John von Seggern is a virtuosic bassist, electronic music producer, and sonic alchemist. He began his music career in New York City in 1991, attending the New School Jazz program in Manhattan for one year on a full performance scholarship. During this time, he honed his skills as a bassist and improviser, studying privately with jazz bass legends Gary Peacock and Reggie Workman.
He moved to Tokyo at the end of 1991 and began his career as a professional jazz bassist, playing at many leading jazz clubs such as the Shinjuku Pit Inn, Sometime, and Club J. He first played electronic dance gigs at clubs in the city’s vibrant Roppongi district, playing bass on the acid jazz scene and opening for leading Japanese dance act United Future Organization at Club Yellow.
John relocated to Hong Kong in 1995 to work as a touring and session bassist in the city’s booming pop music scene. Over the next six years in Hong Kong, he played on five world tours, many smaller gigs, and dozens of recording sessions as one of the top session musicians in Asia.
He began DJing in Hong Kong in 1999 and started his first electronic band, Digital Cutup Lounge, one of Asia’s earliest acts to use computers in live performances. DCL went on to sign a recording contract with an HK-based label and released two critically-acclaimed albums, Cutup Mixdown and Network Effects. DCL frequently performed at clubs and festivals in the region over the next few years, including significant gigs at clubs and festivals in Hong Kong, Singapore, Macau, Guangzhou, and Beijing.
John also began working as a remixer at this time, drawing on his knowledge about the music of non-Western cultures to rework major Western pop artists such as Nelly Furtado for Asian music markets, and vice versa.
From 2001-2003 John attended graduate school in music, first at the University of Hong Kong and later at the University of California-Riverside, eventually earning an M.A. in Ethnomusicology. His thesis research focused on how the digitization and etherealization of music via computer networks were affecting its patterns of production and consumption. These trends would soon become crucial in determining the future shape of the music industry and music itself.
Since moving to Los Angeles in 2004, John has contributed sound design and effects for numerous films, notably joining composer Thomas Newman and his ensemble for the soundtrack of Steven Spielberg’s Oscar-winning WALL-E (2008). He also worked with composer Paul Haslinger (ex-Tangerine Dream) on numerous projects.
From 2005-2011, John also worked for Native Instruments as a music technologist and wrote the manual for the popular software synthesizer MASSIVE. At various times, he trained celebrity artists and composers for NI, working with Herbie Hancock, Dweezil Zappa, Steve Vai, and Dr Dre’s production team, helping them learn new music technologies.
From 2014-2020, John worked closely with legendary trumpeter and electronic music pioneer Jon Hassell, resulting in the acclaimed 2018 release Listening to Pictures, which the Guardian newspaper named one of the top contemporary classical releases of that year. A follow-up release, Seeing Through Sound,was released in 2020. He also performed with Hassell at clubs and festivals in Los Angeles and Europe.
John’s recent burst of creative endeavors was precipitated by moving from noisy Hollywood to the calmer environs of the San Fernando Valley, along with the influence of the students, teachers, and staff at Icon Collective, the top electronic music production school, where he directs the online education program.
He notes, “Being around young creative people, along with teachers and staff at the top of their game, inspired me to return to my earlier love of electronic music and bring it together with my bass playing. Bass is so integral to dance music. I knew I could bring a depth of emotion to dance and ambient by combining my musical life’s work and the most cutting-edge production techniques available.”
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