Interview with Seth Vogt

5 months ago
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interview seth vogt

Seth Vogt has been producing world-class dance music for over two decades, all along remaining committed to his detailed, melodic signature sound, while still continuously evolving through changing trends and shifting genres. In short order: he moved to Orlando, FL to study recording in the late 90s, worked for some well-known studios, and was mentored by the late Bill Hamel. From there, it’s been strength to strength. His enviable CV includes projects with both mainstream and underground artists, boasting names such as Rihanna, 69 Boyz, Korn, Quivver, and PROFF, for labels like Def Jam, Atlantic, Bonzai, Black Hole, Jive, Sirup and tons more… including, of course, DISSIDENT MUSIC.

Now Seth has released his debut artist album, Whatever After: an audio compendium of career-defining and genre-defying pieces of audible art. His vocal talents are also on full display here, with Whatever After including several vocal performances from Seth alongside multiple collaborations.

Hey Seth, thanks for chatting with us today! How has 2022 been for you so far?

Hello.. Thank you so much for taking the time to talk with me. 2022 has been great for me so far, which is quite refreshing compared to life since where we started in the beginning of 2020. My collaboration with Oliver Harper and The Stupid Experts came out on Forensic Records
earlier this year and hit #2 in the Beatport progressive house charts. That was a milestone I am very proud of. I had quite a few new remix requests come in from Bonzai Progressive, Dissident, Toast & Jam Recordings, and Gigabeat. I have been working on new collaborations with Mariion Christiian, Alex Lorensso, Haxxy, Focus, Micke, 2 Tall Keith, Katrin Souza, The Incredible Melting Man, and a few others. The main focus at the beginning of 2022 was getting the final touches on my full artist album for Dissident Music / EMG.

Tell us about your journey into electronic music, when did you first fall in love with it?

I grew up playing music in my high school years with lessons in violin, string bass, tuba, guitar, and I also sang in the church choir. After high school, I moved from Pennsylvania to Orlando to study recording engineering. The Orlando electronic music scene was something truly unique at
this time in the mid 90’s. DJ’s such as Sasha, Carl Cox, Jimmy Van M, John Digweed, Keoki, and others were weekly guests at Club Firestone. This is where I discovered and fell in love with electronic dance music, and more importantly progressive house music. I started meeting
people and learned more about how the music was made. Through connections in the scene and local studios, my friend Mike Tucker and I ended up playing keyboards and writing for Sam Mollison, who was the voice for Sasha’s “Magic” and “Higher Ground”. Around that time is when I met the late Bill Hamel (founder of Fatum & Sunkissed Records), who later mentored me a bit before we started working on projects together. Bill was a huge influence on me and I still use what I learned during our time together in my production process. I then started to find my ownsound  and in the condensed version this is what brought me to where I am today musically.

You’ve been producing world-class dance music for over two decades now including projects with both mainstream and underground artists, boasting names such as Rihanna, 69 Boyz, Korn, and labels like Def Jam, Atlantic, Bonzai, Black Hole, and tons more. What are your top 3 best experiences so far in this amazing journey?

I feel honored to have had the opportunity to work on some seriously amazing projects over the years with a group of truly talented people.
I would have to say my first best experience was to see the Rhianna remix Bill Hamel and I did of “Unfaithful” hit number 1 on the Billboard dance charts. I have the framed album & #1 Billboard chart (which was previously on the wall of Bill’s studio) on the wall of my studio today. I have done quite a few projects with the 69 Boyz, who had world renown hits such as “Woof Woof” and “Tootsie Roll” (To the left, to the right, to the back, now slide). We always have a blast working together. A few years back, I had the opportunity to be their DJ for a live performance during WMC in Miami. The 69 Boyz are true entertainers, and put on a fantastic show. It was an incredible moment to be on stage with them with a crowd going crazy while they performed the songs I worked on with them, as well as their world renowned hits.

FInally, my brother Dylan and I used to listen to Matt Darey’s “Nocturnal” shows on a weekly basis. Matt’s music selection is always so spot on. Dylan and I used to leave voicemails for eachother imitating Matt’s voice all the time. Randomly, Matt ended up playing my remix of Quivver vs. Audio Magnetics (aka Barry Jamison & Bill Hamel) “Digital Music” on his show. Hearing Matt say my name on the show was first of all surreal. Then, Matt’s team reached out asking me to skype with Matt about doing a remix of one of his songs with Urban Astronauts. Matt is such great guy, but I found it even more surreal to be actually talking to him after all the voicemails between my brother and I.

Your new album ‘Whatever After’ just landed on Dissident Music. What were some of the most challenging, and rewarding, aspects of making this new album? 

I am very proud of “Whatever After” and feel humbled to have had the opportunity to collaborate with so many talented producers to make this project what it is. “Challenging” is such an odd word to use in a creative process. I have always felt that a challenge may bring something new and unexpected into the musical equasian, so I welcome it. Noel Sanger approached me at the beginning of 2021 about putting together a full album for Dissident. We originally planned on using a few original tracks from my past Dissident releases, and then adding a few new tracks in order to put together a full piece of work. After my song “Walls” came out on Dissident in 2020, I started getting quite a few requests for my vocals.Between the new songs I started writing for the full album, and these vocal collaborations, I realized I had more than enough material for a full artist album.

My goal from the beginning of the project was for each track on the album to fit together with the others to make one continuous mix. So the “challenging” part was to make sure each song flowed into the next seamlessly. I knew the collaboration with Alex Lorensso “Never Turn Back” was a strong opener and I wanted my collaboration with Magnetic Ghost “Undertow” to follow that song. I started to work on a way to transition and out of nowhere “After The Turn” was born, which ended up being one of my favorite songs for the album. I am always hyper critical of my work, and found it a bit nerve racking to release 12 new original songs all at once, but so far the response has been fantastic. The most rewarding thing so far has been the positive comments from some of the bjg name DJ’s / producers I always looked up to.

How do you work, do you have an idea in your head you work towards or do you just experiment and jam and see what happens?

That is a two part question since outside of producing tracks, I am also a vocalist / songwriter. I tend to write poetry / lyrics based on what is going on around me. I have a concept for the feeling at that time, and try to build off of that emotion. I tend to track vocals alone late at night to
make sure nothing (phone, email, text, sirens) interrupts the vibe or makes its way into the microphone. When working on ideas for a track I always start my ideas with drums. I find it important to pull new drum samples for each production. I begin by putting a percussion groove together and once I get a solid groove happening with my drums, I start to bring in the melodic elements (pads, and synth riffs). These elements always need to play off each other properly. Almost as if one element is answering each other (if that makes any sense).
Once my drums and synth parts start to feel as if they are vibing together properly, I then work on the baseline in order to give the track proper chord structure and lock everything together. I put an 8 or 16 bar loop on repeat, letting it cycle over and over again while getting the volume
levels locked in before I start my arrangement. I work on blending levels of each element as I go to mixdown as I write. I let the song play over and over again while making small tweaks. Once the track plays at least 7 times without making any adjustments, it is time to send over to
Matt Davis at Hacienda Mastering for his mastering magic.

What are some of the key bits of music-making gear in your current setup?

I used to be quite the outboard gear head back in the day. These days I primarily work off of my Macbook Pro hooked to one wall mounted monitor for the mix window, and one desk monitor for the arrange window. I use the laptop monitor for editing plug-ins.
I am a huge fan of all plugin’s made by Spitfire. Their orchestral plug-in “Swam” can be heard all over “Whatever After”. This plug-in was developed by Hanz Zimmer’s camp and is truly an amazing piece of software.
I also swear by all analog synth plug-ins by both Rob Papen and Arturia. In my opinion both of these companies have soft synths which can be molded to make truly phenomenal sounds. As far as hardware, I use the Solid State Logic 2 audio interface which has the amazing SSL preamps for tracking vocals. I’ve said this before, but for those Spinal Tap fans “the volume knob goes up to 11”.

What would you like to achieve as an artist in the rest of 2022 and beyond?

At the end of the day all I want is to create and share the beauty of music with as many people as I can. I would like to see the reaction of this music in front of as many crowds throughout the world as possible. I hope to tour later this year and into 2023. Other than that my plan is to keep pushing myself in creating the best music I can. Thank you so much for letting me share my musical perspective & experiences with your audience.

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