HiFi Sean & David McAlmont released their new album “Happy Ending” on Feb 3rd, 2023, through Plastique / LNFG Recordings.
Sean Dickson is a former indie star who reinvented himself as an electronic adventurist – musician, DJ, producer – whose last album Ft. featured a stellar line-up of guest vocalists, including Yoko Ono, Fred Schneider (B- 52’s), Alan Vega, Crystal Waters (fronting ‘Testify’, which topped the US Billboard dance chart) and David McAlmont – the last, a thrilling singing sensation with an illustrious history, from indie-soul pioneers Thieves and the legendary McAlmont & Butler to purer soul and jazz recordings and a striking collaboration with minimalist composer Michael Nyman.
Here HIFi Sean reveals his music DNA to Andy Howells.
Can you tell us about your latest release?
Myself and David McAlmont who became good friends starting writing and recording the album at the top of an East London tower block where I live over the last few years. We then mixed it in a beach house on the south coast of England.
The great thing about this album is there were no engineers and producers or outside studios involved in the writing and mixing of it apart from half the album which was augmented by an 80-piece Bollywood orchestra recorded at a film studio in Bangalore India.
We like to think of the album being like a soundtrack to an unwritten movie called ‘Happy Ending’ the album title. The 12 songs characterising the moods and moments we went through living in this urban environment of a major city over the last few years of writing and recording it.
What was the first song that made an impact on you?
When I was a kid my local barber shop was also a record shop. From a very young age being dragged there by my dad for a haircut I would end up with 7” records he would buy me that I would hear in the shop and liked. My first album age 5 was a Burt Bacharach album he supposedly bought me because I liked the faux leather effect sleeve as I strolled by it. I used to listen to the grandiose of that album on a loop as a child and the sheer mix of ecstasy and melancholy which I think embedded everything I became as a songwriter.
What was the first single /download you bought?
Once again, my dad bought me age 5 ‘Sugar Sugar’ by ‘The Archies. It had been out for many years, but he said I loved it when I heard it getting my hair cut and I still have the very 7” copy with my name badly scrawled on the label from when I took it to the school disco to be played.
What was the first album you owned?
As I said above my dad bought me Burt Bacharach album but first album, I bought with my own money was ‘Sex Pistols – Never Mind the B******s’. Where I came from all the punks in my town had both ‘Sex Pistols’ & ‘Saturday Night Fever’ in their record collections. Disco and punk were the same aesthetic in my little hometown of Bellshill, and it bode me well for the future. Genres are for bores.
What’s your constant go to track?
That is easy ’T-Rex’ ‘Get It On’ it’s the most perfect 7” record ever made. That fade is the best fade in a record ever. Lost art that is the fade out on a track as no-one does it anymore. I intentionally put a fade on the end of ‘Testify’ my single with Crystal Waters from a few years ago but when it got playlist on radio, I had to do a version with an ending as radio playlists no longer like fade outs!?
What’s your constant go to album?
I love Tame Impala – Currents, got me through the pandemic that as it was my running album. I started that couch to 4k thing and after 3 months I could run 4K which was like unbelievable as I could not even run for a bus before. But I do love an album that flows and feels like an album and that is a perfect example of that. Many a time my lungs were in the back of my throat by Kevin Parker took my mind elsewhere.
Who’s your latest music discovery?
Weyes Blood …. long night drive one night on a motorway and they came on and I scrambled for my phone to Shazam who they were nearly killing myself (sure posh new cars have this inbuilt as a button on the steering wheel) and since then I have fell in love with their ecstasy and melancholy. That mix again.
What’s your own track that best defines you as an artist?
Opening track on the new album with David. ‘Happy Ending’, psychedelic electronic soul that transcends you to a better place when you really need it to.
What’s the track that best defines you as a person?
Get It On – T-Rex …. “I drive a Rolls Royce, cause it’s good for my voice”.