“Fuck, how long have you got?” Joe Seaton, aka Call Super, quips when asked whether he has regrets from last year. They include not making the most of moments with his nearest and dearest, spending too much time working online and, [in a wry tone] “not spending enough time working online.”
You have to wonder what he’d say after 12 less successful months; months without trippy, intricate, broken Hessle Audio EPs (Inkjet/Fluo, alongside Beatrice Dillon), or a Shanti Celeste collaboration on Dekmantel, his second for the Dutch crew, who gave him the Peru date of their South American autumn tour.
But the biggest triumphs of 2017 were family affairs. Layered and sophisticated, January’s Fabric 92 mix reflected a partnership with the institution beginning in 2013, when he was the first signee to sister imprint, Houndstooth.
A selector’s masterclass, timeless Carl Craig ambience soars above Flanger’s disorientating electro; balmy brass dominates the jazz-inflected house opener whereas the closing track offers lackadaisical roots from veteran Speng Bond. Rob Booth, Houndstooth A&R and label manager, describes Seaton’s sets as ‘meticulously thought-out, in the same way as he designs his music.’ But Seaton’s clear the two are different beasts.
“The relationship I have with making music is that I don’t try and tie it to DJing,” Seaton says. “If you start seeing the two as bound up in one another you run into problems. It’s really important for artists to have a healthy relationship with the music they write, and you want to remove all the pressure around that – otherwise you just end up writing generic club music.”
His second album, ‘Arpo’, landed in November. Counterbalancing his debut’s murkiness, after-hours house and techno meets dreamlike instrumentation in an immersive world of its own.
“I think being able to ignore the sense of expectation around the follow-up to the first album, and make a space for myself that’s free of that worry. That made me very proud,” Seaton says, when asked about his highest achievement of last year. “It’s something that you just have to learn – not to ignore, but keep what people say at arm’s length. I’ve definitely got better at that, and realised it’s a thing that you actually have to do.”
Martin Guttridge-Hewitt is a freelance journalist