Image by Gavin Mills
You were out of music for quite awhile. What inspired you to come back as HiFi Sean?
I lost confidence in myself after a few major personal issues. So I fell back on what I have always loved doing, sharing music with others by DJng and running club nights. Eventually, I realized that a long period of time had passed and it was time for me to start making records again. I decided to go the collaborative route for my first solo album, Ft. Working with artists whose music I loved allowed me to regain artistic confidence.
Coming out had actually sent you into something of a spiral?
Yes, I had a nervous breakdown. To some it’s all rainbow flags and unicorns to come out, and for others, not so much. There wasn’t much of a support network for married men with children to help explain what I was feeling and experiencing.
How did you come to work with Crystal Waters? She’s still a big deal in the house music scene, no?
Crystal has ten #1 Billboard dance hits to her name, including last year’s “Believe,” a collaboration featuring Sted-E and Hybrid Heights. I love her voice and she’s someone with whom I’ve always wanted to work. My buddy, DJ Ralphi Rosario, connected Crystal and myself.
Are you still DJing around the European dance scene, the big Ibiza clubs and such?
At the start of this month, Crystal and I played Ministry of Sound in London and Glitterbox in Ibiza. So much fun and the crowds went mad.
U2 is playing “Testify” before each show on their Joshua Tree tour. Do you know them personally?
No, I don’t. I think they discovered the track because the club scene in Dublin was quick to embrace some earlier mixes of “Testify.” It’s crazy to think how many people are getting to hear it every night on that tour. I humbly thank U2 for the support.
What’s next for HiFi Sean?
Five mixes of “Testify,” including the original, are being released worldwide this Friday by Defected Records. I’m excited at the prospect of more people discovering the track. The rest of my year will be spent working on a few singles, and at the start of next year I intend to be back in the studio working on a new album. I’ve already written quite a bit of material for it and I’m pleased to say it sounds amazingly exciting, and unlike what anyone else is doing. That’s my main goal for future projects – musical exploration.
What inspires you about Glasgow? What makes it such a unique city?
Glasgow is home and always will be. It has so much artistic energy revolving around music, art and culture. It’s one of those cities that really does not need to keep justifying its existence to those down south. Glasgow is happy to do its own thing and that’s what I love about it.
HiFi Sean’s Fave Glasgow Spots
A cool arts space designed for dancing and socializing. It is run by artist Jim Lambie, with whom I used to cavort around town attending parties, doing some DJing, and often getting ripped off. I love the fact that Jim has put something back into the city’s nightlife for all the times we prospered from it.
I used to be obsessed as a teenager by a cafe called Equi’s up by Charing Cross in Glasgow. It was across the road from Tiffany’s, a ballroom in which I saw many great bands like New Order, Depeche Mode and Soft Cell. We used to stare for hours at all the pen graffiti on the cafe walls from people leaving little messages about shows they had attended. We would daydream and put ourselves into those situations. Trans Europe Cafe somehow has the same vibe for me. Within the confines of its art deco-meets-Kraftwerk-homage is where I prefer to go when I want to relish a delicious cheddar cheese toastie and a nice cuppa.
Top UK vegan dining spot, complete with its own essential record store inside and a brilliant live band space for local underground artists. It’s the place to meet everyone on the Glasgow band scene from the past 20 years; at the ship’s wheel is Stephen Pastel of infamous Glasgow band The Pastels. If you’re looking for something new for your record collection this store is a must.
Infamous and legendary in every way; when I started The Soup Dragons, I could only dream I would ever headline this venue. Eventually I did, in the days leading up to Christmas 1990 – best present ever. I have seen everybody here from The Cramps to The Beastie Boys to Echo and The Bunnymen, and hundreds more. It just oozes early 1940s Glasgow architecture and that starry ceiling looks as good from the stage as it does looking up at your fave band. The sprung floor ballroom really gets bouncy when the crowd gets moving.
The Berkeley Suite – a converted 1980s casino – is now a favorite spot for all things disco and dazzling. Deep red Twin Peaks vibes in this classy club venue. You can see your fave disco DJs and soulheads merge for a cool night out on the town, where “banging” is a term that’s never used.