Shadow Child is a mainstay of UK club culture and has been at the forefront of house music both in Britain and worldwide for over a decade. Moving into a new phase of his lengthy career, the UK-based producer re-emerged in 2012 under his new guise, with debut release String Thing – an immediate house classic released on Claude Vonstroke’s Dirtybird imprint. He’s since carved out a huge new status in the new era of house music, developing a sound that brings together the roots of his years in the scene – early rave, house and drum n bass – and the current wave of house.
Most recently, with his collaborative production with Ben Pearce, remixes for the likes of The Prodigy, The xx and Hot Natured, and his regular Rinse FM show, Shadow Child has continued as one of the house scene’s most prolific and most respected.
We had the chance to talk Shadow Child aligned to the recent release of his latest EP on Food Music.
Electronic Groove: Hi Simon, thanks for speaking to us today. What have you been up to lately?
Shadow Child: Thanks to you for having me. I’ve been writing tons of new music in the studio. I took a break from doing loads of the same gigs I’ve been doing for the last 5-6 years, and got creative instead and it’s been great. A whole new project has come out of it, and some great new Shadow Child material all ready to go. I needed a slight step back to get back on top of the music making.
EG: Your new EP ‘Ooh Tune / Higher’ is out on your label Food Music, what was the inspiration behind the two tracks?
Shadow Child: Well it’s a throwback to the 90’s really, the piano in ‘Ooh Tune’ is heavily inspired by some of the early Italo records I love, and ‘Higher’ is a nod to the Superclub era with the big build ups and stuff, from the mid-90’s. Everyone’s loving snare-rolls again, which for me is so reminiscent of that era when we saw the likes of Ministry, Cream, Que club and more ruling the roost.
EG: Why is it important for you to have your own label to release on?
Shadow Child: I love picking up material from up and coming producers, and occasionally slipping one or 2 of my own records in there too. We’ve never stuck to 1 style, it’s fairly eclectic if you listen to the whole catalogue and it’ll continue that way for sure. It’s a privilege to be behind something that people value so much.
EG: If you were to have any two artists remix your tracks, who would it be?
Shadow Child: It’s hard to say, as I’m always influenced by so much, but right now Mall Grab or DJ Seinfeld are doing really exciting things. If I had the right record then I’d love a Sasha remix too. He was a huge influence as a DJ for me.
EG: If you could produce any other genre, what would it be and why?
Shadow Child: Well I don’t really my hold back my love for Jungle & DnB, and occasionally have a dabble so I can’t really say that. I guess I’d love to make a record that sits somewhere between Jamie xx’s album, Bonobo, Arcade Fire even. There’s a lot more to me musically than some might think but randomly presenting the world with music that I’m not known for can be a little confusing – I’ll stick to the 4/4 as Shadow Child!
“I took a break from doing loads of the same gigs I’ve been doing for the last 5-6 years, and got creative instead and it’s been great”
EG: Last year you released a collaborative album ‘Connected’, what do you enjoy the most about collaborating with other artists? Are there any downfalls to it?
Shadow Child: The only downfall was the time it took to come together, pretty much 2 years which is why you can hear so many different vibes. It’s also pretty much like a journey from what I’m known for, to where I’d like to be. Loved working with everyone… they’re all musical peers to me, artists I really admire, even on the remix package too.
EG: You’ll be playing at Printworks later this year, why do you think it is so important for venues like Printworks to exist in London?
Shadow Child: It’s offering something so fresh, for London. The guys behind it always do exciting events though, so it’s no surprise that they’re running it. Londons clubs and spaces, which have become regular locations, are so important to what’s happened over the last few years but the city needed something fresh, and it couldn’t have been done any better than Printworks.
EG: Are you a daytime or nighttime raver?
Shadow Child: Daytime these days!
EG: What has been the highlight of your summer?
Shadow Child: Gig wise, loads. I played a Jungle set at Fabric which was mad but I have to say Glastonbury topped it. I closed the open-air Temple arena after Dusky at 7 am, with Orbital’s ‘Halycon’ at the end of my set – a moment that will stay with me forever.
EG: You’ve been doing your Rinse FM show for 4 years now, how do you keep it consistently fresh and different from your DJ sets? Do you dedicate days to sourcing new music?
Shadow Child: I buy vinyl every couple of weeks. It’s essential for me to keep it all moving and not rely on all the music everyone gets sent by the promo companies every day. It’s a privilege, but everyone has the same music. I have to keep separate from everything else or it’s always going to be the same. I also tend not to stick to 1 vibe every week. My guests have ranged from MK, Detlef and Eats Everything, right through to slightly more alternative artists like Lone, Coco Bryce and Super Flu. I truly love doing it.
EG: Who has been your favorite guest on the show over the years and why?
Shadow Child: So many! Musically, Fantastic Mr. Fox… it was a while back but his mix was so dope… Karma Kid too actually. But for vibes and entertainment value in-person, I’d say Fabio. I did a series of ‘Old Skool Special’ shows, featuring some hugely influential names from over the years and his interview was something else. Well worth a listen still.
“Do your thing and stay true, make/play music you believe in”
EG: What is your favorite way to search for new music?
Shadow Child: Record shopping. Can’t do my show without it, and can’t keep on top of what’s coming next either. I’d never have discovered artists like Rimbaudian, Coco Bryce or the E Beamz label.
EG: Do you have any tips for budding producers, DJs or radio hosts?
Shadow Child: Same as anything really in this game, do your thing and stay true, make/play music you believe in and make sure you’re supporting up-coming talent whatever you are doing too.
EG: What are you looking forward to the most for the rest of the year?
Shadow Child: Away from the music, my daughter is 2 years old this November, so that and Christmas will be so much fun. I love the family vibes, it’s so important for me to keep everything real and have the work/life balance and contrast I need whilst doing my thing in music.
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