Interview: Shadow Child
It’s all about the music for the affable brit Simon Neale, a.k.a. Dave Spoon, a name he established himself on the UK and world’s dance scene. Eventually he would become known as Shadow Child though, his recent and most successful re-creation. While this new musical dawn as one of UK’s most sought after house music names has spun with mixes and DJ dates filling up the diary, Shadow Child is preparing big projects one after another. This time, Simon is bringing together his musical peers along with a carefully selected up-and-comers to present his project “Connected” at one of London’s most intriguing venues – the Oval Space.
Renaming himself as a Shadow Child, Simon laid himself a clean slate. Clean from expectations or stylistic frames, his alter ego Shadow Child has accelerated from its start in March 2012. Since then, loads of projects rose in the shadows of his studio. His very own record label Food Music came to be, in partnership with Kry Wolf, tours all around the world, aside all that Simon has been working as a radio DJ, previously as part of the line-up on BBC Radio 1‘s ‘In New DJs We Trust’ feature, and currently on radio RinseFM.
A project from last year Collected got everyone up their toes, thus this time Simon connected his musical peers on the new platform and is about to present the result in an album, but it will first be heard this Saturday in capital’s Oval Space. “Talking about the event, cannot mention Oval Space, described as a multi-purpose venue with 6000 square feet of unobstructed statement space in a unique London setting, which has become one of the ultimate top spots. Side to side, Simon got the garage legend MJ Cole on board to support the event. MJ Cole is known for his ability to join the dots between the past and the present, and so he will be expected to do on the night in the DJ booth.
But, before all that, we had a conversation on a big career, influences and, of course, music with Shadow Child.
You probably just came back from Ibiza, where you have played the Together closing party of Amnesia. How was that?
Hi.. yeah a couple of weeks back. I love Amnesia, I was Cream resident back in the Spoon days on the terrace so it was great to be back in my former 2nd home with Defected. I like playing for them in Ibiza, and I find the 2 rooms compliment one another at Together.
Just curious, to have a hint of the vibe, which track did you finish your set with?
I usually finish up with some older more well know Shadow Child stuff.. the Hot Natured remix is usually one but I think I played quite a few classics that night, things like Armand’s remix of ‘Sugar is Sweeter’. Closing week is a slightly different vibe, like a festival set i my eyes. Love it.
You are greatly sought after as a selector, and owner of an impressive back catalogue. Do you have a preference – DJing or producing?
Thank you.. Producing is my thing, I never got into DJing until a while after making my own tunes back in the 90’s. But they obviously spur each other on, so these days of course the DJing is so important for inspiration and buzz in the studio a lot of the time.
“I’m not after any kind of fame or anything, the music can be famous, that’s plenty enough for me.”
Currently you are working on your new concept Connected? Can you tell us more about it?
I had a pile of tracks i started with some peers and DJ friends which never quite got finished, so Connected is a platform to present those collaborations with some other solo stuff too, all in one place so there’s an album coming. We’ll take it out on the road too and all DJ together I’m sure.. news on exactly who they all are soon. Happy to have Mr Penfold on board visually too.. he’s a wicked street and graphic artist who’s always doing great things. Look him up!
(And sure we did: Mr Penfold)
You mentioned in one interview, that being a teenager you had the chance to meet Liam Howlett, the main composer of The Prodigy. Could you tell a bit more about that?
Yeah it was a long time ago now, but I mention that a lot because meeting him made everything real.. like it was possible to do what I’ve gone on to do. It was early 1993 when they played local to where I grew up and I was about to leave my school where we had a studio. I was making Rave and Hardcore in my music lessons so Liam took an interest in what I was up to and we stayed in touch for a short while. He encouraged me to send my music to XL and although I didn’t get signed, it taught me a lot about being confident to make myself known to people. Speaking to someone from a similar background to me in his position was hugely inspiring, especially when I was just 16.
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Around the mid 2000’s you went under the moniker of Dave Spoon: tracks hitting the charts, listings in the most renowned clubs around the world, remixes for the Pet Shop Boys, Dizzee Rascal. Did the fame affect you personally? Or, did it have any affect whatsoever?
It was great fun yeah, surreal sometimes but above all it was so rewarding after years of trying to get somewhere. It doesn’t happen over night.. and for those that it does, it doesn’t always stick for long, so I was fortunate. I’ve been lucky to have 2 very successful projects now but it’s been hard work and never changed me.. I would never let it. I’m not after any kind of fame or anything, the music can be famous, that’s plenty enough for me.
You became a host of a radio show on RinseFM. How has that been going? Does it have an impact on the way you hear, play or create music?
It’s had a huge impact which is amazing. The American crowd really dig it too, the whole station in fact. I’ve done big radio shows before, even on the BBC, but Rinse gives you the freedom to do your thing with no fuss. It’s all about the music, and not just me or a set of rules. Love doing it, and as long as people are listening i’ll keep it up every Wednesday.
Have you ever been dreaming of a venue or a crowd you would love to play for?
That’s a difficult one.. I’ve been so lucky to do so much already any I’ve had so many great experiences but I know there’s so much more out there. For me it’s about the people I play to.. Sonar would be great as I’ve not done that yet.
Shadow Child | MJ Cole | Benton | Mella Dee
October 24| Shadow Child presents: MJ Cole, Benton & Mella Dee at Oval Space | Tickets | Oval Space London |