Rob Seurat: “Bossa Nova is the glue that holds NYC’s underground scene together”

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

Rob Seurat is a New York City-based DJ and promoter, and one of the driving forces behind Brooklyn’s buzzing underground music community. He is the founder of the monthly party series: Exile Brooklyn. Exile holds its monthly residency at the city’s well-known venue Bossa Nova Civic Club, named the “The Hottest Club In NYC’’ by the magazine Electronic Beats. Exile have hosted both local and international talent such as Ansome, Wallis, and Maedon. Elixir, the collective’s spinoff party, has its residency at club Mood Ring.

Last week we spoke to Rob about his journey through the music world, his initiative Exile, and the NYC alternative music scene.

  • When did you first get interested in electronic music?

1997. The Prodigy’s “Fat of the Land” was taking the world by storm and my 11-year-old ears had never heard anything like it before; I was hooked immediately.

  • How have you developed as a DJ throughout the years?

I spent my first few years as a bedroom DJ before playing out anywhere. When I started doing paid gigs at local bars in the suburbs, I had to bring my own sound and take requests. The problem was I didn’t want to play requests. As I evolved and deejayed at friend’s parties in Brooklyn I didn’t have to take requests, people wanted to hear shit they didn’t know. This fueled me to move out of the suburbs and into the city.

  • You are the founder of Exile Brooklyn. Could you tell us more about the project?

The idea behind Exile comes from the concept of exiling yourself from today’s world; allowing you to get in touch with your body through the ultimate form of self-expression: dance. The daily grind many of us face in this age of social and economic unrest is unnerving. There is pressure to perform at your job, your school, for your family (maybe all the above). Exile brings people from all walks of life, from all over the world, together on a dance floor.

  • What are Exile’s criteria when booking artists for events?

A typical Exile club night will feature an out-of-town headliner supported by a local talent and resident DJ. The sound of Exile doesn’t conform to any particular genre, but more so a particular energy. We exhibit artists that are on the darker and weirder spectrums of electronic music. A couple notable past headliners include Ansome as well as the U.S. debut of Wallis, label head of Jell Records.

  • Brooklyn is very much the hotspot for the electronic music scene in New York City now. How does Bossa Nova Civic Club contribute to the NYC scene?

Bossa Nova is the glue that holds the underground scene together. It’s the place that all your favorite local DJs go to hangout. It’s the place where the bartenders are also DJs and producers. It’s the place that brings artists of all fields together. It’s the place that has had “NO RACISM, NO SEXISM, NO HOMOPHOBIA, NO TRANSPHOBIA, NO VIOLENCE” painted on its walls since before it was trendy. It’s the place that when I first stepped foot into, I had found what I didn’t know I was looking for.

  • How do you go about preparing a mix?

I like to compile new or unreleased tracks from artists I know personally and then combine those with other new stuff I’ve been digging lately. From there I try to record something in one take.

  • Could you name some upcoming NYC DJs that we should check out?

A.M.D // SPRKLBB // Khadija // Rabia Khan

  • Could you name some producers from NYC that we should check out?

FadeFace // Dan Snazelle // M Parent // Remora // Heidi Sabertooth

  • How is the cultural scene in NYC dealing with the consequences of Covid-19?

The New York scene is biding its time until nightlife can be fully restored. Currently clubs and bars can only stay open until 10PM with limited indoor capacity (no dancing). Bossa Nova has shut its doors for the winter. There are some illegal indoor events happening, but they are being heavily frowned upon. The general consensus is that no one should be throwing any mass gathering events period. However, with the vaccine distribution starting, I am hopeful that nightlife can be fully restored by the end of 2021.


Photo by Luis Nieto Dickens.

Did you enjoy our interview with Rob? Which upcoming NYC artists are on your radar right now? What did you think of his concept Exile Brooklyn? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

For more on Exile check out their Resident Advisor page and follow them on Facebook and Instagram.

Follow Rob Seurat on Soundcloud and Instagram.

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