Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Shakes Interview [Originally From This Is Breaks Blog]

Hi Shakes. You've been picking up plaudits from some big breakbeat players for your new single, including the likes of Rennie Pilgrem and Left/Right in the US. What is it about Gangbusters that makes it stand out from your previous work, do you think?

I think it's the track where all of the little essentials have started to click: writing in key, composition, mixdown. While I was making this one I learned a bit of music theory so synth lines were easier to program and everything fits properly. It ended up more tearout than I intended, but the squeeling bass line gives it that raw energy that sends people crazy. A few amen edits and air-horn samples and everyone's happy! I've still got more to learn through experience and, like most people, I'm even more excited about the tracks that are yet to be released.

Shakes - Gangbusters [Previews] by Supatronix

Can you tell us a bit about yourself? What are you doing when you're not in the studio?

Haha, when am I ever in the studio? I'm a London, UK-based teacher, so the day job and education of today's youth has to be put first and the production work tends to wait for the holidays. I enjoy cooking, climbing, disc golf (google it), Studio Ghibli fims, long walks on the beach and a GSOH (ooops wrong site).

Who are your main influences in dance music and how have they affected your sound?

I admire the dubstep producers like Skrillex and SKisM (shout to NSD) who have brought musicality and melodies to their scene to accompany the incredible noises, but if they had influenced me I guess I'd have tried emulating elements of their music and I wouldn't know where to begin. Like a lot of people that started on the future jungle thing I guess it was RackNRuin and Skream that were the only references when I began making Gangbusters. There's a lot more out there now and I'm stuck a little between two main branches of the sound. I'm peeling away some of the noisy midrange and trying to find the right balance of the smooth bass and tight, clear high end of RackNRuin and the energetic, but less crisp, sounds of Pyramid. Both have it spot on, but in different ways, and there are limits to having the best of both worlds.

The future jungle vibe is starting to reach some sort of maturity. How do you think it will change over the next couple of years and who are your favourite artists pushing this sound?

It is great to see the old breaks back, but it will evolve quickly until they eventually disappear for the next generation to rediscover. The limited break samples that fit the style mean that we are already seeing the wiser people develop their own sound and not get caught up with simply using an amen. Pyramid and others are beefing up their beats and taking us to a faster and more polished version of the old tearout sounds in many ways. Some people are managing to create a jungle feel without the original samples and others are taking influence from future garage, dancehall, soca etc. which is great.

The people that have got it right for me this year in the breaks scene are 601, Yoof, Schema, Jurassik and (as if I haven't mentioned them enough) Pyramid. There aren't many labels that can be relied upon to bring this sound at a high quality, but there's stuff coming from every corner. It's interesting searching round and finding tracks mis-labelled as drum & bass on beatport by people who just happen to dabble in their version of the sound, e.g. Redlight, Warrior One, Herve, Submerse, DJ Fresh, Rusko, Baxta, Skream, Chase & Status etc.

What's up next for Shakes? Any grand ambitions?

I really want find the right person to do a vocal collab with by next year. I've got a remix I need to get done for someone I'm quite a fan of and more Supatronix remix work, including my first official dubstep tune. There's a couple of deep, but very different originals I love and am just trying to work out the best way to release. Unfinished stuff includes some collaborations with Mr Jurassik and a new 'post-dubstep' stripped down project that will hopefully turn into an EP under a different name next year.

Cheers TiB.

Keep it foolish!
Grab Shakes' new release on Beatport.

Shakes promo mix August 2011 by I Am Shakes
1. Rusko - Kumon Kumon [Mad Decent]
2. Shakes vs Norman Cook & MC Wildski - Bassline
3. Aquasky - Feel The Sound (601 Mix) [Passenger]
4. Shakes - Gangbusters [Supatronix Records]
5. Krafty Kuts ft. Sporty-O - Let's Ride (Pyramid's Future Jungle Mix) [Instant Vibes]
6. 601 - Brothers and Sisters [Passenger]
7. SL2 - Way In My Brain 2009 [New State Music]
8. Yoof (Sons Of Mecha) - Back 2 Hackney [Sub Slayers]
9. Jurassik & XLY - Confusion (Shakes's Beefcake Mix) [Supatronix]
10. Shades Of Rhythm - Sweet Sensation (Baxta Remix) [Cheap Thrills]
11. Chase & Status - Time (RuN RiOT Remix)
12. Mindflow - Need To Be (Afghan Headspin Remix) [Rocstar Records]
13. DJ Fresh - Louder (Herve Remix) [Ministry Of Sound]
14. Shakes - Gangbusters (Jurassik Remix) [Supatronix Records]
15. DJ Fresh - Arkanoid [Ram Records]
16. Herve - Together (DJ Fresh Future Jungle Mix) [Cheap Thrills]
17. Shakes - Gangbusters (Gella Remix) [Supatronix Records]

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