Rise of the Underground: How Detroit Shaped the Global Techno Market
Thursday, March 19th
2:00 pm - 3:00 pm
Seth Troxler is one of electronic music’s most instantly recognisable characters, as well-regarded for his encyclopaedic knowledge of early Chicago house and minimal techno through to obscure indierock and ambient psychedelia, as he is as a cultural commentator, art curator, restaurateur and entrepreneur. Descended from a family of cowboys and Baptist preachers, he’s part African-American, part Egyptian, part Cherokee Indian but while his heritage is all-American his global outlook, and unique way of viewing the world through the prism of contemporary music culture, transcends his Mid-Western origins.
Born in Kalamazoo, Michigan, and raised in suburban Detroit, Seth learnt the art of DJing initially from his stepfather (then a college Radio DJ) and later working behind the counter in legendary Detroit record store ‘Melodies & Memories’. It wasn’t until he made the brave decision to seek new-beginnings in mid-2000s Berlin that his DJ career really found its feet. Moving to Berlin fresh out of his teens, just as the minimal techno movement was kicking off, was the making of Seth and since then he hasn’t looked back.
Since moving from Detroit to Berlin, and more recently London then Ibiza, ten years ago, Seth has established himself as one of underground electronic music’s most iconic figures, equally at home playing to the smoke-filled dancefloors of some of the world’s most discerning nightclubs, such as fabric, Nortstern, De School or Output, as he is headlining the world’s largest festivals, like Glastonbury, Lowlands, Roskilde or Tomorrowlands. Right from the word go Seth has been as passionate about food and contemporary art as he is about music and these two interests have resonated at all points in parallel alongside his music career. A multi-faceted polymath: he has held residencies at talismanic music institutions (DC10, fabric, Trouw, Output), runs three record labels, owns a successful restaurant in London ‘Smokey Tails’ and is just about to unveil a new project entitled ‘Lost Souls of Saturn’, that sits firmly at the intersection between futuristic electronica, contemporary art and technology. In 2013 he was voted number one DJ in the world in Resident Advisor’s prodigious ‘Top 100 DJs’ poll. In 2016 he was a member of an expedition to the summit of Mt Kilimanjaro lead by renowned Australian neurosurgeon Charlie Teo that raised over $1million for brain cancer charities.
“I live to work on projects and build ideas that sit at the point where art, commerce and ideas meet. For me, this idea of creation, is really the essence of life.”
Before his move to Berlin, inspired by legendary NY graphic designer Stefan Sagmeister, Seth undertook a degree in advertising and communication at college in Detroit and since then he has kept one foot firmly in the word of design and contemporary art. Whether it’s collaborating at the Howard Griffin gallery in London with Parisian street artist Thierry Noir, the first artist to paint on the Berlin wall, or developing soundscapes for the art shows of Iranian surrealist Medhi Ghadlanyoo, Seth is constantly probing the boundaries between contemporary art and underground music culture. In 2016 he hosted an ‘Art Bar’ activation with Absolut in Ibiza which saw Seth and Italian street artist RUN, create a bespoke futuristic art-playground called ‘Tomorrow Today’ for three days on the Island; in 2017 he was invited by polymathic German photographer, artist and musician Wolfgang Tillmans to perform at
his show at The Tate Modern in London. In March 2018, Seth brought iconic New York gay-underground painter Scooter LaForge to London for the first time for an exhibition at Jealous Gallery. For his ‘Lost Souls of Saturn’ project Seth is collaborating with renowned London design-house Hingston Studios to create a unique visual language for the visual aspects of the project. 2019 marks a new chapter in Seth’s career with the release on his Lost Souls of Saturn debut album out on R&S Records.