MASSIVE QUESTIONS with Hifi Sean


Dalston. Poor Dalston. Forever in the shadow of Hoxton Square. Hackney pirates laughing behind its back on London Fields. Dalston. Destined to always look up at Brick Lane whilst hiding behind Whitechapel. Aldgate doesn’t even know who Dalston is anymore. Poor Dalston. Striding above Old Street but nervously looking over it’s shoulder at Northolt. If you were inclined to the cruel you would even predict that Digbeth, in Birmingham (!), will have more caché in 12 months time. No wonder the area is so restless!

Dalston needs a kick up the arse, so Tonka and Draper rode to the rescue on Saturday night. We wanted to prove that you can still have a MASSIVE night out in Dalston. We got all geek pied up and what followed was this:

8.30pm – met at a burger and beer bar on Kingsland High Street for a burger and beer. One burger, one beer.
9.15pm – went to Dalston Jazz Bar. One beer.
10pm – gate crashed Zoe Benbow’s lesbian birthday party at Servant Jazz Quarters. Draper and I got stuck into her nibbles, congratulated Zoe on her art and got everyone to sing happy birthday. Two carrot and coriander gin martinis.
10.45pm – told we need ID to get into a place called Alibi by a pan-faced, long haired fucker who had no reason AT ALL to go superior on Tonka.
10.46pm – Stopped laughing and went to the Dalston Superstore.


After complementing the tiny lesbian door lady on the speed of her sex thumbs despite her not having me on the guest-list and having to text up Dan Beaumont to confirm who I was despite me being one of the most famous dance bloggers in Great Britain, we arrogantly waltzed through the door. In the Dalston Superstore we listened to American gangster rap, drank Japanese beer and got talking to five Portuguese lesbians.

BOOM BOOM BOOM BOOM went the noise from downstairs. The music I heard was exactly 26 beats per minute faster than Big Poppa so we followed it. What I saw when I opened the door was bedlam. "Hifi Sean - I should have known!" I danced across to the DJ booth, rapped on the window and with a flick of the door handle, he let me in for an EXCLUSIVE interview.

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Q) For anyone unfamiliar with Hifi Sean, could you tell them who you are, what you do and why you do it?
A) I am a Glaswegian musician turned DJ who has made music all his life and released records since the age of 17, firstly in The Soup Dragons, then The High Fidelity and then as Hifi Sean. I've been living in London now for 7 years and travelling the globe playing my fave house records dead loud and making people dance for a living.

Q) Has getting to where you are now - comfortably settled in the music industry - been an uphill struggle or a walk in the fucking park, like, you know what I mean?
A) "Life is a roller-coaster and you gotta ride it" sang some Irish boy band twat, but do you know something? He is right. I have had more ups and downs and twists than Alton Towers on a bank holiday.

Not my words
Q) Open or closed hi-hat?
A) Cowbell.

Q) Whenever I've been in a club and I'm Free by The Soup Dragons comes on I find it impossible not to dance. When you hear it out do you dance...or do you roll your eyes, say "tsk" and creep off to the toilets?
A) I stand there like a proud dad. Not many people can say they have made a timeless pop record, its 23 years old now and still sounds as good as the day it was made.
I remember when the girl who was head of A+R came to the studio the day we finished it. We played it to her, she cried big tears and said she had just heard a part of pop history - I thought "yeah right", and do you know something, she was kinda right.

Also, it's amazing to think we made a record which is part of a few others that sum up the Summer of 1990 and everything amazing that happened to youth culture in Britain before the Government knew how to handle it. For about 2 years 89/90, it was the power of the underground . We took the line "Don't be afraid of your freedom" off some graffiti that someone sprayed on the studio wall in Wood Green that day where we recorded it. Little did we know that statement would become so powerfully suited for what was happening on the streets and clubs months to come.

Taken me many years to get there but, yes, I am very proud of that record and all it stands for.




Q) What is Severino really like?
A) One of the nicest men you will possibly ever meet.

Q) Growing up in Bellshill were there any local influences - club nights, DJs, promoters - that, beside from your time in The Soup Dragons, made you consider what you do now an option? Or has your solo/DJ stuff evolved as a passion over time?
A) I remember we used to all go up to the local disco in my youth and try to freak the locals out by bringing things like Jesus and Mary Chain - Upside Down 7", and bullying the DJ to play it and then dance about mad to it. It sounded great sandwiched in between Black Lace and Bananarama. Everyone in our town thought of us as delinquent drop outs.

Bellshill
Q) What's the best time you've ever had in a nightclub?
A) Likely when I lived in NYC early 90's hearing music that sounded like it was from another planet, something I still search for that high and keeps me going. As John Peel said to me once, "Always think that the next record you hear is going to be the best record you have ever heard in your life."

Q) Curate your fantasy club night. What's it called? What's the line-up (dead or alive)? Which venue? Is there a dress code?
A) You get in a submarine, it takes you to the bottom of a coral reef and there is a glass box with a suspended floor and Junior Vasquez is on the decks. Dress code is anything goes and it will be called something like The Sub Aqua Discotheque.




Q) What's so good about an Omnichord?
A) It is thee most beautiful sound. I have made a whole album back in 2000 with The High Fidelity called The Omnichord Album. It is sonic twisted nursery rhymes.

John Peel was also a big fan of the instrument and he wrote a song on the album about his wife called Pig Might Fly. I have been saying this for years but I am about to get around to making the follow up, 13 years later, not really in any hurry to be honest.

I thank Woolworths on Bellshill High Street back in the day for introducing me to it on their Omnichord display stand that they had then.

Q) Do you have any advice for any young readers of this blog who are interested in getting into dance music as a profession?
A) I will give you my lovely friend Martin's advice when, whilst he was DJing, someone asked him how to become a DJ: "learn to count to 4 and have good taste." Best advice I have ever heard.

Keith Chegwin, left, shortly before Freddy passed on
Q) If you had to: Noel Edmonds or Keith Chegwin?
A) Cheggers plays pop all the way...the man had good taste in acrylic sweaters.

Q) Stone cold sober or absolutely fucking terminated?
A) Depends what day to be honest.

Q) What are your plans for the rest of the year and is there anything you want my loyal following to buy?
A) Yes. My first official single as 'Hifi Sean', which should be out in a few months called Tear it up. It has Celeda on vocals and was recorded in Chicago where she lives. It's a proper soulful house record with a gospel tinged vocal melody to it.

I want to hear something like this on the radio, and this is why I have decided to make this my first single under my DJ moniker. It's dead good, even though I say so myself.

What a lovely young man - please join me on congratulating Sean on his success in the business so far and wish him all your luck in his future endeavours. After the interview, Hifi Sean continued his set but sought me and Draper out before leaving to offer us a ride home on his big chopper. We politely accepted and we remain firm friends to this day.


Follow Hifi Sean: @HifiSean
Like Hifi Sean: facebook
Use his website: hifisean.com

I'll be back soon with all you need to know about Marv N J, MASSIVE QUESTIONS with one of the blokes who used to run Miss Moneypenny's and the very first WRDMFM podcast. I'm meeting Draper next Thursday to discuss what voices we should use.

Email me: tonkawrdm@gmail.com
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Follow me: @tonkawrdm