Seth Troxler

Arts Culture Food Lifestyle Music Q&A Workshop

Q&A: Seth Troxler – ‘I’m basically a street hustler’

Seth Troxler is an American techno DJ, producer and record-label owner. He also puts on events and has a residency at Fabric. He grew up in Detroit but has made London his base in recent years.

Beyond music, Troxler launched his Smokey Tails BBQ pop-up in Hackney Wick three years ago and in April this year it moved to a permanent site at Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen.

31 Aug 2016

Sum up what you do in a sentence?

I make culture. I’m interested in creating environments for people to experience their own stories, whether it’s while seeing me DJ or eating in my restaurant.

What’s the wisest thing that anyone has ever told you?

Sit down and shut up.

What’s the best-ever invention?

The plane. Flying is mind blowing.

What would you go big on if you became PM?

Decriminalising drugs.

What would you outlaw?

I’d make the penalties for corporate fraud and tax evasion much higher.

Who would be your three dream dinner guests?

Jimi Hendrix, Keith Haring and John Stewart.

Where’s your bucket-list destination?

Antarctica. I’ve been to every other continent – that’s the last one I need to visit.

One thing you watched/ read/heard recently that you’d recommend?

I’m reading this book right now called What They Didn’t Teach You at Harvard Business School by Mark McCormack, the founder of IMG talent agency. It’s just a collection of short pieces on how to be a businessperson. I really like it because I’m a kid from Detroit, I didn’t go to business school and I’m making all this shit up off the top of my head. I’m basically a street hustler.

When and where would you like to go in our time machine?

Paradise Garage in New York and the Music Box in Chicago during the late 1970s or early 1980s to see what all the hype was about.

If we hit ‘most listened to’ on your music, what would come up?

I listen to a lot of jazz. I never listen to dance music outside of work. In Smokey Tails there’s a no dance music, no DJs policy. I hate going to a restaurant and hearing very basic dance music. Buddha Bar can fuck off – it’s the worst. Go to a club if you want DJs.

What’s your death-row meal/restaurant?

Something cooked by my mum. Even if it was bad it would be emotionally charged if it came from your mother.

Who’s your hero?

[Veteran French DJ-producer] Laurent Garnier. He’s always done things his way.

Do you have any regrets?

No. I believe that every failure – and I’ve had an incredible amount – has been a great life lesson. My only big regret is that I don’t have enough time to spend with the people I love.

What’s your ultimate goal?

I’m going to quit techno in 10 years. I hope to have some restaurants, a family and a house in the countryside and never be heard from again. That’s the plan. There may just be legends of what people think happened to me: ‘I heard he lives in Sumatra with monkeys’, ‘He died from a heroin overdose’, or ‘He walks around at night and sprinkles fairy dust over people.’

This story first appeared in Courier Aug/Sept 2016.