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Friday, 21 September 2012

Elite Force Speaks to Funk and Filth - Exclusive Interview

The man with many names, and many many massive tunes under his belt, took some time out from running his multi-faceted dance music empire to answer some questions lobbed at him by Funk and Filth. Read on to find out his inspirations, motivations and how he stops himself from stealing his own Shreddies! Loads of free downloads for you to grab along the way too...

You and your music are hot property at the moment, you’re flying high (the current number 10 in our Funk and Filth Hall of Fame no less!), what do you use as inspiration for your music? What did you listen to a lot of when you were a kid?

Burning Man and the community surrounding it is a massive inspiration to me year-round. I love the culture, the altruistic nature, the lack of any commercial elements, the surroundings and the fact that music simply sounds better in the open air, in the desert. I find that it creates quite a purity of vision and allows you to focus on the heart and soul of what you do rather than what people think you ought to do, given their own interpretation of your career.

When I was a kid I listened to jazz, classical music then moved onto rock, thrash, skate, punk and found nirvana when I discovered acid house and the sampled beats of the likes of Depthcharge, Tackhead, Renegade Soundwave.

You get to DJ all over the place, to crowds of all sizes. What’s your favourite venue or event to play, and what makes it so special? Do you prefer the massive crowds or the more intimate venues, such as, oh I don’t know . . . a boat maybe?

Well I've already answered favourite event, but the answer is always the people and how open-minded they are to what you're playing. Large or small crowds don't really make any difference - your function is always the same, to be a participant in the night and to help make people dance. I do enjoy doing special events like the Boat Party - I love the sense of family that comes from that level of control and ownership of a night, which is why I am starting up THE ONE SERIES, a series of special events beginning on November 10th with SFR001 in San Francisco. The premise is simple - one DJ, one room, all night. I'll be doing the first one under my real name, Simon Shackleton and will be playing a truly eclectic blend for 6-hours. There will be more in a similar, but different, vein over the coming years.

Who is your favourite Producer right now? Do you have one tune that you always have in your back pocket, ready to drop into a set to lift the roof? How has your choice of killer tune evolved over the last 5 years?

I don't really have a go-to producer but some of the people that excite me at the moment are ... Marek Hemmann, Max Cooper, Adam Port, Jay Lumen, Tessela, Firebeatz, Solo, Maceo Plex. Ask me next week & I'll give you a different answer. As far as killer tunes go, I play at to so many varied crowds these days, one crowd's anthem would be another's death knell so I try not to be too imposing as to what I think people ought to love.

You can do a back-to-back set with any DJ in the world. Literally anyone. Who would you pick?

Lee Burridge. Sunrise.

We love you best as Elite Force, but you’ve got more than one alias. Can you briefly explain how this came into effect and what you think the main differences are between your various alter egos. Do they ever get in arguments with each other about who ate the last of the Shreddies?

Elite Force has released more Breaks, although not exclusively. Zodiac Cartel has released more Electro, although not exclusively. Simon Shackleton is the puppet-master and he decides what goes where. If we squabble over cereal he puts us into cold storage for a few weeks. Ask Zodiac. He didn't like it in there at all.

This is a big question now . . . not musically related but very very important to us! Footwear. What’s the coolest pair in your footlocker at the moment?

My dusty-as-hell New Rock Mad Max boots - the 3 inch platform soles make me 6 feet 5 inches tall. Be afraid.

Music production is a complex artform. As someone who clearly isn’t too bad at it ;) what would be your one tip for an aspiring EDM producer? What is the most important thing to get good at?

Don't follow the herd. 99% of everything in every genre sounds the same. Try to be the 1%. Oh and if you can come up with a better abbreviation than 'EDM' the scene would love you long time.

You’re known for putting on epic party nights . . . what would be your ideal location/venue/theme for your perfect night, and who would you have on the line-up with you? Are there any big Elite Force dates coming up that we should be aware of?

Well I'm really excited about THE ONE SERIES at the moment. In the medium term I'd like to bring other DJs who I have great respect for, into the series for their own 'solo' night. I'm also all about finding unconventional locations to throw these parties in - they don't have to be completely off-grid, but the sense of destination and surrounding that you get from being at somewhere like the woods in British Columbia for Shambhala, or in the desert for Burning Man, or on a boat on the Thames, or in a Scottish Castle or a stately home creates a sense of shared experience that you just don't really get in a club, or very rarely!

Who I'd want to involve would depend on the location and timing of the event really, but I have a few people in mind. In the meantime, I'm primarily looking at it as a vehicle for my own unique shows and to build something new & fresh for people to engage with.

You seem to have your fingers in a lot of pies . . . writing, producing, DJing, event management, social media . . . how the hell do you manage to fit it all in, and what can we expect to see next . . . a RVMPD3 album by any chance???

I very much doubt there'll be a RVMPD3 at the moment. I've enjoyed doing those series and putting the music out there, but there's only so much music you can dish out to people without diminishing the impact of doing it. I'm also not a big fan of re-treading old ground - the first album was officially released and painstakingly licensed, the second was entirely free from but right now I don't have any real interest in pushing more music out there of a similar style. I'll probably still do the odd revamp for my own sets, but I'd prefer to focus on original production work for the foreseeable future.

Fitting stuff in isn't that complicated really. Everyone has the same amount of time - you just make choices as to what you do with it & try to find ways to stay motivated.

And finally, the question that everyone needs to know, and what we ask everyone. . . Funk or Filth . . . . musically which way are you feeling right now?

If it couldn't be groove, then it would have to be funk.

It's not possible to recommend the RVMPD2 album enough! 18 big, fat, bassy tracks, all given the Elite Force treatment, and all available for free download. What more could you ask for?? Many of them have been featured on Funk and Filth throughout the year so far, but you can grab the whole lot right here. Make sure to keep your ear to the ground about the The One Series too. Cheers Shack!

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More garms in the Funk and Filth Shop.

More Elite Force posts on Funk and Filth:
- Funk and Filth Hall of Fame: Filth #10 - Elite Force
- Happy Monday : Elite Force
- It's all about... Elite Force

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