Label Mates: Steve Parry & Dave Seaman / Selador

Steve Parry and Dave Seaman’s Selador imprint has seen releases from some of the biggest names in club music over the past nine years, with the likes of Ian Pooley, Robert Babicz, Just Her, and Florian Kruse making appearances at some point.

This month the pair will celebrate a mammoth 150 releases under the Selador brand, an accomplishment which is incredibly rare in music, even in todays constantly evolving digital world.

Joining us for this months edition of our Label Mates series, Selador co-founder Steve Parry tells us all about the early days of the label, what has changed since the launch of the label in 2013, and how they go about choosing artists for releases and remixes.

You first launched Selador back in 2013, what were some of the biggest hurdles you faced in the very beginning?

Starting a label was a bit more challenging than I realised, and a lot more work than I thought if i’m being completely honest! Now don’t get me wrong, I’d worked in music industry for 20+ years before starting the label, so I had earned my stripes, and dave had run the Stress and Audio Therapy labels too – so he was a seasoned pro, but the sheer volume of everything from contracts, to mastering, to promotion, and the never ending social media presence, are so time consuming! I say that it was a challenge at the start, it’s still an uphill struggle haha.

I also think everybody expected Dave and myself to be releasing prog bangers with every prog DJ and remixer under the sun – so we purposely avoided that side of things musically for a few years, and tried to show that we love all sorts of music, and tried to show that we weren’t going to do quite what everyone expected. Which was also a challenge – as we probably made things more difficult for ourselves than we needed too (as the ‘prog’ thing is where we were best known and best connected!).

But I think thats paid off for us. We are very comfortable having Charles Webster, Doc Martin, Joeski, and Ian Pooley all remix for us, as well as Joyce Muniz, Andre Hommen, Renato Cohen, and Timo Maas, with an occasional sprinkling of Hernan Cattaneo and beyond. We always had the mantra of house and techno, and all the colours in between, and we like to stick to that. Many PR companies have told us to stick to one genre, but that would drive us both crazy to be honest!

In 2013, Spotify had around 24M active users, a number which in 2022 has grown to be more than 400M, so its safe to say the way people consume music has changed quite a bit, what are some of the biggest differences you have noticed when it comes planning your releases?

Yes we’re predominately a ‘Beatport’ label, for ‘DJs’, so it took us a while to realise that theres a whole other world out there. I know people slate Spotify, but times change. If you don’t get on board, you’ll end up a dinosaur. Technology has always been at the forefront of the music industry, you have to embrace it.

We now make edits specifically for streaming sites, and thats something we never thought that we would do. Pitching to sites for possible placements on influential playlists etc. is the norm now. We also run our own playlists alongside releases, to cross promote music that we release, alongside other labels and artists music that we love.

And since then you have released music from Ian Pooley, Just Her, Robert Babicz, and a long list of others, what do you look for in an artist when they drop demos in your inbox?

I touched on this earlier, and mentioned we don’t stick to one genre. We try to make packages of music that we would like to receive. And as we play many types of music ourselves, we try and reflect this in our releases, so for example if a track is deeper, we would try for a tougher remix to compliment the package, something a bit different, so that one version of the track could be played in a warm up set, and another more peak time.

This works out nicely with looking for a remixer, it means we can go deep, melodic, techno, wonky, or whatever direction musically. And our ‘potential remixer’ list always has hundreds of names on it. Dave and I have similar musical tastes (sometimes quite freakily the same!). So we always discuss potential remixers between ourselves and with the artist.

I also, being a bit geeky, have a hit list of DJ’s to remix on the label, just to satisfy my inner geek, Charles Webster, Jimpster, Ian Pooley, and Doc Martin being prime examples! People who’s music I’ve bought and played for decades. It’s very satisfying to get tracks and remixes from producers I’ve looked up to for so long.

Next month will see the labels 150th catalogue release, a pretty substantial milestone which very few labels surpass, what do you have planned for the special occasion?

Well yes, lots in the pipeline, first off Dave and I celebrate by unveiling an exciting new collaborative project under the alias, Nunchi Coup.

We wanted to try and capture our 30+ year journey through acid house culture with some new work that reflected our history but still had it’s finger firmly on the pulse of the here and now. We are both acid house lifers but continue to be just as excited by new music as we were back in those early halcyon days. Running the label together has only served to reinforce that.

The vibe is a little more raw than what we’d usually do, We were aiming for Nunchi Coup to have a more classic house and techno sound. A nod to our heritage, in a contemporary setting. After three decades in the business we’re even more aware of the circular nature of things.

And the name, Nunchi Coup? What’s that all about then? Nunchi is the Korean word for the ability to gauge how people are thinking and feeling in order to create connection, trust, and harmony. Like a sixth sense, a kind of emotional intelligence and awareness of your surroundings.

The concept spoke to us as DJs, that subtle art of reading the room and acting appropriately has been the mainstay of our musical philosophy since forever. The Koreans believe Nunchi is the secret to happiness and we can’t argue with that.

And beyond that, who might we expect to see on the label in the coming months?

We’ve also been working on our Seladoria project, an audio visual clubbing experience, bringing live visuals that we’ve had made, that look pretty amazing if i do say so myself! We started this in early lockdown, and thought we would have been up and running with it all after a month or so – but these things take time and lockdown lasted a little longer that expected eh?

We officially launched at E1, London alongside Danny Howells and Just Her, it was great, and we are looking at more in the UK. We’ve also been getting some great tours planned with Dave and myself, alongside label friends Darren Emerson, Anthony Pappa, Just Her, and more. So far Australia and New Zealand have been announced, but theres a lot more in the pipeline that I cant say much about just yet!

What’s one piece of advice you would give to any aspiring label owners out there?

Your label is your musical legacy, be extremely fussy about your music that you sign. Don’t think ’this is ok’,  you’ve got to LOVE the music. If you don’t love it, how can you expect others to love it?

What is your favourite record label, besides Selador of course?

This changes on a daily basis depending on what mood I am in, i’m certainly a musical magpie, one day it could be Kompakt / Spicher, another day it’s Freerange, and another day it’s Watergate or Frau Blau, and so forth, there’s so many amazing labels out there.

Anything else you would like to mention before we wrap things up?

Thanks for having us, and we have said this on many occasions, and we will say it again many times more – ‘Acid House Forever!’

Nunchi Coup – Slaves To The Algo-Rhythm is out now on Selador.