French version / Version française

« There’s plumbers in my house, so, like, there’s no water. I just couldn’t, like, brush my teeth. I couldn’t take shower. I couldn’t. »

Although he might find himself short on water, Sega Bodega — born Salvador Navarette — is nowhere near short on talent and overflowing creativity. The Irish-Chilean producer has made Paris his home, where he continues to redefine artistic freedom with his new album Dennis.
Sega Bodega has emerged as a pivotal figure in reshaping today’s music landscape. He burst onto the scene with his strikingly beautiful and innovative debut Salvador in 2020. He quickly followed up with Romeo in 2021, proving his relentless creativity. His dream for the future? To work on movies and soundtracks.
After touring and collaborating with some of the biggest names in music (including Björk and Rosalía, Caroline Polachek or Arca) Sega Bodega is back in the spotlight with his third album Dennis.
Playboy caught up with the visionary artist for an in-depth interview.

Interview: Dimitri Laurent


Playboy France: How long have you been living in Paris now, two years? How is life here compared to London?

Sega Bodega: For a year and a half, yes. I love it. It’s just different. I guess the style of the buildings are kind of the main difference, obviously, but that’s kinda why I wanted to move. Everything’s kinda gray and new there, I like how old everything is here.

Do you think it’s a good city for an artist? I think you had some struggle finding a good studio…

That’s the crazy thing, there’s no studio. Like, there are some studios, but they’re all just very expensive.

So you went outside the city to record you new album Dennis?

Yes, that was fun. I went to a farm for a week or two and just finished everything. And I would do that again, it’s nice. That was good because I think I’m just distracted in every city. There’s always something to do, you know, I can’t be like: waking up, working, going to sleep, working… There’s just so many people here. I’m just excited by the people around me.

So you went to a farm? Is this why there’s so many animal references on the album?

That was just an coincidence. I don’t know why I did that, it was not intentional. It just happened. And it kind of worked. The artwork said animals, and the songs said animals… But that wasn’t intentional whatsoever.

Are you an animal lover yourself? Do you have one at home?

I love animals, yes. But I don’t have any, I travel too much.


It’s been a week today since Dennis was released. Are you relieved that it’s finally out?

Yes, I’m just so happy. Like, I’ve never been this happy with a release. Usually, things will pop up after you release it and you’re like : « Oh, I could’ve done that differently… Oh, I should’ve done that… ». But with this one, I have none of that.

I think the fans reacted positively to the album, right?

They’re listening the full way through, which is the main thing. That’s what I was hoping for. Because that was the only thing I was worried, that people would just skip or not give it the the full straight through. But now I’m happy about that.

Because you built this record as a concept album, exploring the theme of sleep or more precisely the state between being asleep and awake. I think you said it’s because you’ve been feeling like this for the past couple of years. Can you sleep better now that it’s out?

I think I still feel the same. It’s like periods of a couple of weeks where you come out of it and you don’t even remember, you couldn’t tell you what you did.

Where do you think that comes from?

Maybe just too much things to think about? Like, I can’t. I’m not focusing on the what’s happening in front of me. I’m focusing on what’s in my head. So you aren’t really living in the moment. And then sometimes I’m like : « What did I do yesterday? ». And then it’s just that kind of feeling : « Was that yesterday or was that a week ago? ». You know that kind of thing?  It’s a small feeling, but it can be really disorienting.

I think the album captures that pretty good. In the past, you already talked about mental health issues. Are you still concerned about this topic?

Yes, but more like knowing it never really changes. I think when I was younger I thought you’d reach a point where you figure everything out, but you just don’t. Everything can always just drop again, and everything can just go. And when I was younger, I thought, you know, when you’re in your thirties or something, everything’s just fine, but it’s just not. And it probably will never be like that.

When did you figure that out?

When I had everything I wanted, but still things… I would still have them, but I could lose them. If I don’t maintain it, it just falls apart.

Was it after the release of your first album Salvador (2020) ?

It was after the second one, Romeo (2021). Just after touring a lot.

Because you reached the point where you wanted to be as an artist, and once you were there, you felt disoriented?

It’s kind of like: ok, what now?  Oh fine, I like this place. This is where I wanna stay. But then you can’t just stay there without actually doing the same amount of work beforehand. You have to. It doesn’t become less work, it becomes more work. Which is good. I like that. Because it makes you stay busy.

And how do you deal with that? How do you find new things to do?

Just by working with other people.


Let’s talk about it. I was at your album release party last Tuesday, which was a great party. You were there with your friends and other artists that you worked with, like Eartheater or Oklou. Do you actually reach out to the artists you find interesting, or do they come to you? How how does it happen?

With all of them, the people I do work the most with, I didn’t really reach out to them. No one really reached out to say : « Let’s work ». You just eventually meet them at an event or at their gig, or you just talk, and then it just kinda forms.

Same with your most recent collaboration, with the iranian artist Sevdaliza ?

Sevdaliza, we did reach out because she lives in Amsterdam. We’ve been talking about working for a while, and then she was like: « Okay, come here and work. » So that was more planned. I really liked working on that project, a lot.

You’ve worked on one track, are there more coming?

We worked on, like, thirty songs. We go for a couple of days every so often and we just work. She works a lot. She has a lot of songs, she makes a lot of music… So who knows when it will come out?

It feels like you’re trying different things when you work with other people, and maybe you allow yourself to be more pop, more latin, more clubbish, etc. And then you bring these new elements in your own work. As you said, it’s a way for you to renew yourself?

Everyone has really good ideas, and I don’t mind, and I don’t think they mind — we get inspired by each other’s ideas and I think that’s fine. I don’t think anyone minds. I hope they don’t mind, because I’m definitely sponging off their approach to things, especially vocals, because vocals are one thing where I’m not so good at, and they’re very good at it because it’s their whole thing. So that’s how I try and be better, and I still haven’t really figured that out. I enjoy getting other people to sing the stuff I write rather than sing it myself, which I think I’ll probably do more and more, because I just can’t sing the way they sing.

Still, you manage to treat your voice in a very unique way…

Yes and that’s fine, that’s really fun. But it’s not technically, like, skillful. It’s more production wise. I just can’t sing some of my songs live. I’m kind of faced with that issue now of, like, what happens when I try and sing song that are so fast, because I sped them up so much, and I was like : « What do I do here? ». Like, I physically cannot sing the songs, so I just don’t sing. I just let it play. And I’m sure the everyone understands.

I was thinking about this, because in this album you voice is very distorted, faster, transformed. Is this a way for you to sing less, or even to hide yourself?

I do try hard on that part, but that’s just how it is. It sounds better like this. It’s more just to hide my own voice, which I probably shouldn’t do so much… Yes, I’m certainly hiding things.

Even the lyrics became more abstract, I think. Do you think you will write less abstract lyrics in the future?

Ah, you think so? Maybe… I’m trying to think of that. I feel they’re kind of the same as the last one, but maybe. I don’t know. Let me just see if other people see it. I think some of them are less abstract. But I like both. Because if you can, I mean, why not both?


How do you write the lyrics?

I mumble the melody in first. And then in there, you can hear some words. That kind of naturally come out. And then I try and figure out what that word could be. It kind of works backwards.

It’s somewhat similar to the French surrealist poets. Did you know they used to do automatic writing?

Did they? I didn’t know that. Interesting. That makes sense. I could see why, because when you’re not thinking and you’re just doing it, your brain will be firing out. That makes sense. That’s kind of the same approach. I know a couple of people who do that, because the melody has to come first.

This album was also partly created online, during public livestreams. What was the idea with this?

I was interested in showing off the process, how to make stuff on software. And then eventually I just kinda got hooked into it, and then there was a bunch of stuff I made that I just kept coming back to. And I was like : « Oh, maybe this is the album ». And then I was kinda nervous that it would be boring to have heard it on Twitter earlier. And actually, no, I don’t think that was the case. I’d probably do it again, it was quite fun.

It’s unusual to create with an audience who can react during the creation process…

Yes, and then you’re kind of influenced by what they say and sometimes you don’t wanna be influenced by what they say. But if the chat obviously stops talking, you’re like : « Okay, this idea sucks ». And then you’re using something else, and they get excited again, they are reacting to a good stuff they like. It influences this stuff a lot more.

I’m trying to think of another artists doing that — producing an album on a live stream. Do you know any?

I don’t know. I wish more people would do it. I wish I could see more of it, it’s quite fun. Seeing how something starts and how something ends is so interesting. A lot of them would just be like, I tried six ideas in the hour before the actual idea came around. To see that is kinda funny, because people just think it’s one thing and that’s it. And I think abandoning an idea midway through is okay. Or letting it become this whole different thing is okay too, but that’s one thing I would never really do, I would always stick to it. I would just throw any idea away, I would really try even if it wasn’t going anywhere, I would stick to it, when I should actually just move on and let go.

Because you can really see how one track can transform itself in completely different ways?

Yes, the speed of it, the style of it… Just like this song called « True », that was like ten different ideas before the final one. And I really tried to make the first idea work. It wasn’t working. And then I really tried to make the second idea work, and it just wasn’t working. And you have to be like « I like it, but this… » and eventually, it’ll become it. I know other artists who work in a quite similar way: making a song, and then make every version of that song. This one has no drums, and this one is just ambient, or this one… And then it’s like: which one is the final? Because you can’t know which style, especially now because there is no genre, it’s all just electronic music with influences of all music. So it’s quite hard.

I guess artists should allow themselves to release different versions of the same song.

Yeah, I like that. I wanna do that too. That’s fun. I’m gonna do that.

What would you say is the main difference between this album and the previous one?

Maybe it’s more danceable, I don’t know. I think it’s very much similar. I think the last one and this one are kind of similar in length and actually, in a lot of things. They’re like sister records. But I had more of a story, like a beginning and end. The previous one didn’t really have a beginning and end. It was just songs that I liked. This one has transition between songs, and they’re related to each other.

It’s like a soundtrack to a movie ?

Kind of a soundtrack, yes. I wanted it to feel like a soundtrack.

You did movie-related projects in the past, like the « SS » EP. Would you like to do film scores, for example?

Yes, really badly. I’m really grown. Like, that’s what I really wanna do. But for a good film. I wanna be obsessed with the film and make the music for it.


At the party, there was also your partner — and girlfriend? — Mayah Alkhateri, an emirati-born artist who is also the other half of your other project, Kiss Facility…

Yeah. How did you know? Is it obvious?

I knew before the party that you two were together, but… Do you think it’s not well known?

Okay, fair enough. I don’t know. We don’t really…

I don’t remember exactly how I learned about it, though. It just seemed obvious. Anyway, you’re going on tour together starting tomorrow. How is it to tour with someone else?

It’s fun. I like it. We already did, she already came on tour with me in 2022, and it was really easy. It’s like two days, and then a break, and then one, and then a big break. So it’s not, you know, exhausting. But this is the first time she’s ever played live, ever. So we’re just gonna do it show by show. I’m really excited about that.

Is it challenging to balance between a romantic relationship and the creative process?

No, we haven’t had any issues. We didn’t even mean to make music together, it just kinda happened, you know, accidentally. And then we made another one, and then we went on. So there was no trying, it just happened. And then I was like « We should just actually do this », because clearly there’s a connection in that sense. And I love working with her in Arab, with Arabic vocals. I’ve never worked with it, I’ve never made music like that before, so it takes my mind off of my stuff. It makes me think completely differently, which is helpful.

And Mayah is also on your album…

Yes, I really like what she did on that. I love it. The line is kind of being blurred about who sings what. I just think it makes it sound completely different.

Can I ask how did you meet?

Instagram. She lived in Dubai, I lived in London. And then she was in London one night, and then we met. We just had no mutual friends. Instagram… I think it’s the kinda classic way people meet today?

I guess, yes. Was she listening to your stuff ?

I don’t know, I can’t remember the details of that. It was funny how… I think we’ve just been trying to meet, and then we just got along very well, obviously.

On Instagram, both of you also took public stance on political issues — about what is happening in Gaza. Do you think it’s important to speak up, as an artist?

I think with how bad things are getting, saying nothing is definitely not really an option. Yes… Saying nothing isn’t really an option. What do you think?

I think if an artist has something to say, he should say it. But I also don’t mind if an artist stays in his own world and doesn’t.

Yes, that’s why it’s not every day I’m sitting here talking about it. Awareness is good, but, you know… Because with what’s going on, at some point, honestly, just posting online doesn’t do anything to actually help.


You still pay a lot of attention to music videos, don’t you?

I really like it. But it’s not really worth it anymore, people don’t really watch it that much. It’s like pouring all this money and time into this thing, and it’s the least place people will see your song. I probably spend more effort and energy on a video than I did actually making the song. But you spend like a year making a song or an album, and you spend a week making a video. I mean, I love my videos, I’m really happy with the music videos I make, but it’s just that I would like to spend a year making one rather than a week. But you can’t really dedicate the same amount of time.

You also decided to change the artwork of the album before the release. How did that happen?

I had to change my artwork last minute, so I ended up having to pull all the vinyl back and then repackage them. I had to, you know? It was the wrong artwork. The artwork that I ended up using in the end, I didn’t get that image until way after all the other images. So when I had all that time to sit with all the other images, I had time to chose and be like: this is it. But with that one, it got handed in a day before I had to hand in the album and all the packaging and stuff. So I didn’t have that amount of time to sit with it. But just as time went on, I was like: that’s the artwork. So I had to make a call… My management was very strong. They had to do all the work, and I appreciate that, but I just had to make a call, and they had to do all the work, so I felt kind of bad. But I like it.

I guess it fits the album more, because you’re laying, almost asleep…

I like that cover because it kinda represents the two things that are very classic dreams: dreams where you can fly, so it has the feather, and dreams where you’re performing and things are going all bad, so there’s the stage.


I think your aestetic is very reminiscent of the 90s, like Marilyn Manson or Nine Inch Nails. Don’t you think the artists who were born in the nineties are now doing some sort of revival of this era?

Yes, I like that rock music is coming back. And bands. I kinda miss that. I miss good bands. I feel like, for a while, it was all just electronic, it was all dance, house music and trap, but I’m just finding more good music now. Because we all grew up listening to that. It makes sense. We grew up listening to trance music, but also Korn and Slipknot were just as big as, like, Tiesto. So now we’re all adults and we’re all making music, and that’s what it sounds like. Whereas I think younger people who are in their late teens or early twenties, they’re all just making the stuff that they grew up with, which was trap from the 2010s… There wasn’t much metal music, and that’s why it all kinda sounds the same.
People always ask: what’s your advice on how to make music? If you ask producers, they’ll listen to every kind of music, and grew up listening to that. Like, they’ll listen to classical music, trance, and rock, and metal, all kinds of dance music. So they pull from all of that at the same time, whereas if you’re only listening to trap and you’re trying to make trap, it’s gonna be very boring. If you’re gonna listen to hyperpop and then make a hyperpop track, it’s just gonna be a very unimaginative take on kind of an imaginative genre. So then you’re not breaking any mold which all those things did. They were just new and they were exciting because they were different. But if you want to make experimental, or you want to just make electronic music, and you grew up listening to Nine Inch Nails as well as Alice Deejay, you will have this interesting approach to it. So I think just listening to all kinds of music and researching the history of all these kinds of music, and just getting into the real roots of things, is how you can expand your imagination a bit.


Later this year, you’re also going on tour by yourself, across Europe but also in North America — is it the first time there?

I did that two years ago, it was really fun. You have a very enthusiastic people in America.

Do you think there’s a difference in the way your music is received?

I don’t know. Americans are definitely very forward. Everywhere is very forward and they’re very, like, in your face, and I like that. I guess when they can understand the language a bit more, they sing back a lot more. You know, in an English speaking country, I’m more singing with them. But I think Korea is the best place to play.

Korea, really?

Yes, they’re so enthusiastic! It feels like you’re in The Beatles or something. It’s kind of amazing.

Do you love that feeling?

I mean, I don’t love it but it’s definitely funny. If it was all the time, it’ll be kind of weird, but they just really show you how appreciative they are that you came all that way. The further away you travel, the more people are like : «  Oh, you came! Thank you for coming. ». Instantly they’re grateful, which is great because you did travel all that way, so you kinda hope they would be like: oh, cool, you did that.

How have you evolved regarding your live shows?

I use to build my live show so that I could kind of hide. Like, behind curtains. I felt like if I can hide behind something, I’ll be less present. But it does’t really work. I didn’t feel like it was protecting me. I just wanna be more upfront now and just get over that. Less equipment on stage, more singing.


You recently launched a new label, ambient tweets. Is it simply a shell to release your own work?

I also release Kiss Facility stuff on it, and we’ll be releasing another artist soon. It’s like a place to release the music that I work on with new artists who don’t have a label. Because a lot of times, they don’t know what to do with their songs, and then they’ll work with a label and the label won’t really care about the songs. I can be helpful with that, so why not? I like that. It’s really a label to help people who are in kind of confusing situation, you know, waiting around years for people to get back to them about stuff. And it’s just like: no, let’s just put it out now. Because it doesn’t need that much thought. People think you need lots and lots of things to release music, and you really don’t. You just need to put it online. That’s it.

What happened with your previous label NUXXE?

We were just all so busy, and trying to talk all at the same time didn’t really work. I mean, I loved doing it, but I also loved seeing everyone go off and do their own thing. Like, that was the point. We just started together, and then just grow.

And you all grew pretty big, like Shygirl for example…

Yeah. We really didn’t have any issue. That was never a problem. But I really enjoyed that process. So I just said : « Okay, I’m just gonna start my own because it’s fun ». Plus, just putting my own albums under my own thing makes much more sense.

Where does the name ambient tweets comes from?

It used to be where I would put my unreleased songs on SoundCloud. I had, like, a burner SoundCloud, and I would put beats on it. And then I just really like the name, and I was like, okay, this is the name. I don’t know what it means — and it’s not an ambient label. I have no idea. I liked it, though.


In 2020, during the COVID pandemic, you did something very interesting on YouTube called « Restablishing Connection ». I think that was amazing. I’ve read the recent comments, and people still love it very much…

That was fun. It happened quite quickly into the thing as well. It was because everyone was so bored at home, but they wanted to do stuff, they wanted to work. Because you couldn’t release, I mean… I released my first album right before it, and it definitely suffered because of that. And a lot of people were like « I’m not gonna release anything, because I can’t tour ». But there was other things to do. I mean, there were so many DJ sets on Zoom. I just couldn’t watch another… I couldn’t watch another DJ set on Zoom. I really did enjoy that feeling of not having to worry about work, you know, or doing anything. It was probably the most interesting time to be alive.

Definitely interesting times, but also very annoying with all the crazy regulations, no?

Definitely. Especially doing shows and stuff… You know, you had to do so much even before the flight, and then I remember so many gigs I did in places where no one was allowed to stand up. I was like — what do you mean? Like, COVID isn’t like just hovering right here… The amount of rules they made up, like stand here and not here… I get it, but they weren’t even social distancing, like, it’s not gonna make a difference. It was just like, let’s group everyone together over here instead of over here, as if that will spread it… I think everyone had to be shown doing something, even if they didn’t really know what to do.

Isn’t it interesting that such a major event happenned to everyone, and no one really talks about it ? There’s not really any piece of art related to it…

Yeah. That is weird, actually. I guess if more people died — like, if everybody lost somebody — then yes, everybody would have this shared grief. But no. I didn’t know anyone that died from it. And a lot of people around me also didn’t. So it was a very « in our face » thing, but it was also kind of separate from our lives. I think if everyone had lost somebody, it would have been so much more of a grieving thing. But a lot of us were just watching it happen from very far away. But I think a lot of TV mentioned it, like South Park did it really good. But you can’t really talk about it in a song without it being just like very on the nose… There’s no nuance to it. It wasn’t like a romantic thing.


About the name of your album — Dennis —, it’s related to some historical coincidence, when in 1951, two similar comic strips both named « Dennis the Menace » came out the same day, in the US and in the UK, in two totally unrelated newspapers…

Well, it wasn’t just that, it was many things. I was trying to think of a name for it, and I knew I wanted to name it after a person again. And that name just kept popping up everywhere. I looked for a period of time, and it would just come into my head and stick, and I was like : « Oh, that’s actually it ».

You’re interested in coincidences?

I have to think there’s something else deeper than that. The fact that me and this other person from across the planet can have the same idea at the same time, even if we have never spoken… And the fact that this has happened for so long… There’s probably so much things in history, where things get built and stories get written in different places at the same time. Like, every culture has imagined what a dragon is. But has there been dragons? Because every cultures came up with the same creature, yet they never communicated. That’s weird, too. So, like, why are we all getting fed the same fictional information at the same time? It gets quite conspiracy theory sounding, but where is that coming from? It’s coming from somewhere in our heads, but where is that coming from? It’s just like pyramids. Pyramids exist in many different cultures. They’re thousands of years apart. They’re the same structure, the same thing, and they all have the same kind of power to them. But these culture have never spoken. And then, they stopped making them. Why? So weird connections.

You think there’s a sort of common background to all humans?

There’s information being pumped into my head somewhere, and someone else is also getting it at the same time, and it happens to all of us… I wonder what that is, or if it come in dreams, maybe? I don’t know. I just don’t know. That just fascinates me. That’s why whenever I have an idea, I have to get it out quickly because I absolutely know that someone else is having the same idea somewhere else.

You feel like you’re in a state of emergency?

I just don’t think you can sit and wait for years to release your ideas, because someone else will do it. You don’t have an idea, ideas just exist and we find them. Anyone who’s ever made music or something will know this feeling of sitting there for days trying something, and then within ten minutes, you’d make this thing. And you didn’t even try. It just came to you, you didn’t find it. And people would say they invented chord structures, but we didn’t invent that, we just found it. It exists… Like, it exists. It’s just a combination of things that we put together until we find it.

Speaking of randomness and combinations, I’ve seen AI-generated music doing impressive improvements lately. Are you afraid of it?

It’s kind of interesting. I think it’s just another tool to use. I don’t think it’s scary. I think it’s scary for people who don’t have their own ideas and then this other thing is coming around taking their job. I think it’s gonna be really stressful for a lot of many other things. Not for making music. It’s more like, I’m in this place now where I look at everything, and I’m like « Is that AI or not ? ». And in a ten years’ time, that’s gonna be even more confusing because it’s gonna be so real. It’s a weird thing. It’s gonna be a mess. Just like, you can frame people with this stuff now. That’s the part where it’s gonna be a mess. People are gonna have their whole lives ruined by a crime they committed on a video when it wasn’t even them, or stuff that they said that they didn’t really say… You could do so many things. The thing I’m also thinking about is what happens in one or two hundred years in the future, when people aren’t gonna know what’s historically accurate or not. They might not even know what movies were made by real people. Entire people’s legacy will be confused as a machine… That’s weird, too. You can rewrite, you can create whole fictional stories. But I mean, a lot of people are maybe feeling like a lot of biblical things are just made up, and we take it as fact, so I don’t think it’s gonna be an an issue for people. People aren’t gonna care. But, yeah, it’s gonna be a mess.