FEBRUARY 2021 INTERVIEW WITH MULTI AWARD-WINNING CANADIAN MUSICIAN, SEAN BEAVER.
Sean Beaver is one incredible Indie techno and electronic indigenous artist who has a sound all his own, somewhere between Daft Punk, Chemical Brothers, and Tiesto. He is originally from the Driftpile First Nation in northern Alberta and currently resides in Calgary, and is of Cree descent. He has been creating and producing music since 1993, using music as a creative outlet. 1st recorded single was released in 1996 and was globally distributed. Sean has developed and enhanced his skills on the turntable and is now known as DJ Hooligan, known for his excited and hypnotic flavor. He was part of the distinguished indigenous hop-hop group REDDNATION who toured North America spreading music and inspiring indigenous youth, where Sean was a key member of the group performing as DJ Hooligan and served as the tour manager/sound technician from 2012 until they retired into the following year. Sean then reverted back to his roots, returning to work on original music. In 2013, Sean released his 1st original solo album entitled Project Axiom to which saw critical acclaim. Sean released his 2nd album, Torn in November of 2014, and this album featured singer Sarah Pocklington from the acapella folk group ASANI. Sarah’s ethereal vocals can be heard on “Smooth Sunset (Luminescent Games)” as well as “Torn. Following up with his 3rd album, NYD aka New Years Day which commemorates his anniversary of being ten years sober. NYD, includes 12 songs with addictively layered melodies and baselines, where it showcases ties to his heritage, featuring Indigenous elements such as powwow drums. The album also features newcomer Elijah B., who happens to be Sean’s younger brother, on guitar in “My Spirit Is Rising.” Sean continues to work in radio in Calgary and is working on new original music every chance he gets.
I got the opportunity to sit down one-on-one briefly inside the rotating media row online breakout interview rooms, on November 12th at Indie Week Canada’s 18th annual and Indie Week’s 1st ever 5-day virtual conference 2020. From that brief interview, I got the chance to dig in deep and got the honor to hear back from him afterward and he was thrilled to complete a full interview with me, a little more in-depth, and here is Sean had to share.
Deb: Sean, What does success mean to you, as well, what is your secret to longevity? Sean: “As an independent solo artist since 2013, it is hard to manage everything by yourself, and sometimes I felt like the goal of becoming known as a successful musician was few and far between, but what keeps me going is being able to create and release music for myself as a way to heal or to let go of these undeciphered sounds in my head. They will build up as dreams and I’ve recently in the past decade have been able to translate them into music. I’m able to find therapy in creating my music and sometimes a song will take longer than others, and by the time it’s available for the public, others are able to hear it and if they enjoy a piece of me, that’s a huge bonus or success! My personal secret to longevity would have to be, learning something new every day in music and trying it out, also always asking myself “how does that work?”, and researching for the answer(s). I also think that since 2006, I’ve been on my sober path helps a lot too, as it keeps my mind clear!”
Deb: Sean can you highlight aspects of your cultural background that makes your music unique? Sean: “I try to infuse my indigenous heritage into my music in ways of added sounds like, Pow Wow, Hand Drums or the jingling bells or a Pow Wow dancer, to bring back a connection to the heartbeat of turtle island, or a sonic atmosphere of the noises that I grew up with on my reserve of Driftpile Cree Nation, in Northern Alberta, Canada. Sounds that will take me back to those moments of my youth, and as a young adult. I try to stay away from chants or honor songs in my music unless I’ve received explicit permission to use it.”
Deb: Sean, what do your songs aim to say as they are instrumental? Sean: “I think of my songs as a journey or a feeling where they can be interrupted by the listener in many ways as there are no lyrics or a story to tell. Everyone listens to their music on different equalizer sound settings or smaller-large speakers, plus everyone’s ears are different and they will hear or won’t hear (or feel) sounds that I’ve added into a song, it’s the perception that people can build their own belief on what the song means to them or how it makes them feel physically or emotionally, instead of trying to figure out what the song is about or what was I as the artist was thinking. I have a few songs that have a clearer meaning behind the name of the song to me, examples are: NYD from NYD, was a commemoration of the day I became sober and started to walk a clear path. Another one from that album was “My Spirit is Rising” as it was a musical duet with my younger brother Elijah B., as it made my heart full of joy to record a song with him. Another more recent song would the song titled “Rose Mary” from Electric Turtle Dreams. It’s a song for my mother who was murdered when I was fourteen. When I was composing the song, it started to unfold as a track that I was able to pour my emotions into and it started to sound beautiful and there was only one name that comes to mind and that was my mother’s name Rose Mary, so I wanted a way to connect with my mother. I asked my brothers and sister for their permission to name the song after her and they gave me their blessing, so I named the song after her.”
Deb: Sean, contrary to popular belief, making it is the art of music isn’t merely a game of luck, as it requires talent, strategy, dedication, and determination based on your vision and goals. Share with your fans your creative studio process, and share any awards or accolades you have received and how you are developing your career during Covid19? Sean: “I’ve been in the music industry for close to 25 years as a seasoned performer, rapper, stage manager, sound technician, and road manager, with close to a decade of that time with a native hip-hop group, until we retired the group in 2013. I still wanted to pursue a musical career, so I went back to my electronic roots and made the move to continue as a solo artist, and it’s been a long hard road, music is ever-changing and so is the way that music’s consumed, and it even harder releasing as an independent artist it by yourself. The main thing I concentrate on is making songs that can be shared or songs people can dance to. I will start with a groovy bassline and start to build from there. The goal is to keep composing music and to hopefully score a movie. My inspiration to create music comes from anywhere at any time, I’m more comfortable in a non-scheduled setting where it’s an “in-the-moment” creation, I will try to have my music program available or at least easily accessible if the moment sparks. I’m using Fruityloops (now known as FL Studio) and Ableton Live 10 for making my songs as I find them easier to use to layer the patterns or melodies and they are not too CPU heavy on my laptop.
As there are many other awards that I was a part of winning with my previous group, the ones that I feel stand out the most are from my solo endeavor, my debut album Project: Axiom won the Best Instrumental CD Award at the Aboriginal Peoples Choice Music Awards in 2013.
My sophomore album TORN won the Best Instrumental CD Award at the Indigenous Music Award’s 2015,
and my third album NYD was a nominee for the Best Instrumental CD Award, at the 2017 Indigenous Music Awards.
You want to set a goal of what you would want to do with your music, or where you want to perform your music, find out where artists that are similar to you are playing, try to get booked on the same stage or festivals. Set a timeline and try to stick to it (things will throw you off your timeline – try not to be too hard on yourself when it does come up), there will always be road blocks but the more you are able to foresee these blocks and anticipate the next move makes, your career path as a musician becomes a lot clearer. Take, for instance, Covid19, no one was (or ever will be) prepared for a pandemic. You have to think outside of the box, get your stuff online, and stream to everyone and anyone. Share your music with friends and family, and hopefully, they’ll share it with their friends and family. I’m taking the opportunity to research YouTube channels to find out “How to” stuff and to attend music conferences that have now moved online, like the Alberta Electronic Music Conference (AEMCON) the Virtual Electronic Music Summit (VEMS), and Indie Week. Music never stops.”
Deb: Sean, some of the most historical and revered music has always played a deep role in the transformation of society. Some consider how their art relates to the current social-political landscape or how their music can address these themes. Does your music touch on social or political issues?? Sean: “I won’t say that my music directly touches on social or political issues, as a prover of instrumental music, I know if any of my music was to be added to a social or political campaign, I would like to be behind the issues and for what/who they stand for and not just allow the use of my music for a paycheque.”
Thanks, Sean, it was a pleasure getting to know you, and thank you for your time and fabulous interview.
My brief synopsis after engulfing his spiritual and compelling stratospheric sounds, well, if you love to dance or simply love to trance and forget your cares and woes, then Sean has the medicine. It is just what the doctor prescribed, as you are automatically entranced and captivated by his skill and his power of being so cerebral. Close your eyes, it enters your ears, engages your senses, wipes clear any stress, and is better than an antidepressant, as it works instantly. He takes you on an electronic hypnotic journey, getting you completely lost inside his art in the best way possible. If you want to get a breath of fresh air, tune in to his award-winning signature originals. Thanks, Sean, for cleansing my pallet, satisfying my hunger for something so happy and upbeat in a world that is so gloomy and full of fear of the unknown. Your talents have impacted many lives and no doubt will continue to make a huge difference! I agree with the lyrics inside your hit ‘City of Champions‘ from your 2017 City of Champions album which features rapper Connor McDavid and Madjikal, Logan, Alexis Singers, as “the time is right…….like the 80s with a modern twist!”
Hurry, don’t delay, trip on over, and see what’s grooving at http://www.seanbeaver.com as well, at http://www.djhooligan.com and don’t forget to drop into his socials and see what’s new! at https://facebook.com/seanbeavermusic http://www.instagram.com/seanbeaver http://twitter.com/djhooligan https://www.youtube.com/seanbeavermusic
MUSIC: iTunes – https:itunes.apple.com/sg/artist/sean-beaver/id640271242 Spotify – https://open.spotify.com/artist/3bJdtnEF7QD2bxQXjlM27b Google Play, Amazon MP3, Shazam, eMusic, Rhapsody, Deezer, and many more.
As well, he can be reached at 780.996.6141 or firstname.lastname@example.org
PHOTO CREDIT: Sitting in the studio – Elijah Beaver Photography – Stairs in the Eiffel Tower, Paris – Samantha Brown – Electric Turtle Dreams (Cover Art) – Sean Beaver –