Chef and Louis pushing Aberdeen's music scene

Aberdeen's growing hip-hop and R&B scene has caught the eye of BBC documentary makers. The New Aberdeen: R&B and Hip-Hop at the Heart of the Granite City takes a look at musician Chef, producer Louis Seivwright and the musical artists that surround them as the scene in the city in the city grows and gets national attention.

We reached out to Chef to find out a little bit more about him and his working relationship with business and creative partner Louis Seivwright. We wanted to know how it started, the artists they work with, what it was like to shoot the documentary and his plans for the future.



How it started

Let's start with a little bit about your background. Tell us about how you met. How did that develop into a working relationship?

Louis and I first met working a door to door sales job. We were both there for a very short period of time but during that time we were told of each other (since we both were interested in music) but never really spoke too much. It was only some time after that he reached out to me.

Louis and I are brothers. We don’t always agree but we always trust one another to know what the other is doing.
Chef

I was and am extremely busy so I wasn’t able to meet with him but we ran into each other when I was coming off a train back from a trip I made to Glasgow. He pushed me to go studio right there and then and the rest is history. We made our first song and never stopped.

How is your working relationship? Is it all smooth sailing or does it sometimes get salty between Chef and Louis?

Louis and I are brothers. We don’t always agree but we always trust one another to know what the other is doing. More often than not, we are thinking the exact same thing and we usually learn from each other when it comes to any differing ideas. It’s never been salty but we are both so passionate about what we do so its all a part of collaboration.

Photo supplied by Chef

Growing relationships

You have a number of artists that work around you. Did you go out to find them or was it more organic than that?

I definitely go out and look for them and I have done from the start. I’ve always believed that a community and thriving culture is what drives music and art. In order to have that you have to search for those looking to be a part of that and help and nurture them in whatever way they require. I spend time every day searching the Scottish music scene. I listenin to everyone’s new releases, analysing and entrenching myself in what’s going on.

However even though I search for them, I don’t force connections, those are all organic. I’ll have an eye on someone for any amount of time. If I’m meant to meet them then I’ll make sure I get the chance to speak to them. From there we see if anything we’re involved in can align, collaboration is not just about being on the same song. It can be so many more things.

Aberdeen's music scene has traditionally been dominated by guitar bands. In the past few years that's changing. Why do you think that came about?

I’ve been working with countless artists in all shapes and forms. As I said, it’s not always making a song with someone but my connections with the music scene spans to every level of industry and I plan to keep fostering healthy relationships with everyone I can.

This documentary is an ambitious next step, with the aim of bringing your music scene to a wider audience. How did it come about?

The BBC actually approached us, but the documentary was a goal that we set for ourselves a year prior and it seems that the work we put in allowed our wishes to come to fruition.

https://youtu.be/vmNrHpY1h6Y
Chef and Louis appearing in BBC Documentary The New Aberdeen

Shooting the documentary

What challenges did you face in getting the documentary produced?

The documentary went along without any issues thankfully. The BBC Tune team were absolutely amazing and allowed us to have input. It did not seem forced and we felt like we could be ourselves.

Tell us a little about the day of shooting.

Louis and I were shooting from 9am. We were present throughout everyone else’s shoots so our day wrapped up around 8pm. Quite long but it was a great experience. We started at Spin Record Store on Littlejohn Street. They gifted me a vinyl of my favourite Fela Kuti album “Zombie”. We then travelled round Aberdeen and ended at 210 Bistro. Tru Nature, Aiitee, Josh Maclean and Aiysha Russel were all great and it felt like we all had a good time.

Hard work and the future

It looks like you've both been putting in long hours to get this off the ground. Have you any advice for those following in your footsteps?

We certainly have been putting in long hours. The advice I’d give to anyone else is to take the stairs and not to skip any steps. And secondly, I believe people should always ask for help. Never be too proud to rely on others because knowing different perspectives will help give you a better understanding of what you’re doing. Even if you don’t want to take the advice, it’s always good to know what someone would think.

What upcoming releases should we be keeping an eye out for?

Louis has a game changing album that is coming up. Louis and I are both taking part in a few more things for TV. Aside from that I can’t give too much away, but there a big plans in the works. We're now fostering some international connections and the goal is to develop what we’ve started and take it to highest heights. You’ll have to keep up to date on our socials to see more.

What you need to know

Where to follow Chef: Twitter, Instagram, Facebook
Where to listen: Spotify, Apple Music
Latest release: The World is Mine EP 

If you enjoyed this article, you may enjoy our interview with Aberdeen producer Vagrant Real Estate.

https://open.spotify.com/album/4b7ledOhkZcTWWitE1y6ao?si=9OX5D8wjTqCWpv6B2hbPLg&dl_branch=1

Vagrant Real Estate explores Holy Places

Aberdeen producer Vagrant Real Estate has teamed up with Edinburgh-based singer Misty Galactic for a new track. Released on 23 July, Holy Places is a dark late-night pop single which explores the intense feelings of lust and obsession.

https://youtu.be/ldgM_vXVxC4

Both musicians have enjoyed tremendous praise in the infancy of their careers. Misty Galactic’s previous releases received a wide range of support, including from the Scottish Alternative Music Awards. She ended 2020 on a high with her inclusion on The Herald’s Top 100 tunes of the year. Recently Misty Galactic also landed the coveted Artist of the Week feature in The Scotsman.

Vagrant Real Estate has also received notable coverage. Specifically from the likes of Ministry of Sound, DJ Mag and i-D Magazine. In addition he was also named as one of Vic Galloway’s Top 25 Artists To Watch in 2021

The new track marks the first time that Vagrant Real Estate has worked worked with a singer. As a producer he normally works with rappers. His signature production style combining warm melodies with soap bass and drums is still very much present, though. Holy Places highlights Misty Galactic’s sonic ambition. Her voice commands presence over walls of guitar and synths. The result is a cavernous and carnal anthem to obsession, evoking artists such as BANKS, The Weeknd and Lana Del Rey. 



What the artists say about Holy Places

We asked Vagrant Real Estate how he and Misty got together for the track. Speaking to POST, he told us, "I originally came across Misty's music through blogs as she was picking up press for her first few singles, and really liked her sound and aesthetic. I always want to try and push myself and work on different sounds and styles, so I reached out and she was happy to collaborate.

“Misty Galactic is a great talent, and I couldn’t be happier with how the track came out. From the initial demo I sent through, her songwriting and vocal performance took the whole sound to the next level."

Misty Galactic told us, "It was awesome to get to work with Vagrant Real Estate on this release. The lyrics are all about being so obsessed with someone and having such intense feelings, it all starts to feel like a religious experience. I'd been playing around with them for quite a while, and when he sent me the initial idea for a track, everything just seemed to fit together perfectly. I'm super proud of what we've created."

Vagrant Real Estate | Photo by Chris Sansbury

The effect of COVID on recording music

We wondered whether remote the move to recording has been liberating for artists. Some say it's levelling the playing field, while others tell us it's more difficult for new acts. Vagrant Real Estate thinks it is a bit of both. "I think it's definitely benefited those who have been able to adapt and work effectively with it. I've seen a number of people grow their brand massively. Artists tapping into that new captive audience who were stuck at home, looking for things to watch on social media.

If the quality is there and you have the right push/marketing behind it, people will start to notice.
Vagrant Real Estate

"There's definitely an argument that it's difficult for new acts due to the sheer amount of new music now. You can self-produce and release tracks from your bedroom, but equally the tools are all available and mostly free to network and get your sound out there via social media, websites and the like. If the quality is there and you have the right push/marketing behind it, people will start to notice."

Aberdeen's music scene

Aberdeen's music scene is dominated by rock bands, but other genres are starting to push their way through. We asked about the city's music scene and he sees it. He said, "I think locally and for Scotland in general, there's an abundance of bands. That's what we're typically known for. When I started out producing, pretty much the only other person working in hip-hop in the city was Ransom FA.

"I definitely think now though that hip-hop is coming through. There's a lot of talent in the next generation of artists. I think that ties in with the global shift towards hip-hop as the most popular genre. The main thing Aberdeen needs to compete with the central belt is just infrastructure. In terms of venues, studios and practise spaces we're definitely lacking. Especially when compared to what's available to the artists in Glasgow and Edinburgh."

Vagrant Real Estate | Photo by Chris Sansbury

The future

Wondering what's on the horizon for the Aberdeen producer, he told us, "I've been working on some really exciting collaborations with MCs in London. I've been building those relationships and expanding my sound to incorporate more live instrumentation. Gatson and I are writing the follow-up album to our Holding On EP from Spring this year. I'm also finishing up my next instrumental project - just keeping as busy as possible.

"Once we get a bit closer to normality I'm also keen to put on some events in the city with DJs and performers, providing a platform to showcase the talent we have here."

Our view

Holy Places is a great example of the wealth of talent coming out of Scotland’s next generation of stars. Highlighting both artist’s level of musicianship and versatility, Misty Galactic and Vagrant Real Estate have bright futures ahead of them.

We are extremely keen to support Aberdeen singers, songwriters, bands and producers. Check out The Lounge, a playlists with shines a spotlight on our finest musicians. We update it every Monday so check in regularly.

Holy Places is released on 23 July. You can find Holy Places on your favourite streaming site. You can also keep up to date with the latest on the Aberdeen DJ and producer on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.


Records stacked in crates

Aberdeen prepares for Record Store Day

Sales of records have gone through the roof in recent years as music fans appreciate the analogue sound and the tactile feel of vinyl. It's no secret that vinyl is much more collectible, and the covers just look so much better at full size. Record Store Day is a twice annual event to celebrate the culture of the independently owned record stores. The day brings together stores from around the world with fans and artists.

Many artists release records specifically for Record Store Day. These are only distributed to shops participating in the event. Three Aberdeen shops are taking place in the event on Saturday 12th June. Chameleon Records, Red Robin Records and Maidinvinyl.

Chameleon Records in Aberdeen
Photo by Chris Sansbury

Chameleon Records

We spoke to Terry Charleton who’ll be helping owner Michael Moloney at Chameleon Records at it's new home. He told us, “Chameleon will be hosting its 7th RSD and this year they have relocated to inside Holburn HiFi. It’s the ideal partnership for music lovers. Previous RSD has seen fans queuing from the wee small hours but with Covid restrictions this is replaced by a virtual queue where people book a time slot to visit the shop via the website."

“One of the appeals of the day is chatting to al the customer about their purchases as they always super knowledgeable and even what you think is the most obscure release will have someone keen to grab it.”

“There will be some fantastic releases this year. Elton John's is putting out his never previously released Regimental Sgt.Zippo. There's two live albums from The Police and brilliant 12” picture discs from U2 and The Cure and a live album from Fontaines DC. In addition a more mainstream artist release sees Ariana Grande releasing a live album on vinyl for the first time. This is very limited and will be in high demand.”

Red Robin Records in Aberdeen
Photo by Chris Sansbury

Red Robin Records

Red Robin Records on Correction Wynd is also taking part in Record Store Day on Saturday. They’ll be open from 8am and will be on a first come first served basis with only one person allowed in the store at a time.

Owner Nick Duthie told us, “We are excited firstly that RSD is able to run this year. Vinyl lovers will continue to have the opportunity to buy some fantastic new records as well as supporting all the small businesses in Aberdeen partaking in RSD.”

“In regard to albums there are so many great ones on the list. However, there are a few I'm especially excited for. Prince’s The Truth has its first release on vinyl. Also Belle and Sebastian’s The Boy with the Arab Strap on coloured vinyl for the first time. Lounge at the Edge of Town have a self-titled release. Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds are releasing a greatest hits on coloured vinyl called Back The Way We Came: Vol 1 (2011-2021). There is a coloured three disc version of The Matrix Soundtrack. Finally, Primal Scream have a 15 year anniversary extended version of their classic, Riot City Blues.”

Aberdeen's Record Stores

Aberdeen has number of fantastic independent record stores that stock great vinyl all year round. Therefor you have a load of choice depending on your particular taste. These include:

Aberdeen Vinyl Records 101 Union St, Aberdeen AB11 6BD
Maidinvinyl Records 7 Rosemount Viaduct, Aberdeen AB25 1NE
Spin Records 10 Littlejohn St, Aberdeen AB10 1FG
Forecast Records 13A Belmont St, Aberdeen AB10 1JR
Chameleon Records 441 Holburn St, Aberdeen AB10 7GU
Red Robin Records Vinyl Cafe 13 Correction Wynd, Aberdeen AB10 1HP

Finally, thanks so much to the teams at Red Robin Records and Chameleon. They've given us a real taste of Record Store Day. It's sure to be a huge day for all the record stores in Aberdeen. If you're taking part this Saturday, make sure to plan ahead and remember to wear a mask.

POST have set up a playlist to support Aberdeen musicians. A place where you can find new music by Aberdeen and NE Scotland’s very talented singers, songwriters, bands and producers. Read the story about why we made it happen.


Aberdeen producer Louis Seivwright rings in release

Aberdeen producer and rising star Louis Seivwright has released a new track in collaboration with flamboyant Scottish singer songwriter Ama Jane. The song ‘Circles' is the debut single from Louis’ upcoming album ‘Wonderland’.

Seivwright wrote 'Circles' to symbolise being trapped in a never-ending loop of work and relationship problems. BBC Radio Scotland said “it’s got that soulful R&B sound on the beat with the amazing contrast of the vocals…that aggressive, boss-ass attitude.” This is the second Seivwright song this year that BBC Radio Scotland have made their Track of the Week.

Louis Seivwright is emerging as one of the hottest producers on the UK music scene and is creating a platform and community for young musicians in Aberdeen.

Louis, 23, who has been experimenting with instruments since the age of 5, is emerging as one of the hottest producers on the UK music scene and is creating a platform and community for young musicians in Aberdeen. Last year the Scottish Alternative Music Awards nominated him for Best Hip-Hop act.

https://twitter.com/officialsama/status/1325781433550475265?s=21

The team here at POST like Louis Seivwright's production style. He’s developing a warm sound that finds a great balance between soulful nostalgia and modern beats. His versatility means his production works brilliantly with pop, soul and hip-hop artists.

Louis releases ‘Circles’ on 7th May. In addition, he'll release the new album ‘Wonderland’ in the autumn of 2021. Seivwright calls the album a turning point in his full time production career.

Listen to ‘Circles’ by Louis Seivwright as well as tracks from other Aberdeen artists in The Lounge, our playlist that shines a light on local vocalists, bands and producers.

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL9tor0TDtGEznDCGRhqHZgERKUvTek0L9

Check out our Temp Check interview with Aberdeen singer songwriter Rachel Jack. She tells us all about launching a music career during lockdown.


A playlist to support Aberdeen musicians

We have set up a playlist to support Aberdeen musicians. A place where you can find new songs by Aberdeen and NE Scotland's very talented singers, songwriters, bands and producers. This is the story about why we made it happen.

Sometimes I commit the cardinal sin of scrolling through Twitter while watching a movie. I like to check our @aberdeencity account regularly to see what’s going on in the the city. Mostly I make sure that we’ve not accidentally posted something that has pissed-off a load of folk. As I scrolled, I spotted this tweet by local singer Rachel Jack.

https://twitter.com/Rachellojack/status/1360334980472307717?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1360334980472307717%7Ctwgr%5E%7Ctwcon%5Es1_&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fcdn.embedly.com%2Fwidgets%2Fmedia.html%3Ftype%3Dtext2Fhtmlkey%3Da19fcc184b9711e1b4764040d3dc5c07schema%3Dtwitterurl%3Dhttps3A%2F%2Ftwitter.com%2FRachellojack%2Fstatus%2F13603349804723077173Fs3D20image%3D

I retweeted to bring it to the attention of our community. As a result it sparked a healthy conversation about how Northsound and Original have commercial interests that make supporting Aberdeen musicians extremely difficult. However, local charitable broadcaster Shmu.FM, particularly the Monday night show 57 Degrees North Presents, are much more able to support talented Aberdeen musicians.

The conversation inspired us to consider what the team at POST could do to help and we decided that a regularly updated playlist of new music from Aberdeen and the North-East’s singers and bands could make a difference. My POST partner in crime, Kevin, made the fantastic suggestion of a mini website would let artists submit their own newly released tracks.

A place Aberdeen Musicians can call home

Waking up early and inspired on Saturday morning, I created the website, and with the kind help of Rachel, put together a playlist of great music ready to share with our 17.5k community in Aberdeen. Finally, after some testing and updates, we are ready to share The Lounge with you. Please hit 💚 button in Spotify and you’ll be kept up to date with brilliant new local music.

https://open.spotify.com/playlist/326NKLDZMa9jQ6Gw7JE3zr?si=a5b70766a43f4c7d

The website is just a simple form allowing city singers, bands and producers to submit their newly released tracks…or even an older one that they would like given a wee push. However, it is ready, and you can find it here.

As we launch today we want people to feel part of a wee community. For artists to discover each other and for listeners like yourself to discover your new favourite local musical artists and add them to your own playlists.

In this launch playlist we have of course featured Rachel Jack, as well as, amongst others: multi-instrumentalist Calorine with Garden of None; four-piece Cold Years with their amazing cover of Lizzo’s Good As Hell; producer Louis Seivwright’s Promises featuring the amazing vocals of Tammi Whyte; the synthy melodies of The Little Kicks; and finally, rapper and man of the moment, Ransom FA.

Thanks very much to Rachel for her inspiration and her help. You can find her right at the top of our first playlist. She has released some great songs over the past year. If you have ANY suggestions we always have our social media DMs open, or you can drop us a message through our homepage.


We've since added mirrored playlists on Apple Music and YouTube.

https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PL9tor0TDtGEznDCGRhqHZgERKUvTek0L9

Temp Check: Aberdeen singer-songwriter Rachel Jack

Live music performances have taken a massive hit because of the need to keep people safe from Covid. During this time, many musicians have concentrated on releasing new music to give fans a diversion from lockdown life. We spoke to Aberdeen based singer-songwriter Rachel Jack who has been making waves in the Scottish music scene this year. Having released her brilliant debut EP, The Calgary Tapes in the summer of 2020, we wanted to catch up with her to see how life is treating her right now.


Hey Rachel. Thanks very much for taking time to chat. As always, we start with the easy question that doesn’t always have an easy answer…how are you feeling right now?

I’m feeling tired to be honest. I’ve been super busy and I’m really looking forward to taking a break over Christmas.

What make you take the leap to chasing a career in music?

I had a period of illness and it put everything into perspective for me. I did that thing of looking over my life to-date and felt a bit disappointed that I hadn’t done anything with my voice.

The part I’ll continue to be most proud of is divorcing myself from a career I spent over a decade building. I’d thought about it for ages and it was a really difficult decision to make.

Live performance is pretty much out the question right now, how have you replaced that?

I’ve been keeping my focus by releasing music. In fact, I've released 7 singles since we first went into lockdown.

You released your debut EP, The Calgary Tapes, earlier this year. How did that come about?

I wrote those songs while completing a songwriting scholarship from Paolo Nutini at UWS. I called them the Calgary Tapes because I recorded those songs while living in a place called Calgary on the Isle of Mull.

What are you most proud of so far in your musical career?

The part I’ll continue to be most proud of is divorcing myself from a career I spent over a decade building. I’d thought about it for ages and it was a really difficult decision to make because your job seems to become a massive part of your identity, and for a while I struggled with knowing who I was without a job title, if that makes sense. That process as been the most rewarding.

Rachel Jack sitting in the sunshine against a backdrop of pink flowers.
Photo Credit: AG Whylie

Is there anyone in your community that has inspired you? Tell us about them.

Normal every day people inspire me. I'm interested in their stories. Most of my songs are conversations I’ve had with people. In terms of the musical direction, there’s nothing intentional about it at all. When I meet people I like, we make music together and their style inspires mine. It’s all a very experimental go-with-the-flow kinda thing for me.

What pisses you off?

When people aren’t open to changing their minds. I’ve got a lot of respect for people who can hold their hands up and admit when they are wrong. We all have a right to change our minds when we learn new information but when people dig in their heels and refuse to have conversations about important matters, that really drains me.

I evaluated my life a few years ago and made some big changes. I feel as though I was mentally prepared for this. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not been easy by any means but it’s also not the worst thing I’ve been through, personally.

The pandemic has been tough on most people, but it has given many the opportunity to evaluate their lives. Has the pandemic changed you?

I evaluated my life a few years ago and made some big changes. I feel as though I was mentally prepared for this. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not been easy by any means but it’s also not the worst thing I’ve been through, personally.

What motivates you?

Knowing that this is it…right here, right now. Life is short and I want to enjoy it as much as possible.

What does the future hold for Rachel Jack? What are your ambitions?

I feel as though I’ve arrived at where I want to be in that I’ve got a job I like and I’m doing music at the same time. I’d love to write for other artists, that’s the dream really. But I’m only a couple of years into music and I’m enjoying writing for myself so I’m not in any rush. In terms of what I’ve got planned for 2021 — I’ll release my second EP Magazine Girls and I hope to perform live as much as possible!


Find out more about Rachel Jack

Thanks very much to Rachel Jack both for her time and for her candour. You can show your support by following her on TwitterFacebookInstagram and on Spotify, and also check out her latest single, For You, below.

If you enjoyed this Temp Check interview, take some time to read our chat with Stuart McPhee from Siberia Bar and Hotel about his experience of the lockdown. If you would like to hear more local music, check out our playlist, The Lounge. It highlights music from Aberdeen's diverse music scene.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H95YudQRQfw

Aberdeen Producer Nominated for SOMA

Aberdeen producer Louis Seivwright has been nominated for a prestigious music industry award

At just 22 years old, Aberdeen based Louis Seivwright has been nominated for an award at this year’s Scottish Alternative Music Awards (SAMA Awards).

Fast emerging as one of the hottest producers in the UK music scene, Louis’ unique style of heavy-hitting beats blends grime, trap, drill and hip-hop into a sound that is becoming the backbone of Scotland’s blossoming rap landscape. He‘s been nominated in the ‘Best Hip Hop’ category, and is the only nominee from Aberdeen in the event which takes place online on 18th November. The nomination comes after the successful launch of his second album earlier this month.

On 3rd October 2020, Louis released his ground-breaking new album ‘Cloud 9,’ providing a platform for Scottish talent to showcase their skills. Reaching an impressive 50,000 streams in its first week, the album is now closing in on 100,000 streams and has become one to watch this year.

Featuring a mix of fresh and established artists, it brings rappers and vocalists together in one place as part of a new and exciting project. The collaborative effort features tracks by artists such as Shogun, who has garnered over 10 million views and is currently starring in BBC’s ‘Rap Game UK’ this year, local rapper Ransom FA, a recognised name on the scene and emerging female songwriter and vocalist Tammi Whyte who has made her debut on ‘Cloud 9.’ Louis’ motivation was to bring focus to all artists at varying stages in their musical careers, working closely with his fellow colleague PJ the Engineer at their local recording studio “RansomHQ”, they have been able to create a strong, industry standard sound for this scene defying album.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QMVydxjxe1g

The concept for the album comprises of 2 themes — Side A and side B. Side A offers a more universal sound with a collection of chilled tracks and vocals. Meanwhile, Side B brings Louis’ signature rap sound to the forefront. By combining 2 different genres, the producer has demonstrated diversity in his production and prides himself in being able to deliver something for everyone.

Commenting on his nomination Louis said “I am delighted to get the opportunity to shine a light on the growing hip hop music scene we have locally. Winning this award would be a first as no one from Aberdeen has won before, so hopefully I can take it home.”

The SAMA awards will be open to a three day public vote starting on the 9th of November, with the winners being announced at the ceremony.

Written by Kirsty Whyte