Photo by: Lex Vesseur
Dutch electronic producer Sebastian Davidson is one artist to keep on your radar from high energy base to low key expressionism. Spanning across genres and equipment Davidson has been an influential artist for Armada Records, one of Europe’s top EDM labels. Since venturing onto Loci Records, America’s refined downtempo label, Davidson has released several singles and collaborations at a steady rate. With a new sound and sight for the new year, he is already breaking boundaries.
His ambidextrous productions stem from his musical imagination and vast exposure. He fell in love with mixing and was an avid “consumer in the electronic Dutch music scene" during his youth. “The impact of underground house, 90’s trance, 2000’s 2-step, in addition to hip-hop/breaks," notes Davidson, “is the reason my first years of music are more dance-floor orientated." His flair for classic house and breakbeats and a solid skill for beatmatching also defines his melting pot repertoire he creates today.
Now married with sons, Davidson’s approach with music shifted to a more atmospheric theme, a common thread among Loci artists. As a resident of Northern Holland, the ease of inspiration is just a step outside his doorway. He describes Groningen as a “laid back but vibrant city with a beautiful, diverse landscape." Furthermore, Ameland’s island, just off the coast of The Netherlands, is another place that fits his city’s account. “Nature reserve Het Oerd," he adds, “is an old overgrown and high dune area with moist valleys. From there, you have a beautiful view over the vegetated mudflats close by, where thousands of birds rest at high tide."
Davidson grew up in IJhorst, a small village near De Zwarte Dennen (The Black Pines) forest. As a child, his favorite pastime outdoors was “dreaming under myriad stars on an autumn night," a passion he now shares with his boys. The verbal articulation of his residency spills over into his symphonic compositions between both record companies. His radio show/podcast Voyage of Discovery is an added testament to his articulation.
Davidson has dubbed Armada’s sub-label CHILL as “musical freedom" because they allow him to work “without limitations." A feeling he’s quick to state that isn’t very common among the house music scene. When it comes to Loci Records, “they are very committed to pushing you to the limit and thinking about your product." Loci Records is a “family" of intuitive creatives. “I’ve come closer to the core of what I want to express," he adds.
As an artist for both labels, Davidson can leave borders at the door and stay true to his artistic representation. Despite balancing his time between his family and his studio, Davidson doesn’t find his life challenging; in fact, it’s a positive experience. “I don’t want to keep doing the same thing," an agreeable notion he expresses. “I’m always interested in something I’ve not done before." His mental drive is on par with an elite athlete, “just working without thinking."
Davidson also enjoys the ability to involve other artists with his works, particularly with Chris “Cir:cle" Schnelle, another Loci relative. Their collaboration EP, Odd World, released last week, is an accurate definition of Loci’s artists’ inherent abilities. Despite titles such as “Odd World," “River Battles", and “My Way," there is almost no disturbance between their styles. In addition to the Spanish named pieces, “Vacades" and “Aracar", each track holds a various landscape journey that takes your breath away.
To transform a visual memory into a musical achievement, Davidson relies on a “loop, then a layer of recordings topped with samples or vocals. Each track," he explains, “evolves from that original loop, hopefully into an emotive sound." Armed with Apple, Apogee, and Ableton equipment software, Davidson doesn’t focus his compositions around “a big audience." However, he is grateful for the global gigs that his music has brought him. “Somebody on the other side of the world, in countries I could never dream of, taking the time to book you for your music. That’s amazing!"
Davidson humbly affirms that he is “one of the happy guys" with the rare opportunity to be on respected labels. “I’ll always cherish that," he says respectably. His musical finesse is one to be admired and noted. “Music is a therapy for me, a translation of the day." A devoted statement for a dedicated engineer.