TLDR: Dave Seaman gives great advice on how to handle life on the road.
Some artists are genuinely in no need of introduction and Selador Recordings boss Dave Seaman is certainly one of them. So without further ado allow us to present Mr. Seaman’s guide to life on tour as he kicks off his first US Tour in 5 years by sharing a few handy survival tips for all us roadtrip novices out there…
To be honest, I’m a little out of touch with touring. As in, proper touring. You know, the kind where you start to forget what your own bed feels like and your whole pre-tour life seems like nothing more than a dream. Weeks on end living out of a suitcase (Samsonite Black Label Vintage at the moment, thanks for asking). All your passport and visa details memorized verbatim. More currencies in your wallet than your average shifty banking practice. Hardcore, you know the tour.
I’ve done it before but rarely these days. Having a family put paid to that. I’m now a last flight out, first flight back kind-of-guy. Be it Asia, South America or even Australia, it’s always just for the weekend and then straight back home for family time during the week. It’s fair to say I go to some extraordinary lengths in the name of trying to “have it all’. I once came home to the UK from Lithuania for 5 hours so I could be at my 7 year old’s birthday party before turning around and heading straight off to Moscow! The work/life balance is a never-ending juggling act and I have the carbon footprint of a Yeti. It’s not big or clever. But it is how it is.
But usually once a year a situation presents itself where even my warped sense of normal finds it’s limit. So this weekend I’m embarking on a quick tour of the USA that covers two weekends. 6 gigs in 9 days to be precise, dropping anchor in Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Orlando, Miami and Monterrey (Ok, the last one is technically not the USA but let’s not split hairs here). It sounds crazy and it probably is, but it’s not so difficult once you know how.
First of all, always pack light. A seasoned traveler knows only too well the benefits of economical packing. Like most women I know, my other half will take so much stuff away with her, it always looks like she’s emigrating for good, even on an overnight trip! “Just in case” seems to be her motto, which ironically is where 90% of her stuff stays, just in the case! I never check in any luggage. Strictly ‘carry-ons’ only. It stands to reason, the less stuff you have to unpack in each hotel room and the shorter your daily check list (spectacles, testicles, wallet & watch, passport, laptop, phone), the less likely you are to leave anything behind. Simple.
Secondly, never get wound up by travel delays. If it’s out of your control then there’s little more you can do than make the best of the hand you’ve been dealt. Getting stressed out won’t help you, in fact it could have the opposite effect. Relax, take it all in your stride. Do something else productive while you’re waiting. I see a lot of younger DJs complaining about the travel aspect of the job which always makes me smile. Wait until you’ve got kids and suddenly the world doesn’t revolve around you anymore, then you’ll change your mind. I get little work done while at home, so the longer the journey the better these days. An oasis of ‘me-time’ amidst the demands of daily life. I can catch up on music, emails, films, news, sport, eat, drink and sleep my way into a coma if I like and there’s no-one gonna stop me. Pure bliss, delays and all. The traveling bit is now one of my favourite parts of the job!
Finally, choose your after parties carefully, if at all. It’s not so bad on a tour bus where you can stumble into your pit and wake up in the next city but dealing with the bright lights of airports (unflattering at the best of times) following a particularly heavy night can get very ugly. Literally! There’s nothing worse than negotiating airport security whilst sweating like a pig and having surrendered the power of sentence construction. Not a good look. At least save it all for an end of tour blow out, when the money’s in the bank and your next engagement feels like a lifetime away. Only then should you reward yourself with an orgy of unadulterated over indulgence, safe in the knowledge of a job well done and a particularly healthy air mile balance. Because you’re worth it.