Monday, 30 January 2012

7 tracks & 7 Questions with Seamus Haji

We're headed for a massive night at The Loft in less than 2 weeks time. The Big Love Inn features a great line up of talent who've all got on board in aid of Brighton's Clocktower Sanctuary, a charity helping homeless and vulnerably housed young people between the ages 16-25.

We thought it would be nice to hear from the DJ's involved and find out more about them and what makes them tick.

Seamus Haji has been pretty much at the top of his game for the last 7 years or so, remixing a plethora of high profile artists as well as scoring his fair share of chart success with his own productions and releases on his Big Love label. However his DJ career started long before he hit the big time and his passion for music has been a constant feature of his life.

We asked Seamus to put us a 7 track playlist together and tell us a bit about each of them.

Lovebirds - I Want You In My Soul

Been around since Summer last year. It's produced by a friend of mine Basti from Germany who's also been part of Knee Deep along with Toddie for over 10 years or so. Basti has struck on his own under the Lovebirds guise and gone into a deeper direction and gone from strength to strength. This has a great soulful vibe that's crossed over to different scenes from the Soulful house heads to the Nu-Disco kids.

Parallel Dance Ensemble - Shopping Cart (Maxxi Soundsystem Remix)
I love this. Reminds me of Tom Tom Club from the early 80's with it's slightly cheesy rapping but it's good fun and this is a brilliant remix. I love the surprise section at about 4 mins in when a heavy bassline drops in. Hold onto your hats!

Laura Jones - Love In Me (Maceo Plex Remix)
That man Maceo Plex does it again. Gotta love that bass sound he gets! He's been coming up with quality tracks and remixes for a while now. This is definitely his time.

Lana Del Rey - Born To Die (Leo Zero Remix)
An amazing singer/songwriter with a voice that's way beyond her years. She's almost like a female version of Jonny Cash. I love her stuff and she's easy on the eye too! It took a few plays for me to get used to the way that the vocals have been re-jigged on this remix but now I'm sold and it's an extravaganza stretching over almost 12 minutes of sublime Nu-Disco.

Azari & III - Reckless With Your Love (Tiga Remix) 
The original has been around for a couple of years now and it's still bubbling away and now comes with brand new mixes. I was taken by this Tiga Remix. I've been a fan of his since he dropped "Pleasure From The Bass" which I use to play regularly. He's done a great job on this remix and made it his own.

Laid back - White Horse
The Danish post-punk group released this in the early 80's which became a big track on the New York dance scene and went onto be revived during the Acid rave explosion in the UK in the late 80's. It's gone on to inspire many and those that spring to mind are Hot Chip and Chemical Brothers. It still sounds relevant today

Retro Grade - Moda
This came out a few years ago and was only released on limited edition vinyl at the time. It's produced by Serge Satiago & Tom Neville. Serge used to be involved with Stompa Funk at The Funky Buddah Lounge in Brighton many years ago. This track is basically based around a hooky synth riff and builds & drops over 10.30 mins. Lots of energy to this track!

7 questions with Seamus Haji
Q: Pablo Contraband  
A: Seamus Haji
1. So what have you been up to this past month or two?  
I recently got back from a tour in Argentina. I love it out there and along with Brazil they have one of the best club scenes at the moment. I've been busy as ever in the studio remixing Jakwob, Rebecca Ferguson, Niki And The Dove and Scissor Sisters. In fact, Jake from Scissor Sisters liked my remix so much he's asked me to produce a track for their album which I'm very excited about. I've also been working on some of my own productions so you can expect single called "I Love The Music" from myself & Cevin Fisher on Strictly Rhythm end of Feb and another track that's out now from myself & EDX called "Love Express" on Sirup Music. Just been getting back into the swing of things after taking time off over Christmas and things feel good!

2. How did you get involved with the event I'm told it's not Big Love night? 

I met Paul Budd at one of his Disco Deviant nights in Brighton and I really like what he's doing…a more intimate vibe with more intimate music so they're dropping Nu-disco & Deep house cuts from the likes of Maceo Plex, Jamie Jones & Art Department. A lot of it sounds like a throw back to music I was playing 15-20 years ago by the likes of Mood II Swing and The Burrell Brothers on their Nu Groove label or really early 80's stuff that has a post disco/boogie vibe to it. Paul got in touch and asked if I wanted to get involved with the Big Love Inn and it does tie in nicely with the name of my label so I was more than happy to get involved.

3. The other DJ's playing are all known for playing nu disco, disco and deep house mainly, how does that compare to your current sound and taste? I know the massive gigs you play at demand a bigger sound?

Yes definitely. That's why I'm looking forward to playing a more intimate & deeper sound. To be honest, if I ever do play in smaller venues (which isn't very often these days) then I naturally want to play a slower, deeper selection of music. I started of on the house scene as a resident so I'm used to starting and ending nights and back then I'd always play slower & deeper during those sets.

4. Been listening to your show on Juice recently and there is a lot of the deeper and slightly more left field stuff I'm into popping up fairly regularly, I wondered if you have anything special planned for us in regard to your set? 

That's why I love doing the show as I get the chance to play trax I don't normally get to play out. Obviously when you become known for a certain sound where people always expect me to play & produce peak time tracks for big dancefloors it's nice to show another side.

5. What got you started as a DJ?

The art of mixing. My best friend at school brought in a mix tape and told me how he did it and I took that idea and ran with it. I used to practice & taught myself how to mix & scratch when I was around 15. I grew up in the early '80's in South London when Soul Sound systems ruled the day playing Soul, Funk, Hip Hop & early house at illegal house & warehouse parties.
By the time I was 16 it was around 1985 and I hooked up with a sound system at a party. They had Technics SL1200s but they couldn't mix. I showed them my skills and obviously impressed them as they asked me to join their crew. Next thing I know I'm playing a big all dayers with 10 other sound systems and DJs such as Tim Westwood & Norman Jay in front of 2000 people. That's how I got started…right time right place I guess!

6. Which DJs and producers would you say were most influential to you over the years?

As early teenager it would have been Herbie from the sound system Mastermind as  I was really impressed by the way he mixed the "Electro" compilations on Morgan Khan's Street Sounds label. Also, Grandmaster Flash and then Tony Humphries when he was doing Master mixes for Kiss FM in New York. Then, when I got more into house in the late 80's and early 90's  people like Masters At Work, David Morales & Roger Sanchez as they were excellent producers and very technical DJs.

I guess over more recent years influences come more from a production angle so for example Chicken Lips "He Not In" when that first came out almost 10 years ago that had a massive influence on me and led me to taking that vibe and using it in my re-make of "Last Night A DJ Saved My Life" and then using an electro edge in most of my productions & remixes ever since. People such as Joey Negro, Full Intention, Eric Prydz, Deadmau5 and Axwell in the house world have all had an influence on me too but a lot of my main influences come from the likes of Trevor Horne, Quincy Jones, David Byrne, Kraftwerk, Arthur Baker.

7. What's the best movie you've seen in the past year? 

I just saw "Drive" which was brilliant so let's say that! I give it 5 stars *****

Catch Seamus Haji at The Big Love Inn at The Loft, Ship Street on Saturday February 11th alongside Chamboche, Go Bang & Pablo Contraband (Disco Deviant). There are only 240 tickets so expect a busy and intimate affair.

Tickets are available from Rounder Records, Smugglers pub or online via Ran$om Note

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