Seb Fontaine has risen to join the ranks
of the elite DJ set by playing a mix of
tunes that showcases not only the massive
floor fillers, but the next crop of talent
soon to be making their mark. It's this
eye toward the future that shines brightly
throughout his latest release Perfecto
Presents: Seb Fontaine, where he sticks
to the formula that has helped him to
achieve such levels of success. For those
of you who don't know (which becomes a
smaller group daily), Seb Fontaine has
gained a huge amount of exposure by hosting
his own Saturday radio program on BBC
Radio 1 and reaching literally millions
more through rebroadcasts of his show
on the BBC website. In addition, Seb has
had the honor of being the only DJ to
hold a residency at both Cream and Ministry
of Sound and has toured the globe regularly
with performances in the United States
and Ibiza amongst many more.
In the closing months of the summer, Seb will begin a tour that will see him
touring Europe, the United States, and ending on the white-isle of Ibiza.
Recently, Raves.com's Shawn Wallace
had a moment to speak with Seb while he
was in the midst of a spontaneous weekend
birthday celebration while preparing for
his tour in support of Perfecto Presents:
Shawn: So what have you been up to
the past week or so?
Seb Fontaine: We had a big party
last night round the house. It's my birthday
this weekend that has turned into like
a three-day event thing. I've just been
really busy, I've been in Spain. It took
me a week or so to recover from Glastonbury.
Glastonbury was one of the best I'd ever
been to and I think it was one of the
best ever this year. So that was kind
of the biggest thing we've done recently.
What made that stand out?
They had a great lineup, they had loads and loads of people, and it was just
a really, really cool weekend.
How has touring been for the new Perfecto Presents album?
Well, I was in the states for the whole
of April and then I was meant to go back
in June, but I couldn't because of Glastonbury.
Because I had to get all of the Glastonbury
stuff prepared. It's the first time I'm
back for a while. But I'm over in July,
then September, October, November. So,
I'm kind of around quite a bit now.
Are you doing a club tour or larger events?
Both really. A bit of both. I just love
clubs. I love nightclubs. I've done some
quite big things. Last time I did House
Of Blues in Chicago, which was a really,
really good gig. But I think on the whole,
I'm a club person.
About the album, you've been quoted as saying that you don't like to put
a lot of the massive tunes in there. You
kind of want tunes that still seem fresh
a few months down the road.
How much of that actually comes from
your radio show?
Well, the radio show is different because the radio show is the night. It's
just that night and essentially, you know I think we have to try and pick
the biggest tunes. But I think if you've got it on the CD. The show has
kind of two sides. The beginning of the show is kind of more about like the
big tunes at the moment and then the show goes kind of more into either what
I do or people that I'm really into do. So the show covers both those sides
How do you determine if it goes on the CD?
Sometimes you just know a track is going to be huge. And it's one of those
tracks that you love for a month and you just hate it afterwards. Or not
even if you don't hate it, you just don't want to hear it anymore. And I
think the secret on those things is just not to pick those kinds of records
that are going to be played in every single place you hear.
What do you look for, what kind of sounds stand out to you?
I... I don't know, ya know.
Is it a drum, is it a high hat, is
it a vocal that you really like?
I would describe it as a certain electronic-ness
at the moment. I mean, I don't know how
things are in the States, but certainly,
I think the progressive scene in the UK
is pretty much not there anymore. And
I think everyone is really feeling kind
of what I would describe as electronic
house music. And you know, it's tougher
than normal house music and it's much
more electronic. But there's some really,
really good music about at the moment.
And it's a pretty underground sound really,
so it's not something that you'd need
to worry about, "Oh, I'm gonna hear
it on every radio station for the for
the whole of the summer."
I was just listening to the Perfecto
Presents Seb Fontaine album, and one of
the things that stuck out to me was the
Matrix vs. Goldtrix "It's Trippin"
with your intro. What's the story behind
They just did it for me. I used to love
the original. You know what, I'm a big
drum and bass fan as well. And I saw Ed
Rush and Optical and they had the mix,
the Goldtrix mix of Trippin', I think
it's his brother. And they kind of gave
it to me. But I already had the "Seb
Fontaine's got me Trippin'", they'd
already done that for me before. So that
was kind of my end of the night thing.
When the tune was big and everyone would
say "one more", we kind of put
that on and everyone would go crazy. It
just kind of made sense really.
It's an interesting way of putting
your own stamp on the mix.
Yeah, there's nothing like having the artist to sing it for you personally
(laughs). You know, I mean, I almost didn't put it on because I thought it
might be seen as being a bit flat. But, you know, I was chatting to some
people and they said, "No, put it on. It sounds good." But I did two
endings because I was a bit worried it was a bit kind of like, "Look, I know
the band." In all fairness, I don't know them really very well at all, but
I didn't want it to be looked at like one of those flash things.
How long did it take to put the track
selection together for the CD?
It took me a long time on this one,
ya know. Not because there were tracks
that I liked that didn't, you know, that
didn't work the way I wanted them to work,
so they went. And also, you know what
it was? I started doing it before the
Miami music conference and normally what
I do is, I do it and I just finish it,
because I think that's a good way to do
it. And I made the big mistake of having
time with it this time. And I know Sasha
always does his, and he says, "Oh,
I wish I could finish them." Because
he goes away and he'll tour with it and
listen to it. And then he won't like this
bit and won't like that bit, then you
change it. That's kind of what I did this
time and so it took a little longer and
it was just the time constraints that
that was just the way it had to happen.
Since you mentioned Miami, how was
that for you this year?
I think really good. I had a really good conference actually. I actually
got some work done as well.
How much free time do you actually have?
During the conference?
Yeah, during the conference, I mean,
is it all business?
In conference everything is sandwiched into such a short amount of time. I
mean, when I'm over next week I've got a couple of days in Vegas. I've got
some family in San Francisco, so I'm going to hang out with them and stuff.
But in conference, you're either partying or you're asleep. There was no
When you're on tour, what do you do during the daytime before your show?
What would be an average day before a
I like to do a bit of record shopping.
You know, I like getting to the hotel
and having a little walk around. It kind
of depends on where you are really. I
mean, if I'm in certain cities I know
well, like San Fran or L.A., we'll just
go see some shops or see some buddies
or stuff like that really. You know with
tours it's hard, because generally in
each city you're looking at an airport,
a taxi ride, a hotel, a club, and you're
off again. It's hard to kind of get the
vibe of the actual place really sometimes.
How is this album different from
the "Perfecto Presents: Seb Fontaine:
Horizons" that you put out earlier
I don't know that I personally set out
to make it different. But I think it does
sound different. I just think that it
is different because things are different.
Now is different from then, if that makes
any sense. I think I was just doing what's
happening now as opposed to kind of what
was happening then. I don't think it was
like I want this to be like this or this
to be like that. Electronic music is a
term that's been used in the States for
a long time... it was never really used
in the UK. And now it's being kind of
used a lot to describe kind of a certain
new sound really and I think there's a
lot more kind of electronicness in this
How many tracks are you putting out
aside from on your mix albums?
I've done quite a few and I've got about three or four ready to go. And you
know, I did the stupid thing. I thought, I'm going to get everything
finished before the summer, because summer just goes crazy. I mean, I leave
on Monday and I'm not home for like five weeks. So, I really wanted to try
and get everything finished before the summer. And I've got four tracks 90%
finished. You know, if I only had three days, I could probably finish
everything. But, I just haven't got those three days. I do have a lot
stuff ready to go though.
In the coming weeks, where all will you be traveling?
I'm in Europe for a couple of weeks, then I'm in the states for a couple of
weeks, and then I'm in Ibiza for two weeks.
Where are you playing in Ibiza?
Well, it's the big Radio 1 weekend. Plus, I'm doing a Cream thing, I'm
doing the back room at Cream. And something else as well.
What do you think had a big impact on you wanting to be a DJ when you were
I don't know, because there were no
famous DJs. DJ'ing was certainly not a
money thing back then... it was just a
love of music, love of records. But, I
was a hip hop DJ to start. I was a hip
hop DJ and played reggae and funk. And
that was about three years and then I
went in the back room. I was playing in
the back room at this big rave and I went
into the main room and there's just like
all of these great girls dancing on speakers
and like topless and swinging form the
chandeliers and I just felt, "Fuck,
I'm in the wrong room!" And then
just kind of drifted over to house music.
If there was one record that completely
changed me, it was A Guy Called Gerald
"Voodoo Ray". And that record
completely, I was just like, "I need
to be doing this." It was a gradual
thing, but it happened that way. But I've
always had records and always been into
music and the whole thing so.
Why do you think dance music is so big in the UK and not in the states?
In all fairness, I think that's changing at the moment. Because when we got
into dance music we didn't want to be, I don't mean for it to sound like
some kind of crap revolution thing, but we didn't do it because it was
mainstream. We did it because it was different and it was ours. And we
were kind of there in the beginning and we felt like part of a revolution,
the whole kind of acid house parties, the whole thing. You know, illegal
warehouse raves. It was kind of anti, anti-mainstream and its just been
kind of dragged into kind of really shit advert music. And it's really hard
for people that don't understand, you know. If they hear or see some awful
advert with kind of rave music on and they're just kind of, "Oh, is this
what you do?? and you're like, "No, not really." But for someone who's not
really into it, it would be so hard to differentiate between that kind
mainstream dance and what's gone on. But I did actually think that there's
a definable difference between what's going on. You know every now and then
you get a great crossover record, which serves kind of both communities
pretty well. But I'd like to think that what we're doing is certainly, I
think, taking a step back towards how it was when we started. I think last
year, you know, everyone was kind of moaning about the UK clubs and a couple
of clubs shut down, like Cream shut, Gatecrasher went monthly. And you
know, I think everyone thought oh god, you know, this could be the end of
dance music. But in all fairness, I think it was, I thing we were taking a
step backwards toward smaller venues, cooler sounds, you know, things like
that. I remember going to clubs that were just doorways off alleys, not
huge Wal-Mart sized venues. And I kind of think this has been a slight
revival for everyone. I think people are excited about going out again and
I think there is a slightly more underground feeling about what we do again.
Well, I appreciate you taking the
time to talk to me... and Happy Birthday!
Cool, thanks a lot. Cheers.
-- written by Shawn Wallace