TF Archives

Seb Fontaine- Supermarket Style Clubs & Magazines Are Finished

Author: Jonty Adderley
Saturday, December 7, 2002
"There's a strange thing that goes on with the dance magazines where they go 'he's been there too long, it's time to end his career'. Dance music, like any kind of music, needs a history- it needs the people who started it, those who continued it and the new ones who are coming through; to try and remove one part of the story doesn't leave any story."

Joining Radio 1 just as dance culture's mainstream bubble definitively burst, Seb Fontaine has found himself at the top of UK clubland's DJing tree, just as Britain's mainstream dance media turned on itself in a frenzy of masochistic panic.

Speaking to DJ magazine for their recent top 100 poll (where he made 32), the former Cream resident presciently warned that some dance mags were potentially committing suicide, a point definitely proved just one week later, when Ministry magazine announced their closure. Though not before aiming one last shot, however, at the hands that so often fed them, with a superstar DJ feature labelling "Pearcey, Tongy, Fonty and the rest" as being "about as glamorous as John Major and Edwina Currie caught in flagrante delicto".

Not that the aforementioned DJs probably noticed judging by Seb's approach.

"It's really hard to avoid taking criticism personally and that's why I don't read that magazine at all. I've got family, I don't want them to read these things either. I really do think these people have been resorting to tabloid press style tactics to try and sell magazines. It makes me laugh."

In fact, the continuing success of his Radio 1 show (his all important audience figures continue to rise) and the recent release of a compilation CD in the States, have given him plenty to laugh about.

"I've just done an album called Horizons in America and it's done around 26,000 copies now," he told Skrufff's Jonty Adderley.

"The company behind it pushed the album hard and we were also over there quite a lot, which seems to have paid off in the end. I didn't have too many expectations though I'm happy with the results. Though, it's tough because my radio show demands that I'm in the UK most Saturdays so I guess my main priority remains the UK," he added.

Skrufff: (Jonty Adderley): What's your assessment of UK clubland right now-

Seb Fontaine: "Dance music needed a spring clean. It went too mainstream and to normal with all those 10,000 people in one room, all waving glow sticks type events- it needed to get cool again. There are some great clubs happening in the UK right now, but they're essentially smaller ones- they're not at five thousand capacity venues, rather at places holding 800 to 1,000 people. At Type at The Cross, for example, we've sold out for the last six months, whether we've had Norman Cook or me and the residents DJing and it's been fantastic every time. Darren Emerson's Underwater is also doing well, as is Back to Basics, there's loads of good clubs out there. I just think the days of supermarket style clubbing are finished."

Skrufff: Paul Van Dyk recently told Skrufff he' d be fulfilling his planned gigs in Manila, the Philippines, following the Bali bombings, what's your stance on visiting places like these threatened by potential terror attacks-

Seb Fontaine: "I cancelled playing in Manila the week after the Bali bombing. The world is becoming a very weird place. Since 9/11 I've travelled all over America and been to countries quite close (to Iraq), such as Turkey and Greece and it's definitely a tense time right now. When holidaymakers are dragged into it, I don't really know what you can do. Either you sit at home and wrap yourself up in cotton wool and pretend the problems don't exist or you get on with your job. But I still think there are certain risks that I won't take. I've got kids so I can't be throwing caution to the wind. I'm being more careful about where I go and on which airlines. Some airline security is tougher than others."

Skrufff: Your wife recently gave birth to your second child