Refusing to be Classified | An Interview With Dustin Seabrook of S T I L L

–by Quincy Tejani, Music Connoisseur

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Photo of Dustin Seabrook (S T I L L) by Colin Medley

Dustin Seabrook, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, is no newcomer to the music scene. He has played guitar for multiple bands and has shown off his talents at festivals and venues alike. However, with the release of his latest project Goodbye 16 the guitar aficionado wades into unfamiliar waters as it is the debut record of his new(ish) solo project S T I L L. The record combines elements of post-rock and electronica but don’t let that fool you, S T I L L’s new record is anything by classifiable, and that’s the way that Seabrook likes it.  Recently, I was able to speak to the man about his experiences working as a solo artist as opposed to working in a band as well as his hopes for the future of his musical career.

Quincy Tejani: Seeing as you are from Guelph, Ontario I have to start by asking whether or not you have ever been to the Hillside Festival?

Dustin Seabrook: I have been to Hillside several times. I’ve also been fortunate enough to play there with Alanna Gurr, Odd Years and Minotaurs. Luckily enough, I have played all three stages. Hillside is a great festival that deserves all the accolades that it receives. From the volunteers, to stage crews, to merchandisers, the place really does feel inclusive and very inviting. I recommend going if you haven’t been. They pull in amazing talent every year.

QT: Now Dustin, your music is really difficult to classify. How much do you associate yourself with post-rock versus say, ambient-electronic?

DS: Hahaha, genres mystify me a bit, especially these days. Affordable technology has made it so that so many people can create and document their creativity with relative ease. So, you know, I’m not genre exempt by any means, not at all, but I do find classifying music challenging. Haha. I could be bedroom ambient folk electronica or I could be Electronic Post-Rock Indie. Who knows?  I do understand the need for classification though and in a world with so much art, it’s probably important to box things in a little bit. That being said, and to try to answer your question, I think I identify more with a form of ambient-electronic than post rock. I mix real instruments with samples and found sound so, I’m pulling influence from both genres

Seabrook is all smiles

QT: How did you get into creating the kind of music that you do? How does slow burning, electronic influenced music really speak to you emotionally?

DS: I try to create the music I like or would like to hear to the best of my ability and there are always limitations. That could be struggling with sounds or not being able to play the instrument myself. I aim to make music that makes the listener feel and think a little bit. I don’t know if I’m successful at it but I know albums like Four Tet’s Rounds did both of those things for me. I knew I wanted to try and make music somewhat like that at some point and it probably has a lot to do with the fact that it’s so sonically pleasing and it gives me the feels.

QT: I understand that you also play guitar in a band called Minotaurs? What is it like for you making music as a solo artist as opposed to in a collective?

DS: I do play in a band called Minotaurs, and I also play in a band called Odd Years. Both projects give me a lot of rewards whether it be inspiration, education or just being able to make music with great friends. I feel fortunate to get to play with the guys I do. As S T I L L, I get the opportunity to do whatever I want with the only constraints being myself and my ability. Being in charge of the creative process is exciting for me and I’m happy to have a venue to do it in, even if I’ve created it myself. The beauty of independent work is that you don’t have to compromise but that being said, you lose out in other ways. Music, I believe, is meant to be shared and explored with other people too. As gratifying as it is to be in control, there’s little that’s as fun as being in a room or on stage with a bunch of musicians, collectively making something.

QT: Finally, what are your hopes for the future of your music career both as a solo artist and in a band?

DS: My hopes. Well, let’s start off by saying that it’s important to have zero expectations in this industry and that it’s a tough one to be in at times – but if I were to be completely honest, I hope to continue making my own music and collaborating with a film producer out of Woodstock called, Denim Visions. I also hope to do music collaborations with friends of mine and new people. I hope that my music reaches people in some sort of positive way and that it allows me to have more work with other musicians and producers in the future. Primarily though, if I could get my music into film, I would be ecstatic. I think film and music lend to each other in a way that’s very powerful. As far as the future and bands go, I just hope to keep playing with the wonderfully talented people I do and hopefully some new faces too. I hope that I can continue to contribute in a positive way, not take any of it for granted, and to enjoy what I’m doing even when there are stressors lurking about.

You can have a listen to S T I L L’s new album here as well as listen to “Don’t Move” by clicking the link below:

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Quincy Tejani is the co-founder of The Violet Wave and is also editor of music. When he’s not listening to or writing about music you can probably find him walking through the forests of Ontario or questioning the inner workings of the universe. He also never turns down a cold Pabst… never.

Twitter: @thevioletwave

Facebook: The Violet Wave

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