The Shapeshifters Talk “The Chase”, State of House & More…
Being able to maintain a successful 10-year long career in dance music is no mean feat, with trends changing and evolving at a high speed rate in the modern era there are many acts that have their 15-minutes of fame and disappear just as quickly, never to be heard of again.
The Shapeshifters (AKA Simon Marlin and his Swedish partner Max Reich) have not only managed to stay relevant throughout the course of their career with over twenty years experience each, they have maintained a healthy balance with their music – allied to neither the commercial nor the underground domains (as many of today’s acts are). This has fuelled their success and helped to ensure that they are consistently in demand. In fact, during their entire 10 years together, demand for the duo has never waned and this past year has been one of their busiest on record.
Hey fellas, tell us where you are and how you are feeling right now…
We are back in London after a great weekend at Lakedance in Eindhoven (NL) for Defected In The House. Things feel great right now, we’ve recently released ‘It’s You ft River’ on Defected, and we are just about to release our new record ‘The Chase ft Kisch’ on Love & Other. A few of our remixes are about to drop also, and the summer looks great on the touring front. All in all after a couple of years reflecting and strategizing on where we want to be moving forward, it all seems to be coming together.
The topic for today is your new release ‘The Chase’ – tell us in your words a little bit about how it came to be and what you were trying to convey to your listeners…
We are about to embark upon our first ever Love Inc Music digital compilation. We thought the label now has enough releases and has been around for a year now so the timing is perfect. We have selected some tracks from producers outside of the label that we love but ultimately it’s a showcase for Love Inc’s releases to date. We are really proud of the tracks on this album and it will also feature some exclusives not yet released – which points to the direction the label will be embarking on over the next year.
For our upcoming release ‘The Chase’, the idea came about after we started working with a writer in San Fransisco called David Newall aka Playing Hooky. We really liked his work so arranged some writing sessions with him. The idea for ‘The Chase’ was born from those sessions, and we co-wrote the song with him. We then found Kisch, who we’ve previously signed to Love Inc as the perfect voice to convey the song. We’re really excited about the release, and it is a fresh sound for us on one of the most exciting new labels out there; Love & Other.
Where does the Shapeshifters artist name emanate from, what is it’s meaning and why did you choose it?
We’d love to sit here and tell you it was a really deep and thoughtful process, but the honest answer is we picked it in five minutes! We realised we hadn’t picked a name to release ‘Lola’s Theme’ and in a rush we decided we both loved Sci-Fi, so we thought of a name that conjures up images of movement. It was a great name for us! It was that simple.
Apart from the obvious quality factor, how does an imprint garnish such established support from some of the biggest names in this game we call ‘House’?
You can’t really call that. You’ve got to do and put out what you love and hope that people will want to join you on your journey. Luckily, the three people involved in the label have over 20 years of combined experience. We are able to put our heads above the parrot pit a bit more than those just starting out. The bottom line is, if the music is good enough people will find it and want to play it.
What is it like running a record label and what do you want to accomplish as an imprint?
It’s a labour of love! Unless you really love this scene and what you do, I would say running a label isn’t for you. We are putting music back into a scene that we love. Most labels that do it, do it for that reason, and if you go on to have success and profit, then it is a real bonus. If you’re expecting to make a million from it overnight then you are in the wrong game.
What keeps you both motivated after all this time? Tell us about the highs and lows…
All of this has to be for the love of music as cliche as that sounds, and we still love it. The fear of failure keeps you motivated as I don’t know what else we would do if we were no longer doing this. Some of the ‘lows’ we experience are that you’re putting your soul on the line with every release. It’s a personal thing, and I guess with technology moving as fast as it is you have to work hard to stay on your game. EDM is the biggest low we’ve had in the past 10 years in our opinion!
What are some of your favourite cuts from the compilation album and why?
This question is a bit like asking who your favourite child is! The answer is they are all ours, and we love each track for different reasons. If we have to pick a favourite, we’d say IDQ’s new track which is also forthcoming on the label as an EP because we feel that we’ve found something special with this one. It’s really amazing and hearing the development from them since their first release on the label is cool.
What tracks have been tearing it up in club land for you at the moment?
Recently, we’ve been hammering Disclosure’s ‘Bang That’. Our own track ‘It’s You ft River’ has been doing really well, and we’re loving ‘Razor Sharp’ by Fernando Campo as well.
Share a few artists that have influenced your sound…
The obvious one is Frankie Knuckles, in fact, the whole of Def Mix has been a massive inspiration over the years. Defected have also been very inspirational to us since they released Soul Searcher in 1999. They’ve been pretty influential in House music ever since.
Any advice for your fans on how to make it in today’s fast paced game?
Just do what you do naturally and don’t copy other people. It’s really important that you develop your own sound and stay true to what you believe in. If you want to be a DJ put on your own parties first, because you need to build your career from the ground up and create a real fan base that grows with you.
Where can your fans catch you playing over the next few months?
• 21st Jun – Fusionhouse at CDLC (Sonar), Barcelona
• 27th Jun – Pure Pacha at Pacha Ibiza
• 1st Aug – Pure Pacha at Pacha Ibiza
• 8th Aug – Zakota Sztuki at Sopot, Poland
• 13th Aug – Pacha Barcelona
• 14th Aug – Glitterbox at Space, Ibiza
• 25th Aug – Fusionhouse at TOX (Destino), Ibiza
What is your opinion on the current state of House music?
It’s back with a vengeance… Well, it’s never been away really but the last few years saw a different path for electronic music that in fairness brought it to the masses in a way never seen before. But it lacked the depth and integrity of what we call House Music. It would now seem that the EDM generation have realised that there is more to Electronic music than just the noisy ‘nursery rhyme’ melodies previously on offer. They’re now embracing a much deeper and sophisticated clubbing experience and actively taking an interest in its history also. Hallelujah!
Best gig of 2015 and why?
It has to be our first Pacha Ibiza date of the season on June 27th with Bob Sinclar and friends for Pure Pacha. It’s always a great atmosphere; the decor is amazing, and the dance floor is full of people having an amazing time. What more can you ask for?
Where does a music media store like Traxsource fit into your musical agenda?
It’s essential. Traxsource is the home of House music and the quality control, and the high-grade of releases means it’s the best place for us to grab all of our essential new music to play out.
What would be your shortlist of dream collabs, past or present, dead or alive?
We’d love to work with Jennifer Hudson, her voice is outstanding. Also, we would love to be able to make a record with Frankie Knuckles again. Prince is another artist we would love to work with too.
Do you have a radio show or podcast?
Yes, we have our monthly Love Inc Radio show that is now in its 15th episode and has a listenership of over 5 million people across different FM, DAB and online platforms worldwide. We’re very pleased with the show, and it is another way for us to keep in touch with our fans on our new music and the tracks we are really enjoying from past to present.
How much of a perfectionist are you guys? When do you decide your work is top-notch?
We are perfectionists when it comes to sound quality, but there is a fine line between over producing and letting the world hear the record. We are quite good at making sure the quality of a record is high enough and then it is ready to go.
What do you consider as the big break that launched your DJ careers?
We’ve been DJing since the early 90s, but obviously the release of Lola’s Theme put us into a whole new stratosphere so it would have to be then. It put us on the world’s stage.
Nightclubs or festivals? Why?
We much prefer nightclubs, as we prefer the intimacy. But saying that, we have played to thousands and thousands at festivals and made some of our biggest memories at them. Our preference to playing in clubs naturally comes from the fact it is where is all began for us.