Bristol artist Sepia made dubstep history with his Denver debut at the Sub.mission 10 year anniversary. Anticipating the release of his "Eclipse" EP on Truth's burgeoning Deep, Dark, and Dangerous label, we were honored by the opportunity to pick the DJ and producer's brains about the release, his recent US tour, his creative process and more. Read on for an exclusive peek into the musical mind of Theo Bennett and previews from the forthcoming EP (which, by the way, is almost sold out on vinyl - snag your copy now!).
Who is Sepia?
I am. Hahah. Nah, my real name is Theo. I live in Bristol. Daytime I'm a chef, night time I'm making tunes and DJ'ing under this moniker.
Your music ranges from beautifully poignant and haunting pieces, to dark gnarly twisted labriynth dwellers. Can you tell us a little about your influences, both in general, and also what inspires you directly when making a track?
Wow.. thanks guys. Quite a compliment and beautifully worded.
To be perfectly honest, life, situations, past experiences and memories and my surroundings are my immediate influence, main inspiration and reason I make most my tracks. I guess I use music as escapism from real life. The world itself, movies, books. I draw influence from pretty much everything really.
Musically, I am way more influenced by bands then electronic producers. A lot of artists influencing me lately are Explosions In The Sky, Sigur Ros, Radiohead, Laura Marling, King Krule, Fela Kuti, Akua Naru, James Blake, Bon Iver
Producer wise : Samba, Chokez, Koma, Rygby, Foamplate, Karma, Glume, etc too many to mention. And all the classics, forefathers and legends in the game obviously.
The name Sepia envokes this warm, vintage vibe, seeped in nostalgia, the crackle of vinyl, the curled and scuffed edges of old photographs. What inspired your choice of moniker?
Haha you pretty much nailed it! I was making tunes years and years before donning this moniker under other names but not really putting much out, just DJing, and I guess when I started this project, a lot of stuff I was making was leaning towards the old, classic sound, I was making tunes as a nod to the old days and getting quite nostalgic. Needed a name to whack on the soundcloud and identify with so just chose this as it's first thing that came to my head and also fit the music.
You have put out some incredible releases on a variety of great labels. The Eclipse EP is coming out on Truth's label Deep, Dark & Dangerous. Tell us more!
Ah thanks guys! I'm super stoked to be putting this out with the Truth lads. It's been a really great experience. Since they first approached me with an idea to release a record, I wanted to put 100% into it and make it special (hopefully). We been talking for few years now and I've always been a fan of their tunes, output and workrate.
We swapped tunes and a few months down the line, Eclipse EP was born!
What made you want to release on DDD?
The calibre and variation of DDD is inspiring. Connected with so many dope artists and people since joining the label, we got a good family on here!
Are there more things in the pipeline with them?
I'm unsure if I'm allowed to say, so won't go into too much detail. But yes. There is a big project coming at some point. We are spending our time on it and want to make it perfect. So you may be waiting for quite a while. It's been an idea we've had for a while and I'm glad to be finally getting round to it.
What do you think about the label in general?
I love the fact they are bringing in fresh new talent and exposing people to music they've never heard before. Such a variety. Also the amount of support and love DDD get worldwide is incredible. Feels like a real great movement.
If you could describe your vision for the Eclipse EP, what would it be? What are you going for with this release?
This EP is something I've spent quite a while working on. There were so many tracklist revisions before I gave this to the boys as the EP which they don't even know about! Hahah. I ditched so many tunes as it didnt make sense as a whole.
When you listen to this start to finish, it kinda makes sense. And fits with the name of the label as it has elements of Deep, Dark and Dangerous tunes on it.
The only song on here which I didn't make in the past 12 months is Sakura. That's been a sought after dub since 2014. Glad to finally have that out there.
I guess what I was going for with this EP is to show I don't just write deep, emotional tracks. I wanted it to be an all rounder, one that's great for the club and also home listening.
I'm proudest of "Regret" on this release. That one came from a rather unsettling place.
What about for Sepia in general? Where do you see yourself headed, both currently and in the future?
To be honest, this year has been so intense! Everything has all happened at once, and I'm not used to it at all, cos I'm only a small fish in this ocean. But it's been incredible!
I'm not sure where I see myself headed, but hopefully touring more countries, releasing more music and staying in the scene for a long time.
I've got couple festival dates before summer is out, and I'm working on my next releases, so I'd imagine the rest of this year will be playing shows and making music. As for the future, I can't say, as things can always change. But there's some great stuff planned for next year!
I just wanna keep having fun and progressing my sound.
Following your profile, you have been booked to play a lot of places other Dubstep producers only dream of. All over Europe, the UK and USA. What can you tell us about the worldwide scene outside your native Bristol?
It's been a real honour to be able to play me and my friends music across the world. Something you always dream of when your growing up but never expect to happen in real life, you know? Hahah
Playing over Europe and USA is incredible. It's so different! People over there love it so much and are so enthusiastic. Obviously UK crowds are too! But you know what I mean, you get to go explore these countries and cultures and really take it all in, then go and blast it in crazy venues on huge rigs. It's a dream.
Gotta spend special shouts to Basstrace (Vienna). Incredible night hosted by lovely people. Austria have a great scene!
And obviously USA has a great scene. Don't need to tell you that. Denver is full of crazy talented people!
Any crazy “what goes on tour stays on tour” stories you really shouldn't share, but are going to tell us anyway?
Hahah a lot! But I don't wanna get in trouble. There's one funny one I can share haha. I'm not naming names though haha.
Was playing an event in LA with some big heads from the UK who were on tour same time as me. One of the DJ's has a certain drink on his rider. Before his set, he obviously wanted to enjoy some of his rider yeah? So the promoter gives him his rider...only for it to not be the champagne he asked for, or champagne at all, but a bottle of really shit Rose! Rose wine! Hahahah. We were all pissing ourselves.
Was deffo one of them where you had to be there to see the funny side. It's not that wild I know, but I'd get in trouble if told other stories haha.
What's next for you?
Debuting at Outlook Festival on the DDD Boat Party this year! Got some other records lined up for 2018 but can't give info for the time being. And I'm working on a LP.
What's your biggest studio / production tip?
Get comfortable, don't overthink, and always make sure your stocked up on essentials (food, tobacco, weed, drinks etc)
I often find ambient lighting helps me concentrate on making music more, especially on mixdowns and making VST patches. I never have my main light on. Always candles, fairy/christmas type lights strung up everywhere.
I don't really have many technical tips as I'm not the most confident or technical producer. I just about know what I'm doing and just do things til I'm happy with it.