Sean Keating aka Born Cheating whilst juggling his time as a DJ, running his label Tiff's Joints, playing as part of sonic-invasion band Lunch Money and a Touching Bass family member; has also found a little time to make some of his own music over the years. Keating is yet to reveal all to the world, but recent outings in CDR sessions would suggest he hasn't much further to go. The London-based Irishman kindly took a little time to tell us of his liking for gospel music and his production goals for the year.
Talk us through your first CDR experience
The first CDR I went to was back in 2011/2012 at Plastic People. I went on my own and didn't really talk to anyone there or anything. I just stood in the dark listening, hoping that the track I submitted (which at the time I thought was the best thing I'd ever made) would get played. Most of the tracks sounded incredible on that sound system. I remember being very nervous. Eventually my submission got played and it sounded awful. It didn't sound anything like how I'd heard it at home. It could've been a different tune haha. I was actually pretty disheartened by it. Henry Keen (The Room Below/Sound Species) was there and he said something encouraging which was nice but I basically thought the tune (and my skills) were so shit that I didn't go back to another CDR session until 2018 at Rye Wax. Funnily enough I had a very similar experience once I finally plucked up the courage to submit something again but I was less (but still notably) disheartened by it this time round.
What has been your musical journey from then up until now?
I've been making music steadily since then but I got kind of sidetracked by various day jobs. Recently I've been better at spending as much time as possible making music. I also started getting some piano lessons last year which has been a total game changer. I've still not made anything that I'd be happy to release but I'm hell bent on making something I'm at least somewhat proud of this year.
How has attending CDR sessions shaped your journey as a Producer / Artist?
Obviously getting to hear your own music on a great soundsystem is an invaluable experience and has shaped and contributed to my skills with regard to knowing what works sonically. One of the greatest affects the sessions have on me is that they really inspire me and put fire in the belly! Either hearing something by someone else that makes me want to up my game or if the track I've submitted sounds awful it makes me want to immediately get working on something better. Its actually a bit annoying getting home from a session at around midnight because I can't make any noise at that time and thats all I really want to do when I get back from one haha! CDR has generally had a pretty big influence on me. When I was at uni I produced the CDR show on NTS and got to know Tony as well as guests like Al Dobson Jr, Henry Keen, Reginald Omas Mamode IV and Jeen Bassa, all of whose music blew my mind! I also did an Out The Box session with Tony at Secretsundaze Studios a year or so ago which I learnt a lot from.
What has been your most memorable session?
January's session at Corsica Studios was amazing. The sound there is obviously bang on and everyone seemed to be paying particular attention to what was being played that night. There were some killer submissions and it's also the happiest I've ever been with something I've submitted. I even got a couple of nice messages off people saying they liked it which was a fantastic feeling of course.
How has the club scene changed in the time you have been attending?
I think quite a bit has changed in recent years. Everything seems to be a lot more focused on visual presentation than it was 5-10 years ago. Many bookers, promoters, clubs, venues and festivals seem to now care more about a strong visual identity or "brand" than a strong musical or sonic identity. Its kinda like if something doesn't look good on instagram its not worth doing. I could easily go on a bit of a rant but I don't think that would do any good. I do worry about the way things are going and it appears to be a more vacuous and vain scene than it used to be. House and techno in particular seems to have a quietly growing ethnic diversity issue despite the tireless efforts of those that are trying to combat it. Having said that, theres obviously some great stuff going on at great venues with great sound and great, open minded, diverse crowds and lineups. The fact that theres a better gender balance on many lineups these days is not only a great achievement in itself but also shows that we have the power to change things for the better in our own scene. I also like that people are starting to move away from purpose built and conglomerate owned venues in favour of more exciting and often more challenging alternatives. Hopefully it is the start of a mass insurrection in the music industry and society in general.
Who has been on heavy rotation on your audio player of late?
Kaidi Tatham has been on continuous rotation since about September 2010 haha! Recently I've been listening to a lot of Stefan Ringer's stuff. His last release was amazing. I've been listening to anything with any kind of mentally sophisticated/complicated chord progression or harmony, gospel music is good for this.
Been checking out Josh Milan's extensive back catalogue a lot as well. The new Ivan Conti album on Far Out and the debut Clever Austin album on Touching Bass are both very serious too. There's also an Irish vocalist and producer by the name of Fehdah who consistently blows my mind with her music.
Talk us through the track you last [cmd] ‘S’d ? ([ctrl] ‘S’ to PC users)
I actually quite like it at the moment and plan on submitting it for the next CDR - so I might hate it after that. It's basically variations on harmonically contrasting A & B sections. The A is a modal vamp and the B is a major(ish) 8 bar chord progression repeated with alternating melodies over it. Lots of syncopation as always. Rhythmic inspiration came from hearing about James Brown telling his band "I don't care where you are on the 2, 3 and 4 but when we get back to the 1 you better be there!". Theres also a (not so) sneaky Giggs sample in there.
What words of wisdom or advice would you give to newcomers?
I'm definitely not a good person to take advice from as I really have no idea what I'm doing or what it takes to have any kind of success or even make good music. I really don't know...make the music you want to hear and go to CDR every month with a new tune!
Anything else you care to add..Really anything!
CDR is one of the most important institutions in London for keeping a boundary pushing, diverse, exciting, independent music scene alive and well. Theres a couple of other important ones too (Jazz Refreshed comes to mind immediately) but CDR has been doing it for quite a while now and has fostered so many different scenes and talents. It is a truly positive force and theres nothing else like it. So yeah...thank you CDR, very much appreciate what you do for us. Also, if you get a chance, check out Tiff's Joints which is the label I run ; )
Photo credit: Avi Del Mono