Interview + Mixtape 075 By Simon Shaw
Simon Shaw was born in the south east of England.
By the age of 18, the sound the of 90’s House and UK Garage were of all the rage, ultimately finding musical influences from the likes of The Prodigy, Daft Punk, Deadmau5, Masters At Work, Mark Knight, Carl Cox, Pete Tong, Marco Carola amongst many other pioneers, as well as labels like Defected, Strictly Rhythm, Toolroom, Visionquest, and many more.
With this love for electronic music, Simon Shaw decided to learn the craft of DJing, developing his skills and getting his break to play a local club night which he had been a avid supporter of. Working his way up from just a small DJ to now running his own success club night in his home town of Southend On Sea (UK) playing in some of the most admired and legendary clubs in the UK as well as having international bookings across Europe.
At the start of 2014 Simon landed a job working within the A&R department for the legendary record label Defected, were here he continues to learn his craft and the industry around him. In that time he also had his first release on Smiley Fingers, and after building relationships with friends ‘The Deepshakerz’ he had a release to kick start 2015 on their imprint Safe Music.
Now, with releases out on labels such as Go Deeva Records and on Lauter Unfug with remixes from underground artist such as Matchey & Bott & Timid Boy, and collabs from artist such as Dantiez Saunderson, Jhonsson and more, things are really shaping up nicely for Simon Shaw’s career as he definitely is one to keep your eye on.
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Explain to us what your first introduction to electronic music was? Did you always envision yourself as a DJ or did you want to exist in a different capacity?
For me, my first introduction to electronic music was at a young age, with a early interest in the House from the late 90’s and early 00’s. I was always one to be out dancing and enjoying music. Artists such as Eric Prydz, Daft Punk, The Prodigy, Chemical Brothers, Deadmau5 and Mark Knight, who was also at a huge peak in his game when the label was more on that big room proggy techno sound. It was not until at the age of around 19 I actually started to take up and learn the art of DJ’ing. Once I was focused and had some goals set I was prepared to do what ever it took to get my music heard and to reach out and share something that means so much to me with others.
As many do, you wear many hats in the scene… label owner, radio host, of course, DJ…is there any one you particularly enjoy? How do you find the balance of all your roles?
For me, I like to get involved with everything in music. I started out as a promoter just helping out and lending a hand with setting up décor, staging, sound & lighting, you name it at some point I have probably been involved with it.
When I started DJ’ing I could tell this was what I wanted to do with my life and it was going to be the the start of a very special journey.
Each year I like to set a new challenge and target and since I started I have now built up my own artist profile producing and releasing music. I have my own brand ‘Sense’ which is continuing to grow stronger. We have launched a bi-weekly radio show, which is a great way to connect with mine and our followers and in the coming month we will be launching our record label Sense Traxx in which we have some very exciting projects coming up. All of this is balanced along with my job working at Defected Records.
So yes you could say I have many hats, it’s just making sure they all get worn properly and when I do to wear them I do with respect and pride.
What is your philosophy behind the Sense radio show? How do you approach a show on the radio? What is it you want to put forth as a host?
The Sense radio show was initially a way for us as a brand to reach out and share the music we love with more people than just in our close network. It’s a reminder for people who are involved with the scene that sometimes it can get far too serious and when you stop enjoying something you love then you have to ask yourself the question “why did I get into this in the first place?”
I host the show with my one of my dearest friends, Finch Hare. He has supported me through pretty much everything and is also a resident DJ for the night as well as being one of the most respected people I luckily enough share the same love and passion with.
How has the city of London shaped you as an artist and as a creative mind?
Well I am not originally from London, instead hailing from the seaside town of Southend-On-Sea in Essex. I have been lucky enough to grow up surround by good people with good music tastes. London for me was a place which I would go to to see the larger international artist’s which I knew were never playing or being booked in our local area.
London has definitely played host to some of my best nights out. Pacha was a regular place I use to go and play, along side Ministry Of Sound.
Seeing some of the worlds most talented DJ’s really made me believe in myself and what I do, and made me want to share my music to see other people enjoy themselves and dance to the music I love so much.
Do you engage in the gentrification of London conversation? Meaning, do you have an opinion on how its dramatic rents affect the things you are trying to do? Do you see yourself surviving in London for the long haul? Do you see the scene surviving?
I am lucky that I still live at home, I have been looking at the cost of moving out, but my income is really not that great, even with all these hats on my head (haha).
It really is a labour of love, although there is a point where you need to realize you need to put a roof over your head and food in your belly.
I would love to move into the city. The plan would be to have a nice studio set up where I can focus on my music as well as being in the heartbeat of the scene.
I just don’t feel the finances of living in the city makes it easy for anyone. Most of my friends that I know who live in London have to live on the edge of the city and some even having to house share making it very difficult to work on music if the house mates don’t have the same interests.
So far, what is the most exciting thing you have set up for 2016, musically?
I left last year going into 2016 with a very positive mind set. over the past 2 years so much has happened and changed in my life, doors opening and doors closing. This year I feel is set to be the most productive and successful year I have had yet. With some big hurdles and challenges to tackle I am positive my goals can be achieved.
Lots of music to come from myself and potentially releases with some already established artists, the launch on my record label Sense Traxx which will co-inside with the parties and radio, making the brand (and hopefully my artist profile) grow strong. Let’s not forget loads more great projects and exciting things coming from Defected this year with our festival in Croatia and some amazing records set to release later in the year…
Can you say a few words about the mixtape you have provided us?
For me, there are many different types of mixes and different ways to give the lister a good experience. A club set is often put together much different to a mix designed for the consumer to enjoy when not in a clubbing environment.
For me, this mix is a taste of all my influences. It is a journey through my taste and its something that I aim to keep you locked in and by the end potentially want to put your shoes on grab a cold beer and get on that dancefloor.
01. Qtier – Set Me On (David August Remix)
02. Paradisko – Fool (Martin Roth Remix)
03. The Benefactors – Night Out In New York
04. DeMarzo – I Like It
05. Danitez Saunderson featuring Joe Le Groove – Groove Machine
06. Kevin Over – Virgina
07. Hauswerks – Only You
08. Chrono – Sleeping On The Floor
09. Tim Engelhardt – Enigmatism
10. COEO – Back In The Days
11. Sandrino, Frankley – Fornax
12. Martin Roth – Maya
13. Grum – Lightspeed
14. Pryda – One Day
15. Sneaky – All I Need (Set Mo Remix)
16. Tony DF – Remember
17. Fred Everything featuring Jinadu – Searching (Deetron Remix)
18. Natalie Mccool – Wondrous Place (Pete Oak Remake)
19. David August – Epikur
20. Terrornova featuring Lydmoor & Bon Homme – Skin Bones (Karl Friedrich Mix)
21. Cubicolour featuring Tim Digby-Bell – Falling