Seba [Secret Operations] Interview (2015)

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Sebastian ‘Seba’ Ahrenberg has been amongst the biggest influences in the Drum & Bass scene then, and still is now. He has quite a handful of releases that have moved the masses throughout the years. To cut to the chase, we at BFTR asked the Secret Operations boss a few things…

1. Before we go anywhere… kindly tell us, what inspired the naming of your label Secret Operations?

It was actually the name of a night I was promoting in Stockholm back in the 90’s. We called it Secret Operations because the music was a bit unknown back then, so the people that came to our events was almost like a secret society.

2. Before the Seba that we know came about, how was life in Stockholm for Sebastian Ahrenberg?

I became “Seba” in mid 90’s. I was in my twenties and life was pretty much like most people in my age. I was a middle class kid, with a passion for music. I started using music equipment at the age of 15, stating with my Atari computer, a synthesizer and a drum-machine. I eventually bought a sampler and got in to using breakbeats in my music. It added another level to the production.

3. And please add briefly, by explaining a factor or two that has given Secret Operations the strength to rise, towards its re-establishment and growth after re-emerging in 2004?

Secret Operations was first used in recording purpose in 1999 when I compiled the compilation “Case one”. At this time I was under pressure from the record label that I had an exclusive recording agreement with, and got the opportunity to set up Secret Operations. But it was not entirely managed by me, so eventually it got buried. But I got in touch with a distribution company in UK in 2002, and we decided to setup Secret Operations as my own platform for releases. This is what I consider the start of my own label.

4. Now, coming to your music and artistic persona as whole, what is the main drive behind the creation of your music, besides the love and passion you have for the genre and the culture? For example; for some people it’s past experiences; or current situations; for others, it might be a special something or someone; etc. what is it for you?

I get inspired from other types of music. Mostly Techno and Jazz, but also other types. Sometimes even pop music. I also get inspired from going to a dnb event and hearing some ground-breaking music being played. Not necessarily specific tracks, but the effect and impact certain music has on massive sound system. This kind of inspiration however, is become less frequent. I can find inspiration in movies, games, seasons and other things that have an impact on my life. The music I make is deep and emotional, and things that affect me as a person will also affect my music.

5. Your 2004 release ‘Steel Feat. Robert Manos/Piemo For B’ [Paradox Music – PM04] is amongst the main influences that started, schooled, built and shaped a handful of Junglists, in a small township called Daveyton, somewhere in South Africa… May you please take a trip back in time, and reminisce about the inspiration behind those tracks, and how you felt (or still feel) and/or what they mean or meant to you, since well they mean a lot to some people especially, those who listen to your music.

This was around a time when I’ve taken a step away from drum&bass because it became something I didn’t like. I was uninspired to write anything between 2000 and 2004, but drum&bass is my curse. I can’t stop even if wanted to. I made a string of tracks with a bit more emotional depth than the more grimy noise that came out. I also teamed up with Paradox who had the same philosophy about music as I did.

6. This October sees the release of ‘Jungle Music’, the 24th release by your stable, which consists of two singles; as well as two more singles under the label Warm Communications. Both are indeed good listens, question is, is there anything else yet to come out before we conclude 2015?

No. I have some releases lined up for Soul:r, Commercial Suicide, Samurai and of course Secret Operations. I also have a track on the next Liquicity compilation.

7. Outside the D&B genre, is there any artist(s) out there that you would you like to collaborate with right now? If so, who may that possibly be?

I don’t really have time for collaborations. I have 6hr day-job as an assistant in school for children with social disabilities, so I use all my time I can get to sit in the studio for myself.

8. What is jamming in Seba’s playlist at the moment? Name only a few artists (strictly D&B).

I don’t listen to a lot of dnb. Artists I rate are paradox, Loxy, Gremlinz, Calibre…among others.

9. Should we expect any new agents signing up/releasing under Secret Operations in the dawn of the coming year? If so, please spill the beans.

The label is primarily for my own productions. But if I find music I like, then I’m willing to put it out.

10. And lastly, if you had to project the future of Drum & Bass as a genre, where do you think it will be in the next say, twenty years?

It will stand firm. It is a form of music that can’t be mistaken. It will evolve in different directions, but it will still have its own identity.

Thanks for sharing with us, BFTR wishes you and Secret Operations all the best for the remainder of the year, and beyond. Peace.

Interviewed By: Tsheola ‘Vagabond’ Asavela
The Ink Punk.

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Warm Comms Records – Seba – Nichoho/Sienna – [Review]

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Here, we have Sweden’s finest Drum & Bass artist undoubtedly, teaming up with the heat-packing US label, just to bring you a delicious, warm serving of these two tracks.

I remember, last year around this time, in the month of October, Warm Communications came out with their 31st release with Total Science, fast-forward to October 2015, Warm Communications presents: ‘Seba – Nichoho/Sienna’.
Now, if you know Seba’s music very well, you’d know that he does not veer away from his trademarks and signatures of making music i.e. implementing the golden touch of the old-school yet, still maintaining relevance; together with the uniqueness of his usually dark, eerie pads in the reverberating distance; not forgetting the bass lines that he always keeps deep and heavy.
‘Nichoho’ can be described as a clean, crisp Amen-break, racing towards the finish-line, for five-and-a-half minutes long. The hook first makes way with a simple 1-2 break pattern, before the main break (Amen) kicks in when it drops, and that’s where we hear a lady’s voice that expresses sexual (sensual) passion and a bit of excited giggles. Her voice echoes, and is melodious- it is as good as a vocalist singing her way throughout the track.
As for the next song ‘Sienna’, it is yet another one of those, which I choose to dub as a “Seban” classic-kind-of joint. A beautiful instrumental number, possessing a beautiful atmosphere, and progression as it plays. It surely will get the nods (and eyes closed) when it plays.

This is something for the seasoned, mature Junglists but, its taste can potentially cater to more than that. And as the icing on the cake, the release also comes in the form of a “Limited Transparent Red/White Vinyl Edition” for the true collector.

Words by: Tsheola ‘Vagabond’ Asavela
The Ink Punk.

Secret Operations Records – Seba – Jungle Music – [Review]

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As we’re adjusting to the season, Seba drops Secret Operations’ 24th release with something so fresh and crisp, which is simply titled ‘Jungle Music’.

Jungle Music is made up of just two tracks, one is the title track; and the other is named ‘Cloudless’.
Now, as I began listening, ‘Cloudless’ came on first. I listened attentively, and with excitement as the song went, personally, it gave off a sense of tranquillity, that feeling that is achieved through therapeutic sounds and melodies. And it does take the mind on a trip.
Thereafter, things get seriously “jungle-ly” without compromise, when ‘Jungle Music’ comes on. This track is slightly different from your average, old-school-feel Jungle tune and yet, it possesses jungle sounds in the distant background, and a deep voice in the beginning and throughout the song, stating what it’s about (“this is Jungle”).
One element that separates this joint from the rest is how Seba infused the bird and cricket sounds with the rhythm of the track thus, it is part of the instrumentals. The other, is how he made the bass line, and a sort-of-thundering sound, which creates jungle scenery in its overall feel.
As for the album art, you got to love it as well, it compliments and draws the ear to want to listen.

This double-single deserves a huge round of applause. This is just another example as to why Secret Operations does not disappoint when it comes to delivering the goods.

Words By: Tsheola ‘Vagabond’ Asavela
The Ink Punk.