Seth Vogt has been producing world-class dance music for over two decades, all along remaining committed to his detailed, melodic signature sound, while still continuously evolving through changing trends and shifting genres.
In short order: he moved to Orlando, FL to study recording in the late 90s, worked for some well-known studios, and was mentored by the late Bill Hamel. From there, it’s been strength to strength.
His enviable CV includes projects with both mainstream and underground artists, boasting names such as Rihanna, 69 Boyz, Korn, Quivver, and PROFF, for labels like Def Jam, Atlantic, Bonzai, Black Hole, Jive, Sirup and tons more… including, of course, DISSIDENT MUSIC.
Now, Seth has released his debut artist album, “Whatever After”: an audio compendium of career-defining and genre-defying pieces of audible art. His vocal talents are also on full display here, with Whatever After including several vocal performances from Seth alongside multiple collaborations.
Connect with Seth Vogt on Soundcloud | Facebook
Thanks for talking to us today – how has the first half of 2022 been for you?
Thank you so much for having me. My main focus for the early part of the year has been putting the final touches on my album “Whatever After” for Dissident Music / EMG.
Outside of that, I have had the opportunity to work on some amazing new projects with artists such as Noel Sanger, Focus, Haxxy, the 69 Boyz, The Incredible Melting Man, G$Montana & NeuroziZ, Dubaxface, Alex Lorensso, and more.
My collaboration with Oliver Harper and The Stupid Experts on Forensic Records, ended up being a record chart topper for me on Beatport. I also have quite a few new projects in the works for the remainder of the year. I am always excited to be in the studio and have no complaints about the first half of 2022.
First of all, we want to get to know you “from the beginning”. How did your history with music begin?
I will give you the abridged (cliff notes) version:
I grew up in Erie Pennsylvania. My Mother started me with violin lessons when I was about 8 years old. Full disclosure, I could not stand these lessons, but my Mother would not let me quit (thanks Mom). Around age 11, I started getting into my parent’s record collection, which contained everything from Mozart, to the Beatles, Neil Young, Stevie Wonder, etc. In the ’80s, my older brother Paul introduced me to hip hop when it first started to make noise (Run DMC, Eric B and Rakim, Slick Rick, & Beastie Boys). I remember trying to learn how to breakdance from a book I bought at the school book fair, while listening to “Jam On It” by Newcleus in my room. (and yes, I still have that book).
Around age 13, I discovered punk with groups such as the Circle Jerks, Minor Threat, and Bad Religion. I started taking guitar lessons and began understanding the basics of songwriting.
In high school, I surrounded myself with everything I could musically. McDowell high school had an amazing music department (props to Shawn Halquist). I switched from violin to string bass in the high school orchestra, played tuba in marching band, guitar in the school jazz band, had an amazing musical independent study, and also sang church choir. I played guitar and sang in a local alternative band called Lucy’s Dream. After school and on weekends, I worked for the local sound company (Raven Sound), where I met one of my long-time best friends and musical mentors Sam Hyman.
After high school, My Dad told me about a school in Orlando, Florida called Full Sail, where I studied recording engineering. My move to Orlando was the game changer where I discovered and fell in love with house music. The Orlando dance music scene was something magical at that time and IMO was a launching pad for progressive house in the states. DJs such as Sasha, John Digweed, Carl Cox, Nick Warren, & Dave Seaman would be on the bill almost every weekend in the late ’90s.
After graduation, my roommate Mike Tucker and I began working with Sam Molison who was the voice of Sasha’s “Magic” and “Higher Ground” as part of his writing team and we also toured as his keyboard players.
Mike then ended up working as a recording engineer for Transcon Studio’s which is the company that ended up sparking the boy band craze in the early 2000s. We ended up moving our home studio into one of their writing suites, where I would have access to the larger rooms (with SSL consoles) for mixdown at night when no one was around. I met an amazing group of producers at that studio, and had the opportunity to remix acts such as NSync, Britney Spears, Trina, Craig David, and more.
Around that time, I started to work with the late great Bill Hamel. Bill and I ended up doing remixes for Korn, Rihanna, Seal, René Amesz, and also produced quite a few originals together. Bill was a huge influence on me, got my foot in the door in quite a few places, and released my first solo production on his label Sunkissed Records.
That is pretty much the historical data of the beginning of my musical life in a nutshell. 🙂
You’ve produced so many tracks, in many different genres… but is it fair to say progressive house has always been your first love?
That is an impressive observation. Yes, progressive house is what I first discovered back in the day when getting into dance music, and is definitely my first love.
What is it about electronic music that makes it so special for you?
Electronic music for me is about getting lost in the moment and is almost a therapy for dealing with whatever emotions you have in your mind. This is true from the experience of being on the dance floor, being behind the decks in front of a crowd, or writing electronic music in the studio. Working on a production with only myself, the equipment, and the process can create something truly unique.
There have been moments in the studio where things come together in a way you would never expect. Then the moment arrives when you decide to share this moment with a dance floor full of people. The anticipation of you, or another DJ playing your heart and soul for the first time in front of a dance floor and seeing the “hands in the air” reaction is truly a spiritual experience.
Tell us about your album – has it been a long time in the making?
My 12-song album is called “Whatever After” and took about two years to produce. I typically work much quicker than this, but with all the collaborations involved, I wanted everyone to take their time.
My goal from the beginning was for each track on the album to fit together with the others to make one continuous mix. I kept that in mind when working on the tracks I did by myself. I also wanted to stay true to the laid-back progressive house, deep house, and progressive breakbeat vibes that define what I feel make up my sound.
The album opens with the wind chimes and birds recorded in my backyard. I try to incorporate sounds of nature into each track I create. The first song is an electro track entitled “Never Turn Back” and is a collaboration with Alex Lorensso featuring my vocals. This song was originally released on Bomba Records and makes for a fantastic opener.
The second track, “After The Turn”, is a progressive breakbeat production that started out to be a quick bridge to mix the first song into the next song. This song quickly took shape and is one of my favourites on the album. My collaboration with Magnetic Ghost is next, with a progressive house tune called “Undertow”. This is one of my favourite vocals to date in my opinion, and the track has an amazingly unique sound design.
The fourth song is “Liquid Assets”, is a deep house collaboration with my brother Dylan .JK. Vogt, who lives in Los Angeles. We wrote this remotely over the Christmas of 2020 using Zoom, and putting audio movers software on the stereo bus of Logic. This was also a way to hang out with my brother over Christmas, while the world was still coming out of lockdown. The owner of Bomba Records put me in touch with Enviado Vida (aka Max Samoldin), who sent a track over for a vocal collaboration.
I immediately heard the vocals for “Find A Way” in my head after the first listen. This was my first time working with Max and I look forward to our next project together. There are a few other original progressive breakbeat and progressive house tracks on the album, but I think it is important to focus more on the collaborations for this interview.
Katrin Souza, out of Russia with “Underneath The Satellites” is a killer progressive house production featuring my vocals. This song was also previously released on Bomba Records, but fit so well into the flow of “Whatever After” that it needed to be a part of the project. Katrin’s tracks always bring out something unique when I work on vocals for our projects together. We have a few other collaborations in the pipeline as well.
The song “Feeling Alright” was something different for me. I wrote this a few years ago with kyamerA (aka Alex Greggs). I also consider Alex one of my mentors who taught me a ton when I first got into creating music professionally. Alex has produced tracks for NSync, Michael Jackson, Brandy (just to drop a few small-time names), and I had to make sure we had a collaboration for my first artist album. The last song “Just A Theory” was a unique collaboration with my friend Micke. This is a downtempo vocal track, which I feel closes the album out perfectly.
One question people might ask is why it’s taken 20+ years for an album to come. Has it been something you’ve been thinking about for a while?
I have done quite a few EP’s and singles over the years. I honestly never thought about a full artist album until Noel Sanger approached me at the beginning of 2021 about putting together a full album for Dissident. We originally planned on using a few original tracks from my past Dissident releases, and then adding a few new tracks in order to put together a full piece of work.
After that conversation, I began writing new material and getting a plan together. After my song “Walls” came out on Dissident in 2020, I started getting quite a few requests for my vocals. Between the new songs I started writing, and these vocal collaborations, I realized I had more than enough material for a full artist album. So, the plan to use past Dissident tracks was scrapped and “Whatever After” was born.
What are some of the themes you explore on it?
I would say lyrically, the overall theme is based on the title “Whatever After”. Over the past two years we have made it through some very tough times as humans. The idea for me is to not look back, keep finding a way to move forward, and not fight what we really have no control over to live happily “Whatever After”. 😉 The theme musically throughout the whole journey of “Whatever After” is based on melody, empathy, and beauty.
How important is finding the right label that supports your music, and has like-minded views?
I have released quite a bit of music on various labels over the years, and I feel (especially in this day and age) that it is very important to find the right label that not only supports your music but will also be a part of the process in helping you grow as an artist. Finding a label that believes in the artists themselves, and not just seeing tracks that fit their mold is very important in my opinion. Those types of labels tend to create comradery with their artists and encourage them to work together and collaborate. This helps artists to feel as if they belong to something unique and provides a sort of family feeling.
What does your current studio setup look like? Lots of hardware, or are you a mainly ‘out of the box’ type guy?
I have been a Logic user since 1996, when it was an Emagic product (pre-Apple). I feel I know Logic so well that I could most likely use it in my sleep. This makes for a very fluid workflow in my production process.
Back in the day, I used to have quite a bit of outboard gear. But now I work off my Macbook Pro hooked to one wall-mounted monitor for the mix window and one desk monitor for the arranged window. To edit plugins, I use the laptop monitor.
I am a huge fan of all plugins made by Spitfire, which you can hear all over “Whatever After”. The Solid State Logic 2 audio interface. This interface has the amazing SSL preamps for tracking vocals, It is something I use (and swear by).
For those Spinal Tap fans: the volume knob goes up to 11. For monitors: I still use the wooden Mackie HR824’s with a KRK 10’ subwoofer. I have always loved those monitors and know them so well at this point in my career.
My studio is located in a shop next to my house. I was told they used to manufacture spark plugs for NASCAR in this shop. This way I can be super loud late at night and not annoy my family or neighbours.
What is the best advice you ever got as an artist?
“Surround yourself with great people who will tell you their honest opinions, and great things will happen. Surround yourself with people who will tell you what you want to hear, and you will give up in this business”.
What does the rest of 2022 look like for you?
I was just added to the artist roster for Pro B Tech Management (probtechmgmt.com) and I am looking forward to playing out to see crowd reactions to these songs firsthand. Currently, I am working with Dissident Music on deciding singles and remixes for songs off of “Whatever After”.
A remix EP is due soon for the Miami Bass group, and long-time friends 69 Boyz (Tootsie Roll / Woof Woof). I am also working on a follow-up to “Never Turn Back” with Alex Lorensso.
Outside of that, I am always in the studio and have quite a few new projects in the works
Thanks for your time, Seth
Thank you for taking the time to talk with me. It’s been a pleasure.
Seth Vogt – Whatever After is out now on Dissident Music