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Big Love from Seamus Haji - The key to success!
Posted By : Alex Powell
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Posted Date : March 13th, 2017
The house music heavyweight and 'Big Love' label owner Seamus Haji, took time from his crazy schedule to speak with us about his brand, what he's up to and how to be successful in today's dance music industry.

Why did you start Big Love Records? Do you think running a label is the natural progression for all DJ/producers?

I'd been doing A&R for Slip N Slide and then Defected Records and I left to pursue my DJ & Production career. First thing I did was produce some tracks and press up 500 white labels of each. I hadn't considered setting up a label. Both white labels were under different monikers so nobody knew they were by me. I purposefully wanted to test the waters and get an organic reaction from the shops and punters. This was 2002 so vinyl was still selling well. Anyway, long story short - after being asked to re-press both tracks a few times and after selling around 2000 of each we decided to set up a couple of labels - Big Love for main room house and Soul Love for the more soulful stuff.
Both tracks went onto to sell around 5-6000 units in total so we were off to a flying start! I guess I was used to being in control after doing A&R at previous labels and I didn't want to be reliant on other labels signing my stuff. If I believed in it, I wanted to release when I wanted to and how I wanted to. After a while, if you're a DJ producer, I think it's a natural progression to want your own label. You sign new acts you believe in and use your production expertise in an A&R capacity which is a real advantage.

What was the first record signed to Big Love and how did it help shape the direction for the label?

First record on Big Love was by myself and Paul Emanuel under a the moniker, 11th Dimension 'Beat Goes On'. We ended up doing exclusive licences in Italy and Germany. It was quite a techy/tribal house cut we were just experimenting and it was a big hit with the proggy/tribal type DJs. This was 2002 so when I say proggy I mean in a Danny Tenaglia type way not the EDM/proggy type. This probably shaped the label to be quite versatile as the next release was another of my monikers I made up called Get This! 'Ya Underwear' which was a p-funky style house cut - completely different. As a new label, I didn't have the rep or money to sign tracks so I was having fun making different styles of tracks under different monikers so it looked like different artists.

You're well known for your DJ school and master classes - why do you feel it's important to teach others?

I think DJing is a true art form if done correctly. I taught myself how to mix and scratch when I was 15 on a music centre and a cassette deck. This was the 80s when owning a pair of Technics 1200s was a dream to me. Back then I was influenced by the likes of Grandmaster Flash, Tony Humphries and Mastermind who were masters of the mix. To me, a DJ was someone who played amazing music but could also mix and back then there were more DJs that couldn't mix compared to those who could. I was always fascinated by the technical side of things and later when I got into house, and what came to be termed as 'garage', I discovered Frankie Knuckles, Larry Levan and Ron Hardy. These DJs played all night. Opening & closing a night. The word journey may seem a tad cliche but I believe a good DJ takes you on that journey. transports you to somewhere else. It's escapism for the DJ and the audience. I've been heavily influenced by so many DJs over the years so I've learnt by watching and listening to others. I feel it's invaluable to pass this knowledge on to the younger generation coming throuh.

What's the most essential creative tip that you can give every Artist, Producer, Label Manager, DJ etc to help them in the music industry?

If you take a little inspiration from many sources that you're influenced by you can mix them up to create your own thing. We all have to start somewhere and we all have people or labels that we admire and respect so if you're in it for the right reasons and you're driven to succeed you can do it.

You've produced a lot of big records - what are your 3 most important features of a hit record?

Good hook, distinctive sounds and that special X factor that you never can determine!

Plans for you as an artist and the label this year & what can we expect in the future?

I have a couple of Seamus Haji singles in the pipeline and I revamped my Big Bang Theory moniker (funk/disco house stuff) so I have more EPs coming up - this is me just having fun. Then there's Re-Loved which is new thing on the Re-Edit tip using 70s disco & 80s boogie influences. Per QX is a great artist on the label too so there should be some new tracks from him too. This year the label is 15 years old so we'll have some of the biggest trax on the label remixed by some good friends and some new up-and-comers. Really excited about this. So far, ATFC, Siege, Tuff London, Hott Like Detroit and Catchment have all done some fantastic mixes!

You must get asked about this all the time, but what can you tell us about remixing Last Night A DJ Saved My Life that nobody else knows?

The original bootleg I did was a remix but once we wanted to release commercially I had the vocals re-sung so just for the record it was a cover version. When Kay Jay, who did the vocals came down she brought her boyfriend. Once she'd finished the song I realised we needed somebody to do the male rap so I asked her boyfriend to do and it came out great!

We all know that music tastes come in cycles - where can you see the sound going next after the Tech House & Techno boom?

I think the funkier disco side will come through. It's already starting to break through just with a slightly different spin on it.

A cheeky question to give us an ego boost - why work with Label Worx?

Whilst doing some A&R for Toolroom a few years back they recommended Label Worx as the site is so easy to access and very user-friendly with loads of other services such as mastering tracks, promo service, royalty service, youtube monetisation and more. I think it's a brilliant platform for label owners and I find as a label I get a lot of support & I can bounce ideas off the team, and if I call up or e-mail I get an immediate reply.

And finally - What have you got coming up next?

Recently started a Big Love night at The Green Door Store in Brighton. The launch party in Feb was brilliant with age groups across the board dancing to House music all night long We're back again on March 25th and we plan to do bi-monthy parties there in future. I play a 4 hour set and give the first hour to new up-and-comers. I'm also starting another club night called Re-Loved with fellow Brightonian and Hot Digits label owner, Fingerman, It's a night of boogie, Disco & Deep Grooves at new club Mono on Brighton seafront. If this goes well I'm hoping to do it regularly so fingers crossed.

When I'm not working I love cooking. its a big passion and I do like to 'Netflix and chill'Ã?????'Ã????'Ã???'Ã??'Ã?'Ã' in solitude occasionally. I loved Mr Robot and Stranger Things.need a new show to chill to now!

#ThisLabelWorx

 

Next Article : Toolroom Academy - Back for 2017 at Brighton Music Conference.

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