INTERVIEW | Shadow Child

UK based Simon Neale, also known as Shadow Child is currently climbing the charts in the house music scene since his debut with Dirtybird in 2012. His track “String Thing” marked his rebirth from an electro to house DJ, and productions have been ample since. Shadow Child started as a side project, but is here to stay bringing perpetual basey jams to the dance floor for your listening pleasure. With dedication and determination to create some seriously unique grooves, Shadow Child will be a DJ to follow in the years ahead.

 

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With so many labels constantly pumping out new music, how do you and Kry Wolf make Food Music stand out?
We’re just doing our thing, and everyone else is doing theirs. As long as you don’t concern yourself with everyone else’s business I think it’s ok. It only becomes a thing when people get all twisted up in everything else but their own vision. We’re just putting out great House music when we hear it if it’s available, and we want it as part of the family, we just go for it!

What are the biggest differences from your electro house days as Dave Spoon compared to your current work as Shadow Child?
Spoon was a more produced sound, more polished and was also as you say part of the Electro House thing. Shadow Child is more gritty and occasionally diverse, the production is different and I can be more dynamic, both in the studio and as a DJ.

What pushed you to turn Shadow Child from your side project into your main focus?
It was always the prime thing really, I got so bored trying to compete with music I didn’t like as Spoon, I mean my records were starting to feel very forced and unnatural, I wanted the freedom to remove boundaries so creativity can happen more easily. Whenever I tried anything that wasn’t standard in the Electro/EDM scene, people would just scratch their heads. The remix for Calvin Harris was an example of that, way back!

How different are the UK crowds from the American crowds when you spin?
I find us all similar, Holland too actually. It’s in a good place still at the moment where people are just coming to love the music and the moments you can create as a DJ. What happened before was crowds just expecting the Beatport top10.. cliche words from many DJ’s but it’s true. Right now there’s a universal acceptance of DJ’s and music again, which is amazing to be a part of.

 

 

Deep house and garage seem to have become the new big things in dance music over the past year or so. How do you feel about this transition?
They’ve always been there.. and to me (i’m old skool).. it’s all just House, with different flavours. My Rinse FM radio show reflects that but I know how everyone likes to put a name on thigs, so I roll with it. House, Drum nBass and some of the mid-90’s garage hugely inspire what I do now. House will keep evolving, and will draw from it’s past and other things over and over again. It’s why it keeps coming round!

How do you see dance music (producers, DJs, and fans all included) evolving over the next few years?
It’s all about the technology really, and not just how the music is made, but how it’s enjoyed by the listener. Impossible to say in some ways, and to be honest I think it’s best not to know. That’s when this thing is most rewarding, when things come out of nowhere.

How has your Rinse.FM show affected your career?
It’s hugely helped my exposure over here in America, I’ve been pleasantly surprised how it helps my reach and profile actually. I love doing the show every Wednesday and as long as the music is fresh and exciting, I’ll be there and hopefully so will my listeners!

 

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Your career has included a variety of genres. Who/what have been your biggest influences throughout your life? Also, who/what is currently influencing your music the most?
There’s been alot.. genre wise as I said, early UK Rave and Drum n Bass in the early 90’s was the biggest thing. I quickly identified when I was just 12, that this was for me. Not so unusual these days, but in 1990 that was unheard of. I also got to meet one of my heroes Liam Howlett (The Prodigy) when I was 16 who seemed to make everything real and possible in my head. We stayed intouch for a short time and he was a huge influence in me giving it all a go post-school. I also was massively taken by Sasha in the mid-90’s, as DJ’s had never really inspired me so much, up until his 1995 Essential Mix, where I discovered what was possible with 2 lumps of plastic and a mixer. I learnt that DJing wasn’t just about banging out tune after tune, it was about creating something, mixing in key and layering 2 separate pieces music together in a unique way. There’s been alot of other stuff too, away from House, Rave and DnB. As a producer and Dj you have to let other music in too!

What made you and Doorly want to add vocals to “Piano Weapon”?
The opportunity to bring it to another audience really, there’s lots of people who don’t know Piano Weapon in it’s original form, who now know and love this. It’s about profile building too, and moving yourself up the ladder, but primarily Piano Weapon had done it’s job and continues to as an instrumental. I’ve had this before a couple of times in the Spoon days and most people who are into the original are shocked by it at first, but it’s just music, nobody’s hurting anyone! We’re proud of the record in its new form and are excited to pull in more people who might then look a bit deeper into what we both do, away from the vocals.

What have you been working on recently?
We’re working an a special V/A album, due out on Food Music. Kry Wolf are curating it together and it will be around before the year is out. There’s also a run of parties with the label in the UK too, where we get to bring the brand to the people and develop it some more. I’m also taking time out in Jan and Feb to finish alot of new ideas I have on my laptop. They should become full tracks of course, and you’ll all hear them next year!

What is your long-term vision for Shadow Child?
I hope I can keep it in a place where I can try new things musically.. the project is know for club music of course, but there’s another side to it too where I can experiment and work on music that isn’t just for the dancefloor. I had so much fun in the Spoon days, and I’m happy to have left it where I did, but the last thing I want is for Shadow child to be stuck in a place with too many boundaries and musical constraints.. the day that happens i’ll be sad but until then (hopefully forever) i’ll keep on keepin’ on happily being SC.