10 Years Strong Mix Series – #1 Sean Deans ‘Rhythm & Bleeps’

Posted by: Rebecca on March 25, 2014


As part of the 10 Years Strong anniversary, the diverse and different artists from The Operatives collective have carefully crafted a series of 10 mixes to be released over the rest of the year.

Beginning with Mix #1 ‘Rhythm & Bleeps’ is elusive agent SEAN DEANS. Far from being a new comer to the scene, Deans has been shaking sound systems since the mid-nineties and his formative years’ in Wellington’s infamous Bass Frontiers parties. This boundary-pushing mix, which he says takes him back to his ‘junglist, bass music roots’ invokes the revival of the movement with the likes of tear-out new tracks from OM UNIT and ROMARE expertly mixed with intangibly unreleased drum n’ bass from PHOTEK’s ‘One Nation’ to jungle anthem ‘Massive’ by CAPONE. With surprising, submerged melodies, digital leanings and a hefty amount of bass, ‘Rhythm & Bleeps’ is the sounds of an energetic futurist as well as a practiced selector.

Check out the mix exclusively through The Operatives Soundcloud, and read our interview with the enigmatic SEAN DEANS below.

Photo by Renee Stamatis

1. Your ‘RYTHMN & BLEEPS’ mix is part of the 10 Years Strong Series, how did you become involved with The Operatives collective?

I’ve been good friends with JPS who runs the Operatives for about 12 years now and have played gigs with him for about as long so I guess it was almost by default.

2. Flash-back to ten years ago, what would you be listening to right now?

Funnily enough, similar music to what I’ve put on this mix. I must have completed a ten-year cycle.

3. Which track will you still be listening to in ten years time?

I’d imagine Atoms for Peace ‘Default’ would have the most legs for me… or Photek ‘One Nation’ as it’s already stood the test of time.

4. What are your top 3 memories from your musical path?

1- All the early Bass Frontiers parties at Studio 9 back in Wellington, NZ. Looking back it feels like one awesome big blurry night.

2- Many late nights listening to records with my homie BJ B-lo. Having my mind opened to so many different styles of music.

3- Spending several months living in Wellington with Riki Gooch, basically learning the funk.

5. How did you go about crafting this mix – what was the inspiration or mood you are creating?

With this mix I guess I was trying to get back to my junglist, bass music roots. I kinda cut my teeth on this sort of music but had about a 5 or 6 year hiatus from it where I got into playing all sorts of stuff like hip hop, soul, house etc. to the point where now I play a bit of everything. Lately though I’ve been really enjoying this style of music again and there’s a lot of exciting new tunes at this tempo so I guess it got me fired up to do a mix.

6. This mix explores various artists, what has attracted you to this particular palate of sounds and rhythms?

One of the things I always loved about jungle/drum ‘n bass was that it was it’s own thing. There wasn’t really anything else at the same tempo or level of intensity within dance music and it really polarized people, they either loved it or hated it. But lately, with the emergence of other bass music genres giving influence there seems to be a variety of different styles of music at that tempo that seem to all work together in a set. Which for me has made it interesting again and I tried to incorporate them into this mix… hopefully with at least some success.

7. Is there anything you regard as an essential aspect to music you like, make and listen to?

I always find this question difficult to answer. I like, make and listen to a lot of different styles of music for a variety of reasons. In some ways I couldn’t tell you what it is that draws me to a particular tune. My friends would probably be better at telling you what I like. This is where I say something incredibly vague like “its all about the vibe”… meh.

8. What are you instruments and software of choice when producing your own music? Is there a certain time or place when you are the most creative?

I use Ableton live software and then a bunch of vintage hardware synths Roland Juno 106 & JX3P, Yamaha DX7 and a couple of new digital synths.

For fx i have vox and eventide pedals + a bunch of vst’s.

For some reason I like working late at night when everyone else is asleep. There’s less chance of being interrupted or distracted. My girlfriend’s not so keen on it though (laughs).

9. What are you excited to be working on musically in the future?

I’m currently in the process of finishing a collaborative project under the name APSD with my man Amin Payne and several guest vocalists including Joe Dukie from Fat Freddys Drop and Cazeaux OSLO from Melbourne. It’s on a future-funk/boogie/hip-hop tip so pretty different to this mix. I’ve also got collaborations with Louise Woodward, Billy Hoyle and JPS on the boil plus a looong overdue project with Riki Gooch.

10. Is this the type of mix we can expect from seeing you perform live?       

Not necessarily. I play a lot of different styles of music these days and so what music I play depends entirely on where I’m playing and who for. However, I’d say there’s a pretty good chance I’ll be playing a set like this at an upcoming Operatives event. Well, I hope so at least…


Check out SEAN DEANS‘ Artist page.

Stand by for the next mix in The Ten Years Strong Series exclusively through The Operatives.

comments powered by Disqus