting a night here. How did it go? It was fantastic. Such an honour for us to be able to do such an esteemed club and it’s kind of set a high standard for us for the time of venues and nights we want to achieve with the label. We were a bit apprehensive with it being a Wednesday night. We wondered how busy the cub would be on a midweek night but we needn’t have worried. It was packed and the dance floor was still busy through till 7am. Besides myself and my label partner, Steve Parry we had Sealer artists Piemont and Justin Massei join us on the line up and we couldn’t have been more pleased. A top night
Can you explain why you chose this particular venue for the event? How would you describe your connection to the Berlin clubbing community? Justin lives in Berlin so he approached the club to see if there was any interest and they immediately came back with a positive response. I haven’t played in Berlin for a few years so was very happy to be back there. It’s kind of grown into the epicentre of Underground Electronic music over the last few years. So many amazing artists either come from there or have moved there, so there’s a real community that’s really leading the way. Accordingly, the clubbers there really know their onions and it’s always special when you’re playing to a clued up crowd. I’m actually going to be back there again soon as I’m playing at Suicide Circus in August. Another club I’ve heard really good things about.
So what more can we expect from your label in the foreseeable future? Our next release is by another Berlin resident actually, Portuguese DJ, Joal. We’re having a bit of a love affair with the city right now. And then after that we’ve got EPs from two up and coming British producers who are both having fantastic 2015s, Cristoph and Third Son.
You just released a new track on Noir Music, your first for the label. What more can we expect from you in the coming few months? Any cool projects coming up? I’ve just released a single on Hive Audio out of Zurich called ‘Gumball’ which has a remix by Hive Club resident Dario D’Attis and then I’ve just licensed a track to the mighty Suara called Private Educatio which is going to be part of one of their Kitties Wanna Dance compilations out in July. I’ve also just finished a couple of remixes. One for Bjorn Mandry called ‘Got To Know’ and another for Habischman & Thomas Gandey called ‘Let Me’. Not sure when they’ll be released exactly. And then I’m just about to seat working on a new mix compilation so watch this space.
The festival season is knocking on your door. What are your plans for the summer months? Any gig you’re particularly looking forward to? Glastonbury is always a highlight on my summer calendar and I also always go to Latitude. That’s great one to take the family to. My kids love it. I’m also going to be popping my Bestival cherry this year so that’s another thing I’m really looking forward to.
What’s your current Top 5?
1. Cristoph ‘Foregone Conclusion’ [Selador]
2. Bjorn Mandry ‘Got To Know’ (Dave Seaman mix) [Cirque Du Son]
3. Sasha Carassi ‘Hard Parade’ [Drum Code]
4. Just Her ‘EP’ [Suara]
5. Frankey & Sandrino ‘Lukida’ [Innervisons]
What is the last book you read and what did you think of it? I’m in the middle of Viv Alberine’s memoir ‘Clothes, Music, Boys’ about her time in The Slits and in the eye of the storm the was Punk. and I’m really enjoying it. Highly recommended.
What is your all-time favorite album –regardless of genre- and why? An almost impossible question to answer because different albums mean different things at different times and it changes every week but if I had to pick one this week, I’d say Prince ‘Sign Of The Times’, a double album where every track is superb in it’s own right. An artist at the peak of his powers. Next week though it could be The Specials first album or New Order’s ’Sub Culture’ or The Beatles ‘Revolver’. I could go on and on. Like I said, impossible question to give a straight answer.
Any final words of wisdom to our readers? Anything goes! Ha! How about Sagacity. That’s a word of wisdom
A link to my recent interview with Zone Magazine in the UK.
After being in the scene for some time, how do you keep your music fresh and your enthusiasm still alive?
The music really takes care of itself. There’s literally thousands of new tracks being released every week so it’s not hard to continually keep your record box fresh, or USB stick as it is these days. And accordingly, the enthusiasm to keep playing naturally follows that. It’s one of the great things about the electronic music scene that things are continuously evolving so you never get chance to get bored. Just having a few new hot tracks ready to play for the weekend still gives me the same buzz as it did 20+ years ago. If that ever leaves me then it will be time to call it a day but I can’t ever imagine that happening to be honest.
Tell us a bit about Selador Recordings, any news that we should know about?
Selador is a new label I set up with my long time friend Steve Parry last year and we couldn’t be happier with the progress we’ve made. We’ve just released EPs by Robert Babicz & Affkt with my new single featuring remixes by Cristoph, Joeski, Raxon & Marc Marzenit up next. So as you can see, we’ve already become an outlet for a lot of the scene’s top producers which is no mean feat after only 18 months in business. We’ve got stacks more exciting releases lined up too plus we’ll be starting to do more of our own Selador parties in 2015. It really is going better than we could ever have hoped.
You’ve been touring a lot this year, what’s been the highlights for you?
Burning Man was the stand out this year for me. It was my first time and it really blew me away. It’s like nothing else I’ve ever been to and was very inspiring. Like a rave on the set of a Star Wars meets a Mad Max movie all curated by Salvador Dali. Just bonkers. I can’t wait for next year.
What and who are your major musical influences?
Oh God, where to start? First of all I really got into the mod revival at the end of the 70s so The Jam and the whole 2 Tone scene were my first real obsessions. Then that turned into New Order, Depeche Mode, The Human League and that whole synthesiser movement in the early 80s. Then I got into breakdancing so the original electro scene that came with that and that was what really introduced me to dance music. By the time house music arrived in 1986 I was already into DJing in a big way and the rest as they say is history.
What releases can we expect from you in the near future?
As mentioned before my next single will be coming on Selador in December. It’s called ‘Justified Replacement Of Lulu’. Then after that I’ve got more releases coming on Noir, Sudbeat, Sullivan Room and Tulipa early in 2015. I’ve done quite a bit studio wise this year and that’s something I plan to continue with.
What do you do for fun when not on tour?
Family, films and football kind of take care of any free time I have. Although as a Leeds United fan I’m not sure you could call that fun! haha
Your social media pages are very active with info on gigs etc, do you think this is essential to gain support from your fans?
Definitely, we’re in a new era of artist/fan relations. There is a direct rapport there that can do things that would’ve seemed impossible only a few years ago. I did the first ever crowd funded DJmix compilation last year through my online media platforms. An album for the fans funded directly by the fans. That’s a hell of a development to be able to do something like that without the need for any kind of record company middle man. And of course, when it comes to gigs, it’s the easiest way to let people know you’re coming to their area. I just hope not too many more platforms spring up as I’ll end up spending all day just keeping my social media up to date!
Lastly, which track has been rocking the dancefloor the most recently?
I love Laurent Garnier’s ‘Enchanted’ on Hyper colour. He’s managed to make a tracks that sounds old school and new school at the same time. Also Josh Wink’s remix of Raw District is amazing too. Two big big tunes for me over the last couple of months.
Dave welcome back to DMCWORLD, where in the world are you today?
On my way to the studio in East London on a very wet, grey and miserable Wednesday morning.
You have just returned from a cool 8 date tour of Mexico, Canada and North America. You were one of the first DJs to spin across the pond back in the early 90s and are perfect person to comment on the state of play over there. We hear the EDM kids are discovering new sounds every day, we had Oaky on here last week saying the trance scene is growing rapidly. How have you seen that the American scene has changed over the past 12 months?
It’s constantly evolving as always. Obviously EDM has been a powerhouse over there in recent years and continues to dominate but there seems to be a little turn in the tide of late. The underground is definitely starting to gather momentum again. You’ve only got to look at some of the big cities like New York and Miami who’ve suddenly got an abundance of strong underground venues. A few years ago both those cities were severely lacking in that department. And if you needed any further proof, look no further than the likes of Guetta, Tiesto & Aoki all starting to talk up about how they’re starting to play more deep house now, which all smells a little bit of “abandon ship” to me. Makes you wonder how long before the EDM bandwagon runs out of steam.
Loved your post on Facebook last week showing a photo of a poster from The Sound Bar in Orlando who had a sign telling people ‘No Texting On The Dancefloor’. From a DJs point of view, has the mobile on the dancefloor just gone a little too far? Everyone is either pointing them at you recording or texting their mates. I know you have to be careful here but…
It’s a very different age we live in now and dance floors today are representative of that. 20 years ago you used to have a captive audience as a DJ which is where the idea of taking people on a journey stemmed from. People used to find their spot and be there for the night except from the odd trip to the bar or toilet but now dance floors are so transient. The smoking ban started the change. All of a sudden people were in and out of the club constantly. There’s been times where I’ve felt it would be better to set the decks up in the smoking area! And then came the smart phone which is another big distraction. Dance floors always used to be a place where you forget your problems for a while, feel free and live for the moment but for a lot of people these days they seem to be more interested in documenting where they are than actually being there. It’s a strange business.
I suppose a trip to Los Angeles isn’t complete without a visit to the world’s largest record store – Amoeba on Sunset. In your own words…”heaven for music addicts”. You could spend a friggin’ day in their pal!!!!
Oh mate, talk about feeling like a kid in a sweetshop. That place is amazing. It’s like the size of a football field, wall to wall with CDs, vinyl, DVDs, etc. I spent 4 hours in there and only covered a tiny corner. I don’t know about a day in there, it would take you a week to get round the lot! And because a lot of people are getting rid of their collections, (something they’ll live to regret in my opinion) the turnover of second hand stock is incredible.
When you were Editor of Mixmag I’d always remember you struggling into the office at midday with bags full of the latest magazines. What are some of the sites you love these days that we’d find you on whiling away the hours traveling the world?
Well, DMC World of course. Haha. To be honest, I don’t devour magazines like I once used to. There used to be a time when you couldn’t get enough information but that’s certainly not the case anymore is it?!. My Twitter and Facebook feeds give me more than enough links to stuff I’m interested in and once I throw in The Independent every day and The Observer on a Sunday, that’s about all I can realistically manage.
Massive news for you right now with the release of Selador’s biggest release to date…the wonderfully titled ‘Justified Replacement Of Lulu’ which after appearing on your label’s Showcase compilation, now gets a fully fledged release with a BUMPER package of remixes. Please talk us through the reworks and why you chose the producers responsible…
I’m really excited by all the mixes and feel honoured to have gathered such a talented group of producers together for this release. Cristoph was the first on board as he’d been such a big supporter of my original and accordingly he’s kept a lot of what the original was all about but toughened it up in his own inimitable way. Joeski was next on the team sheet. I’ve known Joe for years and he’s had quite a renaissance this year. I love his slamming house beats, play a lot of his stuff and wanted a mix along those lines so it was a no brainer. Raxon was somebody we’d been asking to do a remix for the label for a while but it was him who approached me when he heard this track and said “that’s the one I want to do”. So I was only too happy to take him up on the offer. And finally Marc Marzenit, a big favourite of the label. I knew he was really busy finishing his album and not taking any more remixes but I thought “what the hell?” and asked anyway and he moved heaven and earth in his schedule to make it happen. Top man. It really is a big package of which I’m really proud.
And the title came about because the track actually started life as remix of Lulu James but as we never heard back from her management, we took her vocals off it and made it into an original instead. So they did is a favour actually. Works much better as an original track. A justified replacement if ever there was one
Were you surprised at all by any of the superstars supporting the track?
A little yes. Daley (Hot Since 82) really got behind it which was nice. We even spoke about him maybe releasing it on his Knee Deep label at one point he loved it so much but I’m happy to be releasing it on my own label. I don’t think my label partner Steve would’ve forgiven me if I’d have let it go somewhere else.
What are the next plans for the label?
We’ve got a load of producers lined up to do EPs for us early next year starting with Climbers, Him Self Her and Joal. Plus there’ll be another single from me, hopefully one from my my aforementioned label partner Steve Parry (if he pulls his finger out), a Robert Babicz remixes EP and another Selador Showcase compilation. That pretty much takes care of the first half of the year already!
What are the big 5 tunes in your box this weekend…please give us a sentence on each track?
Affkt ‘Moix’ Latest release on Selador from the Spanish producer that’s been huge for me all summer.
Laurent Garnier ‘Enchanted’ Amazing piano tune from the legend Laurent that manages to be both old school and nu school at the same time. Massive!
Sante ‘Awake’ Big deep house vocal track with crossover potential. That nagging ‘I’ve been awake for too long’ hook is going to resonate with a lot of dance floors.
Dave Seaman ‘Lily Of The Valley’ My latest thing that will probably come out on Selador in the Spring. New school acid house vibes in the area.
Marc Romboy ‘Hypernova’ Huge slice of melodic goodness from Marc. The sound of real, true progressive house circa 2014.
We loved your remix of Dale Middleton’s ‘Tord’ on Paul Sawyer’s excellent EJ Underground Records label. A great label heading towards their 100th release…it’s great to see the underground alive out there in the UK huh?Absolutely, Paul’s a great guy and it’s a hell of an achievement to reach 100 releases. I was only too pleased to do the remix for him. And yes, there’s plenty of people like him just beavering away doing their thing, sticking to what they believe in and keeping the scene alive with their passion. I think the underground scene in the UK right now is stronger than its been for some time. Viva Acid House!
Tune of the summer?
The Ame mix of Sailor & I’s ‘Turn Around’ takes some beating for me although Patrick Topping’s ‘Forget’ was the one that just wouldn’t go away.
A producer to watch out for in 2015?
Oh God, there’s always loads of people I could mention but off the top of my head, the aforementioned Joal will have a big year I think. And Cristoph too. And Waff hasn’t yet blown up as much as he will next year I think. Plus Fur Coat & Mind Against will go from strength to strength I’m sure.
You took the label out to Ibiza for some label parties at one of the most iconic venues on the island…Pikes. You used to own a house in Ibiza and know the island well. Afrojack and Steve Angello were interviewed on Radio 1 in July and reckoned the white isle had lost it’s mystique and was now too VIP. What are your thoughts on Ibiza in 2014?
I wasn’t really there for long enough periods their year to be an authority and how the season was as a whole but it does seem quite strange to me that the likes of Steve & Afrojack should be complaining about that. If they’re not happy they should go against the grain rather than continue to feed it. They’re certainly in a position to do so. But look, I’ve always said there’s room for everyone to do what they do and people will vote with their feet at the end of the day. I don’t think Ibiza is short of cool underground nights and if you’re spending time on the island and not coming away feeling inspired then you’re going to the wrong places. The magic is still there if you’re willing to find it.
Did you end up on the infamous Pikes karaoke?
Ha, I did yes. Guilty as charged. I vaguely remember singing along to some Bon Jovi at 6am in the morning! I just love that place. Pikes is such an institution. It was a real honour to be able to do our Selador parties there. It’s like having a big villa party with so many crazy little nooks and crannies that you’re never really sure what you’re going to find around the next corner.
Where will you be on New Years Eve and what record do you think you’ll be spinning?
I’m going to be in Bali at Jenja playing alongside Sander Kleinenberg. Not sure which one of us will be playing at midnight though so will cross that bridge when I come to it.
And finally as you look back at a great 2014, what has been your biggest achievement of the year?
It’s got to be Selador really. What we’ve managed to achieve in our relatively short existence is far and beyond what we hoped for when we started 18 months ago. And next year only looks set to be even bigger and better. Roll on 2015 I say
Hot off the plane from Burning Man Festival, Dave Seaman regales Mike Boorman at skiddle.com with what it was like to party on in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert for the very first time..
Dave Seaman has seen a lot of things in his time, but nothing quite like what he saw last week at Burning Man Festival. He was one of the main men at clubbing institution Renaissance, he toured the US with Cream when they were taking over the world, and more recently he has been conquering Beatport with his label Selador but this man was absolutely humbled by it all.
So tell me Dave, from the top… Burning Man: discuss!
I arrived at Reno airport on Monday night to the news that it had all shut down on Monday because they had some rain, and everything grinds to a halt because the rain basically turns the sand and dust to concrete, so I had to stay in a hotel at the airport. I only actually got to the festival on Tuesday.
You know, I was just thinking about this before, when I knew we were gonna do this interview… ‘how do you describe it?’, but it’s basically indescribable! It is like nothing else – it really is. No matter how many videos or pictures you’ve seen, nothing can prepare you for it.
I guess the best way I can describe it is if you can imagine taking the vibe and spirit of Glastonbury on the dance side of things, like Shangri-La and Block 9, mix it up with some day-time Ibiza partying, and then put all that on the moon! It really is that barren and desolate. Feed all that through a Salvador Dali dream and you’re not even close!
Then you’re just surrounded by all these mad sights, like these art cars… it’s like Mad Max crossed with Whacky Races! It’s something I’ll remember forever, and I’m already planning on going next year. I only really scratched the surface being there for two days.
Bonkers, absolutely bonkers. You know, the day I arrived, I’d been there twenty minutes and I see Lee Burridge riding past me on a bike, wearing a pink tutu, with a flower and a headband on his head… you don’t see that every day in London.
He’s one of the kings of Burning Man isn’t he? He’s there every year.
Yeah, he is, he told me it was his favourite week of the year, and it was “Tutu Tuesday” apparently! That was his excuse anyway.
I was playing White Ocean on Tuesday night and also I was playing Opulent Temple on Wednesday morning for the sun rise which was amazing.
Then I went out to see Robot Heart which is one of the most well known sound systems there… the sight of 2,000 people dressed in all these crazy outfits… I felt pretty under dressed. I’ll remember to bring my tutu next year!
It was one of those moments, raving outside at 8:30 in the morning in the desert, with a really cool crowd… it felt like we were raving on the moon – it really did. And there was some great music out there as well – really inspirational music.
So where were you staying? Were you in a tent?
I was staying at the White Ocean camp on a tour bus – they had cool hospitality in there. They had a load of yurts as well, but they’d got really battered by the rain the day before, so there’d been quite a big rebuilding effort that morning.
So with that kind of thing did you sense the community spirit that we all hear about?
Absolutely. And also you go to somewhere like Distrikt and they’re just serving free drinks all day. I don’t know where the money’s coming from!
I literally didn’t buy anything the entire time I was there. I took some gifts for people and gave them out but no one expects anything back, it’s not like ‘I’ll give you that, you give me this’ – it’s definitely an open thing with giving stuff away and not having to worry about that capitalist mentality that the world kind of revolves around 99.9% of the time.
That’s it! Nirvana! You’d have reached your peak!
Might as well retire after that! So the White Ocean camp you were playing for, were they paying the DJs?
No. I think pretty much everybody comes to Burning Man and plays for free. I didn’t pay for my ticket, which a lot of DJs do and I was well looked after by the White Ocean camp but I DJ’ed for free and it was absolutely my pleasure.
And White Ocean was curated by Paul Oakenfold right? Was he there all week?
He arrived on Tuesday night when I was playing. He was playing on Wednesday. It was a different music policy each night. Wednesday was more truancy. Saturday was more techno etc. They had a really strong group of DJs. With me there were people like Nick Warren and Hernan Cattaneo, with Oakey there was Above & Beyond & Marcus Schulz etc. Then there was a Techno night with Marco Bailey & Chris Leibing. They had a heck of a lot of people on.
And in terms of production, what was it like?
They built these huge fifty foot archways and had balls of fire Jerry Lee Lewis would have been proud of – just incredible. There was so much mind blowing art there. And near us was The Temple, where people would do all sorts. There were people scattering ashes there, crying, praying, paying their respects… It’s like a non-organised religion, spiritual rave church thing they’ve got going on there.
Just sounds mind-blowing. I think what says it all is how keen you are to go back, so you think you’ll definitely end up playing there next year?
Yes, I’ll be back. Would love to play for White Ocean and Opulent Temple again, but also Distrikt, Carl Cox’s Playground Experience and Root Society too. I didn’t make my set this time at Root Society due to scheduling. I had to fly out early to make my gig in Colombia.
The best thing I could say about it is that for some people it’s such a mission to get there. People were driving twenty hours from California to get to Reno which is the closest city and it could take another twelve hours from there, and once you get to the outskirts of the camp you might be waiting four hours to get in depending on the size of the queue. So for people to actually do all that and then say, ‘right, I’ll see you next year’ – that says everything.
For me, there were eleven of us cramped together on a ten-seater tour bus with all the luggage all over us for five hours. But once you’ve done it, everyone was already planning next year. You wouldn’t plan to go through all that again unless it was something really out of this world!
Here’s a transcript of my interview with the Lost and Found website from earlier this month…
So much has changed since the early days of House. Going from an underground movement to gaining global recognition and acceptance. What are your thoughts on the current state of dance music and prediction for it’s future?
I think it’s come full circle now. A lot of the music that some of the new younger producers are making reminds me of late 80s early Chicago House music. Acid is back in vogue, the tempos are slower and there’s definitely a strong DIY ethic going on again. A lot of small new nights are cropping up. Especially in the UK. The underground had to start a fresh after the scene became so commercial in the 90s and then the EDM movement took over across the world but the circular nature of fashion means that the bubble will burst and people will look to the underground again for what’s next. You can already see the deeper house stuff starting to penetrate the UK chart. The likes of Disclosure, Ben Pearce, Breach, etc. What goes around comes around as they say.
You’ve released close to 30 DJ mixed compilations to date and it could be said that you’ve mastered the art of the DJ mixed CD. What goes into track selection for a timeless mix?
Ha! A lot of care and attention to detail. I really put my heart and soul into these mix compilations. I spend weeks crafting them in the hope that they’ll stand out from your DJ regular sets which are two a penny these days online. I don’t think you can guarantee a mix will be timeless. Some stand the test of time better than others. Some of the old GU albums now sound so fast to me now but that was how it was back then.
You were one of the featured DJs on what was possibly the first, legal, commercially available mix CD – Mixmag Live Vol.1. More recently you’ve made history with The Selador Sessions mix being the first crowd-funded compilation. Can you tell us about the process involved in raising funds for the mix.
It was an fantastic experience. One that I hope to do again one day. When you do something for the first time there’s always an added edge of nervous excitement and it really took over my life for a few months. First of all, the 30 day fundraising period (which is the rules of the crowd funding platform I chose to use, Kickstarter) is a 24/7 commitment because you really have to get the word out as far and wide as possible and be there to answer everybody’s questions on a daily basis. I don’t think you can just put out a press release and hope that everyone just comes to you. You really have to sell the idea. Especially as this was the first time a DJ had done a crowd funded compilation. And then once the album had been done you still have to deliver on all the pledges. Everything from private parties, to DJ lessons and VIP nights out. These were all things I offered in return for certain levels of contributions that I needed to deliver. It was a big undertaking and one I couldn’t have done without my agent Sara who’s idea it was in the first place and who took care of all the logistics. Thank you Sara.
Mixmag has been instrumental in spreading the gospel of dance music around the world. You’re credited with turning the initial DMC mailout into a fully fledged magazine. What were some of the highlights of your time as editor?
It was such a glorious time in the development of dance music culture. The halcyon days. And to be in the eye of the storm was a privilege I will treasure forever. Back then all everybody wanted was for dance music to be taken seriously. It was very hard to get dance music played on the radio and rock and pop very much ruled the roost. But if you were going out to clubs regularly as I was, you knew it was the beginnings of a cultural revolution and the likes of MARRS, S.Express & Bomb The Bass were more than just the novelty hits they were being treated as by big record companies. They really couldn’t get their heads around the facelessness of dance music. How DJs were making hit records in their bedrooms when they could’t even play conventional instruments. It was a passing fad they said. Of course, the rest is history. Dance music took over the world and broke down more barriers and boundaries than even rock music before it. I enjoyed every minute of my time at Mixmag but actually taking it from a subscription only publication to the news stands was the pinnacle.
You’ve recently launched Selador. What is your vision for the brand? Which artists have delivered tracks on the label thus far and who can we expect to see releasing on the imprint?
I set the label up with my long time friend Steve Parry as we have similar musical inclinations and vision for the label. We wanted to show our diverse tastes off and not get stuck in one niche sub genre of electronic music so we’ve released everything from the minimal deep house of Samu.l’s ‘Restless Dreams’ to the full on Techno stomper of Robert Babicz’s remix of Paul Rutherford’s ‘Get Real’ and everything in between. We’ve also had releases from Piemont , Rob Hes and Seff with more planned from Affkt, Babicz & Marc Marzenit. All killers, no fillers! It’s going to be a big year for Selador
You played an amazing set in Cape Town a few years ago and celebrated a birthday on the night =) when will you back for another performance? Possibly a Selador showcase?
We’ve been working on that recently actually. There’s been one or two enquirers from South African promoters so fingers crossed it actually happens. It’s been such a long time since that infamous GU night. I remember it well. Largely because there was a bomb scare and everybody was made to leave the club. As it was my birthday everyone sang happy birthday to me in the car park and then we were let back in and carried on with the night. It was suspected that it was a rival promoter that had started the bomb scare but it really backfired on them as the intensity of the night only went up several levels after the hoax. A night to remember indeed.
What can we expect from Dave Seaman in the near future? Any forthcoming release info you’d like to share?
I’ve just released 3 tracks in the last few weeks. ‘Flatter To Deceive’ on Great Stuff, ‘Everything Comes In Threes’ on Tulipa and ‘Naughty Forest’ on Selador. But there are another two done and ready for release already. One called ‘Distraction Tactics’ is going to come out on New York label, Sullivan Room and another for Selador called ‘Justified Replacement Of Lulu’ which will come out initially on our Selador Showcase compilation in April but then will have a full release with remixes later in the year.
There’s also going to be a Remix EP for Tulipa in the summer featuring remixes of my stuff by Dousk and D Nox & Beckers. You can also be a part of that as the label have launched a remix competition where the winner will be their remix released on the EP. Find all the details here…
You’ve been a DJ and actively involved in the Music business for over 25 years. What inspires you and helps you remain committed to a rapidly evolving industry?
It’s a cliche but it’s the music is that drives me on. There’s nothing like hearing a fantastic new track to get you inspired and those creative juices flowing. If that feeling ever leaves me then that will be the time to hang up my headphones but I can’t see it to be honest. Dance music is in my bones
1. Before house music landed in the UK, you were spinning various records of multiple genres. Do you remember the very first house record that you heard and what were your immediate thoughts on it? Did you know right away that you had to be a part of this new, emerging sound?
I do remember yes. I’d been into the Electro and Soul scenes for quite a while by then so was following James Hamilton’s dance music pages in Record Mirror religiously so I knew of this new “House Music” that was coming from Chicago but it wasn’t until I was at Roof Top Gardens/ Casanovas in Wakefield one weekend that I heard Steve ‘Silk’ Hurley’s ‘Jack Your Body for the first time. It blew my mind. It was so different to anything else that it really stood out and I immediately went off to search for more. Marshall Jefferson’s ‘Move Your Body’, JM Silk’s ‘Love Can’t Turn Around’ and The House Master Boyz ‘House Nation’ all arrived at around the same time. It was pretty obvious that this was the start of something exciting. I couldn’t get enough.
2. You were also attending many of the early raves during the house explosion. Those parties were quite cavalier in a sense. Part of the excitement was trying to determine the location and playing this “cat and mouse” game. How would you contrast those early raves to the festivals that are happening today?
The early Rave scene was subversive and underground. It was completely new and because of the illegality of the parties had an element of danger. Festivals nowadays are very much a part of the fabric of modern day culture. There’s nothing subversive about them. Latitude (or Latte-tude as it gets called) is particularly family friendly and as middle class as it gets. There’s a great book I can recommend about the Acid House explosion by Matthew Colin called Altered States. It really gives you a great insight to the madness of those halcyon days.
3. Many people know about the infamous Mixmag competition that you won when you were DJing early on, but what initially led you to becoming the editor at the magazine?
I was initially just doing reviews for Mixmag and maybe the odd interview but when the then Editor left hastily I was catapulted into the deep end. I ended up covering for him whilst a replacement was found but after managing to pull two issues together myself the powers that be just said, we’ve not found anybody that we’d rather do it than you so you might as well carry on. I had gotten my English O level but really had no journalistic experience so it was sheer enthusiasm and passion that got me through. I was living and breathing the scene though and I was very much right time, right place. Right in the eye of the storm as it were. As I arrived at Mixmag- M/A/R/R/S, S Express, Coldcut and Bomb The Bass had all just hit the top of the pop charts. DJ Culture as we know it had just begun.
4. With the advent of technology, music has become extremely accessible and the lines of genre are increasingly getting blurred. As an industry expert who has been in key positions such as DJ, producer, editor and label boss, do you think music is still at a healthy point creatively?
Undoubtedly. There is always fantastic, creative music being made but with so much music being made and as you say with almost everything being instantly available to everyone, it’s not as valued as it used to be. MP3s are such a disposable medium. So cheap and replaceable, they have no real worth. And so in that sense it’s not healthy. Cheap and disposable is not good. The real problem though is quantity over quality. There’s just too much music being made with no filter system in place like record companies used to provide in the past. Imagine if everyone who thought they could cook were allowed to put their product on the shelves of a supermarket. It would take you a week just to get past the cereals!
5. I have read that growing up you constantly listened to the radio. Going back to the topic of technology, people have gone on to use the medium of the internet to produce their own shows and podcasts. On one hand, it’s liberating to have the ability to broadcast music, however, does this slowly eliminate the idea of the taste maker, similar to what we used to have on radio?
To a certain extent. You could argue it takes the power out of the hands of a few and spreads it around a bit more but at the end of the day you’re only a tastemaker if you have an audience and the people with real influence still have a lot more listeners than your average podcast.
6.From working at Mixmag to producing Top 20 hits such as Brothers in Rhythm’s “Such a Good Feeling”, on down to working with acts like the Pet Shop Boys and David Bowie, you have had a continual train of success. Are there ever times when you have had to step back and really take it all in?
Ha! Not really. I’ve always been all about the present and immediate future. Maybe one day I’ll get round to writing it all down though. I probably do have a pretty good story to tell
7. More claims to fame are your labels Stress Records and Audio Therapy, which included releases by a slew of top acts in the scene. You now run Selador Recordings with Steve Parry. What prompted you to start a new label?
It’s all Steve’s fault. I blame him! hahaha. It was following a conversation we had where he expressed a long time ambition to run a label that got me thinking. I had been out of the game for a couple of years after Audio Therapy and didn’t realise how much I’d missed it until we spoke further about the idea of Selador and that buzz very quickly returned. It’s a labour of love. It’s not really profitable in monetary terms but you get so much out of it in other ways and I just love the process. It’s a great way to collaborate with like minded artists and put your flag in the sand.
8.You have the new “Selador Sessions Vol. 1” mix compilation out right now which was funded by the people through Kickstarter. I think this speaks volumes in terms of the support from those who love house music. Do you envision this process to soon be the wave of the future for releases?
I hope so and can’t see any reason why not. It’s a fascinating development and actually more of a throwback to the way things used to get done before capitalism took over the world. This idea of a communal project. And now with the advance of social media it’s so much easier for artists to be able to get together with their audience to make creative projects happen. It’s a win win situation really.
9.Finally, what projects are coming down the pipeline at Selador?
Our next release is a compilation to coincide with the Amsterdam Dance Event this month which features a lot of the artists that have already featured on the label and a few more besides. Then there’ll be a new single from myself together with Funkagenda called ‘Naughty Forest’ which has been a staple in my sets for the last few months and also features on Selador Sessions Volume 1. And then who knows, there’s even talk that Mr Parry will be getting back into the studio although I’ll believe it when I see it!
Here’s my recent interview for electronic music blog, The Ransom Note on all things Kickstarter, why I wanted to do things differently this time and my thoughts on the state of music journalism 25 years on from my days at Mixmag..
There is much moaning about the demise of tangible products in this business, but hardly anyone seems to do anything positive about it; and even fewer people are brave enough to make the point that the past wasn’t all that great anyway; so it was nice to hear Dave Seaman buck the trend of apathy and negativity when I met with him the other day.
If you don’t already know, Dave whacked his head clean on the chopping block when he decided that his next mix CD would be funded by the public via Kickstarter. He had a month to raise £25,000 and he bloody well went and pulled it off with a few days to spare, no less. And what’s more, at the time of writing, he’s more than £7,000 over his funding target.