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Interview Exclusive: Shadow Dancer (Boys Noize)

NR (Nu-Rockers/Happydays): Hey Shadow Dancer, thanks for sparring us a little time to answer the questions ! So how did you come about being a DJ?

SD (Nu-Rockers): No problem ;-) My main inspiration to get some decks and learn how to DJ came from a copy of Jeff Mills' 'Live At The Liquid Rooms' that my brother gave me years ago. I'd been making music since I was a kid but genuinely had no idea you couldbeat mix the records together until I heard was so alien and exciting. My brother, Al, and I started doing mixes using two ordinary CD players and a cassette player until I could
afford some decks.....

NR: Who are your biggest influences, notonly in the electro scene but in all the genres that exist ?
SD: Probably......between 1994-1996 Al and I were heavily into the electronica of Warp Records and a lot of techno, especially Carl Craig, Autechre, Dave Clarke, Hardfloor, B12, Drexciya, Joey Beltram, Orbital, Green Velvet......I think they were a huge (though not obvious) influence on us. We don't sound anything like them, but the "Shadow Dancer"sound originally came from the idea of taking the dynamic of pure electronic music and making it more song-structured (so that, even though the tracks had no lyrics, they would still follow a kind of verse-chorus-verse pattern. I don't know if we were entirely successful with that plan, though).
We also listened to a lot of pop, drum & bass, dub, jazz, indie and film scores so they may all have sneaked their way into some of our music. We used to make tracks by playing everything by hand onto tape and overdubbing the wasn't until I was one day listening to the Black Dog's 'Bytes' album that I decided to invest in a sequencer. You just couldn't get that level of intricacy playing by hand...

NR: Any Belgian Dj's or Bands that have significantly influenced you throughout your career?
SD: How about a Belgian record label? Specifically R&S for bringing us Aphex Twin, CJ Bolland, Ken Ishii, DJ Hell, Outlander....... I suppose the obvious answer would be Soulwax but, as much as I like them, I wouldn't say they'd had any kind of influence on us. Can I have a Belgian cartoonist too? That would be Herge.

NR: You probably are very busy lately Dj'ing around Europe, what projects are you working on, or what projects will you be working on soon, and are you collaborating with anybody?
SD: At the moment I'm concentrating solely on finishing an album for Boysnoize which should be out in the Autumn. It's been harder work than I thought it would be ;-) So for now I've kind of stopped doing remixes and have had to turn down some gigs. There's a couple of Shadow Dancer remixes coming out soon (of Suicide Club on DGA FAU records and Missil on Citizen) and possibly a 12" release before the album, although that's not 100% certain. As for collaborations: I don't know how easy it'd be to work with other people as I imagine it would just end up in a lot of arguments over differing ideas. I'm not ruling it out, though....

NR: Lets talk a bit about that Nu Rockers night, how was it exactly, as you expected it to be I hope?
SD: I'm always a bit nervous before playing (especially if it's my first time in that country), as I've no idea whether or not the crowd will take to my track selection. And they don't always. But, thankfully, they did at Nu rockers ;-) It was actually better than I expected, as it was more of a party than a "club night". The promoters and people behind the scenes were as enthusiastic as the crowd and that always helps create an incredible atmosphere. I think the photographs from the night show that - it's like there was even a party in the DJ booth. I'm a very quiet, reserved person so it may have looked like I wasn't enjoying myself, but I loved was definitely one of my favourite DJing slots ;-)

NR: For you, what does Belgium represent, a part from having excellent chocolate or french fries?
SD: Being English, I'm going to have to plead ignorance about Belgium. Apart from news stories about the European Parliament, we don't hear much about it in the UK. Or we do and I'm just not paying attention. So now, for me, Belgium has become a place where I know a party is going to be a proper party, along with Berlin, Toulouse and Aachen....the kind of place where the crowds just enjoy themselves and don't seem so concerned with whether or not the music being played is "cool" enough: they just want to dance. I think some clubbers in Britain haven't got to that stage yet....

NR: Will we see you anytime soon again in Belgium?
SD: Oh yeah ;-) We're doing live sets with Les Petites Pilous in Antwerp on April 11th and Strip Steve in Neerpelt on May 16th, and it's looking likely we'll be either live or DJing at the Tomorrowland Festival in Boom on July 27th. So, I'm going to have plenty of chances to get to know Belgium.....and vice versa...

NR: A last word ?
SD: Yeah.....I left some CDs in the booth at the Factory.....anyone seen them? ;-)

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