Words and interview by Isaac Javier
One of the best and most beautiful things about the current music scene (and I suppose it’s how music has always been) is how far deep the rabbit-hole leads. On the surface, you have the front men, the emcees, the spokespersons of their respective fields, representing them with flair and originality. Deeper down the trench, you have collaborators and music samples, helping to hype up a track or a project. And then, we get to the burrowed down hidey-holes where the producers can be found, cooking up earth-shaking backdrops. They are the quintessential unsung heroes of the music world, providing the supporting rhythms without the weighty strain of celebrity.
Although producers share a sonic identity and purpose, they would come in different shapes and sizes, expressing their own flamboyant persona, wanting more than their backdrops to be noticed. Celin Carlo-Gonzalez, or better known by her Soundcloud handle, Seneca B, shatters whatever symbolic mould you could bestow upon a modern day, or even a predeceasing-era music producer.
Hailing from Boston, Celin is a 20 year old student at UMass Lowell in Massachusetts and studies history, work as a research assistant, tax preparer, camp counsellor and chicken wing delivery woman. She does her music in her free time, for the most part. Not your typical music producer. She’s been honing her craft for quite a number of years now, starting at age 14, but admittedly taking a long break when she was around 16 to 18 years old.
When talking about her musical beginnings, she spoke of her exposure to instruments such as the drums and being independent and free from any constrictions that any corporate commitment may apply on her young creative ventures. “I started playing the drums when I was younger [around 10 or 11 or something like that] but being in a band wasn’t my speed. I liked being able to produce music because I could do all the parts myself and not have to worry about rallying everyone practice or play correctly.” This helped her find her own sound, uniquely crafting each track in a way that it brings solitude and bliss to the privileged ears that her sound waves graze upon. The essence of understanding and – of pure sonic communication- became something she actively sought out in her tracks, which eventually culminated in the chronically colourful adventure that is her oeuvre.
“It really floats anywhere between old school sample based jazz, hip hop, to electronic house music. Depends on the day.” She says when attempting to identify herself to a sole-genre, which I suppose is an inappropriate question when first hearing some of here tracks as one of the first words you think of is “versatility”. Her catalogue echoes her description as she craftily infuses and jumps from genre to genre, producing a levelling soundtrack. “I think the funny thing is I don’t think you can really hear my biggest influences in my music. Some of them you can, like Flofilz and Cookin Soul, but my biggest influences into getting into music and producing were Flume and Kaytranada. However I don’t think I can hear them at all. People also have told me my music sounds influenced by Dilla but I always thought that was funny because I haven’t actually heard more than 2 or 3 songs by him (I know that’s terrible haha). Nujabes is great though.”
Inspiration and influences litter her musical résumé. “Flume and Kaytranada got me into producing, but I’m inspired by a lot of other stuff. Sam Gellaitry is huge, as are a bunch of people in the Soundcloud lofi beat scene.It’s kind of hard to specify because there’s so much good music out there and just about anything can inspire me to do something new.”