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Off The Record Mix Series 45:
Richard Sen

OTR MIX New Website 45

Not many have covered the ground like London’s Richard Sen has. Starting his deep dive into the underground scene by being the much recognised Sen graffiti writer he has moved on over the years to be considered one of the UK’s great selectors and DJ’s. Having also released music under several guises, not only under his own name (which he also has a wealth of huge remixes for artists like Bryan Ferry, John Grant, Unloved and LCD Soundsystem), but most notably under the phenomenal Padded Cell and the excellent Bronx Dogs.

With his excellent weekly radio show on Charlie Bones’ Do!! You!!! Radio station as well as dropping the award winning Dream The Dream (UK Techno, Breakbeat And House 1990-1994) compilation on Ransom Note, Sen finds himself with an even larger wealth of fans. With that being said we are delighted to welcome Richard Sen to the Off The Record mix series where he provides us with a 3+ hour journey taking us on a deep dive into his record selection providing styles of all kinds throughout. We had a quick chat with Richard about the mix and what he has coming up. This is Off The Record 45: Richard Sen.

Hey Richard, thanks for joining us! Can you tell us about your mix and what the idea behind it was? 

At first I was thinking of digging through my collection for rarities and obscurities but then I thought, there’s so much great new music that goes under the radar and gets lost and I’d like to promote some of those tracks on the mix. I decided to include more left of centre underground electronic music that I have been playing on my Do!! You!!! Radio shows and which I don’t get a chance to play in clubs. I’ll invent some new genres for the mix like Emo-Breaks, Goth-Step and Psycho-Electro. 90bpm – 133bpm, deep, dark, druggy, beats and electronics from the last few years or so.

Can you tell us a bit about how you usually approach recording a mix or a set? 

Firstly, I think of a particular style, concept or genre(s) that I want to present. I’ll usually get all the tracks that I want to use in some kind of order then record it all live in one take. I use 2 X CDJs or 2 X Technics 1210 decks. If there are little mistakes then I’m happy to keep them in. With this mix, there were a lot of tracks I wanted to use and it ended up being over 3 hours long – a proper trip.

What are your preferred methods for finding new music—do you still enjoy digging around in dusty crates, or do you prefer to buy online? 

A mixture of everything really. I don’t really go hunting for old records anymore, I’ve done that all over the world for the past 30 years. Most likely, I will get anything old on Discogs. With new tracks, I mainly play digital. I’m actively seeking new music every week for my Do!! You!!! show, so every few weeks I spend the day ‘digital digging’ through Bandcamp. Juno, Beatport etc. I was in Phonica for the first time in ages yesterday and Nick sorted me out with some really nice, vinyl only new things but it ends up costing a lot!

You had a great end to the year with your compilation “Dream The Dream: UK Techno, House and Breakbeat 1990-1994” winning Best Of at the DJ Mag awards.
How did curating the compilation come to be? Do you feel like it reflects an important period for you musically?

The comp was a follow up to my other one, This Ain’t Chicago on Strut, released in 2012. It took 10 years to get it together to do another one! I’ve known Wil at Ransom Note for many years and we were always in touch and last year he got the ball rolling for Dream The Dream. The tracks on that comp are special to me as they are some of my faves from the time which stayed under the radar but still sound good now. I was buying those records when I started DJing so the memories surrounding them are quite special and they are part of my musical DNA. At that time, dance music was in its infancy and there were no rules related to specific genres so many of those tracks sound unique and still rough round the edges.

What is your dream setting for a DJ set? 

A cave, possibly a church, the Taj Mahal might be interesting but the reverb inside might be a problem! Definitely not some boring beach, festival, forest, blah blah blah.

What do you have up your sleeve for 2024?

I have my debut solo album being released this summer, around June. I’m going to do a painting for the front cover artwork. I have some unreleased remixes of a well-known singer, hopefully coming out in the autumn. I’m DJing at Tresor with Luca Lozano on March 15th which is a dream come true. Hopefully more gigs and I want to do some more paintings too.

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