1. Hi Dave, how are you? Thank you for your mix for our Prog Fun Goodness Exclusive Series which we live-streamed on Saturday. How do you feel it went?….
I’m good thank you. Just starting to think about Christmas plans. We’re going to rinse it for all it’s worth this year because if you can’t wring every last drop of festivity out of this year of all years, frankly, when else could you?! 🙂
I thought the stream went well. I think these listening parties/premieres are one of the few good things to come out of 2020. It’s great to have a group of people all listening to something for the first time together and interacting in real time. It’s as close as most of us have come this year to that communal feeling of being in a club.
2. Awesome. Unlike other musical genres, some of the top DJs/producers of the scene since the start are still at the top and earning the right to be with the work they are bringing out. For example if Paul McCartney or Led Zeppelin were still growing as songwriters in the same way and at the top of their game, well, the music would be mind bogglingly fantastic for starters, but it doesn’t tend to work that way. I appreciate that there is access to the best tracks involved, plus spending years working with technology until they can probably do it in their sleep. But they still excel in the music they choose, make and mix. Why do you think it differs from the other genres?….
I think things have changed over the generations with regards how age is perceived. You can get away with so much more now as you get older that would have been deemed age-inappropriate previously. My parents generation would not have been accorded the same freedom. On top of that, electronic music continues to flourish, it’s not a scene that got frozen in time like Punk or the New Romantics, it’s never really gotten old, so the Acid House originators can continue to be relevant.
3. What is your creative process for production? Do you have flashes of inspiration that you must get down lest you lose them and create from there? Or do you schedule time to sit down “at the page” so to speak and create in a more disciplined way? Or a mixture of both? And when you have inspiration how does it reveal itself to you? Is melody and musicality at the heart of it? Or is it more to do with power and the use of beats? Or something else? And also, do you feel the inspiration comes from somewhere else, as many songwriters do, or simply yourself and your own gift and experience?….
There’s no hard and fast rules as to where inspiration might come from. It can literally come from anywhere, sometimes when you least expect it. When I see another artist do something amazing, that’s what usually inspires me and I mean artist in the broadest sense there. A filmaker, a comedian, a writer, etc. I’m a big list maker – the kind of list maker who makes lists of lists! lol. So whenever something pops into my head, I scribble it down to collate one big list of ideas. Then I try to take those ideas into the studio once a month to create something. I work out of a studio in London with my studio partner, Jay Gilbert, who I’ve been producing music with now for the last 8 years. I find it’s good for me to get out of the house for a couple of days, travel done to London, stay overnight and submerge myself in the process. It doesn’t work for me trying to produce in fits and starts at home with all the interruptions of family life. Plus, if I know I’ve only got two days booked in in London, it helps me to focus on getting something completed in that allotted time. It’s good to have some discipline in that respect. Not always of course. The creative process doesn’t always go to plan.
4. The scene is highly disciplined and quality and consistency are a must if you want to be taken seriously. People who have big careers are understandably protective of their brand. But can it sometimes be a bit clinical given the roots it came from? For instance, artists approving reviews of their own work or interview questions – this seems a little over controlling to me, but at the same time I understand the motivation to be protective too, so I’m not judging but I find it to be a peculiarity. Right now Bon Jovi have brought out a terrible and ill advised cover of Fairytale of New York and their peers have openly slated it. If you did that in this scene I get the impression that it could have negative repercussions for your career and reputation, especially if it were an “important” artist. What’s your view? Do some take themselves a bit too seriously, or are they right to?
I think that differs from artist to artist. Depends on how they view their brand and how they want to project themselves. I do feel that corporate culture has strangled artistry in many respects though. The World has become far too homogenised and an Ivory Tower is usually not the best breeding ground for creativity.
5. When you first started your DJ career, the music and tracks you were able to pick from were simply labelled “acid house”. What are your thoughts on the sometimes over categorising of music these days? And do you have a category for your own music, if someone asked you “what type of music do you play/make” what is your response?
It’s a necessary evil I’m afraid. Back in the early days, it was possible to categorise everything under ‘Acid House’ because there were less than 100 releases every week covering a whole range of styles but now, when Beatport is releasing over 10,000 tracks every week, you have to divide into subfolders, otherwise it would just be one big mess. Where would you start? You’d never find anything. Imagine having the entire contents of your kitchen or your wardrobe just thrown haphazardly into a big box! You’d spend half your life trying to find what you were looking for. Of course, music is not always so easy to define as a knife or a fork, there’s a lot of sporks! Me myself, I think my music is more Swiss Army knife. Haha
6. Ha ha! From your first gigs in small towns like Stoke and Mansfield, to amongst others the four GU albums in Cape Town, Lithuania, Melbourne and Buenos Aires; you’ve travelled the world DJing, but is there a club and/or country that you’d love to play in that you haven’t managed to reach yet?….
I’ve been very lucky to have been to most places I’ve wanted to visit but to be honest, I was so happy getting to play in Stoke & Mansfield back in the day. Never in my wildest dreams did I think it would go fully international. There’s a handful left though. Hawaii, Milan, Marrakech and Cuba spring to mind if there’s any promoters from those places reading 😉
7. What’s on the horizon for 2021 assuming we get back to normal? For you and for Selador?….
We’ve been working hard in the background on the label this year so we’re ready to hit the ground running when some semblance of normality starts to return. Our Seladoria live events will be one of our main priorities but there’s lots more bits underway too. We’ve just launched on Bandcamp which will be a platform we’re going to concentrate on. Personally, I’ve got a new single ready for release in January called ‘Buzzfuzzle’ and there’s a 3D album in the works with Darren & Danny too.
8. Is there a mix album that you are most proud of?….
I’m proud of them all in their own way. I wouldn’t have let them go out unless I was happy with them but ‘Back To Mine’ is probably the only one I return to every now and again.
9. It’s fab, I’m embarrassed to say I only heard it in 2020, but I was a late bloomer lol. When did you stand back and realise that this “playing music” malarkey was going to be a seriously exciting career ahead? Did you think it would last this long?….
I think like most of us that were involved from the very start, we never imagined it lasting more than a few years. As I mentioned earlier, the likes of Punk and New Romanticism and and other cultural movements tended to have a shelf life of 5 years or so, so we didn’t presume Acid House would be any different. Of course, as it started to transcend fashion, it quickly became apparent that this scene was different and had legs. I still never imagined I’d be sat here 34 years later though. I realise I’m incredibly lucky.
10. Well you put in the effort for your luck! What did your parents think of it when you started out?….
They were very supportive for the most part. They bought me my first equipment when I was a teenager and drove me to my gigs before I was old enough to drive. The only real flashpoint was when I told them, aged 19, I’d decided to give up my promising job at an Advertising agency in Leeds to move to London to become a tea boy at DMC. That didn’t go down well. They’ve since conceded it was probably the correct decision though. LOL.
Ha ha brilliant! Thanks Dave, and we’ll look forward to part 2….
Thanks Niamh 🙂
This interview was part of the PFG December Exclusive Series Mix (Episode 9) – Dave Seaman….