(taken from bay area, part deux)
Strength, Issue 10
Years before becoming popular in his native United States, the Solesidesí most visible member DJ Shadow was a household name in the UK thanks to his release on Moí Wax and was even credited with creating the then burgeoning "trip-hop" movement. His 1996 landmark album EndtroducingÖ was a criticsí and fansí fave alike on both sides of the Atlantic for its lush cinematic vibe and innovative use of samples. Just back from a tour of Europe with Radiohead, Shadow chops it up:
How was it touring with Radiohead?
It was different Ďcause I did mostly arenas and also Ďcause people are a lot more familiar with the material out there Ďcause itís done (sold) about three times better. I went gold out there, so I can be a little more creative than when I was on the Jeru tour here in the States, which was a more hip-hop tour.
Now youíve been called hip-hop and trip-hop and a few other things, but do you label your music?
No, not anymore because more and more, especially after "High Noon" and the stuff Iíve been doing recently, I just donít feel like itís hip-hop or trip-hop.
Now you originally started out on the reel to reel, cutting and splicing. Is your music today a direct continuation of that style?
What keeps you going or inspired?
I love music, so the best thing that can happen to me, inspiration wise, is hearing another good record. I love old music and I particularly love funk as a genre, but I donít really sample it that much and I donít really have any interest in sounding retro. Itís the same with hip-hop. I donít want to go make an í85 era electro West Coast record just because thatís what people are feeling at the moment. You know what I mean?
Yeah, but doesnít it all depend on how you use your samples? Like Beck is totally retro, but he sounds current.
Yeah, but he chooses his references very carefully and heís never so specific. Like he never throws all his weight behind just one thing like the Cold Crush thing. You didnít see him coming out wearing an old sweat suit or anything. He mixes that while heís wearing a country and western shirt and a narrow jacket or something, some ill combination.
Iíve heard youíre selective about doing remixes. Have you done many remixes over the years?
The only ones Iíve done remixes for, besides the old Hollywood Basic label ones, would be Depeche Mode. When I was growing up, I used to listen to a lot of things that involved sampling and other things that involved a high degree of technology; things like Depeche Mode and Art of Noise, a lot of Trevor Horn produced stuff and a lot of synth stuff Ďcause I would hear a lot of the same synth sounds in an Egyptian Lover record that I was hearing in a Depeche Mode record.
Do you think that hip-hop today has become somewhat segregated or subdivided into little camps?
Yeah, like on the North American tour I noticed that every night there was a completely different crowd. There was always a contingent there only to see Jeru and there was always a contingent there only to see my shit.
Do you think that hip-hop has changed?
I feel that at a certain point once it all became about the money or the hustle or getting over or rather pimping the music by any means necessary to get over, it changed.
What do you think of todayís popular rap?
Iím old enough to remember what everyone I borrowing from now and it just doesnít have the same spark to me. All the mainstream stuff today, I just canít tolerate it.
What are you working on these days?
Besides the Solesides group project, the main thing thatís occupying my time is the UNKLE record which is James Lavelleís (head of Britainís Moí Wax Records) group and itís a chance for me to work with vocalists.
Do you like to skate or snowboard?
Iím pathetically inept at both.
So what do you like to do in your spare time when youíre not making music?
When Iím not doing music, Iím just buying records. That what I love.