There aren’t many artists who’ve soundtracked the birth of dance music and are still leading its development more than three decades later. There are even less who have gifted both the club and pop scenes with unforgettable musical moments that get talked about in hushed tones years after their creation. Dave Seaman is one of a select few. From the early days at the helm of Mixmag through the Kylie years with Brothers In Rhythm to current day head honcho business at his own Selador Recordings, Seaman has always been leading the way. And without a doubt, his relationship with Renaissance is one of the most renowned in dance music with Seaman having contributed 10 mixes to the revered series as well as appearing at many of the world class events around the globe. This month Renaissance launch the first in a new series of UK events at Brighton’s Concorde 2 with Seaman joined by the mighty Patrice Bäumel. DMCWORLD checks in with the main man as we find him on tour with messrs Emerson and Howells…
Interview by Dan Prince
Hey Dave a huge welcome back to DMCWORLD, where on this crazy planet are you today?
I’m in Barbados on a tour of North America with my 3D cohorts Danny Howells & Darren Emerson.
So much going on in your musical world at the moment, let’s kick off with the big news that Renaissance are back on the clubbing map with a series of fresh new events around the UK kicking off with your night alongside Patrice Baumel and Marino Canal at Brighton’s Concorde 2 in a few weeks – which we will come to in a moment. But let’s kick back to when the Renaissance story began – we were both running Mixmag at the time and had known for some time about Geoff Oakes’s plans for his now legendary new night that began life in Mansfield. It was obvious from the start that this was something different for a nation more used to fields, sweaty clubs and MCs wondering where the whistle posses were. Renaissance oozed class from day one, what are your memories of those early days…?
I remember struggling to get in on the opening night! I think I’d DJ’ed in Sheffield if my memory serves me correctly and drove to Mansfield afterwards at like 4 in the morning to catch the end of the night. It was chaos outside with tonnes of people still trying to get in. The 6am license was still quite a rare thing back then. Once I did get in though, it was pretty obvious it was going to become a game changer. They’d managed to combine some of the best elements of New York nightlife with the energy of the UK’s Acid House explosion and presented it with just enough pomp and ceremony. It was a potent mix.
How important was/has Renaissance been to the club scene over the years, what has made it stand out and shine for decade after decade?
It was very important in changing perceptions about dance music. Up until then, the very early days of Acid House culture was generally a pretty amateurish scene powered more by passion than know-how with most events thrown together with the DIY ethic of punk. Renaissance, with it’s stylish branding and production values, showed the way things could be done and heralded a new era of clubbing in the UK. The marketing, the artistic ambition, the attention to detail… they definitely raised the game.
What are some of your stand out memories from playing and partying at Renaissance?
The 2nd birthday at The Que Club in Birmingham always stands out for me. The production on that one was next level with huge fluffy clouds made from cotton wool suspended above the dance floor over which little cherub statues presided, all lit up with dramatic strobe lighting. It was all very theatrical. I remember having a ‘moment’ sitting on the highest row at the very back of the venue overlooking the whole thing and thinking how far UK club culture had come in such a few short years but also realising how much more could be achieved. Little did I know the extent of it.
A tune that will always remind you of Renaissance?
There’s loads that are particularly synonymous with Renaissance for me.
Bedrock’s ‘For What You Dream Of’ which was John’s first ever release which we put out on Stress Records, Age Of Love’s ‘Age Of Love’, Sasha’s mix of Hysterix’s ‘Talk To Me’. In fact, the track I made with my Brothers In Rhythm studio partner Steve Anderson under the Brothers Love Dubs alias ‘The Mighty Ming’ was made particularly with Renaissance in mind.
Which brings us to Brighton on April 14th and a date with one of The Netherlands’ finest. Have you played with Patrice before, what are you expecting?
It will be our first meeting face to face although we’ve been in touch for a while online. For me, he’s one of the best producers out there right now and judging by his superb Essential Mix recently he’s no slouch behind the decks either! He’s the ideal DJ to carry the Renaissance torch into a new era.
Get tickets here… http://bit.ly/RenaissanceBrighton
You have a long history with the town of Brighton. We used to be down there most weekends for The Zap and The Escape Club, the scene has had it’s ups and downs in recent years but the place will always have happy memories for you?
Yeah, I’ve had some great times down in Brighton over the years. I think my first time playing there was on The Pier at one of the very early Bedrocks which is where I first met Danny Howells. We were just talking about that the other day actually. Back when John Digweed was going under the name DJ JD! That’s how long ago we’re talking!!
Right let’s dip into Dave Seaman world. I am not sure if Guinness World Records have been in touch yet, but it seems the trophy for the most countries DJ’d in has surely landed on your mantelpiece now. Where have been some of the stand out countries you have smashed in 2018 so far?
Ha! Well, I started the year off in Pakistan and as I already mentioned, right now I’m in Barbados so that’s two new places to add to the ever growing list. It’s been a great start to 2018 actually. I had another wonderful gig in Sydney at Cafe Del Mar on my recent trip down there and a couple of great shows on our current 3D tour of North America. Ethics Lounge in Austin, Texas had a really special vibe and the Ibiza Global Radio party in the jungle in Tulum, Mexico was definitely the most beautiful spot I’ve played this year. We’re so, so lucky to get to travel to these places. Never in my wildest dreams when I started DJing all those years ago did I think it would allow me to travel all over the World.
Your outstanding start to the year studio wise follows the success of your ‘Virgo Ryzin’ release with another Beatport biggie, ‘Hired Sate of Unconsciousness’ which forms part of the first ever 3D EP with Danny Howells and Darren Emerson. Can you talk us through the EP…
Yeah, we were very happy to release the first EP on Selador. When we started the 3D Project, we immediately floated the idea of getting Danny back into the studio and to be fair, he didn’t take much persuasion. So his contribution, ‘Earthlings X’ is his first original material in over 6 years and has done really well. I think he’s still sat in the Beatport Deep House Top 10 as we speak, several weeks after we released. I was really happy with how well ‘Hired State’ did personally for me too reaching number 2 in the Progressive section. And Darren’s track ‘Brooklyn’ also got a tonne of high profile support from the likes of Laurent Garnier, Noir, Timo Maas and Carl Cox. So all told, I think we can consider it a success. We’re already talking about the next one…
Will you be hitting the festivals together this year?
Yes we’re doing quite a few festivals throughout Europe during the summer. I think there’s already 5 or so booked in for the UK, Belgium and Holland. And there’s definitely an appetite for all of us to get into the studio together at some point. It’s just a question of time really. Getting all our diaries to align seems to be our biggest challenge.
Solo wise, what is the next Dave Seaman production swinging our way
Next up will be collaboration track I’ve done with my label partner Steve Parry for Selador’s 5th Birthday project called ‘Repeat Offender’ closely followed by a remix just finished for Martin Eyerer, Ackermann & Thomas Gandey on their new label. I’ve also got EPs lined up for Alex Niggemann’s Soul Fooled and Affkt’s Sincopat imprint before another Selador single in the summer. After also doing stuff for Suara and Sudbeat, it’s starting to seem like I only make music for labels beginning with S!.
Your beloved Selador Recordings commemorates it’s 5th Birthday this month with a landmark series of EPs featuring some exclusive collaborations between some of the label’s roster of artists. What can you tell us young man?
It all started with the idea of Steve (Parry) & I doing this track together and quickly developed into a whole project of collabs. There’s some mouthwatering pairings including Cristoph & Quivver, Robert Babicz & Stelios Vassiloudis, Raw District & Just Her and Luke Brancaccio & Tim Healey. And that’s the just first EP! EPs 2 and 3 are equally as strong.
And word on the grapevine is that you have some big Selador parties on the way?
We’re going to do our 5th Birthday launch party at Watergate, Berlin with myself and Steve alongside Quivver and Justin Massei. It’ll be our 4th label showcase there. It’s always one we look forward to. And yes, we’re in discussion with a few other venues about further parties over the summer. It’s still early days though so let’s see how things pan out. Watch this space.
What are the 3 big tunes in the Dave Seaman box this weekend…
The new Patrice Baumel ‘The Hatchet’ on Afterlife immediately springs to mind. He’s managed to come up with another big one that really stands out from the crowd. Got a feeling you’re going to be hearing a lot of it over the coming months.
Next, I’ll say a brand new remix Steve’s (Parry) done for the Republik label out of Ireland called ‘Incognito’ by Undefined. It’s a big melodic arpy thing . Proper end-of-night business.
And finally, I’m really happy with my new single for Selador that I alluded to in your earlier question. It’s been a highlight in my sets for the last few weeks. It’s called ‘Rodales’. 10 points for guessing where the title came from!!
With so much traveling, studio work and performing, how on earth do you juggle a family life with a wife and young boys back home wanting a part of you?
It is difficult but I try not to be away for more than a few days at a time. It’s actually pretty rare that I’m away for two consecutive weekends. I tend to get the last flight out and first flight back to wherever I’m going each weekend and once I’m back there’s no real time for recovery. Sleep or no sleep, I have to hit the ground running with family duties. It’s not for the faint hearted.
Your football team Leeds United are on the rise again, how far away are we from the days of a Leeds Manchester pitch tussle?
Unfortunately, I think we are still a way off from that right now. It’s another season of mid table mediocrity for us this season I’m afraid. We started really well but fell away again. The Championship is such a competitive league, you either need a lot of luck or some serious investment and we’ve had neither. Although, after a decade of being raped and pillaged by various shady owners it does look like we’ve finally got someone in now who is willing to put some money to the cause. Let’s see. I think most football fans would like to see Leeds back in the Premiere League. We’re a big club with a huge history who’ve been under achieving for way too long.
And finally gotta ask, you are a great lover of films and often post about the latest films rocking your world. But Dave son, have you shares in the film Paddington 2 or something?!?!?!
Haha. I’m not alone in thinking it’s one of the best films of the last year mate. Check the reviews! Just because it’s essentially a film for kids doesn’t mean it can’t be appreciated on a different level by adults. Honestly, Paddington 2 is positively Wes Anderson-esque at times! There’s so much more going on under the surface. A lot of the Pixar films are the same. And the first two Lego Movies were also superb. As the old saying goes, don’t knock it till you’ve tried it.