We had a chat with Tribe Records boss & producer Zepherin Saint to discuss his creative process, the impact of Brexit, his favourite place to DJ and more. Check out what he had to say below.
Analog or digital?
I am a fan of both. They both work for me and I love what I can create by fusing both together
How does your creative process work?
Depending on the type of track I am producing. If it’s a vocal house track , I start with the chords and arrange the whole song before anything else is added in order to make sure its strong on its own. With instrumental tracks, I tend to jam on synths and drums live and record as I go along, going back after and putting together the parts I like.
Name your 3 favourite artists in today’s electronic scene.
I could go on…:) but there is not a set I play that does not feature a track from one of these mighty artists.
During these years more and more people are leaving their countries, running away from wars and poor living conditions: what should we do to try to make this a better and fairer world?
We need a continuous global campaign marked with occasions to help us understand the importance of looking after each other as human beings first. Ignorance and greed has the world in the positon it’s in now and there needs to be a global education to address this. Corruption is the main culprit for the poor living conditions around the world.
I have felt, lived and seen communities & societies operate in a humane way, but this must grow and I believe it’s possible.
Are you proud about your country?
Not at present. With the Windrush fiasco and Brexit negotiations, I think the UK government are making a huge mess and are looking out of their depth. The necessary confidence has not been installed in UK citizens to make us proud. The UK is more proud of its football team.
What would be your first thing on your list if you were the Prime Minister of the UK?
To come up with a strategy to support, mentor and encourage the next generation.
Violence is on the rise in the UK and kids are killing kids because of where they live. Its fucked up. Not enough is being done to combat this, they are on the streets with a feeling of no way out and that is what’s got to change otherwise it’s all downhill from here.
Music again: what is your favourite music venue and why?
Contact in Tokyo.
Great sound system, lighting and an amazing clued up audience where they are there for the music first.
Oh! and they even have a separated toilet in the booth for those long DJ sets!
What do you think about buying likes on Facebook? It seems to be a pretty common thing these days.
I think it’s a sad state of affairs that an artist feels they must buy likes to get the attention of the media or a record label. I personally don’t care how many likes someone has, “is your music good?” that’s all I care about. I find it hard to see why someone would want to scam their fan base by adding a load of fake people on their social channels.
Sponsored advertising is however productive and I see it as a positive new medium to connect to your fanbase.
Musically speaking, where do you see yourself in 10 years from now?
I would like to be challenging myself by writing and producing in other genres and working more in a live performance capacity.
Let’s talk about Tribe and your current projects. What inspired you to start the label in the first place? What do you think the label stands for in your eyes?
It came at a time when I was at a crossroads with what I was doing in life. A label was always on my agenda to start and 9 years ago presented the right time to take that leap of faith. We are all part of a tribe beyond the traditional meaning, be it clothing, musical or political views. So, I wanted Tribe to stand for gathering the likeminded people who love their soulful and percussive styled house.
Your music is warm and often full of personality, colour and vigour. Do you think this is something that can sometimes be lacking in modern electronic music?
Thanks, that’s nice to hear.
Electronic music in places seems to have lost the art of arrangement, which for me enhances the personality of a song. I always put live elements in my productions to add to its depth and colour, sonically speaking. You can hear when someone has spent time on an electronic record even those that sound simple. Patience is needed to produce the right result.
There are some great electronic music artists, producers where you can hear great arrangement and the effort it has taken in their composition like AYBEE & Lars Bartkuhn on their Astral Walkers EP – The passage. Songs like this take you somewhere, you feel it and you end up at another destination.
What is it about music that makes you happy?
How it brings people together and how it can help change our mood.
When was the last time you heard a piece of music that really stood out for you?
Last weekend at the southern soul festival when I listened to the DJ set of Shuya Okino’s from Kyota Jazz massive.
Music aside, what’s next on the agenda?
It’s all music for the foreseeable future, either running the label or in studio for the rest of this year.
‘Zepherin Saint & Miranda Nicole – Butterflies’ is out 20/07 on Tribe Records.