Photos by Chris Davison
DMCWORLD checks in with one of the legends of the dance music industry as his all conquering Selador label chalks up a centenary of releases…with much more to come!
Dave a huge welcome back to DMCWORLD! As the world’s most traveled DJ, gotta ask – where on planet earth are you today?!?!
Hi Dan, I’m just leaving Paraguay after my gig here in Asuncion at the weekend. I’m going home for two days before heading off to India for Easter weekend to play in Delhi & Hyderabad. Then it’s LA and Vancouver the weekend after that. April’s a busy month!
Talking of worldwide travel, I couldn’t help noticing your Facebook post last week concerning your non payment for a gig in Mexico back in 2017 for the Daydream Festival there. I can’t believe this still happens in this day and age, especially with one of the pioneers of the scene! What’s the latest with this issue, has it finally been resolved?
Unfortunately not. It’s a shame I had to go public about the whole affair but after trying to find a resolution for 18 months and getting nowhere, I felt it was my only option and I’m glad I did, at least to serve as a warning to other artists. It’s also confirmed my suspicions about my North American agency at the time, EMV. Since I went public, three other artists have come forward with similar stories about having problems getting paid from them, so it seems to be a recurring theme. Sad but true.
On a more positive note, big congratulations on chalking up the 100th release from your beloved Selador Recordings that you run with Steve Parry. Let’s kick off with the name, I believe it has a Hollywood background?
Yes it does, the name comes from the 2001 film, Donnie Darko in which it’s said that the most phonetically beautiful sounding combination of syllables in the English language is Cellar Door which we then adapted into Selador. Not only did this idea of a combination of beautiful sounds strike a chord, the film is also one of my all-time personal favourites. A cult classic if ever there was one.
I was with you one Hacienda weekend in 1990 when the A&R duo of Rob Manley and Lisa Loud from 10 Records went screaming down the hotel corridors when they discovered their Unique 3 tune ‘The Theme’ had just smashed into the Top 40 – such was the rarity of a dance music record hitting the national charts back then. You were Editor of Mixmag back then pushing our new sound, what were the tracks from those early days that you can remember with pride gatecrashing the pop charts…
Yeah it’s easy to forget just how marginalised dance music was back in those days, very much seen as a second rate art form by most of the mainstream media, so those small measures of success were something to be celebrated, validations that we were in fact, the flag bearers of the next big thing and it was only a matter of time before it was proved. There had been plenty of examples before with the likes of Coldcut, Bomb The Bass, M/A/R/R/S & S.Express all reaching the summit of the pop charts out of nowhere as early as 1987 but I think it was Steve Silk Hurley’s ‘Jack Your Body’ unannounced gatecrashing that first made me think, wow, this music could really take over the World.
Getting a dance/electronic track into the charts these days via the various avenues is common place and nowhere near as important as back in the day. What is the number one aim/target you and Steve have with every record you release from Selador?
Simply to do the best job we can. To present each release with the care and attention we believe they each deserve whilst trying to expose them to the widest audience possible with the means we have available to us. Music generally has become so disposable that presentation has become more and more important, to try to give it some value and meaning. We see so many labels just throw releases out there and hope for the best, which to us is just lazy and disrespectful. We aim to be the opposite of that.
Tell us about your label partner Steve Parry. How long have you known the fella, how did the whole Selador project come about and what are his main attributes he brings to the label table?
We met in 1991 at a night club in Liverpool. Our eyes met across a crowded dancefloor. Hahaha. No, I’m kidding, in reality I was DJing and Steve was hanging round the DJ booth trying to find out the names of the new tracks I was playing. Geeky trainspotter that he is. It’s that passion and dedication to the music that are still his biggest assets to this day. Plus his work ethic and drive, which would put most people to shame and is essential when trying to run a label these days.
As I mentioned above, to date you have visited more countries than any other DJ. Today everyone wants to get into our scene with more DJs and producers than ever before. How on earth do you listen to all of the music you get sent from artists wanting to be signed by Selador?
The honest answer is we don’t. It’s become impossible to listen to everything. We do our best but there’s simply not enough hours in the day so it’s a bit like sending a message-in-a-bottle submitting a demo these days. I really do feel sorry for new producers trying to get noticed these days but the sheer volume of people all trying to get heard means it’s become a lottery. I get sent more music on a daily basis than I could possibly listen to in a week so imagine the accumulative effect of that over the course of a month or even a year! Having said all that, no matter how much the odds are stacked against it, we still do sign and release unsolicited demos on a regularly basis and you have to be in it to win it, so give it your best shot and hope lady luck is shining down on you.
Is there such a thing as a ‘Selador sound’ for all of the aspiring producers reading this?
Not specifically no. We like, play and release everything from tough Techno to ethereal Afro House and many flavours in-between. In fact, it was always our mantra to not get stuck in one niche genre, to try to reflect our board tastes within the spectrum of electronic house. Really, our only criteria to sign something is that both Steve and I like it and would play it and you’d be surprised what we’d play, given half a chance!
Danny Howells, Lee Van Dowski, Cristoph, Third Son, Dubspeeka, Quivver, Guy Mantzur, Zoo Brazil and Audiojack are just a few of the amazing artists who’ve released through Selador. How important is this family vibe you have at the label, you are all mates!
It’s really important to us. Aligning ourselves with other artists to create our own little gang of like minded souls is definitely something we aspire to. Strength in numbers, looking out for each other, flying the flag for the common goal. You can’t take on the World single-handedly!
It must be just as exciting as working with an unknown as it is a major name…who should we be keeping an eye out this year at Selador in the new artist stakes?
He’s not strictly a new artist but Spanish Producer, EdOne has been making some amazing music recently. He’s already appeared on our recent Showcase Compilation release and has done a remix on our next release by Christian Nielsen and then also has his own EP scheduled with us, so it’s fair to say we’re quite enamoured with Ed right now. We’ve certainly got more riding on him that most.
Name me one track you wish you had signed for Selador that has been damaging dancefloors recently…
Hmm, that’s a tough one. So many to choose from. I love the new Olivier Giacomotto EP on Yoshitoshi. I’ve played both tracks to death and have always loved Olivier’s productions, so maybe that, but then also the latest Super Flu release ‘Lord Extra’ on Mule Musiq is ace too, they can pretty much do no wrong in my eyes. I would love to have a Super Flu release on Selador.
As your imprint reaches the big 100 and by way of celebration, you and Steve have assembled a crack team of producers to tackle a handful of the label’s landmark catalogue that has not been previously remixed. Tell us about it all…
For our 5th Birthday last year we released a series of EPs featuring many of our artists collaborating to make exclusive tracks which was a really successful project for us, so we decided for our 100th release we’d revisit some of those collaborations and get them remixed for the first time and we couldn’t be happier with the result. We’ve got André Hommen, D-Nox & Beckers, Doc Martin, Kotelett & Zadak, Moonwalk and Petar Dundov remixing tracks by myself & Steve, Gorge & Joeski, Guy Mantzur & Lonya, Cristoph & Quivver and Luke Brancaccio & Tim Healey. It’s a mightily impressive cast whichever way you slice it.
Shitty question but I’m going in…your favourite Selador track of all time?
That’s such a difficult one to answer. Like choosing your favourite child! How about I give you ten off the top of my head? In no particular order! And not including any of my own!! haha
Jaap Ligthart & Alice Rose ‘I Know Change’ (Show-B Remix)
Quivver ‘Wait For You’ (D Nox & Beckers Remix)
Danny Howells ‘Earthlings X’ (Jimpster Remix)
Tom Peters ‘Two Of Us’ (Tim Engelhardt Remix )
Wally Lopez ‘Sphera’
Steve Parry ‘Apricity’ (Victor Ruiz Remix)
Never More “Forward Momentum’
Acumen & JOBE ‘Uncontrollable’
Blaktone ‘Under My Skin’
What are some of the other Selador plans for the rest of 2019…?
Straight after the 100th release, we have EPs from Christian Nielsen and EdOne as I previously mentioned, then it’s my own release called ‘Thonk!’ which is coming with remixes by Whitesquare & Fort Romeau and then Steve has done a collaboration with Luke Brancaccio which we’re currently working on remixers for. Plus, we have EPs signed by Dee Montero & Justin Massei and more. In fact, we have enough music signed to see us through to the Autumn. We’ve also been working hard on a concept for our own Selador parties, which hopefully will start coming to fruition later this year. Exciting times.
And finally young man, you have been at the top of your game for four decades with no signs of slowing down. Every weekend you are in some far flung location entertaining the masses and are back in the studio on Monday. What drives you on, what keeps this acid house fire burning…?
I still love the music, first and foremost, which ultimately, is key. I think if that ever starts to wane, that’ll be the day to think about hanging up the headphones. Until then, so long as promoters still want to book me, people still want to hear me play and I’m still enjoying it, let’s keep stoking that fire. I still think it’s the best job in the World, so it’s really not hard for me to stay motivated.