SEFF: I've definitely found my home with house and techno

Becca Frankland caught up with house heavyweight SEFF ahead of the release of his 'Jack's Back' EP on Hot Creations and his gig at Fez in Sheffield.

Jimmy Coultas

Last updated: 14th Jan 2015

Image: SEFF

The house music scene is highly competitive, to break the mould your sound has to be completely unique, despite so much of the same being churned out regularly. For one lad residing in Cornwall, he made his mark back in 2011 when he was picked up by one of the most prestigious underground labels, and as they say, the rest is history. 

SEFF, otherwise known as Joe Saunders, has reached some mega DJ milestones in a short space of time and has been snapped up by some of the most influential imprints around. His signature combination of raw house and destructive basslines (have a listen to 'Breakin' below) has earned him support from some of the genre's top dogs, whilst building him a hefty fan base.

With a massive EP due out on Hot Creations and a gig lined up at one of Sheffield's most popular clubs, Fez, we thought it was the perfect opportunity to dig a bit deeper and get the low down on one of our artists to watch for 2015. 

For anyone who is unfamiliar with your musical background, could you fill them in on how you got started as a DJ?

Basically I got my first set of decks when I was eight years old, for my 8th birthday and I'm 28 now! It was some crappy Soundlab thing if I remember correctly but I had them until I could actually afford a pair of 1210s, which was a few years after. It just carried on from there really, playing loads of old house records.

I went through loads of genres throughout the years and then finally settled down again now with house, I've done a full circle pretty much.

Where did you play back then, did you have any residencies? 

Yeah, mainly in Plymouth, it was very hard dance orientated. Everyone down this way absolutely loved their harder music. It's changed a lot now, everyone is into their house and techno.

When did you get into producing? 

I started producing when I was about 14 I think. Again, I was into the harder music in my teens. I think it was in 2011 that I completely forgot about everything and decided to start afresh and then I randomly sent something to VIVa Music, Steve Lawler's label, I didn't even expect a reply. 

It took a few days and then they got back saying 'this is the best thing we've heard in ages'. So it was happy days, and I haven't really looked back since then. I've definitely found my home with house and techno. 

You've got a big EP entitled Jack's Back due out on Hot Creations at the end of the month on vinyl then the beginning of February on digital. When you were producing the tracks and deciding what would make the final cut, did you always know it was meant for Hot Creations?

The A side which is called 'Like That' that was the first track that I actually started writing as soon as Richy Ahmed approached me to do the EP. And 'Jack's Back' which is the title track, they wanted that as the B side. I'd already actually written that one but I was keeping it back for the right label, I didn't really want it to go to waste.

But yeah they loved it so I'm so glad I kept that one back. I didn't have Hot Creations in mind with that one. I didn't even think they'd like it I thought it'd be too tough for them. But they loved it and it was going off for them last summer. 

When we heard 'Like That' (listen at 40:00 below) played by Richy Ahmed at Circus on New Year's Day it was one of those tracks, we were desperate to know what it was, and the response was massive, we had to Shazam it!

Even some of my close friends have been doing that and they've been sending it to me saying 'is this you!?' and I'm like, how do you not know I've been going on about it for the last half a year almost. 

I've only not too long ago got the proper masters back for it, so it's like listening to it from fresh again, it's such good quality. I can't wait to get the actual vinyl and whack it on decks.

The artwork for the Hot Creations releases is so sick as well isn't it? 

Yeah Mikey Brain the designer is called, he's absolutely amazing. Love his work. I've already asked him to do me a piece for the studio. 

So where's your studio at, where do you live at the moment? 

In Cornwall. Everyone always goes 'what the hell?'

Yeah it's not exactly renowned for its rave scene!

Yeah I know! I think if I moved away I think my music might change. Maybe when I've got a bit more money, and I've got a few more releases out I might have to move because of the travel situation but I like it here at the moment.

Back to 'Like That', we've seen that it's been getting some support from Catz N Dogz as well. Anyone else? 

From what I know since it's just been sent out on promo, Danny Howard has played it on his dance anthems show on Radio 1, two weeks on the run, I really didn't expect that, and he put it on one of his podcasts. Pete Tong has played it too recently. 

Steve Lawler's been dropping it in his shows recently as well, he tweeted me the other day saying how well it has been going down. Like you say, Catz N Dogz tweeted me as well saying they had been starting their sets with it at nearly every one of their gigs, so I'm really happy with that. 

Apart from that, pretty much all of the Hot Creations family have been playing it too. They've been testing it out. 

On the topic of Steve Lawler, you've had some big releases on VIVa and in the past you've also put out some pretty big tunes on Dave Seaman's Selador imprint (check his podcast for them above), are these artists that you've always looked up to? Did they help you shape your sound?

Yeah they're both legends in their own right, and I've always looked up to them and that's why I've released tunes on their labels but when it comes to shaping my own sound I don't try to be like anyone else, I just try and do my own thing really. 

You're playing at Fez later this month, have you ever played in Sheffield before?

No I've never played there before so I'm really looking forward to it. I've heard some wicked things about Fez as well. Apparently the Sheffield lot are a rowdy bunch, my type of crowd!

What artists do you think we should keep an eye out for in 2015? 

There's so many but pretty much I'd say, it might be quite biased but I look at all the new artists that are signed to Underground Artist Agency, which is my management but the director Kal has a good eye, well, ear for who is going to be big. I'd definitely recommend keeping an eye out there. 

He's just signed some great guys like Several Definitions who has just had a release on Hot Since 82's label, Knee Deep In Sound. Then obviously there's Cristoph and Dale Howard

What are your goals for 2015?

More releases on some of my favourite labels. Got some big collaborations coming up as well, which I can't really talk about but I can't wait for them to be released and I just want to play as many places around the world as possible, maybe some festivals. 

Did you get to any festivals last year?

No I didn't even go to Ibiza last year, for the first time in ten years. I just locked myself away in the studio.

Well I'm sure it'll be worth it and you can make up for it this year!

That's the plan. 

You can catch SEFF at Fez in Sheffield on Saturday 24th January. Head here for tickets

Tickets are no longer available for this event