At Modern Music, Baltimore
Last night, Dave Seaman — the 36-year-old DJ from Marlow, England, whose favorite spots to spin include Argentina, Mexico, Israel, Greece, Australia, Japan, Eastern Europe and the U.S. — rocked Sonar Lounge in Baltimore. But that hasn't slowed him down today as he zips through Modern Music, checking out tunes with owner Chris Bulla's help.
Seaman is so unassuming that one might not guess his huge place in dance-music history. Aside from his current in-demand DJ status, Seaman was editor of DMC's Mixmag in 1989; resident DJ at the legendary house party at Shelley's in Stoke, England; and co-founder of DMC's Stress Records, which signed, among other promising producers, Sasha and John Digweed.
While at DMC, Seaman met producer Steve Anderson, and, together, they came up with a track called “Such a Good Feeling,” released on the Fourth & Broadway label in 1991 under the name Brothers in Rhythm. The tune became a club classic, and its B-side, “Peace and Harmony,” caught the ear of the Pet Shop Boys' Chris Lowe. Lowe asked the Brothers to produce the Boys' next record, launching a prolific production spree. In addition to releasing more singles as Brothers Love Dubs, on Stress Records, Anderson and Seaman amassed an extensive remix discography that includes David Bowie, Michael Jackson, New Order, Kylie Minogue, BT, Dido, Placebo, U2 and others. Seaman's own mix CDs in the prestigious DMC, Global Underground and Renaissance series add luster to his legend.
Currently, Seaman is focused on building his Therapy DJ agency, parties and record label, as well as promoting his latest release, Renaissance Presents the Therapy Sessions (Thrive, 2004), which presents two mix CDs, one by Seaman and the other introducing Australian powerhouse Phil K. Asked about the apparent shrinkage of the dance-music scene, Seaman says it's good for dance music to implode and go back underground. “It leaves the people who really care to knuckle down, work harder, be more creative and start over,” he says. “Druids, Mayans, American Indians used to take hallucinogens and dance to a primitive drum. The idea of celebrating life together to a drum is an ancient human trait. Just because one club's gone bust or a magazine's gone down, so what?”
Thumbing nimbly through the bins, Seaman looks to carry on that celebration with a stack of new music. Records in hand, he says, “All right — let's do it!” and heads for the decks.
CABALA FEAT. MICHELLE CHIVERS
“Vision of U (Nick Muir Remixes)” (Whoop)
This is a solid label. I'm a fan of the dub rather than the vocal, but it's a really good, solid progressive-house record. Nick Muir, who's one-half of Bedrock, his productions are always really tight and driving.
CHEF NEW YORKER AKA COMMANDER TOM
I prefer “Blast” to “CNY.” I'm not a techno aficionado, but I've been playing a bit recently. I do like what Slam and Funk D'Void do. This is something I will play. It's not too noisy. If I was playing in Buenos Aires, I wouldn't get away with that, but in certain places around the world, like in Greece and Israel, they will love that.
“Stoned (Deep Dish and Paul Jackson Remixes)” (Cheeky)
I really like Dido. Her second album was almost the same as the first, but she's very good, and if you sold 10 million of your first album, why change? I'm a bit disappointed with this, actually. I am a big fan of Paul Jackson. “The Push” and “Blockbuster” are great records, and he's done some good remixes, but that didn't really do justice to the song. I think the Deep Dish mixes are better. If I've got one criticism of Paul, I think he has a lot of great ideas, but the actual production can be a bit too dirty, a bit too messy. I find the separation in the sounds sometimes gets a bit lost. I'm a fan of both of them, but it didn't really work.
“The Joburg Theme” (Faya Combo)
This is another producer I'm a fan of. “Elle” was a great record and “Tropical Sound Clash.” He always comes up with a funky feel with drama. He doesn't just rely on rolling loops of funky house music. He's got lots of variety in his arrangements, really works the drops.
Watlington Street EP (Saw)
There's some really wacky stuff on there: some downtempo, tripped-out ambient and some sort of jump-up furious things on there, but the one I've been playing is “Adamedge.” If somebody asked me to define progressive house — I've no idea how to define genres anymore because they're all so blurred — I'd say that's an original progressive-house record. It was one of my biggest records last night. I really like “Outhouse,” as well.
“Everything Is Changing (Remixes)” (Classic)
You can always rely on the Hardkiss boys to be original and push boundaries. “Brett's Late Night Mix” is definitely standout. It's very leftfield but retains its 4/4 rhythm, so it's one of those records that's easy to drop within a set. You don't break up the flow too much, but at the same time, it will be very distinctive. The muted trumpet breakdown is very original and will definitely have people's ears prick up. It's always good to drop something in your set that makes people go, ‘What the hell was that?’ It's easy to go with the flow, and people can get lost. And, sometimes, you have to jolt them out of it. This is a great record for jolting.
“Feel the Horns” (Freerange)
This is a nice, gently lilting, cool breeze of a record. It's quite housey and bright but still quite minimal — lovely summery vibe. This is not a record I could play very regularly. It works well among other things, not really a standout, but it does what it does very well. This is a positive, uplifting record.
“Aftermath”/“From a Distance (Hybrid Remix)” (Hexus)
I picked the B-side because it's Hybrid's remix, who I'm a big fan of. It's the kind of breaks I like — loads of energy. Sometimes, breaks have less power on the dancefloor than a 4/4 rhythm, but I think The Prodigy and Hybrid have a knack for getting that energy at breakbeat level. It's good to see The Orb back after such a long time. They did a lot of definitive classic records way back when. I always wondered what happened to them, but there they are. A good choice of remix with Hybrid, one I shall buy and play.
STEL & GOOD NEWZ
“Fineline (Original Mix/Nick & John Dalagelis Remix)” (Baroque)
I like that sound, but on a dancefloor, you have to be careful how you program it, because it can go a bit too washy. But it's a great record and something I would play. Stel & Good Newz and Nick & John are very talented lads who are going to make a lot of good, solid, progressive music.