Seneca B

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.”

I asked her what would she want to achieve in her musical career, and she responded with what exactly you would expect from listening to her masterfully crafted productions.  “No idea. I’m a perfectionist so all I know is I want to get better, but other than that I’m just cool with being able to make music.”
True to her ace and authentic nature as a producer, she mentioned that it would be a goal of hers to work with another one of her idols, Mac Miller “Ever since he started his shift in music he’s become a real idol for me and I think working with him would be so cool because he seems able and willing to experiment and do different stuff with his music.”
We then talked about what she’s doing now and her future musical endeavours. “I’m currently working on an album with a friend, I have enough tracks to do my own album though I’m not sure if I will or not. I have about 30 tracks I haven’t released just sitting on my laptop but who knows what’s next for now. Just waiting for the right time.”
Right now, as I am finishing up this feature, I am playing Celin’s track, Mom, which as the title suggests, is about and dedicated to an expression of gratitude and love towards a mother. In this track is one of my favourite samples ever used as it says “She danced, and I just couldn’t get it. So I refused to call her mother and called her lady.And she accepted that. I learned that love heals” which instantly struck an emotional cord. Traces and hints of nostalgia, and sentimentality all come violently flowing in at once, resonating her ‘Dilla comparisons.

Keep up with Celin by following her on Facebook, and Twitter.

Check out the rest of her music on her Soundcloud (senecabeats) and her old EP’s on her Bandcamp.

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