Seb Fontaine Interview: The warehouse party scene was insane

Ahead of Quench bringing Seb Fontaine to Leeds for a classics 90s house and trance set in June Ellie Swain spoke with the former Cream resident.

Jimmy Coultas

Last updated: 7th Jun 2014.
Originally published: 20th May 2014

Seb Fontaine was the epitome of the superstar DJ as the phenomenon developed in the 90s. Regularly criss crossing around the globe, his position at the summit was best exemplified by the residencies he held at eternal superclubs Ministry of Sound and Cream.

He also released a number of heralded mix compilations including the Prototype series on Global Underground (the second featured a record he was synonomous with at hat point, Atlantis' 'Fiji' above), whislt his tenure on the airwaves at BBC Radio One on Saturday evenings saw him soundtrack the weekend for many.

Saturday 7th June he heads to Eiger Studios in Leeds for Quench, where he'll be headlining the club's jounrey through late ninties classic house and trance. We caught up with him ahead of the show. 

Hey Seb, thanks for taking the time out to speak to us! You’ve got a few UK gigs coming up this summer. Which city do you enjoy playing in the most?

I have always had a love for Buenos Aries, and of course Liverpool and London have been my most prolific haunts, but back in the day Nottingham and Leeds were the most fun.

You first started playing in London back in the late 80s. How much has your style of music changed since then and how does the music scene compare to today?

I started Djing in the late 80's but I was a 70's Funk and Rare grooves DJ along with the likes of Norman Jay (my DJ inspiration back then) and believe it or not Judge Jules.

The warehouse party scene was insane back then and a lot of fun. I didn't start playing house until a couple of years later when I went into the main room at a rave and saw scantily clad women dancing on the speakers and swinging from the chandeliers. I knew I needed to be djing right there.

You're heading to Leeds for Quench shortly; what memories have you got of the city

Mainly about after parties! I have had some very good times in Leeds over the years, it has always been a hotbed of talent and good music.

Over the years there must have been a few gigs that particularly stood out. Any interesting or funny stories to share?

Just last week I djed at Twickenham for England at the 7s tournament to 76,000 people. I had to play the music when they came out and then play a tune every time that they scored a try which was pretty awesome, so there are still things going on now that I am proud of.

The Red Bull revolutions party last year in the London Eye was also amazing, I was in the Cream pod with Paul Bleasdale and Andy Carroll and the atmosphere was insane but maybe because everyone just needed a pee really badly.

You’ve worked with a lot of other performers. Which artists have inspired you the most? 

Djing before Beyonce was pretty cool and she gave me a nice wave and a smile while I was on, which I guess most men would be happy with!

Working as a DJ must have many perks. What’s the best part of life as a DJ? And the worst? 

Quite simply the same answer - travel. It's amazing and enlightening, and you can meet wonderful friends for life, but being on the road takes it's toll on your life back home.

You’ve played in Ibiza many times before. Which was your best gig over there, and will you be heading back this summer?

Some of the Radio 1 weekends were awe inspiring back in the day as well as the big MTV festivals that used to go on. This year I'll be over a couple of times but I am most looking forward to the Clockwork Orange party at the end of June, purely as I love seeing old faces from back in the day. It will be a long, llong weekend.

Finally, you can go back to any club in history, maybe one you've played or one you haven't, and join three DJs on the line up. Who would you pick and where; and why?

Well first of all it would be open air (something that happens less and less nowadays) maybe a beach in Greece or Ibiza. I would have to have Norman Jay on the bill as he was the man that inspired me to get my 7 inch grooves out of their box and onto a dancefloor.

Tall Paul would have to be in there as well as we had such a growth in careers together (as well as some hysterical evenings out and about), and finally Jaques lu Cont as his sets at Type were out of this world. actually thinking about it, if we can't get a license for the beach party let's reopen The Cross, a small part of me was lost forever when that closed. 

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