In Interview: SLAM Vs SHDW & Obscure Shape

SLAM b2b SHDW & Obscure Shape
Author : Marco Sgalbazzini
April 20, 2020

In Interview: SLAM Vs SHDW & Obscure Shape

It’s not every day that you see two duos collaborating together, but that’s exactly what SLAM and SHDW & Obscure Shape just did.

This month world-renowned Scottish techno label Soma revealed a special collaboration between label heads Slam and another of Techno’s top tier duos, SHDW & Obscure Shape. With both of these acts currently at peak form, Oblique Strategies is the culmination of a shared vision where both styles of production shine through on every track. Starting as a singular idea, shared between the pairings, each then took their turn to put their own stamp on the tracks. The results are plain to see as Strategy 1, 2 & 3 express the very best of what these renowned duos bring to Techno.

“Not too many duos have collaborated before. So when choosing another duo to work with it had to be with our friend’s Obscure Shape & SHDW. We have both had mutual respect for each others productions for quite some time now, and we thought it would be an interesting slant on things to go head to head duo to duo.” – SLAM

Rather than interviewing them separately, we thought it would be best to have each duo interview one another, giving not only you the chance to learn more about them, but to also allow each of the artists to discover more about the duo they just collaborated with.

Enjoy the SLAM Vs. SHDW & Obscure Shape interview below!

SLAM Interview SHDW & Obscure Shape

Tell us the story of how you guys met?

We’ve virtually met in a German chat room called “kwick” for the first time in 2007 as we had many friends and interests (obviously going out and Techno) in common. In 2014, we’ve started working together on music, our label From Another Mind and its events.

Sleep or eat – when promoter asks you to go for the pre-club meal?

It depends. In general, we really love to have dinner with the promoter to chat with them for a bit at least. It’s always great to exchange ideas and experiences with different people around the world. But if we are really exhausted from the night before and our show will start soon, we prefer to rest for a bit to recharge our batteries. It’s our highest priority to always be able to give 100% at the gig.

Hardware or Software?

It depends. Each has advantages and disadvantages. It’s easier and more flexible to work with software, while hardware sounds sometimes richer and it’s more fun to work with. In our opinion a mix of both is the best!

Favourite piece of “hardware” from your studio?

We love our Roland TR-909 & Dave Smith Pro 2 but our favourite pieces are our computer mouse and Native Instrument Komplete keyboard because we wrote the most tracks with them.

Most used piece of software, apart from your DAW?

We are using a lot of different software: for synths we use plug-ins by U-He, Rob Papen, Synapse Audio etc. and for effects we use plug-ins by PSP, Arturia, FabFilter etc. for our production. Nevertheless, Native Instruments Komplete offers the largest number of different sounds and tools. It’s pricey but worth every penny.

Any country that you don’t like visiting – and why?

Well, we love to travel and to explore new places. That’s why we would visit any country. Of course, it needs to be safe and not a war zone or similar.

Give us 3 travel tips to make life easier on the road? 

Apart from important stuff such as a credit card and a mobile phone with different entertaining apps (Netflix, Spotify etc.) we highly recommend noise-cancelling headphones for flights and long rides. Listen to some classic or ambient music while you are travelling, it makes your trip more chilled.

A sleeping mask will help you to fall asleep although it’s bright outside. Last but not least a disinfectant to avoid infections, to clean public restrooms etc.

Who parties hardest out the two of you?

We both like to party and to dance a lot when the music is good. Fortunately, there is no “harder”. Otherwise, that would have already led to some fights! (laughs)

Tell us any secret hobbies aside from Techno that you both have?  

We are really into arts, fashion and food which makes travelling around the world way more interesting. We love to visit museums, try traditional foods and go shopping around the world. But also, in our free time at home we really enjoy cooking and we’re currently working, for example, on our first fashion collection which will drop this autumn.

You guys play back to back like ourselves. Is your performance totally organic or do you pre-plan anything? 

We usually do not pre-plan anything, so it’s totally organic. Only every now and then we do a track selection upfront because as a DJ you don’t know what’s happening yet inside the club before you enter. The vibe, the crowd, working conditions and many more factors are important for track selection. But we will spend more time with the pre-gig preparations as we will both start playing with records again!

What are your lockdown tips for others in this crazy time?  

Recharge your batteries with enough sleep, amazing food and use the time for things for which you had no time before such as reading a book, setting up a Spotify playlist with your favourite songs, chatting with some old friends, cleaning out your flat, learning a new language or starting with your tax declaration… so much things to do!

SHDW & Obscure Shape Interview SLAM

How is your workflow in the studio? 

Everything we do is about bouncing ideas between us. We tend to work remotely. Sending arrangements back and forth. Most of the tracks are born because we need an idea or a track to play for the weekend coming up. We have a lot of unfinished ideas. If those Ideas survive a month and they’re still in the create. Then we’ll finish them. Sometimes we revisit old ideas the track “Container” from the last EP was one of those ones we kind of forgot about then rediscovered.

Do you argue a lot when you are spending so much time together? 

Yeah, we bicker (laughs). But not serious arguments. We’re actually quite alike and have similar opinions on most stuff. Let’s call them minor disagreements! (laughs)

Who drinks more Whiskey of you two? 

Oh man, that depends on who you talk too. Usually, me (Stuart) but then again Orde sometimes has more. We tend not to get smashed as we have to play and then travel the next day ha-ha. But I like having one or two drinks when we play it takes the edge off. I started drinking Jack Daniels after reading a Keith Richards biography. It’s a rock and roll drink. We’re rock and rollers! (laughs)

What’s the favourite track of yourselves?

Usually, the last one we made. I think we both don’t get that sentimental or precious about our music. Its why we love Techno so much because it keeps reinventing itself. We get bored really easily and get excited about new sounds. It’s a world of discovery not a world of recovery (laughs).

Which has been your most memorable gig so far? 

Difficult one, as lately most gigs are really good these days. Playing several times at Berghain has always been a real honour, things are just done differently there. But we love Berlin in general as a place. We played there many times in many different clubs over the years. Last year we decided to stay and made a holiday there with Orde’s wife, and my girlfriend. It was great to do some tourist stuff finally as well, as usually we come straight out of a club and then on to the airport.

Do you think the scenes has changed a lot during your long career? 

No, not really, the concept is basically still the same. If anything, the scene has become more professional, better organised, with bigger parties. Better sound and production. Techno is more expectable now than it was before. It wasn’t for everyone the way it is now. I guess that was part of the appeal.

What’s your favourite meal? 

We both love Japanese food. Again, we stay extra days in Tokyo to visit some of our favourite places. We love it there! It’s culturally so different to anywhere else. It’s a culture shock assault.

Do you prefer DJ or Live Sets?

I would have said DJ but lately, we’ve really enjoyed both. We strived to make our Live sets as spontaneous as our DJ sets. So, our spec has grown and grown with our Live sets in the last year or two. It’s not as convenient as DJing but the end result is worth it.

SLAM Vs. SHDW & Obscure Shape Oblique Strategies EP is available via Soma HERE

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