Review & Interview: seb – Negative Space

seb is a 25-year-old beatmaker from the Philippines. His 16-track beat tape Negative Space is a textured lo-fi/boom bap experience. Which you can hear on streaming services (Spotify, Apple Music, Bandcamp) or YouTube below:

Today, I’ve become a fan of his. The tape is smooth and distorted. As he describes, “it was made with an outdated laptop, an unstable mental and seasoned with my SP404sx… nothing perfect, roughly mixed, mastered and produced by me.” The roughness makes for a warm and meditative 28 mins.

I reached out to seb about the project, and he had this this to say:

“This beat tape is my experience at home growing up til now. Every trauma, fear, pain, guilt and sadness. Experiencing to be locked in a room for months, getting addicted to hip-hop and just messing around FL Studio made the beat tape itself. There was another batch of beats that was supposed to be in Negative Space but I scrapped it all up and started it over again and finished older stuff that I genuinely love. Maybe that’s for another project. It’s very immersive if I may say, if you’re gonna listen to it, have a smoke, make sure you listen to it as a whole and with earphones/earbuds/headphones on. I hope you enjoy the experience.

“I know it’s really hard getting an audience, especially that I’m from the Philippines, a third world country, but I’m striving. Getting it there with the bare minimum. There’s nothing else like doing the thing that you love.” 

You can hear these anxieties come through on the track “dead weight” with the spiraling sample of a voice begging to be appreciated. The song turns into a brooding, jazzy, left-field instrumental that really does feel like it resides in the Negative Space of seb’s mind. At times the beat tape is eery and creepy, but there’s this constant feeling of hope and pushing forward. It’s a combination of seb’s hardships with anxiety and his love/appreciation for music. Negative Space is an excellent example of how music can be the light in someone’s tunnel, helping them to wade through the tough times to reach the better ones. Because that’s the thing, where there’s negative space, there’s positive space.

Read more of our conversation below!

Q:
What was the process like? How do you go about putting emotions into beats?

A:
When I was crafting and molding the beats, I was mostly driven by the emotion I felt at home. It was pretty much self-destructive in a way.. I would smoke and drink a lot almost every day and isolate. I had a routine every day. In the morning before breakfast/while drinking coffee, I would simply dig for samples everywhere, YouTube, Reddit, Discord servers, etc. and build from there. I would try to portray my anxiety and depression in my beats, whether it may be through melody, drums, keys, bass etc.

You would notice creepy laugh tracks scattered around the beat tape. Some tracks have [it] and some tracks don’t. Some noise in the [background]. A deafening silence. A sudden intro. A sound that reminds me of pain, sadness and anger. I mixed my beats through my shitty laptop and cheapass headphone monitors while going through a mental warfare and family problems and that’s just all I got. The bare minimum and it reflects thru the project. People often forget that sometimes a mix is not supposed to be clean. Thus, the Negative Space.

Q:
What’s your sampling process like? When you hear the sample, do you have a vision at that moment? Do you set out to find samples that meet your vision

A:
As I’ve said I just dig around the internet for samples. When I hear something from a movie, series, cartoons, games, I sample it. I always got my SP404 right beside my laptop. So I process the samples there then bounce it to my laptop to finish the beat. When I hear a sample, it’s most likely a deep feeling. A connection to the sound. A sound that tickles your mind and heart and gives you that stank face. That’s already it. Also, Al said any record with a naked woman in the cover is a sure banger. I definitely choose my samples carefully. That is the hardest part of the process because it is the core of the project; to try and portray emotions through absurd samples.

Q:
Who are some of your influences?

A:
I cannot name everyone, but as of this moment I will answer: Nujabes, Mac Miller, MF DOOM, Em, Cole, Frank Ocean, Tyler, Slipknot, Metallica, Filipino Hiphop, Knxwledge, Milo, Nirvana, Daniel Johnston, Common, Mos Def, Mavi, Na$ty, Grimm Doza, ICYTWAT, Yung Lean, LUSTBASS, CRWN, similar objects, BP Valenzuela, Emar Industriya, Apoc, Loonie, SixTheNorthStar, Eli, Railkid, CLBRKS, Lee Scott, .looms, Doms, Earl Sweatshirt, k.dot, Alchemist, Daringer, Jake One, Kenny Beats. I might just leave it there. I can go on all day and geek about my favorite artists. Shout outs from the Philippines and to some of the artists I mentioned above. Peace!

You can look forward to his next release HADO coming in April!

Looking for more new artists? Checkout our Artists page!


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