Seth Troxler: Do I Feel Lucky? Yeah! (interview)
“I’ve had good luck my whole life, unexplainable luck. I found a four-leaf clover when I was six and ever since then it’s been pretty cool.”
“The four leaf clover is a universally accepted symbol of good luck with its origin ages old ” (as a quick google search confirms) and sitting across from Seth Troxler in the bar of Amsterdam’s Dylan Hotel it’s hard to disagree with his assessment.
At Number 2 last year on Resident Advisor’s version of DJ magazine’s Top 100, he’s the tech-house equivalent of EDM superstar David Guetta, and equally charismatic, he lights up the room with his presence and undoubted star quality.
In town for the Amsterdam Dance Event, he’s also just won (for the second year running) ADE’s much fought over Cook-Off, brushing aside chefs including Joris Voorn and Laidback Luke as effortlessly as he beat Dubfire and John Acquaviva the year before.
So just how seriously did he prepare and what does victory mean to him?
“It’s kinda’ funny, before the cook-off I tried to act like it was all fun and games but I definitely wanted to win,” he admits.
“It feels really good to have won but I’m thinking maybe this is my last one or maybe next year will be, I’m not sure. It’s good to go out on top, like the DMC championship with the scratching- if you win twice you can never compete again.”
Judged by last year’s runner-up Dubfire, former chef Paul Oakenfold and techno type Dave Clarke (who offended Laidback Luke noticeably by declaring his dish ‘bland’) the contest was keenly fought, with Jooris Voorn and in particular his assistant (and wife) annoyed about Seth’s victory.
“His wife was pretty angry,” Seth chuckles, “But it was really great fun to be there.”
Though outspoken and laughing constantly throughout our chat, he’s also extremely guarded, reflecting Resident Advisor’s somewhat barbed assessment of his personality last year (http://bit.ly/rYL04U )
“His class clown persona might make it seem like he doesn’t take any of it seriously, but nothing could be further from the truth,” RA declared (in their top 100 countdown), “Seth Troxler is one of most driven DJs out there, and it pays off.”
Still only 26, the Detroit native (and nowadays London based DJ) is clearly successful beyond most DJs’ dreams though in recent interviews has seen somewhat disillusioned with both the demands on his time and the state of the increasingly mainstream club scene he’s found himself dominating.
Chatting to the Guardian two weeks ago he spoke enthusiastically about putting on ‘large, spiritual events rather than just having raves and festivals, which are kind of bullshit at the moment’ and today he’s equally blunt.
“Yeah, in a way I am somewhat disillusioned or maybe I just have a somewhat different aesthetic towards how things are,” he suggests.
“There’s so much bullshit out there I don’t know where I stand culturally, I have more of a punk attitude or a more indie attitude. I just don’t know if culturally it (the club scene) is really evolving and taking music to the next level or just becoming commercialised.”
“Sometimes I find myself playing music that, while it’s still quite underground, I play for just a week then it’s over. It’s just kinda’ cheap and fast and I think we need to go back to things that are more tangible.”
Skrufff (Jonty Skrufff): Jamie Jones has a super-mainstream crowd these days after becoming so popular, how is that affecting you?
Seth Troxler: “Jamie and I were both following the same path for a while, we were playing back to back a lot, then after that (Resident Advisor) poll where he came top and I came 2nd we both split into opposite directions where I decided to go fuck that, I’d play really weird and cool music whereas Jamie . . . . He still plays really cool music . . . I think my core demographic is a bit more arty whereas his is different, I don’t know how to describe his crowd.”
Skrufff: You grew up in Detroit, where the downtown area is nowadays notoriously dangerous and semi derelict, which part were you raised in?
Seth Troxler: “I grew up in the suburbs but when we were kids we’d often go downtown and explore around. Having an urban ruin in your backyard, is something that’s inspiring but also leaves a mark on you.”
Skrufff: Was it safe for you to go wandering downtown?
Seth Troxler: “Not at all. But it was kind of a youthful adventure.”
Skrufff: Did you ever get into trouble?
Seth Troxler: “A little bit, as a teen. I think everyone gets into a bit of trouble when they’re young. I’m not dead, so . . . . There’s always that sense of danger but it also gives you a sense of how to behave with people. There’s that base level attitude of ‘I don’t get in your space and you don’t get in mine’ and I’m not gonna fuck up your day. That carries through when you travel the world. I was talking to a friend about this the other day about something you have in Detroit- the non-committal conversation. People in Michigan will have conversations such as ‘you know what? I love flowers’. You like flowers?’ Then something else completely random will pop up.”
Skrufff; What made you decide to leave Berlin for London?
Seth Troxler: “I love London. I’ve lived in suburban areas for most of my life and Detroit is not exactly the most bustling city. London offers a more multi-cultural environment whereas Berlin is more German. It’s cool there but it wasn’t my vibe after a while.”
Skrufff: Where in London do you live?
Seth Troxler: “Islington- and I love it there. But I’m not really living there, I’m travelling so much. I rent a room out of a friends house.
Skrufff: Mac Mail auto-correct changes Troxler to Troller, as in Internet troll, were you aware of this? (‘err, no’), do you have any fanatical internet fans?
Seth Troxler: “Er I’ve had a few full on fans but right now I don’t know. Maybe they’re looking over my shoulder right now.”
Skrufff; You have an unusual biog which talks about Satan . . .
Seth Troxler: “haha it’s nonsense, I’m kinda the opposite way, I’m a spiritual guy.”
Skrufff: Do you believe in magic?
Seth Troxler: “Yeah, I do believe in magic, sure.”
Skrufff: And spells and curses?
Seth Troxler: “Sure, I’ve got crystals round my neck.”
Skrufff: You’ve had huge amounts of success from a very young age, were you unusually ambitious?
Seth Troxler: “I’ve been ambitious my whole life, I’m super-ambitious. It’s almost a sickness (laughing). I WILL NEVER BE SATISFIED.’
Skrufff: Ambitious for what?
Seth Troxler: “I just like to create things and make things happen. If I have an idea I like to put it into play whether that’s about cooking food or having friends over for dinner.”
Skrufff: You’re living the dream of many DJs, is living the dream as good as you imagined?
Seth Troxler: “It’s great, I really couldn’t ask for anything more.”
Skrufff: Do you have any fear of it all ending one day?
Seth Troxler: “I’m looking for it to last for maybe ten years and then I’m gonna get out and chill somewhere.”
Skrufff: You say that now but in ten years’ time you’ll be saying ‘another ten years’. . .
Seth Troxler: “(laughing) No. It’d be pretty cool if I can stay at the top of my game for ten years then just quit.”
Skrufff: Do you believe in destiny?
Seth Troxler: “Yeah I do believe in destiny, you have to find the path of destiny though to be able to intercept it or it can just pass you by.”
Jonty Skrufff (Skrufff.com)