Legendary UK DJ Dave Seaman has been around the block. Not only has he been one of electronic music's most respected names of the past 26 years, but his CV also includes the Editor's title at Mixmag, as well as founding his own labels Audio Therapy, and later Selador Recordings.
Ahead of his set at Noisily Festival in a week's time, we spoke to the DJ to pick his brains on the current state of the music industry, Selador Recordings, and to find out more about that infamous Kickstarter campaign and the house parties that followed...
We loved the Kickstarter campaign you did for a mix compilation. How was the experience and do you see such platforms playing a key part in the future of the music industry?
It was hard work but very rewarding. I’d done over 30 mix compilations previously so the process was becoming a bit repetitive, so to do something that really took me out of my comfort zone and put a fresh spin on things was really exciting. I hadn’t really calculated how long it would take me to make good on all the pledges though, it took almost 2 years to get around to everyone! But I would highly recommend it to other artists. With the direct connection now between artists and fans following the rise of social media, it opens up all sorts of new possibilities.
The top reward was a private DJ set. Did many people take you up on that?
I did 6 in all and they were one of the best things about the whole project. You never really know what situation you’re putting yourself into with something like that. I had visions of the I’m Alan Partridge Mentalist episode! But everyone was lovely and we had some memorable nights together. There’s nothing like a good house party!
In the past, magazines such as NME and Mixmag were one of the primary means of discovering new music, and the figurative "pens" were regarded as sacred. Nowadays, anyone with a Twitter profile can give their opinion. As a former editor of Mixmag, do you think this current setup better serves the public?
Well an opinion is just an opinion and as Pete Waterman famously said, “they’re just like arseholes, everyone’s got one!” Not everyone is equipped to be a journalist, much as they’d like to think they are. Much like there’s so many making music these days too. The digital revolution had democratised many trades. And with that, you might discover new talent that formerly may never have had the chance to develop their skills. Becoming a music journalist 20 years ago was not easy if you lived outside London or Manchester. But the other side of the coin, there are so many outlets now and many people who are really not particularly good at writing, who wouldn't have made the grade previously, can now get published. Well, online at least. There's no editor on the net!
And does the print press still have an important part to play?
Yes, of course, for now at least anyway. But all the print media have an online presence too these days so how long printed media will last is anybody’s guess.
Your current label Selador Recordings seems to be going really well. Do you have any exciting projects and releases coming up that we should look out for?
Yes, it’s going incredibly well right now. We’re into our fourth year and we’ve been steadily growing but things seem to have really gone up a level in the last few months. We’ve already done a night at Watergate in Berlin and this summer are doing 3 dates at Space Ibiza on a Sunday so we’ve been joking that maybe we should quit now while we’re winning! But we take a great deal of pride in our releases and put a lot of time and effort into every one. Artists-wise, we’ve had releases and remixes this year from D-Nox & Beckers, Reset Robot, Third Son, Several Definitions, Tim Engelhardt, Victor Ruiz, Gorge, Kevin Over, Florian Kruse, Quivver and Roy Rosenfeld to name just a few. So we’re either doing something right or we’ve mastered the art of getting a way with it!
You've worked with and remixed some pretty big names across a variety of genres, from Kylie Minogue to David Bowie. Would you say that reflects your diverse music taste?
I like to think I’ve got an open mind to all kinds of music. The old cliché of there’s only two kinds of music, good or bad, still rings true for me. There’s good Techno and bad Techno. Good R&B and bad R&B. My favourite things this year range from DJ Shadow’s Nobody Speak to David Bowie’s Can’t Give Everything Away, Underworld’s If Rah to Anohni’s Drone Bomb Me and Cassius’ Action to James Blake’s Radio Silence, so I do try not to get tunnel vision by listening to too much 'four on the floor' club music.
Right, tough one: what 3 albums would you take if you were to be stranded on a desert island?
Ha! That’s a quaint old question. Wouldn’t I just take one big playlist full of all my favourite tracks on an iPhone these days? But if you insist, I’ll go with Prince Sign O' The Times, Massive Attack Blue Lines and Blondie’s Parallel Lines. Although that does change on a weekly basis, so it really depends on the timing.
You're playing Noisily Festival this July. For a man who's played in over 70 countries, how do you think the British crowd differs from abroad?
I see more similarities in crowds than I see differences to be honest. The basic premise of people going out to listen to electronic music, let loose and enjoy themselves is the common theme that binds us all together. Although after having just got back from Glastonbury this weekend, I can testify that the British can cope with rain and mud better than any other nation. It resembled a war zone at times but that wasn’t going to get in the way of everyone having a brilliant time.
Who else on the lineup do you think we should definitely catch?
Selador artists D Nox & Beckers, Just Her and Third Son are high on the list. As are Anna, Patrice Baumel & Solee. It really is a top, top lineup.
And what does the future hold for Dave Seaman?
My new single for Selador will be called Nightfalls, out in August just in time for my second trip to Burning Man Festival in the US which I’m very much looking forward to. I’ve also signed a couple of tracks to Yousef’s Carioca label which should be out early autumn hopefully.
Noisily Festival 2016 takes place from 7-10 July. Tickets and packages are available here
More like this: