Floor Focussed: Seiji

Standing apart as one of the UK dance music’s premier originators, former Bugz In The Attic man, Reinforced Records founding artist and sometime co-writer for Roisin Murphy, the one and only Seiji has been a prolific influence on the current crop of UK bass stars such as Ramadanman, Altered Natives, Shortstuff and the Night Slugs camp.

Since releasing a string of 12’s in the mid-90’s, the West London producer has been a force to be reckoned with, continually flipping the set agenda for bass-led electronic music with inventive, original and above all individual takes on all corners of the UK spectrum, from hip-hop and dancehall to drum n’ bass, house and 2-step.

With the 3rd part of his revelatory ‘SEIJI Series’ about to drop on his own Seijijmusic imprint at the end of February, Seiji continues the dancefloor-focussed series of progressive bass anthems he kicked off last year with his ‘Yesman/Elevator’ 12″. We emailed the man to find out what he’s got coming in 2011…

Interview/ Josh Thomas

Having successfully explored a career path that’s established him as a founding member of Broken Beat originators Bugz In The Attic, a key artist for the seminal Jungle/D’n’B label Reinforced, a downbeat solo artist for Sonar Kollectiv and a producer and co-writer for Roisin Murphy, in 2011 Seiji is a man focused squarely on the dancefloor.

The Seiji series is just one part of that with Seiji stripping things right back, identifying each release with a simple number and putting all his energy into creating music that he truly believes in. A merging of sounds and influences that have always been with him, but have never sounded so right – encapsulating everything that’s exciting about the underground UK scene at the moment.

‘SEIJI3’ drops on the 21st Feb, what were hoping to achieve with this release?
Just keeping music coming out really, I’m trying not to overthink it… just making music inspired by what I’m hearing and getting it out quickly.

The ‘SEIJI Series’ has been mapped out as a strictly dance floor project – are the clubs the main focus of your musical endeavors for 2011?
The Seiji series is focused on the dancefloor, but I’m going to try and stretch myself a bit more this year and make music that can be enjoyed anywhere.

SEIJI 3 More of You Clip – SEIJI 3 released 21st February by Seiji

‘More Of You’ for me encapsulates everything that is great about UK bass music at the moment, what are your thoughts on the scene as a whole at the moment and your outlook on the future?
Thanks! Well like I said I’m making music inspired by what I’m hearing, and there’s a huge amount of good music out there. I try not to look at music in a ‘scene-y’ way, I think as soon as you predict this or that scene is going down or coming up, things change and some clever bod has flipped things on their head. Hasn’t D’n’B been dying for years now? Got to be the longest death throes ever…

How does it feel to be such an important reference point for many of the producers at the forefront of the UK bass music?
Its nice to hear that, I don’t know if its strictly true. Of course it always gives my ego a little massage when I meet someone whose music I admire and they say they have some of my old records!

Does it excite you to see the influence that broken-beat has had on new bass music and in particular UK funky?
Broken beat never progressed beyond a tiny clique and a very exclusive ‘scene’, so its great to see that somehow that music still resonates on a wider scale. It would have been a shame if it got forgotten because it was such an exciting time musically and for me personally. I’m wary of trying to take credit for anyone’s creativity though, theres nothing more boring than that bloke who bangs on about how so-and so is actually the one who started dubstep/funky/bass 15 years ago etc.

Your discography has spanned a wide variety of styles, from the dark Reinforced stuff right through to the production for Roisin Murphy. Do you think consciously about your next direction, or does it happen naturally?
A mixture I suppose. If I do plan anything its because of how im feeling about music and I know where I want to go. Bugz happened very organically, and for me I slipped into it because I loved American house music as much as I did d’n’b and I met like minded people who wanted to mash different styles together. I met Roisin just as I became bored with what was (or wasn’t) happening in broken beat so the opportunity to do something very different presented itself – I suppose I’ve been very lucky like that.

You worked with FunkinEven on the Roisin Murphy album and with Riton on the Computer Juice project, any upcoming collabs we should know about?
This year I’m looking to do much more collaborative work, and I’m trying to get away from mouse clicking towards something a bit more hands on, so that collaboration can be a bit more spontaneous. I’m working on some of that at the moment but I don’t want to jinx anything before its born!

SEIJI 3 Sticks Clip – SEIJI 3 released 21st February by Seiji

Why was it time to call it a day with Bugz in the Attic and what did you bring away from your time with the group?
With any creative collaboration I think things run their course, and people start to move in different directions musically. That’s just the reality of it, its neither good nor bad. Bugz had an amazing run, and I feel really blessed to have been a part of that crew and that scene, it really was a special time, and that will stay with me forever.

Got to say a big thanks for all the free material you’ve been giving out, do you think actions like this are making illegal downloads less relevant?
Thanks for downloading! I don’t really feel qualified to comment on the developments/rights/wrongs of how music gets consumed nowadays and in the future, because its all constantly changing and predictions are pretty futile. Im just trying to adapt and make sure that my music is out there to be enjoyed.

SEIJI 3 – ‘More of You/Sticks’ is released through February 21st on Seijimusic.

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