Lo-fi popster Seb arrived with his debut EP, ‘IT’S OKAY, WE’RE DREAMING’. It’s “the first act of this whole trip,” he explains.
Words: Abigail Firth. Pictures: Shy Louise.
What could be better than sharing your stage name with one of the UK’s biggest pop exports of the 2000s? Maybe create a viral TikTok hit on your own that kicks off your music career that started in the middle of confinement in your bedroom? That’s what happened to SEB, and no, we’re not talking about Sophie Ellis-Bextor (although they also share some killer singles on their first records).
Releasing their debut EP, ‘ITS OKAY WE’RE DREAMING’, in July, the project was born out of a locking rut and written at the most confusing moment in everyone’s life. Along with the single “seaside_demo”, which exploded when a mashup of the track and “Watermelon Sugar” by Harry Styles went viral on TikTok, and five other killer tracks, it’s part of a trilogy he’s working on right now. .
“I was just trying to figure it out,” says SEB, who is at his home in Los Angeles, where he tries not to wake his dog (you could say he’s dreaming. No? Sorry). “In a way, it was good because the pandemic stopped everything, and I might like to sit with myself. But it’s also the bad thing where it’s like, okay, it all stopped. As if there was literally nothing to do.
Stuck at home, making no money after losing his job, and remembering high school, SEB turned the most sour of lemons into lemonade, aptly bringing together the bittersweet feelings of growing up, the perceptions of others and the desire to explore the world in a neat environment EP lo-fi, indie-pop.
Redefining what it means to be a bedroom pop star, SEB isn’t necessarily a “bedroom pop” – he prefers to join the big boys.
“Sometimes I feel like there’s this notion of pop music that has to be super clean, super pristine, big studio, big budget. Everything looks great. But I say to myself, I want the music to be a little more accessible, even in the sonic sense. I want you to hear the mistakes. And then it’s always going to be as good as, I don’t know, a perfect Ariana song or something.
Growing up, SEB always did something creative and always knew he would end up doing something creative for a living.
It all started as a child in Haiti, where he made miniature versions of sculptures from rocks in the back garden. From there he became interested in comics and cartoons, spending summers in the comic book store and eventually found his musical base in skateboarding.
“Honestly, skateboarding has exposed me to a wide range of music, because when you watch skate videos you can hear punk one second, hip-hop the next second, indie one second, just one second. mishmash of things. Eventually I found my way into music, and that’s where the world kind of opened up to me.
At only 24 years old, SEB has already lived well. He lived in (deep breath) New York, Haiti, Miami, Oklahoma, and Chicago, before moving to LA to begin his music career. The influences he has captured along the way are scattered throughout his music. Oh, and he also worked at Electric Lady Studios in New York for a while, learning from the absolute best like Lorde, Lady Gaga, J Cole and more while making their own records. Relaxed!
“From Chicago, I really got involved in music and paid more attention to it. Chance, the rapper and chef Keef were blowing up; I’ve been exposed to this extreme drilling music, watching the videos, seeing everything that is going on, it’s like, woah, what the hell is that? After that, when I was in DC, a lot of my friends were in the underground indie DIY scene, and when I moved to New York, I started to immerse myself in more electronic music. I feel like in all of them it’s like taking the gospel chords from Chance’s music, let’s take the general aesthetic of DIY indie music, let’s take a little bit of sampling and manipulation of house music, and let’s destroy it all together, and then maybe you get some of my songs.
There’s a new single on the way in October that will properly introduce us to the lead character in the next two acts of this trilogy, and he’s also working on an art project, but at the moment he’s just playing him by ear.
“I want to do it step by step, because I feel like my brain is so sporadic that I need to shoot one down, figure that out, and then once that part of my life is set, let’s move on.”
From the October 2021 edition of Dork, now available.