Photos: Dani Canto (DJ Seinfeld)
About a year ago, Armand Jakobsson landed his first proper hit. An upload of his track “U” drew more attentionto it on YouTube than it usually is the case within the house scene. Since then, “U” has gathered more than half a million clicks without ever having been a club hit in the proper sense. And it wasn’t just that one tune. Both “U” and DJ Seinfeld became part of a wave, a trend, or even a whole new genre if you will; Lo-Fi House. The phenomena has been criticised in the past – by this writer, even – but many still are in love with that sound. With it’s grainy, distorted drum kicks and bittersweet vocal samples, the Lo-Fi sound has inherent emotional qualities.
After the initial discussions have died down, DJ Seinfeld is now ready to enter the next stage in his careeer. His debut album Time Spent Away From U comprises raw tracks spiked with lamenting soul divas, telling stories about loss and longing. We caught up with the 25-year-old- producer to talk the Lo-Fi hype, his sudden fame, DJing and producing, receiving straightforward and often suprising answers.
How did your collaboration with Lobster Theremin come together?
A couple of years ago I released a record at my friend’s label Meda Fury. It was for my different alias, Rimbaudian. And my friend is really good friends with the owner of Lobster Theremin, Jimmy Asquith, so the two of them have always planned on having like a collaboration label. So it essentially started there. He didn’t really know that I was Seinfeld as well at the start, but then I told him that it was me because he had already sent some messages to my DJ Seinfeld page.
He found you on Soundcloud?
Yeah, that’s how it started. I got good friends with Jimmy as well after that, it sort of developed from there.
Stream: DJ Seinfeld – U
How did you feel about it taking off so quickly then?
It’s amazing. It’s kind of scary at first – or not scary, it’s a new thing. But because I’ve been making music for a long time and I never really expected anything I did to be popular or anything like that, so when that happened it was unexpected and it was just really nice. Most people who reached out to me about it were usually quite nice or very nice, and that means a lot.
People you met on your musical path?
Yeah, but also just people who commented on my tracks on Soundcloud, on YouTube. Usually they were very nice. It’s a nice feeling of course, it’s kind of strange but it’s just a good thing, I’m really really happy that it happened.
So you had a lot of good feedback, but because you’re part of that whole Lo-fi-house thing there are obviously a lot of critics too…
…what would you say to them?
I just wouldn’t. I don’t really take it too seriously what people think of me. Lo-fi is just something that some people put a tag on, like on my music and I make a lot of different kinds of music. I know why people don’t like lo-fi, this lo-fi name. For me, Lo-fi just meant that it was raw, it wasn’t anything new. It was what people had been making a long time before me For me it was just a description of the sound, but now I think Lo-fi has become associated with having ironic DJ names and all that. But for me personally, I don’t really relate too much to any sort of tag in general, so I understand the criticism against Lo-fi but deep down it’s just for me, its music like anything else. Either you like it or you don’t.
When you started producing with that sound, did you already feel like part of something, of a group?
Where did the name DJ Seinfeld come from then? Because that is a pretty big coincidence.
It is a coincidence, really. There was a big controversy almost a year ago now, with some articles being very anti-Lo-fi and I remember, they wanted to ask me and DJ Boring and Ross From Friends. In my mind we all make very different kinds of music and it just happened that we were placed as Lo-fi-producers. My DJ Seinfeld name came just because I went through a break-up and I didn’t really know how to handle it, so I just stayed in my room and started watching the Seinfeld shows, a lot. I took a small break from making music and then when I started again after that, I thought: “Ok, I just want to have some fun with it, I don’t want to take myself too seriously, I don’t want to take anything too seriously apart from the music,” why not call it DJ Seinfeld. After that it was just a coincidence that some people within this genre, or whatever you want to call it, got more attention in media and stuff like that. By the time that article had come out we had barely spoken to each other.