Chuffed today to introduce this interview with the man like Seiji.
Seiji is one part of the Bugz In The Attic, but has recently been much more making a name for himself as a solo artist – he has been producing solo for a long time (check his 12″ on Man Recordings from the other year) but recently he’s stepped it up, giving away loads of tunes for free on his website, seiji.co.uk. And they’re great: funky, tracky, beaty stuff – somewhere in the new middle-ground between Funky, Broken Beat and Breaks which fit really well into any set. I’ve been rinsing them, and I know Bao and TRG are too, so we had to track him down for a chat.
It’s interesting to see what he had to say about the Broken Beat scene – for a minute there it was desperately exciting; loads of great beats and rhythms but with musical interest, but then it kind of became a bit Jazz, a bit po-faced. I guess you can draw a parallel with what happened to the breaks scene – from fairly similar beginnings, both had the potential to become the place to go for people who liked interesting beats, but Broken Beat went too serious, Breaks went too rave, and out of nowhere dubstep sprung up and nicked the middle ground all to itself. Personally I reckon both are gonna come back next year, and if they do it’s gonna be amazing. Anyway, random musings aside, lets hand over to someone far wiser than I:
You seem to have been a bit quiet since the Bugz debut album. What have you been up to lately?
I’ve been working on new tracks for the site, doing a few remixes, and writing more stuff with Roisin Murphy. Getting excited about beats again, really…
Do you feel broken beat ended up being associated with a bit of a ‘smooth’ stigma?
I think that broken beat stopped evolving, and closed itself off to outside influence, and so sort of got stuck in a time warp where it could only be appreciated in a nu jazz context, whereas for a time it was being played alongside all kinds of bass heavy music.
Do you hear any links between the chopped up styles of Funky these days and what broken beat was doing a while back? (or even now?)
Yeah, I like to think that Funky is directly influenced by the old broken stuff, but if i’m honest its likely that many producers may have heard only a few Bugz mixes. Its no surprise that the style of beats is finally finding the wider audience it always deserved, but it needed to be raw dance music without the muso baggage in order to be felt by the mainstream. Let’s face it, these rhythms are as old as the cavemen, they are going to keep coming back in various forms over the years, so only the ignorant will try and claim ownership of them….
What artists are you checking for at the moment?
Dance music, electronic music wise, FunkinEven, Redlight, Modeselektor, Jan Driver, Joy Orbison, Guido, Lil Silva, Deadmau5, loads really so much good music right now…..otherwise still listening across the board, and strictly Radio 3 in my kitchen.
Would it be right to say your tracks are quite percussive-oriented, and if so what interests you in a drum beat?
Well, I love all aspects of music but I am drawn to syncopated beats! Having said that I’m starting more and more to appreciate a really straight beat too….
Do you see yourself as being aligned to any one sound at the moment, or are you just content to do your own thing?
I’m just doing my own thing, that’s all I can do….Of course I’m influenced by everything going on, but I’ve never really been able to get in with ‘scenes’….. I only ended up in the ‘broken scene’ by accident because it developed around me and those I was working with. It was the same with Reinforced back in the day, I recorded for them because they were the badboy experimental label, but I was never part of the d’n’b scene and I wouldn’t even really have said that I made drum’n’bass then either, it was just some mad shit influenced by what was going on. Maybe I do suffer from a lack of ‘branding’ by not being easily categorizable but thats not the most important thing in music, not by a long way! Once the marketing drives the music it’s all over as an artist….
Why did you decide to give all these tracks away recently? Thanks, by the way – they’re wicked! has you seen any noticeable benefit from it?
Well, yeah I thought I’d try something different. It just seems that sharing music is the way that it gets distributed nowadays! Whether you like it or not, it reaches the most people that way, so why not make it as easy as possible, and be the one doing the sharing of your own creations? I’m definitely not saying that all music should be free, or that everyone should follow my example, it’s just one method in a confusing time…. hopefully people will appreciate the idea and be willing to support me when i put out a physical product or perform.
What can we expect next?
More banging tunes….. website pressure…. and some different, more abstract music in the pipeline!