DJ, journalist, and music producer Dave Seaman talks to Time Out talks about his life on both sides of the DJ decks
What will you be giving us when you come out here? I’ve just come back from [the Miami Winter Music Conference], so I’m really buzzing about music at the minute. I’m very excited about DJing and my set’s going to be a real mixture of stuff. I always try to play a variety of styles of house, so hopefully you’ll get lots of different genres in as smooth a mix as I can possibly manage. It’s a bit clichéd to call it a journey, but you do have to make it as coherent a piece as you possibly can.
What’s big for you at the minute? Obviously Depeche Mode’s new single is a big thing at the moment – I’ve done my own little edit of that – and there’s a Miss Kittin tune that’s a biggie. I’ve also done an edit of a track by Animal Collective – I mashed it up with another track to make it dancefloor friendly.
Eh? Noisy US experimentalists Animal Collective? They don’t strike us as dancefloor fillers. The latest single [‘My Girls’] has very clubby undertones, with that Frankie Knuckles synth melody [from ‘Your Love’] going through it – it just needed some beats, really, which I gave it. So that’s been a big tune for me as well.
So you have pretty eclectic musical tastes, then? Yeah, I try to buy three or four albums every week of various styles. I like to keep abreast of what’s going on in various genres otherwise you end up being in a bit of a tunnel. It’s a cliché, but there’s no good or bad music – you can’t say techno’s better than country and western because there’re really bad county and western records and really bad techno records. And house music’s got a real magpie quality anyway – it takes its influences from different styles, and once it’s set to a four-four rhythm you can pretty much do what you want. So I keep my mind open.
Do you find it useful creatively? It’s very easy to get yourself into a little bubble and you end up just diluting yourself, you know? If you only take your inspiration from what you’re working on then your music becomes derivative.
You produce, DJ and run the Audio Therapy record label. Do you ever wish you could throw in the towel with one of them? Every day! Every day. But I love them all and they all feed off each other, you know? If I were to do just one thing I’d get… not bored of it, but I’d crave to do more things. And as the jobs are so integrated it’s hard to choose one to knock off. Everyone has their hobbies, and my hobbies – fortunately or unfortunately – are the ones I’ve made a career from. My only gripe is that there aren’t enough hours in the day.
Do you miss the regular, nine-to-five days of editing Mixmag? Well I have a regular nine-to-five, it’s just nine at night until five in the morning! I do enjoy doing the writing but I’ve never been one to conform to routine – I prefer to see where the inspiration takes me each day. That was one of the reasons I was happy to jump ship from Mixmag. Living around deadlines felt like it was boxing me in too much.
You pretty much turned it from a newsletter into a commercial success, right? I definitely played my part, yeah. I didn’t necessarily make it into a commercial success – I think we were just about breaking even when I left – but a lot of the groundwork to turn it into a real publication was being done then. And that took a bit of doing as we didn’t have a lot of money to put into publishing. It was all done word-of-mouth and it took a lot of energy and enthusiasm. I’m proud of what I achieved there, for sure.
How did it go after that? [Publishing house] Emap bought it out and it became shoddy; a magazine of t**s and pills really. It lost its spine both literally and metaphorically. It became a bit of a rag under Emap’s guidance – it became disposable and didn’t represent the scene it was meant to in a good way at all. But it was bought back and it’s really turned around – now it’s worthy of the cover price and worthy of my time, which I couldn’t really say before. It was hard to watch someone ruin my baby, but now someone’s given it the TLC that it needed I can sleep a little easier at night.