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Seth Troxler
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Seth Troxler interview: ‘Eating is my number one priority’

The eccentric superstar DJ tells us why he's thrown his weight behind a new pop-up barbecue joint in Hackney Wick

By Jonny Ensall
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The Troxler family has their own secret barbecue recipe that’s been handed down through the generations. The current holder is Seth – an enduringly positive, casually brilliant and frequently naked young man who just happens to be one of the world’s biggest DJs.

Now the self-proclaimed ‘gift to Detroit techno’ has invested his cookery know-how, and singular sense of fun, into a new pop-up restaurant on the canal by Hackney Wick. Smokey Tails is currently open for delicious wings, ribs, pulled pork sliders and the occasional set from Seth… in a dress.

You can check out Troxler’s pink DJ-ing frock on his Twitter account, though it’s important to note he’s not given up his day job in favour of food or fashion. He’s back in London (at Fabric) this week, a month after playing Eastern Electrics festival, for which he appeared nude in a promotional video. Here he chats about that display, his love of food and the right way to rub your meat.

What’s the secret to a great barbecue, Seth?
‘A good rub is definitely part of the key – start with brown sugar, cinnamon and cayenne pepper. Also, taking your time I guess. Slow and low – it’s easy!’

And why’s your place called ‘Smokey Tails’?
‘Last year, we were barbecuing at Secret Garden Party festival, and Benny [Pound, who runs the restaurant with Troxler and DJ/producer Ryan Crosson] just said the words “Smokey Tails”. It was one of those eureka moments – like, “Whoa, did you just say that?” The other day I had another good one: “Silent Icon”. That’s such a good combination of words.’

Er, sure. But don’t DJs just get by on amphetamines and aeroplane food?
‘No, most DJs I know are really into food. Eating is my number one priority. I’m a bit overweight, as many people have seen on that stupid video I made for Eastern Electrics.’

Does body image bother you?

‘I think confidence is much better than having a toned body. Also, if you’re a dude, and you’re at the gym every day, that’s a little bit suspect. I’m very pro-gay. I’m just saying, culturally, in that scene there are a lot of toned guys!’

Speaking of preening guys, what do you make of music’s new crop of EDM stars?
‘I see it like this: think of a boy band and an indie band. The indie band will find that if they work hard, their music will touch people. And then this boy band come along, with this shit music that can appeal to the masses. Hey presto, they’re stars! And they’re going to make loads of money playing pre-recorded music. That, to me, is daft.’

What’s your contribution to music?

‘My thing is to be a preservationist. I was really lucky to be able to see the last of Detroit, and what the classical dance music scene was in America. I want to pass that on.

And to food?
‘There were no places to have good barbecue in London, let alone have barbecue on the canal… At the end of the day at least I’ve put a couple of smiles on a couple of people’s faces!’

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