Dave Seaman is one of the original movers and shakers of the UK house movement and a legendary figure in electronic music culture. He’s been DJing for over 25 years and has played in over 70 countries around the world. From Creamfields to Glastonbury, the Arctic Circle to the Arabian deserts: Dave is walking proof of dance music’s global ability to unify and excite.
He was the first editor of the clubbers bible, Mixmag, and played a major role in taking it from a black and white newsletter to the dominant music publication it became. He’s had more than ninety releases bare his name in their credits and he’s remixed and produced for everybody from U2 to Kylie and David Bowie to the Pet Shop Boys. Dave’s also completed over 25 mix compilations for the likes of Global Underground, Renaissance and Radio 1’s Essential Mix and was the main man behind the independent dance music labels, Stress Records and Audio Therapy. Labels which quickly became a byword for quality with Danny Tenaglia, Groove Armada’s – Andy Cato, Sasha and John Digweed, Timo Maas, Robert Babicz, Pig & Dan and Funkagenda all adding their names to glorious release schedules.
2013 has seen Dave launch a brand new label named Selador Recordings and there’s no doubt that his 3rd venture in the record label business will be just as remarkable as it’s predecessors. I had a brief chat with Dave about the rapidly changing music industry, the art of the mixed compilation and his vision for Selador.
So much has changed since the early days of House. Going from an underground movement to gaining global recognition and acceptance to becoming a billion dollar industry. 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 Global Underground albums 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 a 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 Recordings. 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 off our diverse tastes 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, Robert 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 enquiries 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?
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. There are two more done and ready for release. 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 have 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 it will be the time to hang up my headphones but I can’t see it to be honest. Dance music’s in my bones :-)
Thanks for taking the time to chat with us and for your valued contribution to the Music we love.
‘Naughty Forest’ is the most recent offering on Selador Recordings and sees label boss Dave Seaman team up with affiliate Funkagenda to deliver an excellent piece of melodic techno. The original is a percussion led dark rumbler with a deep pulsating groove, interspersed with a haunting female vocal and balanced with atmospherics. A lovely early hours, heads down, foot stomper that will work well in a big room.
French DJ and Producer Nicolas Masseyeff turns in the first of the two remixes on the package and drops the tempo slightly to produce an excellent bit of tech house. Creating a piece even darker than the original, he maintains the emphasis on the percussion for the first part of his rework but ultimately what brings the track to life is the growling resonating bassline which makes itself felt halfway through. An excellent mix which will have heads nodding and is my favourite of the three on offer.
Niklas Worgt better know as Dapayk has produced great work on Stil Vor Talent and Herzblut and is the driving force behind Mo’s Ferry Prod. Here he produces the final remix on the package and focuses on the groove while sampling the vocals and melody of the original intermittently. A relentless slow burn which showcases Dapayk’s edgy style and is a perfect rework to round off a great single.
interview and review by Alastair Margerman