Lily A caught house music legend Dave Seaman in a candid chat with long-time fan and Jaleebee Cartel mixmeister Arjun Vagale.
Down to two decades in the industry, there’s not much Dave Seaman hasn’t done. He’s produced and remixed music for everyone from The Pet Shop Boys to Kylie Minouge and even David Bowie, no less. He’s whipped up over 20 compilations for massive labels like Global Underground and Renaissance. He’s even modelled for Levi’s in Japan.
He’s a remixing legend alongside Steve Anderson, who together became Brothers in Rhythm and were responsible for one of the most solid Brit house records ”“ Such a Good Feeling.Â Seaman’s first residency was alongside Sasha (who was also starting out at the time). It was in the late 90’s the Seaman and crew began Therapy Music ”“ the branch Audio Therapy turned out to be ground zero for DJs and producers with the same drive.
There’s more and the person to fill in the blanks was Arjun Vagale (Jalebee Cartel and co-owner of Mak.Tub Music) who was playing the opening set for Seaman on his visit to Delhi. Vagale takes on the role of journalist in a most informative and entertaining chat.
You’ve produced music, been part of over 20 compilations, deejayed for 25 years and you run a really awesome label. What keeps you going?
I love it! Â I’m still very passionate about what I do. I wanted to be a DJ when I was eight years old, way before deejaying is what it is today. My dream was to play at the local nightclub where you played all sorts of music out of the charts, even rock ’n’ roll.
It was the late Seventies. People didn’t mix then, they talked on the microphone between records. I went to a party with my parents when I was 8 years old. Saw a DJ in the hotel and got such a buzz from being there ”“ the party the lights, the people having a good time. I decided I wanted to be a DJ there and then. My parents bought me turntables, and I started playing at the school disco. Never in my wildest dreams did I think that deejaying would turn into what it has turned into.
I was very lucky really because I was ahead of the game. I was already a DJ and used to playing records in front of people”¦so when the whole explosion happened and DJs started making records and turned into artists rather than people who played records I already had some experience. The reason why I’m still going today is because I still get a real buzz out of that. I love seeing people’s reactions and seeing them having a good time
You have such a hectic schedule though. How do you physically cope with the demands? What helps you?
Lots of vitamins! I’ve been doing it for many years now. Three weeks ago, I came back from LA. It is a crazy thing and travelling is tiring, but because I do it so much I don’t get jet lag. My body clock is wired. I’m awake at 7 am every day during the week because the kids are up then. And then on weekends I go to bed at 7 am! Travel for many people is a stressful thing but for me, it’s my relaxing time. When I get on the plane it’s me time ”“ I can read a book, watch films, listen to music. There’s no phones, no faxes coming in, so the longer the fly, the better it is! Last weekend I took my friend with me though, and he isn’t used to it. By the end of it he was finished!
What’s new with Audio Therapy, your label?
Lots coming up! There’s an album coming out soon. We’ve remixed our entire back-catalogue ”“ 20 new remixes from new producers on our old stuff. I did like 12 mixes on one CD, and there’s another CD with the other ones. It’s tough running a label these days. You don’t make any money on it! But as long as we cover our expense, our overheads, we’re ok! We do it because we love it.
You’ve got a new studio. You’re producing a lot of new stuff now, more tracks at one point than you ever have”¦
DS: When I was with Brothers In Rhythm we were doing a lot of stuff. I got married, I had kids. My kids go to nursery on Tuesdays and Thursdays, I’m away on the weekends”¦so Monday and Wednesdays are my days to have family day so I don’t do any week. Tuesdays and Thursdays are the only two days that I get to do all my work, all my emails, all my social networking. To actually find time to go to the studio is almost impossible!
You have a studio at home now?
I do, but its very difficult for me to do tracks. I don’t have the time. Not enough hours in the day! I made this pact with my wife, I’m not going to miss my kids growing up.
LA: How do you balance it all?
DS: With difficulty! It’s like spinning plates at the circus”¦one’s balancing, you got to watch the others and sometimes ”¦shit”¦this one’s coming off!
Let’s get techie. What’s your set-up like?
It’s pretty much all on a computer these days! The track I just did with Josh Gabriel, we just did on Ableton because it’s very good program for getting stuff done well and quickly. You can always transfer it to Logic afterwards. I’m very much about the vibe in a studio. Get it all together; get it plotted out and then somebody can play with it as long as they want! I’ll go see the kids for an hour! But yeah, we use Logic generally, and all the soft sense and the plug-ins. It’s easy now, sometimes you don’t need a big studio because it’s all on the computer. The Josh Gabriel track was done in a hotel room!
For the mix-down, obviously Josh took it to the studio. But the track itself, started off in the hotel in Amsterdam, we did another day in a hotel room in London and another day in his villa at Miami at the Winter Music Conference! All in a laptop, doesn’t matter where you are! I don’t know if you follow Funk Agenda, but he’s very good with at twittering! He finished a track off and there he is showing pictures of him on a plane! It’s all via satellite!
You were the editor of MixMag for four years. What made you start and what made you leave?
Because the deejaying was starting taking off. It was starting to snowball and my production career with Brothers In Rhythm was really starting to happen. I couldn’t do everything. I had to choose. I prefer making and playing music than writing about it. That’s why we’re all different. I do enjoy writing, but I can’t do it all.
What is your take on the Indian scene? Does the name India ever come up?
Not especially, no. I don’t think a lot of people come here as compared to other places. You haven’t got a great number of clubs. Once people start to come and see what’s happening they’ll want to come back. Like myself. India’s got this unique thing where it’s got the Bollywood scene which no other country in the world has. The young people aspire [towards] this because it’s a celebrity type of thing. Electronic dance music spread across the world because young people wanted something new to listen to. In India they’ve got this thing they want to be a part of so EDM’s kind of taken a back seat.
But do you think India’s can be one of the highlights of Asia, in the near future?
Absolutely. And I’ll tell you why, because it’s new and fresh. Because people are not so critical, they want to have a good time and experience this new thing. Everywhere else, people have an opinion. Dance music’s not meant to be like that! And generally, and this is one of the reasons I left journalism, and you’re not going to like this, art should not be intellectualised.Â Critics, people try to dissect how things work for a living, I don’t believe in that. Things work because of a feeling. When you dissect something you dilute. You take away from its essence. When things are really good culturally, they are greater than the sum of their parts. Dance music specially, is not about thinking! It’s a feeling. We try to make sense of it in our heads. If you’re feeling it, fuck, just do it!