Sega Bodega's Disruptive Pop Vision Feels Utterly Alive
Sega Bodega has never done the same thing twice. A vital, disruptive force in electronic music, he’s already released two mixtapes before unleashing last year’s phenomenal EP ‘self*care’.
A challenging, barrier-bursting collection of music, ‘self*care’ found the artist matching caustic digital diversions with some lucid pop moments, carefully joining the two to explode notions of masculinity, sexuality, and identity. New single ‘mimi’ opened his New Year account in the first few days of 2019, a bold avant pop statement that stared directly into the future.
When Clash catches up with the producer the song it still fresh in our mind, his Scottish voice on the other end of the phone softened by a few years of London life.
“I guess ‘mimi’ came from me exploring pop music, but also wanting to write a song about a specific person,” he explains. “And it just kind of matched up at the same time. It felt like a nice match. The music seemed to be going more hook-based, with more vocals, and it just felt like the next step.”
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We chat about pop as a vessel for alien voices, from Lady Gaga to Annie Lennox. “I think it’s anything,” he says. “I’ve been listening to The Corrs a lot recently. I haven’t been able to stop. I’ve been trying to write like that, which has been much more of an interesting place to draw from over standard pop stuff of today. It still sounds good. It doesn’t sound good for nostalgic reasons, it just still sounds good!”
“It’s good to manipulate it a bit, to feel a bit fresher,” he continues. “Pop music, I think, has the flaw of being quite boring in its production. It’s pretty standard. It’s not about the production, it’s more the songwriting.”
It’s this paradoxical element that makes Sega Bogeda’s constructions so vivid, so gripping. Continually yearning towards perfect pop structures while at the same time adoring the individuality of club culture, he’s constantly turning back on himself, constantly shifting mid-flight.
“I don’t really like going to clubs,” he admits. “And when it comes to making a club track I actually find it quite boring. So I guess it’s just seeing what other things I can do. Otherwise I’d just lose my mind, I wouldn’t enjoy making music at all. Every two years I need to do something completely different. It just felt like a solution to feeling quite uninspired.”
With new single ‘mimi’ under his belt Sega Bodega is free to look at a number of different sessions, some for his own work, and still others for as-yet unnamed bona fide pop stars.
“I do the majority of sessions that come in, just because… I don’t know what’s going to come out of it,” he muses. “It doesn’t have to be from my stuff, it can be helping other people out with their release. I don’t mind that.”
“Hopefully they’ll come out, but as they aren’t I can’t really say,” he adds. “I’ve learned a lot, yeah. More about mixing, and what needs to happen when, and how. It’s almost like track admin, rather than the actual techniques.”
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A few days after our chat Clash is sat in the audience for an extremely special one off show from Sega Bodega. Taking place at London’s Hoxton Hall – an old Victorian dancehall – he combines with set designer Shaun Murphy to craft a two-part stage arena, an intimate, almost voyeuristic routine that startles and engages the capacity crowd. Drenched in lights and pulsating sound, it marks the transitionary power of shifting the context music is located – from the bedroom to the club.
“I’ve built a bedroom onstage,” he told us mere days before. “It involves two separate rooms that I jump between – one of them is my bedroom, and the other one is a smoke room where you can’t really see me. It’s ambiguous. I’m going to try and almost not acknowledge that I’m on a stage and that I’m in my room.”
He continues: “I’ve done live shows before with me and my laptop, or a strobe, and people seem to enjoy it… but I’ve done that now.”
Touching on a few key inspirations set for the set, Sega Bodega aims high, for a formative, teenage influence. “I think the Daft Punk ‘Alive 2007’ live album always made me want to have a really good live show. I’ve always loved that album. It’s about having a version of that album that feels like mine.”
“The year before that I was doing shows, and I was quite exhausted by the end of it,” he recalls. “The novelty of it, travelling every week, wears off quite quick. I was conscious of trying to do the opposite last year. And this year it feels I can juggle both.”
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Onstage in London, he feels completely in his element. From the Versace bedspread to the cramped DJ booth every aspect feels expertly thought through, granting a window into his world while also obscuring the view, offering a representation of his life while simultaneously distorting it. Pulsating club-ready electronics interwoven around effects-destroyed guitar lines, he’s a riveting but nonetheless reclusive figure.
Our mind drifts back to our short telephone chat, and his plans for the future. “I’m not really holding out on anything,” he asserts. “I enjoy working with people who I’ve never heard of just as much as people who I’ve admired for a while. We just have to see what happens.”
With Sega Bodega’s disruptive power anything is possible.
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'mimi' is out now on NUXXE.
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