Filed under: Interview
For some reason certain artists seem to somehow connect with Japanese audiences, I don’t know what it is but there’s a small group of DJ’s who come back time and time again to play at the big Tokyo clubs.
Dave Seaman is one of these elite, he loves playing in Japan and the crowds love him, and for good reason. A man who travels the world many times a year to play at the worlds best music events, he’s a true master at what he does ranking as one of the top DJ’s in the electronic music scenes relatively short history. Ding for over 10 years he has played at the biggest parties representing dance music’s most respected clubs.
Lucky Dave’s back in Tokyo (again) to promote his latest release Therapy sessions, out now on Renaissance Recordings. A double album it brings him together with a DJ he, along with Sasha, respects as one of the most technically gifted DJ’s in the world, Australian Phil K.
Interview by Jim Champion
HigherFrequency (HRFQ) : Welcome back to Japan, how are you feeling now?
Dave Seaman : I feel a lot better, I’ve just been to sleep for 6 hours, I feel a lot better now. I woke up about 20 mins ago. I only flew in from London via Hong Kong today so it’s about 16 or 17 hours of traveling. I was shattered but I feel good now.
HRFQ : And how about you Phil, is this your first time?
Phil K : This is my second time in Tokyo actually, my first time in Womb so I’m really looking forward to it. It sounds like a great sound system downstairs, I can’t wait to get on there.
HRFQ : I think Womb’s getting quite competitive recently, both from a production and a sound quality point of view. Some say it’s becoming one of the best clubs in the world. How do you feel when you play at Womb?
Dave : Yeah, I’ve had nothing but brilliant nights here, if I had to do a list of the top ten clubs in the world it would be in there that’s for sure. As a dj the most you can ask for is a good sound system and a great crowd to play to and this club is both those things.
HRFQ : Have you heard of Womb’s reputation Phil?
Phil : All the time, all the time, it’s a world famous club really. It’s an honor to play here really.
HRFQ : Dave, your website has a Japanese message, saying you love Japan very much and Tokyo is the number one city for you. Obviously the Japanese readers are really honored and encouraged to hear this message. What do you think are the most interesting points of the Japanese scene?
Dave : It’s the most vibrant city in the world for me without a shadow of a doubt. I’ve been quoted as saying that Melbourne is my favorite city in the world, which it is in terms of going to live somewhere, in the terms of quality of life, the pace of life and cost of living which Japan falls down a little bit on. In terms of going to a vibrant city like London or New York, Tokyo wins hands down. I always love coming here, I never want to leave. I came here during the football for two and a half weeks and I didn’t want to go after two and a half weeks, there’s so much more to see every time you come. It’s so exciting so stimulating, the people are so enthusiastic. I go away covered in enthusiasm, fulfilled, I just can’t wait to show people what I’ve leant in Tokyo. I’ve been coming to Tokyo for quite a long time now, and to come to a place that keeps stimulating you, you can’t beat that really.
HRFQ : Are you planning to translate all the contents of your webpage?
Dave : Eventually yeah, as I said in the message, one of the main things about being a dj is being able to communicate with people and obviously here that’s quite difficult. I’d like to do it for a few different countries, I’d like to put it into Spanish as well. You can communicate so well with the music but you want to communicate afterwards to hear peoples feed back..
HRFQ : I guess you’ll be going to other Asian cities like Taipei, Jakarta. How do you compare the Japanese scene with those other scenes in Asia?
Dave : Well Hong Kong is having a bad time at the moment. I’ve played there, Phil’s played there recently but it’s becoming difficult, the authorities are really clamping down. There isn’t many venues there. You know, every place goes through it’s ups and downs. Japan’s very exciting at the moment because it’s growing and growing. There’s more and more venues here so it’s very exciting. Singapore has been going for a long long time so it’s pretty well established. Japan seems to be the one that’s really gathering momentum at the moment, it’s the one that’s most exciting for us, it’s a big big market obviously.
HRFQ : So how’s the reaction been so far to the Therapy Sessions?
Dave : We’ve had a really good reaction generally, you get the odd person that doesn’t like it. Your never going to please everybody but generally it’s been a really good response. We’re really happy you know it’s exceeded our expectations and that in itself is great. I’m really really pleased because we set out to do an album, it was a new thing, your always on dodgy ground when you do something new, you can only do the best that you can. Phil came aboard with me, it’s been a great first CD.
HRFQ : Do you start a mix album with a particular theme or do you just play the music you like?
Phil : Well I guess you just try and make it the best you can make it in the time that you’ve got to do it you know. There’s a certain set amount of time that you’ve got to work the project and you just try and find the most appropriate music you can in that time and what you think is on the edge in that point in time.
HRFQ : Sure, we had a listen and it starts off quite housey your CD and then goes more into breaks.
Phil : Yeah it starts off kind of mellow breaks and then goes in directions by the end of it. I mean for me it was more an exercise in if people can understand that mix and can like it and appreciate it then they are going to like the way I dj. If people don’t like it then that’s also cool. People can get a fair idea of how I’m going to play over 2 or 3 hours and there are some quite testing records in there. That was my approach to the mix, to try and get people to understand what’s in my head.
HRFQ : So was it really two separate CD’s?
Dave : Well I wrote on the CD sleeve notes about making a mix CD, people think you just get a few records and mix them together, it’s far from it. It’s a labor of love, it takes a long time. You start off wanting to do something and you have to go through lots of twists and turns. There’s certain records you can’t get, you need those records to make other records work and you can’t license something. There’s a lot of stuff that goes into it. I’ve done a lot of CD’s before so people know what I do hopefully and so with the Therapy Sessions I wanted to do future ones with Phil and some of the other people that look after me, Lexington Avenue or Infusion, and I just wanted to let them do what they do and then I want to kind of show a different side.
HRFQ : This artwork on the album cover do you have much direction in it?
Dave : Yeah the guy who made the logo Phil Simms, he’s been involved with doing everything, we’ve worked together for a long long time, and will continue to do so, he also did some of the visuals.
HRFQ : So Phil this is your first visit to Womb but many clubbers have heard your name a lot and you’ve been tipped as a strong candidate for one of the next top dj’s. Can you introduce your style for people that haven’t heard you play before?
Phil : At the moment you could say I play a lot of break beat simply because I find break beat more interesting, more stimulating and a bit more fresh. But saying that, it’s going to change week by week. When I got to Melbourne I bought some records, my most exciting records were German techno records so in three months time I could be telling you that “hey I’m into German techno’. I don’t know where music’s going all I can do is be up there and listen for it and try and find what excites me. It’s not about what’s trendy or whatever it’s about what I feel when I hear it. First of all does it make me want to dance? Secondly is it going somewhere else where I haven’t thought about or is it fresh? That’s where I want to be.
HRFQ : To go back to your website Dave, does this mean your going to start doing more in Japan now?
Dave : Yeah I’d love to. I’ve been making music as well, we’ve got a Brother in Rhythm offshoot with guys that I met before plus some other people. We’ve got a lot of friends together to rewrite some songs, we’ve got a single ready called “My own worst enemy” and a few other things in the pipeline so I’m looking to find partners to release that with around the world.
HRFQ : How’s it going in Japan with that?
Dave : We’ve been talking to a couple of people yeah. I want to start a kind of mutual beneficial relationship yeah. I’d love to come back regularly, more regularly. So the plan is to come back later in the year, July time I’ll be back and do two or three other cities as well.
HRFQ : You must be so busy but I guess you get many demo CD’s, do both of you have a chance to listen to them all?
Dave : I must be honest, if it’s a mix album then it’s unlikely that we are going to listen to it. I pass most of the mix albums onto someone else to listen to because I haven’t got the time to listen to them. I used to listen to them all but I got in such a state that I was so far behind and I was stressing out about it, so I’ve got somebody who looks after them. That person knows what kind of music I like, he’s been around for a long long time. I try on the website to put some guest mixes up for people, there are plenty of people who need a break and for whatever it’s worth a mix on my CD might get them one gig which escalates to another gig and another gig.
HRFQ : Your djing now more than you have been in recent years. Was there one thing that made you change from producing to come back to the decks?
Dave : I felt more comfortable djing first of all. We spent too much time in the studio and it became a bit like a conveyor belt, we were having to do a remix every week and we just wanted to get out. At the same time the international thing happened and the CD thing happened and that really took off so it wasn’t really planned that I would do less but I was drawn in that direction and I need to pull back a bit and get back in the studio again.
HRFQ : About the future what kind of projects do you think you will be doing?
Dave : Well more of these, I’m going to do a chill out album as well, a new series on Therapy called Rehab which will be more down tempo chill out stuff. I’m going to do the first one later in the year and as I say, putting some of this music out. Original music we are planning to do with Therapy and the label that kicked of this year, it’s starting to stand on it’s own two feet, it’s very exciting and it gets me out of bed in the morning.
HRFQ : Do you have some messages for your Asian fans?
Dave : Take care of the scene here because a lot of people in a lot of places abused their scenes, took a lot out of it and didn’t really give a lot back. This is still a really fresh developing exciting scene so take care of it. Take care of the scene and it will take care of you. Keep positive and thanks for having us here. The cynics can really take over, as soon as you really try to intellectualize things it’s really the beginning of the end. You know dance music is really just about going out and having fun and enjoying the music. On the intellectual side of why why why why, the human race is prone to do what it’s prone to do. That devalues it and dilutes it, so keep it fresh, keep it real.
End of the interview
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