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Interview: Sebastian Sellares

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Sebastian Sellares is a Córdoba-based DJ & Producer. He started his musical journey at a very young age, learning to play guitar and listening to Rock, Metal & Pop music, eventually leading him to reach into the electronic side of music. Falling into the hands of the underground, he found house & techno as his main genres, as time passed by he developed a connection with melodies and deeper grooves, focusing his work on the progressive side of these genres.

He has drawn inspiration from artists like Hernan Cattaneo, Guy J, Nick Warren, John Digweed, Cid Inc & Guy Mantzur to name a few, some of which have already supported his music. Playing alongside some of the best national Djs, Sebastian has been touted as one of progressive music’s fastest rising artists with releases via Anjunadeep, Or Two Strangers, meanwhile and Proton Music. His latest offering comes courtesy of Madloch’s Sound Avenue imprint, where he reworks Eric Lune’s ‘Dreaming Home’ in fine fashion. We had a chance to catch up with Sebastian for an exclusive interview just prior to the release. Enjoy!

Hello Sebastian, thanks for joining us. What is your current mood and what was the last piece of music you listened to?

Hello, thanks to you for having me! My current mood at the time would be “melting”, currently the weather it’s been pretty hot down here in Argentina haha. And the last piece of music I listened to would be Guy J’s latest mix, which I’m currently listening.

What are your plans for the coming week?

This week my plans include working on new music as always, as well as working on a new guest mix and cleaning up my PC and doing fresh installation of the software I work with, it was about time.

Talk to us about growing up and living in Argentina, how has it affected your musical taste and the music you make?

Well as I grew up, my musical taste wasn’t as much affected by the place I grew in, as much as the people that surrounded me at the time, whether it was my friends or family, those people are the ones that shaped me towards my musical taste. Listening from Rock & Metal to Hip Hop, Electronic music as well as local genres.

Progressive music is well known for being hugely popular in Argentina, how did your country become the genre’s mecca over the last 10-15 years? What would you attribute that to?

I feel like my country becoming a huge standout on the progressive genres could be attributed to Hernan as one of the biggest Dj’s of the genre. Him creating a big focus on his sets and supporting local artists on them making sure to give them proper exposure is one of the big points on this. Also taking in account that people over here are quite expressive and when listening to music they search for that, Progressive music as well as melodic focused genres have a big focus on emotions and creating moments for the listener.

What are your favourite venues to play in Argentina and why?

Haven’t played in a lot of venues, none outside my province, nonetheless Fruta is a venue I like a lot, being a small club creates a sense of intimacy and closeness between the DJ and the public, which is something a do love. There are some venues I would look forward to be able to play in the future, such as Forja in Córdoba and Metropolitano in Rosario for example

Who are some up and coming Argentinian artists to look out for?

Most of them are already making a name for themselves. Loving what Andrés Moris, Fabri Lopez, Ivan Aliaga & Jesuan M been making lately

Can you name five tracks that were important in your musical development and why they are so significant for you?

Hernan Cattaneo & Guy Mantzur – Imaginarium

This is the first Progressive House track I liked and caught my attention, thanks to this track I started listening to progressive music with a different mindset and eventually ended up loving the genre

Cubicolor – Got This Feeling

Chvrches – Leave a Trace (Four tet Remix)

These two go hand to hand. Listening to this two tracks live pushed my perception on how different sounds, progressions, and melodies can trigger lots of deeper emotions on a listener. This made me realize how important it is to connect with people when working on a track

Guy J – Aurora

Guy Mantzur & Sahar Z – Temporary Sanity (Cornucopia Remix)

These two also go together. Both tracks pushed me into the search of a more unique sound, learning how important texture is when working with more hypnotic music.

Your first productions came out under the Monje alias which was also quite successful and well known within the progressive scene, what was it that prompted you to change it?

When I was working under the Mønje alias, I started using it because I couldn’t find any nickname that stuck with me, eventually choosing this, which is my Mother last name. I wasn’t thinking about making a name for myself, and being a known producer/dj, I was just making it for fun. Even though I’m still am making music for fun I realized that it would be better if people knew me by name instead of using a nickname, also I thought it sounded a little bit more professional to use my name instead

I think for a lot of artists music allows you to write a sketch of your own personal universe in a way; your travels, life experiences etc. Is that true of yourself? Talk about where your inspiration comes from.

It is true to some extent. Most of my inspiration comes from just sitting in the studio and trying to come up with something danceable, with nice grooves. Once I manage to do that it’s just a matter of having fun.

Sometimes this takes a different route, and instead of doing it for fun, I Have something in the back of my head, being a thought, an emotion or a situation that triggered something and I need to lay it out in a track. Usually these end up being the most melodic tracks.

If you could set up an event with a line-up of five artists of your choice, who would you book and what set times would you ascribe to the artists?

Ezequiel Arias                  20-22

Simon Vuarambon           22-00

Hermanez                       00-02

Alex O’Rion                     02-04

Guy J                              04-07

You have a new remix of Eric Lune out this week on Sound Avenue, tell us a bit about how you approached the remix and the production process behind it.

This one was hard to work with. I loved the original and the vibes it had. I wanted to create something a little darker and groovier while keeping the melodic touch to it. So I decided to keep the main parts before the break simple, Drums, a bassline with the main progression and a couple of Arps / Sequences to give a little bit of a melodic sense of what was coming up in the break. Left the guitar and the vocals for the break as well as starting to introduce the main melody and then a darker pre-drop without anything melodic so I could re-introduce all the melodic aspects of the track on the main drop.

This is your second remix for Sound Avenue with the first one being last year, what makes the label a good home for your music?

Having quality artists on it. It doesn’t matter if they’re unknown or “celebrity” artists, if the music that’s being released on the label is good, groovy, and fits my sound, then it’s a ”to-go” label. Sound Avenue accomplishes doing everything mentioned before.

What does your set-up like? Do you favor physical gear over digital? And what studio tools featured heavily in the writing of this remix?

Can’t say I favor Physical gear over digital since I don’t own any, would love to include in the future some synths and hardware. The big Bonus on hardware is the fact that you can actually push buttons, and do things without being limited by moving 1 parameter at the time, and I feel that heavily influences inspiration. Currently I’m working all In the box, Ableton Live 10 and Spire as my main synth.

Generally speaking, do you find it more difficult to come up with original tracks than remixing a track from another artist?

Yes I do. When working on a remix you already have a layout, an idea presented before you, you just have to figure out how would you develop this idea further into a track, at least that’s how I work.

When working on an original track you have to first come up with the idea, which I feel is the hardest part of working on an original track

What’s a piece of gear or software that always gets used when you’re writing a track?

That would be Spire. A Synth vst that I heavily rely on for 100% of my proyects. It does the job for arps, sequences, leads, keys, basses, pads, everything

How much road testing or friend feedback is done before you’re ready to say a track is finished? And who is someone you share your new music with first for feedback?

Not much. Once I finish with the structure of the track, assuming it already has everything I feel it needs to have it’s just a matter of testing the track on different systems and getting a little bit of feedback from friends and that’s about it.

Usually I share my music with Ezequiel Arias, Antrim, Alex O’Rion, Berni Turletti & GMJ. The guys give me some critical feedback that helps a lot. Also taking the fact that I don’t work with studio monitors, so I don’t have a precise reference when mixing

What would be a musical extravagance for your studio you would pay for, if you were very wealthy?

Probably lots of synths, even if I already had my main studio equipment I would still keep getting lots of synths. Modular racks too, and probably a big SSL console.

What’s a book you’ve read or film you watched that has left an impact on you, and why?

Not a big fan of watching movies or reading, so I don’t have an specific answer on this, but probably anything by Christopher Nolan, love what that guy does in his movies, big plus if Hans Zimmer’s taken care of the soundtrack

In your opinion, what’s the biggest risk you’ve taken and what made you do it?

Probably deciding to dedicate my life to music, It could’ve gone south and could have lost lots of years dedicating my life to something that didn’t pay at the end

Apart from music, what makes you happiest?

Friends & Family. Also great food

What does 2022 hold for you? Anything you can share with us?

I have a couple of remixes coming up this year, as well as a 3 track Collab EP coming out probably in February.

Sebastian’s remix of ‘Dreaming Home’ by Eric Lune is out now via Sound Avenue: https://bit.ly/3nIFRAg

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