Exactly this time last year I remember the first DJ Seinfeld tracks emerging online via OOUKFunkyOO and Slav. Using our ‘promoter’ brains first, my mates and I booked him for his second club show ever, in Hangar, Dublin. It was a different sound; it was emotional, raw, underground, and we could see how much people were digging it. Further on down the line, the sound would be branded as ‘Lo-Fi House’ and like all good things, with its success came haters, but that’s its own conversation in itself.
Ever since that show I’ve stayed in contact with Armand aka DJ Seinfeld, but I hadn’t seem him in almost a full year. My year since then had been pretty typical, but I can’t say the same for Armand. Let’s just say he has done what most artists couldn’t dream of doing within a 12 month period. An album, which was voted number 12 in Rolling Stone’s Albums Of The Year, a debut on the iconic Boiler Room and a tour of North America are just some of the things this Swedish born producer/DJ has managed to squeeze in. Obviously, the very first thing I did when I met him again in Belfast was congratulate him on everything.
“It’s been undoubtedly the craziest year of my life and it’s gone really fast. I’m still sort of trying to keep up with everything, pace myself and not get too excited (it’s okay to get excited).”
Not many people can grasp emotion the way Armand does, and it’s clear to see on his debut album ‘Time Spent Away From You’. The album follows a ‘heartbreak’ type pattern, which made me question ‘was there a breakup behind this’?
“Yeah. I just wanted it to be a very honest album. Some of the titles I know are a bit ‘over the top’ but the again, when you’re going through an intense period in your life with stuff like separation, it’s going to be those things that influence you the most. I thought, ‘why not be over the top with it’. If Hip Hop and Rn’B can do it, why not?”
When he mentioned some of the titles being a bit over the top, I had to interrupt and question this. Almost everyone has looked back at something we’ve said or done to a significant other and cringed/regretted it.
“Of course. It’s a very personal album and I wasn’t feeling too well at that time but when you’re starting to feel better, you look back at that time and wonder ‘why’. Maybe I would do some things differently. I am happy with the way I did it, but it’s always easy to cringe at what you done before lol.”
Being rated so highly by the likes of Rolling Stone and Mixmag must feel like a dream come true for someone who only started releasing music over a year ago. I remember when his career started to take off, a lot of people spoke badly of the whole ‘DJ Seinfeld’ alias without actually listening to the music. I asked him, ‘with the success of the album, was it a gratification in relation to all the doubters (if any) of the Seinfeld alias?’.
“Some people are always going to have problems with my name. Of course it means a lot when Rolling Stone and Mixmag write and think about you, it’s a huge plus, but there’s always going to be bitter people in the industry. Especially ones who don’t even listen to the music. I know what I’m about, for me, I just want to have fun and make music.”
So you aren’t angry at those people who did say bad things? I asked boldly.
“No! I know what people were saying about me, even people within the industry. When you get off to a rocky start like I did along with the whole ‘Lo-Fi’ thing, it was like a waiting game until people put that behind them and listened.”
Making your debut on the infamous Boiler Room must be a nerve wrecking experience for anyone, especially for someone like Armand, who I know puts his all into every single show.
“That was actually the first time I planned something extensively. I was incredibly nervous. It was the finale of my whole North American tour, and throughout that tour I was trying out different tracks to see how the crowds would react etc. Some shows were really bad, some were really good, so it was very difficult for me to get an idea of where I was. Once I started playing, it was okay. Boiler Room is really scary, you’re never quite sure which camera is filming you! To be honest I didn’t even see half of the cameras.”
Having extensively listened to all of his tracks since they first emerged, I would ponder at his ‘style’ or ‘genre’. Can he be categorised? Everything from breakbeat drums, to emotional choirs, keys, pads, I could go on for days. I wanted to know a little about his musical background, and what makes him have a taste for all genres of music.
“I grew up playing the classic piano for 14 years.”
That was it! It all made sense in that one sentence. I laughed in an almost jealous fashion and allowed him to continue…
“I write all my own stuff. I’m a sucker for melodies and I do spend a lot of time on them. As much as I like melodic stuff, I listen to everything, even Atonal music. My dad hates it because it’s not harmonial and it’s hard to listen to. I think exposing yourself to different types of music helps a lot.”
A couple weeks before the interview took place I chatted to a good friend of mine, Michael Baltra, who happens to also be a good friend of Armand’s. I was intrigued to know how two people from opposite sides of the world have became such good friends.
“We just started by chatting over Soundcloud and we just realised we had a lot of the same views on music and life in general. The first time I met him I was playing in Paris, and I seen him walk by me and thought ‘holy shit’. I was starstruck, like it’s Baltra!”
As the interview was coming to a close, the night certainly wasn’t. I had to squeeze in one more question that was playing on my mind. Will we ever see a ‘Time Spent Away From You 2’?
“Yeah! I’m working on it right now actually. Maybe 2019 I’d say though, take some time. I have a few different releases coming this year, including one on Or:la’s label. Breakups are always going to sell, because there’s always someone going through that right now, somewhere. For me, it’s easier to write a sad melody, even if I’m fine. Maybe I’m just a sad person.”
You should probably join forces with your fellow countrymen, Sadboys and Yung Lean, I joked.
“They would understand! Yung Seinfeld…”
Laughing, joking and having some drinks, it looked like I was settling Armand’s nerves. He was only one hour away from playing the biggest club show of his life at The Telegraph Building in Belfast for heavyweights Shine and AVA, a year to the day from his first ever club show which was in Galway. As we reeled in the New Year, it was a time for reflection and proving to yourself just how much you can achieve in one year. This man is the perfect example.
Feature Photo Credit: Clara Riordan
Photo Credit: Jordan Kinlan