Seb Wildblood interview: “There’s something about London…” | Juno Daily

We chat life in LA and Separation Anxiety with the man himself

LA-based Brit Seb Wildblood has released everyone from Chaos In The CBD and SUCHI to Tom VR and Ouri on his three labels, as well as magic music that could turn up anywhere from the deep house dancefloor to the catwalk. With his new LP Separation Anxiety about to hit, we meet the man himself

You’re based in LA these days, how long has that been for? How do they think it has affected your sound? Is there a good scene out there? What do you miss?

It’s been just over two and a half years now. I mean, I was coming back and forth quite a lot before too. There’s a really solid music community here. However, there is no dominant sound. It’s pretty scattered, similar to the city. I was based in southeast London for the best part of twelve years with so many musicians, label heads, and producers directly around. It was way more of a hub, and I think that naturally feeds into your music a little more than being somewhere like LA.

For me, I look more towards the nature side of things when I’m here for inspiration. I’m in the middle of my busiest touring year yet, and you get injected into these pockets of subculture when you’re on the road, which is actually one of the biggest privileges for me. So there’s a lot I take from those moments, and then when you come back to LA, it’s a surprisingly slower pace. Honestly, I think it’s what you make it. I’m not exactly in the thick of things; we’re pretty out there.

I miss a ton, friends mostly. I mean, in a perfect world, I would split my time between the two, but I think I’ll be full-time in LA for at least the next couple of years. There’s something about London, it doesn’t feel the same visiting. I feel like you really have to be living it to get the most out of the city – this being said I’m already looking forward my next trip in November.

People talk about difficult second albums, but third albums have their challenges too. Did you approach it with a specific aim, or did it start to emerge from material you were making without a specific home in mind?

This one felt incredibly intuitive. I mean, the first album was pretty downtempo with a lot of live instrumentation, definitely a home listen. “do you feel it too?” was almost the opposite. Post-pandemic, it was heavily influenced by stepping back out into the world and enjoying the things that had previously been taken away from us, which inevitably led to a much clubbier sound.

With this being said, sonically, the first two albums set me up pretty well for this one, as it’s almost a hybrid of them. You know, there are those super upbeat moments like ‘It’s Sky Time’, and then it falls back to some of my most downtempo stuff to date like ‘Slice’ and ‘Out There.’ I feel like it’s an amalgamation of both of those sonic worlds in a way.

Separation Anxiety is a fascinating title. How did it come to you, and how does it relate to the music?

Separation Anxiety refers to dealing with abandonment. I experienced what can best be described as a profound moment during my childhood where my sense of reality switched in a moment. I found myself drawn to music a lot more than I was previously after this point, basically as an escape from what was going on around me, which in turn, inevitably led me to do what I do today.

I’m at a point in my life where I’m starting to think more about building a future of my own, and it brings a lot of that stuff up. So this album was about exploring that and being fully at peace with it. It’s been an incredibly positive experience.

How did the collaborations with Laraaji come about? Not an obvious choice, and he plays quite an important part on the album, appearing on three tracks. What was the process of recording them?

From the jump, I knew I wanted this record to have a more cinematic quality. I wanted to incorporate more strings and honestly,  more musicality. I was at a point where I had all the demos down and was thinking about getting session musicians in. I’m a huge fan of Laraaji’s and emailed him on a whim before exploring the session idea, not expecting to hear back. He wrote back within that same week. I sent around six demos across, thinking maybe one could resonate. Within a week, he sent back ideas on all six tracks, which were amazing. Three of those tracks ended up on the record, so we worked remotely on this. We actually met a couple of months ago in New York, which was lovely. I feel incredibly lucky to have had the opportunity to work with Laraaji on this. It’s a special record to me, for more reasons than one.


Tell us about the other guests on there? Lawrence, Tess Roby, Mauv… How do you know them and what did they do?

Lawrence and I have been in touch for a few years. I have so much respect for his work. We were actually chatting about a collaborative record, but we felt ‘don’t see this’ made more sense to be a part of the album.

It felt almost full circle to work with mauv again on ‘handshake’. mauv was a big part of my first record, having written ‘Amelia’ together. He was also a part of the live show that was planned for that record. Unfortunately, the live tour was inevitably canceled due to the pandemic. It felt great to explore where we’re both at musically currently and feed that into the record. It’s one of my favourite tracks.

Tess is someone I’d been following for a little while. She actually did an interview and referenced a track off my last album, ‘Jobi’. I was searching for a vocalist for ‘separation anxiety’, so I hit her up off the back of that. She totally nailed it, and we’re now really good pals. Her solo stuff is well worth checking out, and she’s also in a band called ‘dawn to dawn’ whom I love.

You’ve released Chaos In The CBD, SUCHI, Tom VR, and Ouri across your three labels. How do you differentiate between them? What do you make of Chaos’ rapid international rise to fame?

Well, it’s actually pretty straightforward now. ‘all my thoughts’ is the only active label. Who knows in the future, but that’s where we’re currently at. I started out doing this pretty young, and a lot of it was kinda learning on the job. I feel like we’re now in a really good place to help progress an artist, before they go on to release on say a Ninja Tune, Fabric, Ghostly, for example. I see AMT as a great incubator label to help push an artist to that next stage. I think about how I would like to be treated as an artist and go from there.

Love to see Chaos doing so well, huge fan over here… couldn’t have happened to two nicer people. ????

You’ve also composed music for JW Anderson collection reveals at Paris and London Fashion Week, Burberry. How do you approach these? Do you get to see the clothes beforehand or get given any direction/brief?

It’s really dependent on the job. I had this conversation with someone the other day, and the best way I can describe it is comparing it to doing a remix. It needs to be tailored to the concept a little more. You have set boundaries that perhaps you wouldn’t have if you were writing a track for your next record. I also have to resonate with the brand to get on board; I need to feel inspired by it for it to work, similarly to taking on a remix. I’ll generally get sent a brief and a few images. I’d love to do more; it’s refreshing to write something a little more bespoke that can tell another story, aside from my own.

Anything else we should know about? Anything in mind for your long term?

I really can’t wait for the Village Underground show on November 18. It’ll be the ‘end’ of this campaign. I don’t get back to London anywhere near enough, so I really can’t wait to have all the pals in one place at the same time. It’s the first time we’ve done a label party in London to this scale, so super excited for it. We’ve got Tom VR, Baalti & Maya Q joining, as well as label parties in Manchester, Berlin, and Amsterdam in the weeks running up to it.

Preorder you copy of Seb Wildblood’s Separation Anxiety, out October 13, here