Shadow Child is recovering from “the lurgies”, DJ Mag catches him announcing to his listeners on his Rinse FM show. It’s his platform to air fresh tracks, his own music and a half-hour slot of old school tunes that this week he dedicates to Frankie Knuckles. We’re a tad cheeky to suggest it might be man flu.
“I was sounding a bit strange,” he tells DJ Mag. The man previously known as Dave Spoon, former Radio 1 resident Simon Neale, is responsible for a profusion of bass-heavy tuneage that’s currently proving he did exactly the right thing switching entities. For the time being he’ll be sticking with this persona. “I’ve got enough of them already. It’s just a case of making the most of what’s going on.”
And what’s going on is, as well as releasing his own material on his own label, Food Music, he's appearing at SW4 on Sunday 24th August and mixing up a special selection for our latest content card. Shadow Child is the man of the moment, so we decided to find out where his head's at...
Reflecting on how Frankie Knuckles inspired and influenced so many people, how does it feel that you are also inspiring producers and DJs?
“Well, I get a lot of really nice messages from a lot of DJs and producers, and that’s the great thing with social media — a lot of people can reach out and communicate in all sorts of ways. And yeah, I do get a lot of people really into what I’m doing and saying that I’m inspiring them too.
I think it's because I’m quite open about how I make my music and I always have been, because I come from a background of teaching. I used to teach music technology for six, seven years at a college, so I’m used to being quite open with people about how to do stuff, and you can teach people the technical side of things, but the creativity has to come from someone.”
The mix is amazing. What kind of vibe were you aiming for?
“Thank you. It’s the kind of stuff that I get to support on the radio, in particular a lot of new labels and new artists, not stuff that’s so obvious. It’s kind of the way I put my radio show together, to be honest. My DJ sets are a mixture of what I do on the radio, and people want to come and hear records that they love, so I tailor the sets a certain way, according to where I’m playing.
I think that this is an opportunity to push fresh new artists — some I’m involved with through the Food label and others that I’m not. I’m really chuffed to be doing it, so thank you for asking, I was just really aware that it was the way to go in contrast to my Essential Mix. I just wanted to approach it in a different way.”
We wanted to ask you about your Food Music label and how it’s going…
"Yeah, it’s great, it’s gone hand-in-hand really nicely, it just seemed like a good opportunity to start a label at the same time as the project's going really well. It’s me and the Kry Wolf guys. They’re based down here [in Portsmouth], well Lewis is, and it seemed to make sense to hook up together.”
How are you releasing stuff, is there a pattern or a plan?
“As and when really, it was once a month, we’ve had a couple of gaps just because of promotional opportunities, but we’re going on one a month really at the moment. We just had the GoldFFinch release out, the Hannah Wants & Lorenzo record is next, that’s called ‘Girls’ and the b-side is ‘Breathe’.
We’re finally getting those out cos they’ve been sat there for ages waiting to be released. And then we’ve got a few more bits coming up, we’re hopefully doing our own small compilations here, it’s not going to be a big crazy compilation, it’s just that we’re signing a lot of new music from people and we just wanted a good thing to put it out on.”
Have you played SW4 before?
“I did, I did the Toolroom arena about three years ago. Yeah it was good, it was a daytime one when I played, it was great. The arena was full, I didn’t know what it would be like, but it was just rammed from the off. It was good fun. I was playing early and sometimes when you get an early set time at a festival you’re like oh, you don’t know how it’s going to go, but it was just really full-on straight away.
I didn’t get round all the other arenas, but I’m just looking forward to bringing what I’m doing now to SW4. I know that the sound is working in the UK in general especially in London, so I don’t have any worries about that. And Clapham’s good for me because it’s on the A3, it starts in Portsmouth and it ends in London, it goes past my house and right through the middle of SW4, so in an hour and 10 minutes I’m door to door, just point the car in the right direction and put my foot down and that’s it!”
What have you got coming up in the summer that you’re looking forward to?
“There’s a couple of remixes coming, I am trying to slow down on them, but I keep getting offered really good things to do. It is hard to say no. My original tracks do well, but it was the same with Dave Spoon, the remixes are the things that really make it.
That’s kind of started to happen with this. It’s quite important this year that I’ll be concentrating on more original material rather than veering off into remix land too much. But I do enjoy doing them, and when it’s great stuff to work with I come into my own, really.
But it’s something I’ve come to realise and looking back over what I’ve managed to achieve so far, that always seems to be a big strength… remixes. I wish I could elaborate on what’s coming up, there’s one thing in particular which is a proper oddball, and people will be scratching their heads, ‘How did that happen’? And it’s not actually a house record, it’s something very different.
There’s another whole side to this project that I want to get across, it’s not just about dancefloor music, it’s about hopefully getting an album and putting it on and not just thinking ‘oh | need to get into a club’. I think those albums are really important.”
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