John Seman   

John Seman is director and co-founder of the Monktail Creative Music Concern, leader of the Lil Coop Sextet, organizer of the MCMC big band Non Grata, and one of Seattle’s busiest mercenary bassists. He performs regularly with Ask the Ages, Wally Shoup, Dennis Rea, Simon Henneman and several MCMC ensembles. He is owner of RPM Preservation Studio, DJ and co-host of Flotation Device on KBCS, and a graduate of the Oberlin Conservatory of Music. He lives with his wife and newborn daughter on Aurora Ave.



John was born in New Jersey and began playing the piano as a boy. John developed skills o­n trumpet, tuba, percussion, guitar and double bass and began composing and studying music theory.


John earned a Bachelor of Music degree in Ethnomusicology and Music Composition from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music where he studied ethnomusicology with Roderic Knight, composition and theory with Randolph Coleman, Param Vir and Richard Hoffmann, and double bass with Peter Dominguez, Ralphe Armstrong and Richard Davis. While at Oberlin he also studied Sitar and North Indian vocal technique, performed in the Oberlin Gamelan Kyai Barleyan, and took lessons o­n West African Mandinka Kora.


In 1997 John moved to Washington, D.C. and was granted a graduate fellowship to the ethnomusicology department at University of Maryland. John continued his Mandinka studies there with 149th generation Senegalese Jali Djimo Kouyate while teaching workshops o­n West African drumming and music culture. John’s interest in recorded media thrived in D.C. as he archived historical content for The Smithsonian, the Library of Congress, the National Archives, the Estate of American Composer Elie Siegmeister and worked very late nights at LION and FOX Recording Studios.


John relocated to Seattle, WA in 1999 where he currently resides. By mid-2000, Seman and percussionist Mark Ostrowski had begun abducting performers, artists and other nogoodniks from Seattle’s seedy underbelly toward a revitalized MCMC cause.


During the daytime John is a freelance archivist and preservationist, has presented papers and workshops o­n archiving and preservation techniques at local and national conferences, and consulted with major regional institutions.



John has previously been a contributing member of The Degenerate Art Ensemble, and Washington D.C. post-punk performance artists Mail Order Bride. John has performed with many of the Northwest’s most original improvising musicians and had his compositions performed by the many members of MCMC.




Non Grata

Deal’s Number

Special O.P.S.

Raymond Scott Project



appears on the following monktail records releases:


mcmc3 Unwaxed – Floss

mcmc6 Arm Me – Special O.P.S.

mcmc7 Show Me What Ya Workin With -Deal’s Number

mcmc9 Vitamin A – Floss