Q + A : SEV DAH
Intense and inspiring conversation with the much intringuing Sev Dah… We sat down with the bosnian-raised sweden-based artist to speak about his label Proletarijat, his attraction for melancholic bosnian music and his future projects.
Alae RAMDANI | 22th December 2017
Hi Tony, we are glad to host you on Paradox. What have you been up to lately?
Hi, thank you for the invite! Recently I am really busy in the studio trying to get my inspiration back and I am happy about how thing are going so far.
In the current era of overproduction in the Techno scene, it must be pretty hard for a producer to come out with something special… And we really think you’ve found your own sound signature. How would you describe the Techno flavour you’re delivering at the moment?
First of all I am thankful for such kind of feedback and words like that makes me move forward! Yes, there are a lot of new names that are not familiar to me that still needs to be discovered and sometimes it is not easy, but I think that a good sound will find the way to the right ears sooner or later. I am trying to keep my sound in the oldschool direction with some emotional parts that makes you move, both your body and your mind!
After several outputs on respected imprints such as Mote-Evolver, Random Island, Gynoid Audio, your music has found home in your own imprint Proletarijat. What was the reason for starting the label and what does the name refer to?
“the label is designed to stand out for its resistance-vibe”
Releasing music on other labels that I respect and am a fan of is always something special, but with PROLETARIJAT I tried to rise the bar. It’s really hard to describe the sound on Proletariat, but the label is designed to stand out for its resistance-vibe. Starting my own label was a plan that I had in my mind for more than 10 years, I just wanted to have a platform for my own vision of how Techno should sound, and that was the biggest reason why PROLETARIJAT was born.
How about the label’s ethos? Can we say that Proletarijat has a political identity?
I am really trying to stay away from it, but when you hear the label messages and look at the artwork you can smell the historical influence. I would rather say that the label is honouring a country’s historical past and its people, the fight against occupation and struggle for freedom. In terms of political ideologies - fascism is a theory that represent a political standpoint of policies. Me, as an antifascist, I am trying my best to bash this political ideology by bringing back to life historical facts about my own people’s fight against this ideology by promoting Yugoslavia’s values. I just felt that my music and my own standpoint in life fits in within that concept. So yes, in some parts PROLETARIJAT has a political message. I don’t know if that’s a good thing in Techno music, but fascism is growing in Europe in the recent 5 years and it is touching us all in some way, I just want to use my voice by promoting its opposite side since I think fascism is a dangerous ideology, but it can be defeated - that’s the message PROLETARIJAT is promoting!
By the way, what were the most challenging things on running the label?
Finding the right sound! My biggest problem is my perfectionism, sometimes it takes a lot of energy from myself before I get things finished, and that’s the biggest problem. All other things like distribution or production you will finish sooner or later, but the right sound is the most important thing!
Are you receiving demos for Proletarijat? If yes, what was the weirdest demo request you’ve received?
I am receiving demos from time to time, yes, but there is nothing I really felt it suits my vision. I am actually open for new artists, but the problem is the sound. When asked what I want for PROLETARIJAT I could not give the proper answer, I just don’t know what I want, it just must sound right, and it’s something I am ashamed of since I am used to get and give straight answers, but in this case I really can’t describe what I want to hear - it just needs to be right! And no - I am not releasing psytrance!
Any chance to see other artists released on Proletarijat?
That is the plan! The 5th release will be from Insolate (formerly known as Miss Sunshine), an artist I really respect and enjoy following. Release date is planned for march 2018 and I am really looking forward to this chapter. I am planning to bring in few more artists for the future just so that the label does not become too monotone with strictly my own music. Mostly they are friends from the scene that I trust and believe in their possibility of creating the right sound for PROLETARIJAT, so that’s also a chapter that I am keen to get close to as soon as possible!
Speaking about your production process, I was wondering what a full day in the studio looks like for Sev Dah?
Oh, it’s so different each time. Sometimes I start a new project by creating the kick and bassline first, sometimes I just start with a loop and build around it. After 4 or 5 hours of work I usually go to my favourite kebab-store close by the studio and get Helsingborg’s biggest kebab to get my energy back - to be able to get back to that damn bass drum.
Your artist name refers to a bosnian music style marked by its melancholic vibe. What common points do you find between Sev Dah and Techno and what track would you suggest to listen to to get in touch with this style?
When I started with this alias my primary goal was to bring some more emotions into Techno than before. In that time I recently moved from Bosnia to Sweden and It was hard to adapt to the new environment, I was missing my friends and family and some parts of my own culture, so I wanted also to bring something to life that reminds me of my roots too. It worked really good - Techno with some emotional/melancholic Sevdah/Sevdalinka vibe gave a special feeling when playing in a club. I didn’t play Sevdalinka tracks, I just used the melancholic and sad feeling that Sevdah has into my productions. That’s where I started to form myself and my sound as Sev Dah.
One of the tracks that can transfer that feeling between Techno and melancholic vibes on the floor is a track from Simon Haydo:
When I played the first time in Berghain I wanted to risk something to bring that special vibe to the floor, so I mixed Robert Hood’ Minus with and acapella sevdalinka singer from Bosnia, Bozo Vreco. I almost started crying at that moment and the crowd accepted it very well, even that the language was strange and not understandable to them, but that’s the point of Sevdalinka - you don’t need to understand it, you just feel it and it takes all your emotions out of you!
Press on the links, pull down the volume on half on the Bozo track, press play in the same time and enjoy.
Have you ever thought about a collaboration with a Sevdah artist?
That would be one of my ultimate goals and a collab is planned for the far future for sure! Bringing Sevdah music and Techno together in that way would be something really fresh for the techno scene I am sure! Experimenting with these two styles has become one of my obsession lately, and you can hear that work on all my ambient tracks released previously on PROLETARIJAT.
Where do you look for new music for your sets?
Mostly it’s delivered by promotion tools and friends from the scene. I also like to research by my own for tracks that can help me tell my story behind the decks, and this is something I still enjoy doing. It makes me always happy when I find a track 10 years old that I totally missed but it sounds so fresh, then I love to try to find the track via discogs or by contacting the artist directly.
Do you have any funny thing you like to do to calm down the pressure before getting on stage?
I am getting old, so I always need to sleep before a gig!
Are there any new artists and labels focusing your attention that you want to share with us?
There are so many that I can’t remember all now! The Parabel family from Stockholm has really good artists and their releases on the label are also really good recently. I like the Swedish coldness pumped with some warm emotions, opposite feelings combined as one body, that’s what Parabel is doing with the label and it’s really special.
The only artist I would mention right now is Benjamin Mull. Few would call him “just the little brother from Joel Mull, but this dude has vibes! Really enjoying almost everything he released recently - everything from his own tracks to collaboration with Cari Lekebusch.
What can we expect from you and Proletarjiat in the near future?
As I mentioned before, few new artists are planned and there are also new tracks by my self coming together. Some plans about few remix series are in my mind too! PROLETARIJAT-merch is also planned for 2018. Let’s see how everything will turn out at the end, I am just happy to be able to express myself and to give my contribution to the scene.
Thanks a lot Tony, we hope to see you very soon somewhere, keep the malancholic vibe on!
Love and respect