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  Offworld Music
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  Seb Fontaine

   

 

 
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at Ultra in Miami   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

 

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: Seb Fontaine.

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.

Yeah.

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 anyway.

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 that?

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 sightseeing.

When you're on tour, what do you do during the daytime before your show? What would be an average day before a show?

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 this year?

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 CD.

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 younger?

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

 

 

 

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