Someone Else is Philadelphia’s Sean O’Neal, co-founder of the Tuning Spork and Fuzzy Box record labels. He comes from a musical family: His grandfather was a high school music teacher and also played bass with Bill Haley and the Comets, while his father was also in various rock bands throughout the ’50s and ’60s. In his early youth, Sean lived a cheeseball life performing in choirs and musical plays. He liked to sit with his dad and grandfather watching and listening to Spike Jones, a comical bandleader from the ’50s who’d often make music by hitting random objects in the room. In his teenage years, Sean was playing guitar and synths in indie rock bands, while being a huge fan of shoegaze and krautrock.
Since ‘94, Sean has been the force behind ever-evolving, kitsch-driven electro-pop outfit Flowchart, releasing dozens of albums, singles and EPs on labels such as Darla, Morr Music, Carrot Top and his own Fuzzy Box imprint. In around ’98, O’Neal got hooked on IDM, techno and house, having already fallen in love with artists like The Orb, Plastikman, King Tubby and Matthew Herbert. He became intrigued by Herbert’s use of field recordings and found-sounds, which recalled a similar feeling to what he gained from the music of Spike Jones.
As his love for minimal techno solidified, Sean teamed up with Jay Haze and Bjoern Hartmann, and together they launched the Tuning Spork label. While making dance music with field recordings became more and more his shtick, Sean grew close to Kate Iwanowicz (a.k.a. Miskate) and Sylvain Takerkart (a.k.a. Fusiphorm), and together they launched the foundsound and unfoundsound record labels. Both labels continue to gain increasing recognition while offering a unique facet to the modern-day minimal scene. Throughout the years, Sean also co-produced events in Philadelphia and New York, and spent a lot of time freelance writing for music magazines and newspapers such as xlr8r and Philadelphia City Paper.
In recent years, Sean’s production skills have garnered respect among internationally renowned DJs and labels alike, reflected by his massive discography of releases and remixes for labels like Musik Krause, Tuning Spork, foundsound, Mo’s Ferry, Microcosm, Nummer, Kickboxer, Sender, Alphahouse, roman-photo, level non-zero, Mule Musiq, hello? repeat, Revolver and many others. This was accompanied by extensive tours, taking in Russia, Argentina, Europe, Canada, Japan and many American cities.
O’Neal is also active in Philadephia’s deep house, minimal techno and experimental communities, co-organizing various events whose guests have included the likes of Magda, Matthew Dear, Sammy Dee, Geoff White, Jeff Milligan and Dan Bell.