The Spaces and Sounds of SEAMS
Berlin based, Southwest London-born Seams, aka Jami Welch, creates intricately woven electronic music that gives a sense of space and place, encouraging a reflective state but at the same time gets you dancing. Seams is an up and coming electronic artist who is making truly unique music by sampling and processing sounds from the world around him and is drawing comparisons to the likes of Gold Panda and Four Tet.
Seams has released two EPs on Pictures Music Tourist and Focus/ Energy, but has recently signed to indie label Full Time Hobby. His first release with them, Sleeper, is due out 30th July.
I had a chat with Jami before his show at The Great Escape Festival 2012 in Brighton to find out more about the inspiration behind his music and how he goes about things.
What’s the meaning behind the name Seams?
A ‘seam’ is the point where something joins, like two aspects of a space – or ‘thing’ – which relates to how I approach my music.
What are you listening to at the moment?
I really like Aluna George, and have been listening to a lot of 90’s RnB!
When did you start making electronic music and what inspired you in the beginning?
I started recording using a four track while I was in high school when I was about 15 or 16 years old. I used to make tunes out of loops and enjoyed making music using drum machines and samples. I didn’t really listen to much electronic music back then, mostly guitar based music. But I liked artists such as Beck, who merged guitar music and programming and I also listened to a bit of hip hop at the time.
You are known for sampling real life sounds and using them in your music- what are some of the stranger sounds you have collected recently?
I’m not really trying to collect strange sounds but I’m trying to re-create relatable sounds. I just record what I hear in my life so in Tourist I was sampling the sounds of summer in the parks in Berlin. It was a way of showing my friends from home what it was like living in Berlin. I work for Soundcloud so as part of my role there I record sounds as a document of my work such as Berlin church bells and street noise— I recorded a busker who was playing a Hangdrum for one of my tracks (a steel drum – the European version of a steelpan).
You made the move to Berlin (last year?). Does this city inspire you in a different way to the UK?
I’ve lived there for six months since I moved there to work for Soundcloud. I think dance music makes more sense there, the Germans really like their techno! I’ve probably played more shows since I’ve lived there and it’s nice hearing my music through a big system.
What is the Story behind the Lidl inspired logo?! Do you do your own album art?
Ah the logo was made by a friend of mine as joke when I moved to Berlin!
I don’t do my own artwork, but I have used photographs by a Berlin photographer called Matthias Heiderich whose work is really stark and vibrant.
Do other forms of art inspire your music?
It’s not so much art that inspires my work as spaces and environments. The Tourist EP was largely inspired by outside spaces like parks and cityscapes. I like to re-create environments and experiences to make you feel like you’re in a place. But my music is also open to interpretation and maybe it can tap into a person’s own memory and experiences.
My next release was recorded when I was back in England in my room so it was influenced by the opposite of open space. I guess these tunes are more insular, rough around the edges and reflect the smaller, more closed space I was in at the time. I tend to work within certain samples to create my tracks.
What’s the best ever gig you’ve played? Any funny/strange experiences when you’ve played live?
Probably the best gig I’ve played was at a free open air festival in Bremen, Germany. Gold Panda headlined and the response was unreal, people were really getting into it. German audiences can be quite expressive, maybe less reserved than UK audiences sometimes.
At the first show I ever played, they had a projection of Pirates of the Caribbean 2 running while I was playing. That was a bit strange.
If you could perform or work with any other artist who would it be?
Rather than any artist in particular, I’d like to work with more live instruments / musicians who play woodwind instruments like clarinets, reed instruments.
I’ve also enjoyed doing some remixes; I’ve done remixes for Gold Panda, Memory Tapes and more recently NZCA/Lines.
What do you like about remixing?
I find it challenging because it’s a balance between doing something original but retaining a sense of the song and reflecting it. It takes time to develop your own style of remixing.
What’s next for Seams?
My new EP, Sleeper comes out on Full Time Hobby as a 12in with Tourist on the other side – 30th July.
Words by Octave Cat
Photos by Owen Richards