Seba has just released his excellent new album Ingaro.
It’s a vast and engrossing project that sees the Swedish artist showcase his brand of uplifting and expansive drum & bass over the course of ten tracks.
We caught up with him to hear all about the record, it’s collaborators and what influenced it’s creation as well as his other recent releases, working with longtime collaborator Paradox, his Secret Operations label and what else he has coming up musically this year.
Your new album Ingaro is out now. How excited are you for people to hear it and how did the creation of the album go?
I’m very excited to put this out, it’s been, ready for about a year but with the vinyl release and everything it takes time. I also decided to do a box set which is a bit different and that took some time to plan that, but yeah, I’m really excited to put out some new collaborations that i’ve never worked with before, so that’s really good. Marina Samba was completely new to the whole D&B scene and Collette Warren. I’ve worked with Blackeye before and I’m really excited about this.
How was it working with those artists on the album, especially people you haven’t worked with before?
I’ve DJ’ed a few times with Blackeye and I really like him as an MC so it just felt natural working with him. With Collette Warren, she asked me if we could do some collaborations for putting on my album and she was, like, yeah, she understood, so that was really easy as well. With Marina, she used to run a D&B night in Madrid and i’d played that a couple of years ago, she was emceeing while I was DJing, and she’s a really good MC, she’s got a nice flow and everything, so I said do you want to do something on this track and she was excited about it.
What has the the feedback from the new material being like so far?
What I really like is that people have different favourite tracks, not one track ,like, this is the banger, you know, I’ve had a lot of different feedback from different people. Digital likes one track. I know that Goldie really likes one track. I had different people coming back and saying I really like this track and that’s good.
The album is named after your home of Ingaro island in Sweden. Have you always wanted to make an album about the island?
Not really. I actually didn’t have a title for the album and I sat down with a graphic designer, who did artwork and we sat down and discussed ideas and I had a completely different view on what I wanted for the artwork, but it seems like the main thing that he snapped up was this environment where I live in the woods. It’s a rather big island, I think it’s like 10,000 or 13,000 people that live on this island. When you go from Stockholm, you have to cross four bridges in order to get to this island, so it’s a bit far out in the archipelago. He actually got very inspired about this island and what it was and all that, so he said, why don’t we just make an artwork for this island and call your album it? I was like, that’s a really good idea, because this is where I grew up, before I moved into the city in my twenties. Later, when I had kids, I moved back out here because it’s a really beautiful, natural environment.
Growing up in that remote environment, how did you first discover drum & bass?
I would say it’s a logical progression, I’ve always been into electronic music, you know, back in the early eighties, when all my friends were into Michael Jackson and whatever was popular back then, I was into Kraftwerk and stuff like that. It was considered quite electronic and underground, which kind of lead me into techno and the rave scene and all that. In the early and mid nineties, I discovered a sound from UK, which was UK hardcore and it has these breaks on it, and I just followed from there. Most of my friends, they went another path, they followed the German style, which was more techno and minimal and all that. It’s quite funny because some of the big techno names out there, we went to the same rave parties and we were friends like Adam Beyer for instance, we went to the same raves when we were kids.
Is drum & bass big in Sweden these days?
I would say when it comes to club music in Sweden, techno is the biggest and drum & bass is not that big. We have a following, we have two monthly clubs or that throw nights. but sometimes it’s packed or it is half empty, it’s a bit of a tricky situation. Also it’s difficult to get promoters to accept a d&b night because they believe more in techno, so obviously they want to do techno nights, but, you know, if you go out in Stockholm, you end up going to techno nights, four weekends in a row and it becomes boring. I’m really happy that there’s some soldiers out there that are still fighting for drum & bass in Sweden That’s a good thing.
What’s it been like, being back out and playing sets again and do you have plans to take the music of Ingaro out into a live arena?
Yeah, I had a quite lot of bookings in August, September and October, and then it kind of went down a bit in November and nothing in December and it has started picking up again in January and February. As far as I know, I’m coming out to the UK in late January/ early February. I’m playing at Hit & Run in Manchester on January 29th. When I started playing in August, because I hadn’t been playing out for a long time, I was like, I don’t know if I want to do this anymore. I’m sick and tired of traveling and I dunno if it’s going to be that good, I’m 47 years old or whatever but after about half an hour I got into it and I just didn’t want to come off the decks!
What other music are you working on at the moment that you can tell us about?
I actually haven’t been working on music recently because I’ve been building an extension to my house. I was having a conversation with someone and it was like, that is probably the best lockdown occupation I’ve heard! I have done the remix for Resonance Audio, Conrad’s project that he’s working on, so that’s great.
What about your plans for your Secret Operations label this year? Have you got other things you’re going to release on that?
That’s another thing I’ve got quite a few things up my sleeve. I’ve got some tracks that I thought was going to make it to the album, and then I realized that I want to do something else with this, so those tracks are probably going to be singles on Secret Operations. I’m also looking into doing, collaborations with other Swedish artists as well, so yeah, I’ve got some collaborations with Olski, we’ve got something coming out on Function.
You released Swirl/Offchord with Paradox last year, how was the experiences of that and will you be working with Paradox again soon?
We’re actually scheduled to work together again in February. He’s coming out to Sweden. That’s also another thing we’ll have coming out. The Swirl/Offchord tracks, last time I played them was at Sun & Bass so they’ve been out there for a while, it just took a while for them to come out on vinyl. I’m eager to get back into the studio to do some work with him, definitely.
You’ve worked a lot with Dev (Paradox) over the years. What what makes you work so well together?
I think we have the same philosophy about drum & bass, both of us like to work with breaks, we also have the same philosophy about the attitude and ambience in the tracks that we do, sometimes I go out on a limb, sometimes I put in a stab which is a bit growly and he’s like, I don’t like it, he’s a bit stubborn! It takes me like three or four days, maybe a week and then he’s like, oh, I’m starting to like that haha!
You also released the Breathe Deep EP last year. How has that release gone down?
It’s been going really well. Emily Harkness, she’s on the way up and I really liked working with her. She’s a brilliant singer, so it was fun to do that, we did two tracks on that one. I also did the collaboration with BCee, which I hope I’m going to do again. That was quite fun as well, we just sent the parts back and forth over the internet.
You obviously mentioned breakbeats before, which you have incorporated into your music. Are there any other sounds or styles of music you would like to explore with your music in the future?
I was actually trying to include a techno track with this album because I do go to a lot of techno parties and it does inspire me, you can also hear that in my music. I listen to more techno than I do to drum & bass at home or in the car but it turned out that I just wasn’t happy with the techno track. Drum & bass and techno production is so different, techno there’s not a lot of things going on, whereas drum & bass, there’s a lot of things going on. It was just really difficult to finish that but I’d love to do some techno in the future, that would be great?
Would you do that as Seba or release it under a different alias?
I’d probably just use my given name to be honest.
Going way back, when you first came out, do you have good memories of working with LTJ Bukem, Conrad and Good Lookin?
I have some good memories, i was young, only twenty one or something when I first started working with them. It was always a big thing for me to come over and DJ at Ministry Of Sound and all that. You hung around with people who has the same mindset about music and that was amazing, not only Bukem and Conrad but people like Blue Mar Ten and Paradox and other people that I’m still in touch with today. That was really good. I never went on tour with Good Lookin. We went to Japan once, sort of an in and out mission!
You have released music on the likes of Metalheadz, Hospital, soul r and Commercial Suicide. How does it feel to have brought music out on respected labels like those?
It’s definitely an honour. I do it every now and then. Financially, it’s better to put it out on my own label, I get a much better return but I support other labels and they support me and that’s pretty much how it works. That’s what me and Dev did in the beginning, we did tunes on Paradox and we did some tunes on Secret Operations and now we just do a separate label for Seba and Paradox, that’s why we started that label.
What have been some of the highlights of your musical journey so far?
Going to places, some I didn’t even know they existed, and meeting some wonderful people. That is absolutely the highlight. All the amazing concerts I’ve done around the world, they have been the highlights of my music career.
Ingaro is out now. Buy here.
I’m a music journalist based in the U.K. with a love for bass music in many forms from drum & bass and dubstep to hip hop and grime. Always looking to check out new music as well as digging back for the classics and attending as many events as possible.