Dollars to Pounds: Seams

October 15, 2010


I don't know if laptops became a lot cheaper or there are just really good rips of Ableton and Logic floating around, but there has been a wave of amazing electronic music coming out of the UK this year. Seams is a young guy from London, currently studying in Birmingham. He gets about a bit, which is probably why he called his new EP Tourist. He recently toured with Dollars To Pounds alumni Gold Panda and Dam Mantle which gives you an idea of the sonic territory he inhabits. I spoke to him about Karl Lagerfeld and going mental.



Download: Seams, Hung Markets


You seem very personable but a lot of solo electronic music artists are nuts. Do you think spending too long with computers makes you go mental?
There's definitely something to be said about spending days on end sat in your pants staring at a screen, without leaving your room or seeing daylight. That's got to do something to you. I usually work on tracks in little chunks, with lots of breaks, so I can just about function socially. But it does mean it takes me ages to finish tracks. I've been doing this for about 18 months now, and only have a couple of releases, I've got quite a few "almost finished" things though. Most of my tracks are just experimenting with different approaches to playing with sound, that's how I got into it anyway. But yeah, thankfully everyone spends too much time on computers these days, so we're all equally mental.

What is a hung market?
I could say that the track title is a reference to our recent hung parliament, and the current state of the UK's finances due to stock markets. But really it's just because the track is built around a sample of a busker playing a hang at the Sunday flea market on my street, I recorded on my phone. The patterns she was playing were so hypnotising, I think I ended up recording well over 20 minutes worth. Such a cool sound.

You called your new EP Tourist because you made it while working at Soundcloud in Berlin during the summer. Karl Lagerfeld said on Twitter "I only go to places if I have a professional reason. I'm not a tourist." You were working there so according to Karl, you weren't a tourist. He's right about most things.
Whilst I was working there, and it did feel like home, there were many times when I felt like an outsider. Living in a country where you can't speak the language can get quite lonely. Not in a sad way, just in a way that meant I zoned out of people's conversations and listened to things in a different way. A few of the samples I used in the EP are from those moments. I approached the tracks with a loose aim of recreating the feeling of some of the things I experienced during the summer, almost like an audio travel guide.

Seams is an interesting name.
The name kinda come from how I listen to music, trying to dissect it and see what it's made from. With clothes and things, you can tell look at the seams and see how they're put together. I love music that doesn't hide its origins, that's rough around the edges, I like to think my music does something similar by wearing its contents on its sleeve.

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Dollars to Pounds: Seams