“It’s better to come up with more ideas, to have stuff to work on constantly, rather than, you know, ‘this is good enough’. You can always do more, you can always be a better person.”
A larger than life character, an outspoken representative of the underground dance music scene and above all, a damn fine DJ who gets around, Seth Troxler is never far from the spotlight. ALFRED GORMAN catches up for an incisive chat with the man, lying in bed in his London home.
The phone rings and Seth Troxler is straight off the blocks.
“Right before they put you on the line, I thought, how great would it be if I could do the whole interview in the voice of Happy Gilmore?!” says Troxler immediately after we get the greetings out of the way, before slipping into an uncanny Adam Sandler impression, spouting off a stream of nonsensical phrases – I could tell this wasn’t going to be your average Q&A style interview.
Originally from Detroit, Troxler moved to Berlin after studying graphic design at college – the techno DJ having been inspired by a trip there with fellow Detroit native, Omar S. Recently he decided to move to the UK, and has been based in London for a few years now, where last year he opened a BBQ restaurant/bar called Smoky Tails.
“I got a hot dog place opening next. I like to eat where I shit, people say don’t shit where you eat, but I like to eat where I shit. It’s called Disco Dogs. We were gonna play doo-wop and Motown records, but it didn’t seem to work as well, so went with disco. You see, I’m a recovering fat kid. I still like to put things in my mouth all the time… but yeah I am recovering fat kid, so that’s why I’ve got the food game going on, on the side.”
Troxler has also been busy forming three new labels, having parted ways with his original Visionquest crew to start up the trio of imprints allowing him more outlets to release a wider range of sounds.
Play It Say It is a dancefloor oriented label “based on the stickers that used to appear on promo records in the ’80s and ’90s”. Tuskegee is a “label of cultural heritage” Troxler has created with The Martinez Brothers that specialises in vinyl only releases with a 90s US house vibe.
And Soft Touch is something quite different, and more of an indie label for releasing anything, including but not limited to, rock and folk type records.
“Yeah I started Soft Touch ‘cause I had some alternate ideas that I couldn’t really explore on Visionquest. I’m a guy with many ideas, and I get bored really easily. It’s better to come up with more ideas, to have stuff to work on constantly, rather than, you know, ‘this is good enough’. You can always do more, you can always be a better person. You can always find a better costume for Halloween. There is so much more you could do! Constantly!”
Following a recent collaboration with Art Department, Troxler seems to be very active again production-wise. “I got five or six of my own records coming out soon, ‘cause I’m back in the studio game! Yeah the thing with Art Department, I actually don’t really like the song so much, but I like the feel of it. It’s a about being a creep, and a DJ’s lifestyle on the road. People not having a care in the world, and being play-yas! I like saying it like that. Play-yas! Like Happy Gilmore!”
The main motivator behind his idea of branching out and releasing a larger quantity and diversity of music is, as he explains in typically blunt Troxler fashion, “I think there’s so much shit music out these days.”
He feels that proper dance music is making a definite shift back into the clubs and away from festivals. “Yeah clubs are going off – in the last couple years I’ve been trying to do more club shows, because, you know, festivals are getting pre-tty laaaaame. I mean the context is just so much better – not like at a festival where you might only play an hour – I mean, it’s bullshit. I generally try to avoid them ‘cause I just don’t think it’s good… unless they pay me so much money, I can’t refuse. Sometimes festivals just put a number in front of your face that makes you think, you know what? I am viable.”
Never one to mince words, Troxler recently made headlines following some of his controversial comments at ADE (Amsterdam Dance Event) convention regarding the commercialisation of dance music and the festival scene, commenting that EDM and underground dance music shouldn’t be considered to be branches of the same genre of music. “I stick to everything I said. It’s sonic ear rape. Made by idiots, for idiots.”
After failing to get him to expand on his point, his short attention span shifts again, coming out randomly with, “Do they have Rocko’s Modern Life there? Cause he was Australian in the show right?” One thing is for sure, a night with Seth Troxler is always going to be amusing, entertaining and unexpected.
FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 21, @ VILLA