London based house duo Saison have, over the last few years, carved out a niche of their own. Their sound is characterized by a timeless quality and firm focus on groove, deeply rooted in their formative years of music discovery. Warm chords, intricate drums and evocative soulful vocals are blended to masterful effect to create records that are easily accessible, but that also reward repeat listens due to the intricacy and sophistication of their production. For Saison, it’s about more than simply making you dance: it’s about evoking an emotion that stays with you long after the music has stopped.
Saison’s sound is characterized by a timeless quality and firm focus on groove, deeply rooted in their formative years of music discovery. For them, it’s about more than simply making you dance: it’s about evoking an emotion that stays with you long after the music has stopped. Key to Saison’s success is their ability to meld their extensive and at times disparate influences into records that are both respectful to their source and entirely unique, crafting deep, underground house music that works on crowds both large and small. Both, Matt and Leigh, have an undeniable passion for and unwavering belief in their creative process as Saison; something that is evident in both, the quality and accessibility of their music.
We had a chat with Saison to talk about their latest musical projects and upcoming single ‘Show Me’ featuring the vocals of Dominique Fils-Aime.
Electronic Groove: Hi, Matt & Leigh, thanks for your time today. Where are you right now and how you have spent the quarantine season?
Saison: Hello and thanks for the invite. We’re London based and have been splitting our time between the studio and home for lockdown. We’ve split our shifts up at the studio between morning and afternoon to follow proper social distancing.
EG: Has the lockdown impacted your personal inspiration or motivation?
Saison: Not in a negative way. We aren’t able to spend as much time at the studio now so we have had to be super productive in the time we have there, it has made us focus and hunker down more. At the studio we usually work on projects with different artists; and as much as we loved having people in and out of the studio before lockdown, we have now freed up time to focus more on our label and personal projects, which has been great. So we’ve tried to get the most out of this situation – we’ve realized we have a good opportunity here to work on different ideas.
EG: You’re about to release your next single entitled ‘Show Me’. What was the inspiration to produce it?
Saison: At first, there wasn’t a focus point for the inspiration per-say. Dominique (Fils-Aime) originally had sung this song over another backing track we were working on at the time. We loved the vocal but felt it didn’t suit what it was originally written over. We sat with the song for a while and probably wrote 4-5 different ideas for the project before we came up with one that stuck. We fell in love with the vocal and were moved to capture the classic and timeless feeling it gave us. The goal was to capture that classic feeling in the backing track with our sound, whilst giving justice to the vocals.
EG: ‘Show Me’ features the vocals of Dominique Fils-Aime. Have you worked with her before? How did you link together and what do you think of her inclusion?
Saison: We were introduced to Dominique through our publisher Defected Records. They sent her a few backing tracks we had been working on and shortly after we received ‘Show Me’. Funny enough we came across her on the internet a few months prior and thought doing a project with her would be cool. We didn’t realize at the time when we got the vocal back it was the same Dominique. We instantly fell in love with what she had written and, as mentioned, spent time rewriting a backing track around the vocal. It’s been a great project for us.
“All the tracks that do well for us have been conceived from a love for what we are creating”
EG: Counting with very successful releases in the past including ‘Moments’, that was a Beatport deep house No.1 for six months and 2019’s highest-selling deep house song on Traxsource, what do you think are the keys to produce an outstanding dancefloor track?
Saison: For us, there are a few key elements that make music work for us. We really focus on locking in the groove. Once this is done, we try to add depth and textures to the music. We have certain chords that we go to that suit our sound and give the tracks grounding. But the most important thing is we really follow the music we believe in, otherwise, it just comes across as unauthentic. All the tracks that do well for us have been conceived from a love for what we are creating. We never try to jump on a sound if it’s popular, or we think making a certain style will get us gigs or more followers, etc. It’s always a big surprise to us that certain tracks do well. Ultimately, we are very grateful to the supporters who have bought and streamed our music.
EG: You also run your own label No Fuss Records. What is planned for the imprint in the coming months?
Saison: Beyond ‘Show Me’, we have a lot of projects we are really excited about. We have a record out next from Wolf Story featuring Queen Rose from Detroit called ‘Wating for You’. A new EP from Chicago’s Local Options, who we really love; their sound encompasses a mix of deep house and techno that rarely gets the recognition it deserves. Recently, we had them do a remix for us that got support and plays from Marco Corrola and Diplo, so we were super happy for the guys. Another EP from Chile’s Massiande (Freerange, Phonica Records). We also have some great remixes coming up from Waajeed, Roger Sanchez, Kevin Yost, and us. With the label we like to work closely with artists – very often we do the mixdown and mastering and offer up advice on arrangements as well as help with the final productions which ultimately helps to create the No Fuss sound.
EG: Working as a duo, what would you say are the pros and cons of working together?
Saison: Definitely more pros than cons. Working together and merging our different influences has made our sound what it is. We find finishing ideas or productions to be much easier as we can throw the ideas back and forth. In our studio we have 2 rooms so we can both be working on different projects at the same time and pass them between us. This gives us the space to work by ourselves and together on the same project. Saison is definitely the sum of two parts. Sometimes if one of us has been working on a project alone the other is able to come in with fresh ears and give their perspective on the track, this can have a good or bad outcome for whoever has been working on the track, depending on the opinion from the other. This is key to the development of the tracks though. Without being able to offer constructive feedback to each other, the track doesn’t grow into its full potential.
EG: Moving back into the uncertainty of the current situation, the music industry is facing some tough times, more specifically clubs and events. Do you foresee a new direction for the business side of it?
Saison: We can only speculate, but we feel people will be more focused on making quality music and developing their sound. We can see the level of production and creativity rise since people have had more time to spend in the studio rather than traveling to gigs.
“Saison is definitely the sum of two parts”
EG: What would you like to achieve during the rest of the year?
Saison: Towards the end of last year and the beginning of this year we had been so tied up with remixes, its all played its part and done well for us, but our biggest focus now is on new and original material. We just want to create more and put together some quality projects. Also, We’d like to do more collaboration with vocalists. No Fuss’s schedule is almost full till the end of the year so we will be offering up releases to other labels to spread the sound a little further.
EG: Let’s say the COVID-19 virus is gone, where would you play your first public set and what would be your opening track?
Saison: That’s a tough one… Ultimately, we were hoping to score some festival gigs this summer, anything with a good outdoor vibe, sun out. First track out the gate would be Coppola – Kings & Queens on D.O.C.