By 2012, Portsmouth-based producer Simon Neale had retired his big room house moniker as Dave Spoon in place of something new. As Mr. Spoon he had celebrated some success, scoring a couple of Top 40 UK hits ("Bad Girl" with Lisa Maffia and "Baditude" with Sam Obernik and Paul Harris from Dirty Vegas). Then, as his other alter-ego Shadow Child, he'd scrapped the electro house template in favourr of skippy garage tendencies and brooding, macho basslines. House music juggernauts like Moda Black and Dirty Bird have handpicked his services. Bristolian beatsmith, Eats Everything, lapped up the contagiously two step-causing "String Thing" for Dirty Bird. We caught up with him to have a chat, talking as much about food as we did house music. Then he pieced together an exclusive hour concoction of his current faves to gyrate wildly to in your best party garms.
Noisey: Hey man, how's it going?
Shadow Child: Not bad, you.
Yeah, I'm all good thanks. I wanted to start by asking about your basslines. They always seem to steal the show but is it the thing you spend the most time on?
Definitely drums. I spend ages on drums and I use Reason. It’s a really important thing for me programming wise and it’s usually the first thing that I dip into. With the basslines, it’s just that time when everybody loves the big basslines but it’s not too far off of what I was doing before with early electro house.
Whatever happened to good electro?
I’ve done a lot of interviews in the past where people have asked me about it and well, if you come from a background where trance was part of your thing then fair play but trance wasn’t really my thing. My background was drum and bass and early hardcore so that’s why the sound hasn’t made sense to me personally. Not to knock anyone else that is smashing it because there’s a huge market for that kind of stuff. There was a time when it all crossed over pretty nicely, but now it’s just you’re either in or you're out unless you just wanna earn the money.
Trance DJs just have to get out of bed to earn a million.
I’ve got a lot of friends who are still in that world and they’re loving it and genuinely into it. But just for me, going to those gigs at the end, it wasn’t me and I felt like people knew that I wasn’t enjoying it any more. That’s not the best thing.
So is the Dave Spoon alias now a thing of the past?
No plans to use him again, but you never know. I had to break down the boundaries from what I was doing before.
How’s your label, Food Music, coming along with co-boss, Kry Wolf?
We both live down on the south coast in a place called Southsea near Portsmouth.
I remember there being a great fish and chip shop just by Portsmouth Harbour station.
I know exactly the one that you're talking about. It’s a little too greasy for me but definitely some good food there.
So what’s your favourite food?
Thai. This new Thai place appeared in Portsmouth called Koh and since that restaurant appeared it changed things. It’s a different level.
Yeah, exactly that. There’s one in Bournemouth as well.
Oh really, I went to uni there. But anyways, you were saying about your label, Food Music…
We were both moving in the same direction musically so I just wanted to team up with Lewis because it’s also ridiculous that Portsmouth isn’t really on the music map.
That’s very true. What is your Collected project about?
I’d never call it a "best of" but that’s what it is. It’s kinda telling the music story so far because I didn’t think it was right to do an artist album just yet. I probably could have got into it but creatively, I just wanted to continue having fun working with the club tunes and remixes. The best way to put together a project like that is to make this collective set of work. So many people are still discovering me and what I’m doing as well as my old stuff. There’s also a couple of new ones on there as well; got one from Sinden and another one from me which is a very different vibe. For me it’s not just about dancefloor music. I want to explore other things on there.
Thanks for putting together the mix by the way…
That’s alright, I haven’t made one in ages. The radio show is more about everything I'm loving that’s coming to me at the moment but not necessarily tunes I play out all the time. The mix reflects exactly what I'm playing out now so you get a real flavour of that.
What music-related stuff have people got to look forward to?
There’s the Sinden record, which will be a single and will have some remixes on that by the Spring time. The track with Takura will be out in late November and there’s an MK mix coming. That’s the main focus up until Christmas.
Nice, thanks for that.
No worries. Don’t forget that Thai restaurant.
Shadow Child plays at Rinse x 2:31 at the Rainbow Warehouse Birmingham on November 23 alongside Huxley, XXXY, SOPHIE and Foamo. Tickets are available from Ticket ABC.
AlunaGeorge - Best Be Believing (Shadow Child remix)
Shadow Child & Sinden - Get At
Fantastic Mr Fox - The Trap
Paul Woolford - Untitled
ZDS - Drop
Aaron Snapes - Know You Better
Geoff K - Dysturbed Trumpet
808 State - Pacific (Rudi Stakker remix)
FSOL - Papua New Guinea (Shadow Child VIP)
Kry Wolf - Nightmode (Pedestrian remix)
Tong & Spoon - Muchness (KiNK remix)
Hardrive - Deep Inside (Shadow Child remix)
The xx - Angels (Shadow Child VIP)
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