New projects pop up everyday. New ideas and new plans keep things fresh, so when a certain someone launched Shadow Child back in 2013, a new project had hit the scene. And with heavy, bass laden grooves, Shadow Child cemented his place, offering up house music with attitude.
Fast forward a few years, and on the 11th of November the man from Portsmouth will be making his debut at one of London’s most talked about raving institutions: Printworks. Playing alongside Gorgon City and Hannah Wants, the day looks set to be an absolute corker.
So with such things in the pipeline we caught up with Shadow Child for a wee chat, check it out below!
“It’s all about moving forwards and, most importantly, supporting the new music that’s coming through”
WWD: Hello mate it’s Olly from When We Dip.
SC: Hi thanks for the call man.
WWD: That’s alright. How are you doing?
SC: Yeah very well thanks. Yourself?
WWD: Yeah I’m not too bad mate. Well let me get the fanboy business out of the way, so I’m a uni student and I got into house a couple of years ago, and it was ‘Best be believing’ that got me into the whole house and techno scene, so I want to thank you for that!
SC: Oh nice one man, it feels like a long time ago now.
WWD: Yeah I bet. So just to start off I go to Portsmouth university, and you know Concrete Thursdays? I think you’re familiar aren’t you?
SC: I am, I’m from Portsmouth!
WWD: Ah there you go then.
SC: Yeah I don’t live there anymore, but that’s where I’m from originally.
WWD: Oh decent! Well I just wanted to get your opinion on the Concrete nights, because I remember you played at The Registry back in the day. That was a while ago wasn’t it?
SC: Yeah that was kind of when I first started this project, and I knew those boys were on to something good. Eats Everything was playing the first Shadow Child record that I made, and I went down. I knew he was playing, so he said why don’t you come down to The Registry. I sort of knew the Concrete guys a bit anyway, so yeah it was good stuff man!
WWD: Wicked mate! Right so in terms of recent productions, you’ve been quite busy with ‘The Ooh’ EP haven’t you?
SC: Yeah, yeah I have.
WWD: So I just wanted to get a bit of background about that. What was the inspiration? We’re a big fan, it’s got that chunky feel to it but it’s also quite vibesy. Has that been in the process for a while?
SC: Yeah. So basically I did my album last year which was all collaborations, and it took ages to get it together, and I kind of felt like I wasn’t writing any straight up house music. There was a couple of bits on the album that went that way, the track with Huxley and what not, but the long and short of it was that I felt like there’d been something missing from me for the last eighteen months. So I just spent the whole of summer taking a step back from gigs and concentrating on writing music again really, and yeah this is what came out of it. I mean there’s a whole load of other music as well that I’ll be releasing at the end of this year, and the start of next year, but this seemed to be the first thing that really had my sort of sound to it if you know what I mean?
WWD: Yeah that typical Shadow Child feel to it.
SC: Yeah but also trying to move it on a bit, because people are still familiar with what I’ve done over the last few years, which is great and I love all that music, but you have to keep moving it forward.
WWD: Absolutely mate it’s always good to mix it up. And I know you mentioned the other stuff you’ve got coming out this year, is that going to be on your own label Food Music? Or is that branching off to other places?
SC: No I can’t say where it’s going to be because we can’t announce it yet, but people will probably be surprised that I’m writing music on this label… in a very good way. I can’t wait.
WWD: Ah good stuff mate you’ve got us excited.
SC: Yeah, yeah. Again it’s moving the sound on a bit more and trying other things. It was nice for this label to come to me for some tracks, I was kind of surprised myself about it. Yeah, I’m well happy with it.
WWD: Excellent stuff. And I wanted to mention, back when I saw you in The Astoria for a Concrete night around November time, you played quite a tech heavy set, a bit darker. Would you say that when it comes to playing sets, does it depend on the crowd? Or does it depend on how you’re feeling on the day, in terms of the kind of tracks you implement into your mixes?
SC: It’s a bit of both really. I mean you kind of have to go and do your thing. And as much as I’m known for a few records that became the deep house sort of scene a couple of years ago, that’s never been what I’ve just done. It just happened to be what I was doing at the time, and that sound became big, so people have a little bit of an expectation of what you might do when you turn up and play. So back then there might have been a few bassy records, there probably would have been a few more vocals things like that, but ultimately you’ve got to keep the sound moving forward. I’ve got a weekly show on Rinse on a Wednesday, and that is a platform for me to kind of play all the other music that I love too, so the best of that comes into my DJ sets. You have to try and keep moving forward, and I think if people are still paying to come and see you four years later, which is the name of the game obviously, then you don’t want to give them the same thing as before. It’s all about moving forward and, most importantly, supporting the new music that’s coming through.
WWD: Definitely mate. Well I mean you mentioned your Rinse FM show and I wanted to speak to you about that. How long now have you been doing that for?
SC: Four years, just over four years.
WWD: That’s a solid amount of time then isn’t it?
SC: Yeah it is. And you know it’s gone really quick. I had a show with my old project on Radio 1, so I’ve done that side of it before as well and that was great and I loved it, but Rinse give you so much freedom to go and do your own thing. Whereas, as much as it’s an honour to go and work for the BBC, it’s very controlled and it’s a different environment. It’s one that’s obviously massively successful, but, for me, this music and this project is one that has deep roots with Rinse. And yeah I love doing it, I love doing the show every week.
WWD: Yeah absolutely. And I wanted to ask you when it comes to the guests that you have on your show, do you choose them?
SC: Yeah, the show is 100% me. I’ve got a producer in the studio with me, and they help me with tying up any loose ends, but basically everything comes from me. So that’s why some weeks you might have a massive guest and everyone knows who they are, other weeks you might have someone where you’re like “I have no idea who this person is”, but you have to introduce these new people. And basically those people get booked to come on the show off the back of a record I’m excited about, because I try not go with the hype of whatever else is going on. And that’s not to knock anything that’s going on, but it’s just there’s no point in me following the rest if you know what I mean?
WWD: Definitely geez it keeps it fresh and stops it going stale.
SC: 100%. And I love the layout, it’s a two hour show every week. You know if it was once a month maybe it would be slightly different, but with a weekly show you’ve got to give people a slice of everything. I mean on last night’s show for instance, we had so many different flavours in there and that’s exactly what I want it to be.
WWD: Yeah wicked mate. Alright now big things are coming up in November obviously, with Printworks where you’ll be making your debut, playing alongside Gorgon City and Secondcity to name a few. Are you excited for that? Obviously you’ve seen the pictures and the videos, you must be pretty buzzing…
SC: Yeah, yeah I’ve been there. We went to the secret Gorillas gig in there as well. So I’ve seen the venue with a band in it as well, and it’s a pretty exciting space. Yeah, mate I can’t not to be happy with that, it’s the most talked about venue in the south that we’ve had for quite a while. I mean London is very saturated with house and techno, and has probably moved on quite a bit from the time when I was sort of selling out big spaces on my own. So it’s nice to go and get on some line-ups again in London and do that sort of this way. And as much as Gorgon are a bit more of a commercial act now and some of the other people on the line-up, I still turn up and do my thing. And it always works. The crowd know where I’m going, and sort of follow me a bit instinct wise.
WWD: Exactly and they’re always responsive to what you’re playing as well.
SC: Yeah and, do you know what, Shadow Child as a project isn’t a project that’s going to go and play at Awakenings and things. It’s just not that, as much as I might love some of that sound sometimes. This is my crowd that come to these events, and if I can bring something new to the table for them, then that’s what I’ve got to do you know.
WWD: Wicked man definitely. Alright just to finish off we want to try and get a bit of a bigger picture. We like to ask producers and DJs this question because we always get a different answer, so if you could go B2B with one DJ from the past or the present, could be absolutely anyone, who would you go for?
SC: Hmmm now that’s an interesting one.
WWD: On the spot it’s a bit of a toughie.
SC: Because I’ve been into so many different things over the years it’s a hard one to kind of say. I mean I was a massive Sasha fan in the mid-90s. His ’95 Essential mix is a long time ago now, but that really taught me what DJing could be, because before that I was into Jungle and the whole rave thing that happened. And DJs were good fun but there was no DJ that I kind of – I hate the word idolised – but it’s true, until I heard that. And it was about the music, rather than man himself, because I think he’s been a bit of pin up especially in the 90s and 2000’s. And I know him a little bit personally and I know he’s not very comfortable with all of that (laughs).But straight up, it’s more or less idolising him musically and what he was doing with the music. And plus you’ve got to think about the fact that DJs played so differently. It was two pieces of vinyl, DJ mixers were nothing like they are now, you know you had two faders and a gain know what I mean? So to be able to do what he was doing then was amazing, so if we’re talking about an era, then I’d go for mid-90s Sasha. Yeah that was a bit of me.
WWD: Yeah wicked! Alright mate we’ll rap this up now, it’s been great speaking to you!
SC: Same back man.
WWD: And yeah I’m looking forward to seeing you at Printworks!
SC: Yeah it’ll be a laugh man, come say hi.
WWD: 100% I’ll catch you there!
SC: Nice man! Bye.
Shadow Child’s recent ‘The Ooh’ EP is out now, featuring lead track ‘Ooh tune’ and ‘Higher’. Grab it here