It’s fair to say that playing it safe isn’t in Seth Troxler’s reality. In an industry where artists are terrified of saying what they really think, he is not only refreshingly honest but his straight talking actions are backed by genuine integrity. With a business empire based on doing things differently he is on the verge of launching three more labels, finishing nine new songs and running East London restaurant Smokey Tails. Linking up with The Martinez Brothers on one of his new projects, together they are launching vinyl-only label ‘Tuskegee’, which is creatively driven by the artists’s ethnicity and heritage.
WHAT ARE YOUR VIEWS ON EQUALITY IN DANCE MUSIC?
Historically, within dance music, the urban perspective was the predominant. If you look at old house music, Chicago house started from a black, gay perspective. New York house was a latino, black, gay perspective and now it’s more of a German or European perspective. Everything is cleaner and more precise. The mass media and record companies created an image of what people from the urban communities should stereotypically identify themselves with in relation to urban music, which is quite a negative base. It’s turned into quite negative music and so we’re like “Why can’t we just put out a platform where people who come from that world can really identify with it?” We’re doing clothing and bunch of stuff where it’s like “This is our culture,” but the music is from a different place. The attitude and the ethos are totally different from the urban stereotypical music but the attitude is still urban and the music is crazy dope. That’s missing right now. We wanted to bring back equality more than anything. Bring back a positive view of what urban people’s interests are.
DO YOU FEEL IN A POSITION OF RESPONSIBILITY TO LEAVE A LEGACY BEHIND?
Completely. I’m very legacy driven. It’s something I really think about. Once you’re in a position of power it is your responsibility to push the buttons a bit more and not become complacent. Try to shake things up a bit. Even if you fail at least you created something new and different and allowed other people to be heard. That turns me on. It’s not business, it’s art. It’s about positive energy. Giving out positive energy and putting it out to the world and the world gives back to you. I want the world to change and if I could be a catalyst for that then that is a great thing.
DO YOU THINK ANYONE CAN CREATE THEIR OWN REALITY?
Everything is about creating your own reality. It’s not about thinking or doubting what you can do. It’s about doing and living in that world. I live in a bubble, I’m aware of outside events and what’s going on but I’ve created my own reality. It’s awesome.
WE ALL HAVE LIGHT AND DARK, A DEVIL ON ONE SHOULDER AND AN ANGEL ON THE OTHER. KEEPING YOURSELF GROUNDED AMONGST THAT AS YOU FIND MORE SUCCESS, MUST BE TRICKY…
It’s very tricky. With success comes temptation and I’m not a saint. I like being on the edge of the darkness. My friend, Guy Gerber used to have this joke. Here’s the line, but put my little toe in the hot water. You put your foot in a little bit and it’s like “Oooh that’s nice” but you know your hand, it’s firmly on the door here. That darkness is sometimes cool for creativity. If I was all super positive I’d be making trance music and I’d be a pussy and that’s not cool either. You have to have that grit and rawness and know what the rest of the world is going through and how fucked up it is. That makes you want to be more positive and create the change. You have to have a little self-doubt. My name means God of the Underworld so I like the darkness.
SO WHEN YOU TALK ABOUT WANTING TO CHANGE THE WORLD, WHAT ARE THE MAIN THINGS THAT YOU THINK ARE WRONG WITH IT AT THE MOMENT?
I think wealth and equality. They are going to be the big issues of our generation and climate change. That’s going to get real in ten years time. Being from America, it’s the non-transparency of government and how currently they don’t represent the people. We’re at a stage where we’re about to hit a lot of large global environmental issues. NASA did a report that environmental collapse will emanate in 40 years if we don’t change. That’s 40 years and the leading scientific organisation in the world is saying that the environment will collapse and yet people aren’t alarmed by it. How far along in Capitalism and profit based interests are we that even when NASA are making huge reports, people are denying it and governments are trying to deny it? It’s like, “what the fuck?”
THE THING IS THERE ARE ANSWERS…
They have all the answers and they can take care of it but they just don’t want to because they have lobbyist from oil corporations saying “Don’t do it because it will fuck up the profits” and everyone is worried about the economy. The fact is if we did take a lot of the initiatives and ideas and put them into practice it would create loads of jobs and we would help the environment. You could put a load of taxes on the big corporations so they are not polluting everything and maybe we could sustain this type of weather.
IT’S ALSO DOWN TO THE PHARMACEUTICAL INDUSTRY. IF WHAT YOU PUT INTO YOUR BODY IS VERY NATURAL AND BALANCED…
You’re not gonna get sick but it’s not about not getting sick. The pharmaceutical companies want you to get sick. Being an American, it’s also how much it costs to go to the doctor. You guys are very fortunate to be in a country where there is nationalised healthcare. Wealth distribution and greed is an issue with corporations taking over the world. It’s a global problem that we will have to really face in the future.
BACK TO MUSIC. YOU STARTED DJING WHEN YOU WERE QUITE YOUNG…
I was like 14, 15…
HOW WOULD YOU SAY GROWING UP IN THE MUSIC INDUSTRY HAS HELPED YOU ESTABLISH YOURSELF AS A PERSON?
There’s positive and negatives. My friends have always been older so I grew up a lot faster but I missed out on a lot of those quintessential youth moments. I wasn’t going to keg parties and hooking up with college girls. I was focusing on making music and taking acid in my basement. I’m 28 now and I’ve been focusing on music since I was 15 so I’m one of the strongest people in the world at my profession. The earlier you can get into your chosen profession the better. You could spend all your time doing school but the earlier you focus on it, the more years ahead you are than the person who waited.
SKREAM SAID RECENTLY THAT HE HAS ONLY EVER HAD ONE JOB…
I worked one normal job at a sports arena for a couple of months and then they told me to cut my hair and I was like, “You know what, I retire”. I wrote this letter that said, “From this day forth, I let it be known that I Seth Troxler have retired” and that day I retired from work forever. I was like “I am never going to work for these fucking pricks again”. Waking up early for school I used to think “You guys are suckers if you think this is the only fucking way. This is bullshit, I am going to go and smoke a joint and hang out” This year is my ten-year reunion. I so cannot wait to go and be like “I fucking won”
YOU ARE VERY CHARISMATIC WITH A BIG PERSONALITY. DO YOU THINK THAT’S HELPED TO CARRY YOU TO WHERE YOU ARE?
Completely, being outspoken and going up and talking to people when you go out creates doorways. People want to work with people that they like and people tend to like me. Some people hate me, which I also like. I have a few enemies. I know some incredible artists but when you put them in a room with people, they can’t hold a fucking conversation and are just weirdos. People are too smart sometimes and socially it is just like “Yo, shut the fuck up. I like you but you are killing me.”
SO FOR ANYONE THAT IS READING THIS THAT WANTS TO BE IN YOUR POSITION, WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU OFFER THEM?
Do it because you love it. If you want to be a DJ for the lifestyle, it’s not going to work out. It is a really hard life and career. Be honest and do it for the right reasons. Go out and get involved in the community and don’t be a dick.
Click here to download Seth’s new Hercules and Love Affair remix.