Q&A: Five Minutes with Leon Seti
We recently spoke to innovative Amsterdam based singer-songwriter Leon Seti, with the release of his album Grimoire and the focus track, ‘And Im Gone’ shared earlier this year. His music has been played by the BBC Introducing and featured on Billboard Italy, and he’s also received support from CLASH, with his album COBALT reaching #1 on the iTunes Electronic Chart in Italy, earning him comparisons to the likes of Björk, Peter Gabriel and The Pet Shop Boys. Seti’s second album was equally impressive, released to rave reviews it reached #1 on the iTunes Electronic Chart in Italy and the Netherlands, while simultaneously cementing itself in the iTunes Top 10 of general sales in both countries. Nostalgic, raw, and vivid are the best ways to describe Grimoire. Tapping deep into his soul, Seti wears his heart on his sleeve, singing about his thoughts, dreams and desires, with love often at the forefront of the message. Its phantasmal, set over nostalgic electro-pop beats and luscious vocal harmonies and layers, with themes that are sure to resonate with most if not all.
Set the tone for us. Why the arts?
I have a need to express myself that transcends verbal communication. I use music and visual to create experiences.
Which comes first when you’re producing – the sound or the idea?
The sound comes first, I need to know how a song sounds before going into the metrics and rhymes.
Does your material feature any collaborations?
My album was produced in collaboration with Pancratio.
What’s on your current playlist?
Currently listening to Ethel Cain, Florence and the Machine, Janet Jackson, Asgeir and Rosalia.
Tell us about the chemistry you have with your fans on stage.
It’s surreal to me that sometimes people sing back my songs to me, and that feeling is the most rewarding thing I’ve ever experienced.
What techniques do you experiment with to get your original sound?
I love experimenting with vocals, turning them into synths and sounds.
Take us through a day in the recording studio.
It would start with me and Pancratio in his studio listening to my demos, then going from there and maybe adding some drum machine and analog synths. This could go on for hours. If I’m recording vocals then I’m doing hundreds of takes for 8 hours straight.
Was there a specific moment in your life where you thought, “this is what I want to do”?
I was watching Lady Gaga at the 2011 Grammys, when she performed Born This Way. That was my eureka moment.
What do you keep close by while you’re playing a set?
My laptop and ROLI seabord.
Any emerging artists on your radar?
Me. And Ethel Cain currently.
What gets your creative juices flowing?
Sounds, original electronic music.
Take us through your collection of gear, tech or software that accompanies your creative expression.
I use a midi keyboard, my studio seabord and pad and my laptop. My mic is always close by to record some demo vocals.
Any side projects you’re working on?
I have a podcast called Ladies Who Lunch with my friend Max.
How have you refined your craft since you entered the industry?
Just by doing things over and over again you learn a pattern and you discover your own way of working, writing, producing.
Breakdown the news for us: what can we expect from you this year?
Maybe more music.
Famous last words?
“I don’t like this song”, then it always turns out to be the first single.
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