As 2015 begins, Cozy Mag wanted to catch up with a guy who made significant strides last year in imprinting his sound on the underground scene. A producer, songwriter and DJ, Selvsse still hasn't revealed the full extent of his talents to the world, so it’s exciting to see what’s in store for him next.
COZYMAG: Without any further ado, how would you say 2014 was for you?
SELVSSE: Honestly and simply it’s been a year more about growth. Being from a production background has made me focused on working on music with my friends. I think this year I’ve made a significant effort to share music on Soundcloud and I definitely think it’s been a rewarding year in terms of being able to create music that is getting attention, through the beats and reworks I’ve been putting out. It’s been humbling. With the rework thing, it’s been me sharing fun ideas and mixes that I would normally just mix whilst I’m in the studio by myself. And the response of it encouraged me to share more of it. That’s an exciting way to put it.
CM: And how would you describe your approach to production?
SELVSSE: Generally I try and find a sample or a sound that inspires a certain feeling. This is me in the first few minutes of being into Reason, it’s like just jamming out. And once I have a tune that I vibe strongly with I see it through as long as I don’t get distracted by something else.
CM: So aside from producing, which is core to your musical heritage, you’ve also transitioned into DJ'ing this year too. Is this something you always planned to do?
SELVSSE: No it wasn't planned. But it was something that I’d always did in my studio. And it was really a way for me to listen to my beats without being too critical of them; to hear it in a different and a fun way. So before I’d get a session started, instead of going through a selection of beats I’d play a mix instead. And then a friend said to me why don't you play at this upcoming event that we’re putting on, which was Lost World, a Pre Wave event. And that was my first conscious effort towards DJ’ing. It’s something that I’ve always lightly played with. I guess I’ve always DJ’ed because within any setting where we’re at, I’m normally the one playing some music. So I guess it’s something, looking back now, that’s a bit predictable but I didn’t plan to make any effort towards it immediately.
CM: And has DJ’ing changed your perspective on production?
SELVSSE: It’s definitely contributed more to my understanding of production. Because when we’re making beats, like most beat makers we start from scratch, but sometimes you lose the overview of how you hear the music because you’re so focused on working on the details within it you forget that you’re actually mixing. And that was pretty much my realisation of it, it’s synonymous. Especially with hip hop, being able to come up with different grooves and stuff like that. I’ve always had a basic understanding of mixing and EQ’ing. That was some of the only stuff from college that I felt like I really understood! And just being able to realise how that plays into DJ’ing and production is exciting. I was kinda thrusted into DJ’ing.
CM: A bit of an odd ball question next. How would you define good music or do you not view music in these terms?
SELVSSE: I just think that music, and anything within the arts, is supposed to make you feel a certain feeling. Not a particular feeling but it’s supposed to make you feel something. So if you listen to music and have an opinion on it, you yourself know how strong your opinion is. To put it simply, when I listen to music I try to focus on the things that I like about it rather than the things I hate about it. But if there’s very few things that I like about the song then that makes it instantly a bad song and that’s how I look at it. I don’t fuss too much. It’s like, how do you define the good and the bad in a collective way? I don’t stress about what’s valid as good music. It’s just an experience for every individual, however you interpret it, that’s what it is to you.
That’s how I've truly come to it. But if you honestly want me to tell you what good music is then it’s soul music, it’s in the title! It’s self explanatory. That’s our essence, it’s in everything.
CM: Now looking immediately around you and even wider, what artists are you excited to work with and which artists’ music are you looking forward to hearing?
SELVSSE: On a wider scale, I’m looking forward to everything coming out of the City because I’ve probably already been listening to it. I’m looking forward to hearing more stuff within the rap scene especially through Nate, Isaac Danquah, Piff Gang, Ash Catchem I think this year has really been about people recognizing each other so all that needs to be done is putting in the work, and putting the music out! Like everyone is going to hear it anyway, broadly across the scale, I’m looking forward to… Actually I don’t want to name drop, but actually what I’m looking forward to is my peer’s music, putting it simply. I’m still going to have an open ear to everything that’s going to be coming anyway, because of the internet, but definitely my immediate and surrounding peers and generally music coming out of London.
CM: And what music did you particularly enjoy throughout 2014?
SELVSSE: Throughout the year, I really enjoyed Flying Lotus’ "You’re Dead!" for being able to combine a visual and sonic theme seamlessly like he always does. So much shit has come out and all I can immediately think of is what’s come out in rap! There’s been a lot of music coming out of the city. Etta Bond’s project too, that was cool.
CM: And final question, what do fans of your music have to look forward to for next year?
SELVSSE: I’m looking forward to creating a lot of music and playing out a lot more. But primarily making more music with my friends.
Interview led by Ranako (@NarkiP)
Images by Ray Fiasco (@RayFiasco)