One of electronic music’s most instantly recognisable characters
Seth Troxler is as widely regarded for his encyclopaedic knowledge of early Chicago house and minimal techno through to obscure indierock and ambient psychedelia, as he is as a cultural commentator, art curator, restaurateur and entrepreneur. Descended from a family of cowboys and Baptist preachers, he’s part African- American, part Egyptian, part Cherokee Indian but while his heritage is all- American his global outlook, and unique way of viewing the world through the prism of contemporary music culture, transcends his Mid-Western origins.
Born in Kalamazoo, Michigan, and raised in suburban Detroit, Seth learnt the art of DJing initially from his stepfather (then a college Radio DJ) and later working behind the counter in legendary Detroit record store ‘Melodies & Memories’. It wasn’t until he made the brave decision to seek new-beginnings in mid- 2000s Berlin that his DJ career really found its feet. Moving to Berlin fresh out of his teens, just as the minimal techno movement was kicking off, was the making of Seth and since then he hasn’t looked back.
Since moving from Detroit to Berlin, and more recently London then Ibiza, ten years ago, Seth has established himself as one of underground electronic music’s most iconic figures, equally at home playing to the smoke-filled dancefloors of some of the world’s most discerning nightclubs, such as fabric, Nortstern, De School or Output, as he is headlining the world’s largest festivals, like Glastonbury, Lowlands, Roskilde or Tomorrowlands. Right from the word go Seth has been as passionate about food and contemporary art as he is about music and these two interests have resonated at all points in parallel alongside his music career. A multi-faceted polymath: he has held residencies at talismanic music institutions such as DC10 (Ibiza), fabric (London) Trouw (Amsterdam), and Output (NYC), runs three record labels, owns a successful restaurant ‘Smokey Tails’ and is just about to unveil a new project that sits firmly at the intersection between futuristic electronica, contemporary art and technology. In 2013 he was voted number one DJ in the world in Resident Advisor’s prodigious ‘Top 100 DJs’ poll. In 2016 he was member of an expedition to the summit of Mt Kilimanjaro lead by renowned Australian neurosurgeon Charlie Teo that raised over $1million for brain cancer charities.
“I live to work on projects and build ideas that sit at the point where art, commerce and ideas meet. For me, this idea of creation, is really the essence of life."
Before his move to Berlin, inspired by legendary NY graphic designer Stefan Sagmeister, Seth undertook a degree in advertising and communication at college in Detroit and since then he has kept one foot firmly in the word of design and contemporary art. Whether it’s collaborating at the Howard Griffin gallery in
London with Parisian street artist Thierry Noir, the first artist to paint on the Berlin wall, or developing soundscapes for the art shows of Iranian surrealist Medhi Ghadlanyoo, Seth is constantly probing the boundaries between contemporary art and underground music culture. In 2016 he hosted an ‘Art Bar’ activation with Absolut in Ibiza which saw Seth and Italian street artist RUN, create a bespoke futuristic art-playground called ‘Tomorrow Today’ for three days on the Island; in 2017 he was invited by polymathic German photographer, artist and musician Wolfgang Tillmans to perform at his show at The Tate Modern in London. In March 2018, Seth is set to bring iconic New York gay- underground painter Scooter LaForge to London for the first time for an exhibition at Jealous Gallery. Seth’s well-documented love of food and cooking stems from his Grandparents passion for what he calls ‘Midwestern modern’, wholesome-yet-complex comfort- food based around BBQ’d smoked meat and homely greens.
Central to Seth’s delicious smoked meat is the recipe for a secret BBQ sauce passed down to him by his Grandfather Charlie, currently under development for commercial release. In 2015 Seth opened his first restaurant in London called ‘Smokey Tails’ to showcase his unique cooking style. Initially a pop-up in East London, nominated for a Time Out ‘Love London’ award, it moved to a more permanent location on Hoxton Square and now The Star of Bethnal Green as well as a travelling stall that has become a key food destination at British music festivals such as Glastonbury and Wilderness.