DJ Seinfeld became one of the leading names in lo-fi house with the success of his 2017 album ‘Time Spent Away From U” and has since continued building a name for himself across the wider spectrum of electronic music. In 2018 he went on to become one of the youngest DJs to be invited to curate a mix for the legendary ‘DJ Kicks’ series and has since launched his own label ‘Young Ethics’.
We were lucky enough to interview DJ Seinfeld ahead of welcoming him to The Nest this summer and this is what he had to say…
You’re an incredibly talented DJ and producer, but everyone started somewhere, what was the first job you ever had?
My first job, I think I was working as a telephone salesman. I’ve had a few different types of sales jobs but I think I remember this one as being particularly uninteresting. I remember I went there one morning and then I left at the lunch break and never went back. It was my first paying job and I got an incredible distaste for sales! But yeah that was my first experience of a job, I lasted half a day and I’m glad I’m not there anymore.
It’s crazy to think at one point you were studying to be an economist in Barcelona. Was there a specific moment where you thought ‘I need to change my path’?
I think it was never really 100% my thing economics, I did it because it was more of a safe career path I guess, safer than music for sure but it was never really a passion. I’d do it mechanically and then music was always more or less a hobby I always had on the side. It was around the time I made my “U” track which got a fair amount of attention that people were wanting me to come and play at their parties. It was like that for a while then at one point I realised I might be able to make more money doing that rather than pushing economics. It allowed me to do something I enjoy, it was around the time that everything fell into place for me that I thought I could do this full time.
You’ve lived in several different cities throughout your life, but what has been your favourite city to DJ in?
That’s a good question, it’s really hard to choose! I love playing in places that feel very summery like Barcelona where I have a lot of friends, I also lived there for two years. I’m lucky that I’ve been able to play some pretty big clubs there and always have a good time. But also Malmo, I don’t play here a lot to be honest as I kind of want to keep it as special as possible, but here i have a lot of friends and it just feels like I’m at a house party as opposed to an actual DJ show and I think that’s something that’s quite rare in other places. So yeah Barcelona, Malmo and Melbourne. I think it’s an adventure that you’re playing on the other side of the world and the people are super friendly and always up for a good party.
Lo-fidelity music has been around for decades, particularly across DIY band genres. In your home country of Sweden, you have Kornel Kovacs ‘Studio Barnhus’ label pushing alternative sounding house music which is off-kilter and wonky in nature. But then came the rise of Lo-Fi House in 2016… what were your influences and was being a part of that music scene deliberate or did it happen naturally?
I would say i had a pretty open mind when it came to electronic music when I was younger I’d listen to whatever was available via the radio or stuff that your friends would send you. I started basically with Chicago house and Detroit techno and electro music from the Netherlands. Before then it was a mess of things, it would take time for me to get an actual taste for what I liked and didn’t like when I was just consuming everything. Once I started consuming more Chicago and Detroit house i got the impression that this sound is a bit more raw and unpolished and there was something in my mind a bit more mysterious about it and for a long time that’s been what I’ve listened to. When the whole lo-fi scene or whatever you want to call it emerged it was a weird coincidence that some things that happened in my personal life coincided with what would be an internet trend and I’ve never really felt part of it of it as I didn’t really know anyone on the scene and it just kind of emerged. Now i’ve been playing parties with a few people from there and gotten to know them which is cool but it still never really was a scene as there was no recognition. People started seeing something of a formula where if you’d made a mix with some dusty vintage music then you were a lo-fi DJ. That’s not to say that it was all bad, there was some really cool stuff coming out of there but it’s still not something that’s been done for decades.
This next question is one your fellow Seinfeld fans will want to know – what’s your favourite episode?
I think the one that i’ve revisited the most times and would be my favourite would be the one with the story of Festivus, when George’s dad is hosting a big dinner party and he’s about to tell them his grievances. That would definitely be the one i’ve watched the most times.
When you were asked to curate your 2018 ‘DJ Kicks’ album did you find it hard to narrow down the tracks you wanted to use? What was your process to put this together?
The DJ kicks was a very hard thing to do because I didn’t really have a lot of time to do it. The way that it’s done it’s quite hard because you need to get the licensing for tracks and get the music by messaging people you want to have and sometimes you find something you like and it’s impossible to get it licensed. The biggest problem was not having enough time, I’m really happy with it but the timing was very stressful. Usually when you do a mix you can literally choose from whatever song you want in the world but with DJ Kicks because it’s a release it’s a whole different set of conditions that you need to think about. Because I didn’t have that much music to choose from I wanted it to be fresh and I wanted it to be as new as possible to make sure people got excited about it. I wanted to mostly use people i was in personal contact with, or at least people from a scene that I was involved with so it felt very homely and natural in that sense.
You’re playing The Nest stage at El Dorado which is one of our favourite stages at the festival, where’s the weirdest place you’ve ever performed?
I’ve played a few weird ones I would say, when I say weird that isn’t necessarily in a bad way! But on my first tour in America I was playing at this kind of patio area outside a hotel in Tucson Arizona and it was just super bizarre because it was like a hotel restaurant with an outdoor seating area which was essentially in the middle of the desert. Inside the hotel there was an indoor club where they hosted a lot of commercial DJs and I remember I thought it was so bizarre to be in the middle of the Arizona desert playing a patio area for maybe 50/60 people, some of whom had driven 5 or 6 hours from Phoenix to see me play and it was really weird but I loved it. It was not necessarily the most popping party but I was completely fascinated by it and I would actually love to go back there at some point.
Do you have a go to crowd pleaser up your sleeves ready to drop at any point during a set?
I definitely have a few ready for any set because i’m kind of paranoid as a person so I sometimes drop more than one crowd pleaser just to save the night, well in my mind save the night! I think the main ones are Robin S ‘Show me Love’ or Haddaway ‘What is Love’. I love playing them and I pretty much think about playing them every gig.
You’re one of my two favourite Swedish acts, the other being Abba, the big question i have is what is your favourite Abba tune (if any!)?
Oh yeah there is one! Gimmie Gimmie a man after midnight, that’s actually a crowd pleaser i’m known for playing as well, i’ve done that a couple of times.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Abba, or Swedish House Mafia. Who would you rather have dinner with and why?
I think I would probably choose Zlatan Ibrahimovic because he’s from the same city as me. I’ve met him once or twice actually and I think it would be one of those conversations where i’m not really sure what we’d talk about but that’s what would be exciting about the dinner. If I went to have dinner with Swedish House Mafia or Abba we’d probably end up talking about music and because I’m not very knowledgeable about music really, i think that would be kind of awkward.