Seneca B’s compositions have a certain emotive quality to them every time – I’ve found her sound is both good for times when I need to be meditative and times when I need to work. I was surprised to hear she was into an interview while on tour in California! At the same time her creative output combined with the fact that she is frequently busy with other endeavors is quite impressive and having known so many producers in general, I was floored to find out one of my favorites overall wasn’t pursuing music alone. Here is the interview as it happened.
Thomas Dente: What hobbies/experiences are you shaped by – any other pursuits that have a direct effect on your sound?
Seneca B: So it’s not really a hobby (more of my career) but I’m currently in law school. In the art realm I love drawing portraits of people and doing photography, but also enjoy Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and, on occasion, snowboarding.
T: Do you mostly use a DAW or are you operating with analog equipment?
S: I mostly use Fruity Loops but have been collecting equipment now for a few years that I use. I’ve recently moved across the country so was unable to bring everything with me, but typically I have a guitar, bass, keyboard, turntable, SP 404, some guitar pedals, and my mixer.
When I moved I brought only the 404, bass, guitar pedals, and the mixer, so I’ve been working with less stuff but that’s fine with me because I tend to work better with just the DAW. While I love equipment and live instruments, I’ve always had trouble integrating them into my workflow because I usually have to rewire my setup or move things around (whereas with FL Studio I just have to open my laptop and I’m good to go). I would like to use more of my equipment in the future, but for now because of convenience I’ll probably stick mostly to just using my laptop.
T: Which other artists have had an influence on your sound?
S: Sometimes I have trouble pointing out my most influential artists because I think they’re great and try to make something resembling what they’ve done and it turns out completely different. That being said though, one of my favorite musicians is Tropics. I listened to him a ton when I first started out and was/is probably my biggest direct influence in terms of what I actually want from my music. Mainly, my influences come from individual songs rather than artists as a whole, so I may hear a song I really like and try to recreate it or figure out why I liked it and then turn that into something.
T: Do you do custom work for people – if so what’s that process like?
S: I can and have, although I’m hit or miss on how it works out. If I do make custom work, it’s for singers or rappers, but have found it disheartening if they don’t end up liking what I make (and after spending a ton of time making like thirty songs for them). Usually I try not to because I haven’t had much success with custom-stuff and generally feel my time is better spent making what I want then seeing how it fits with other artists.
T: Do you have any travel/tour aspirations, particular places you’d like to travel to/foods you’d like to try there?
S: For travel, I’ve always wanted to visit Eastern Africa, Southeast Asia, and Latin America. I’ve done a bit of traveling in Europe but would like to visit other continents and learn about all kinds of countries.
T: Is your name just your government name? If not what is the inspiration?
S: The story of how I picked my name is pretty lame, but (and I didn’t know this at the time), the name ended up being the name of a philosopher that I really like, so everything worked out. How I picked the name was just looking through a list of Latin words and picking the one I liked. I’m not really a big fan of it but I ended up liking the philosophy of Seneca the Younger (and I’m kind of stuck with it now), so here we are.
T: I’ve been a fan of eevee for a long time, how did you discover her and end up linking with her for your SF and Seattle shows?
S: I got connected to her through her tour manager who hit me up to join her for several shows (SF, Seattle, and LA). It’s a lot of traveling and scheduling, but so far it’s been a great time. EEVEE’s great and is a real cool person to play with and just hang out with, so I’m glad to be joining her for a bit. I’ve also been excited to connect with other artists and see what they’re about. Overall, I’m grateful to play with her and just hope people enjoy my shows.
T: How were you initially drawn to creating music? Was there a friend or family member or was it a self-discovery?
S: I started out playing drums but hated being in a band because we were all different people and wanted to do our own things, so I moved to producing because I could do it all myself. I taught myself how to use FL Studio but didn’t really get into it until right before college, when I discovered sampling and all that. After that, everything kind of just took off.
T: What do you think drives you to improve other than the need to eat?? Can you put a finger on the motivation that drives you?
S: My motivation for improvement has nothing to do with money and is just something I’ve always had. Whenever I do something I try to do it the best, and it’s just how I’ve always been. It has it’s ups and downs, but I think it’s what’s kept music fun for me.
T: Any insight into your Spotify success (congrats on 3 million plays!)? Are you handled by a label for Spotify? A Sense of Sound?
S: Thanks! And no, I’m all independent. I’ve gotten lucky getting added to a few large Spotify playlists, but I just upload my stuff and see where it ends up.
T: My favorite track of yours is “Snow”. I love the quiet synths. Anything you can say about the history of and or production of this particular track?
S: Snow was an interesting song to make. I made it all in my apartment in one day after getting snowed in. Honestly I hadn’t slept very much and wasn’t feeling really good but decided to channel that and play some guitar. I came up with the main riff and recorded it through, recorded bass to it, then added the drums and synths and changed the progression. I don’t usually make music like that or spend an entire day on one song, but I like how it turned out (and it’s one of my favorites too).
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