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The Shapeshifters

shapeshiftersIt’s been 10 years since UK house duo The Shapeshifters teamed up to carve a place for house music in the world. But as they celebrate the occasion with anniversary tours, the two have little time for nostalgia. Simon Marlin talks to HAYLEY DAVIS before capping off their anniversary year at The Court’s Boxing Day Foam Party on Thursday, December 26.

When Simon Marlin first started making music he was recording mixes on tapes. Over a decade later, he and Swedish born Max Reich are marking 10 years of causing trouble in the industry by releasing the double disc compilation album, Analogue To Digital… And Back Again.

One disc features the remixes they’ve done over the years from Empire Of The Sun and George Michael to Christina Aguilera. The other has four original tracks and remixes of their biggest hits by the likes of dance music titans Laidback Luke and Mercury. Analogue To Digital also includes a new take on Lola’s Theme, the notorious track that sent them to the top of the UK charts ten years ago.

Since that hit they’ve worked across the spectrum of legends in the industry including Nile Rodgers of Chic, as well as founding their own record label (Nocturnal Groove) holding residencies in Ibiza, and being hailed one of the UK’s best ever dance acts. Moving and shaking in the scene well before Lola’s Theme, the pair is hardly stuck in times past. Modestly acknowledging the milestone, Marlin believes they’re making some of their best music right now.

“That’s what I’m excited about,” he says. “I appreciate the past and I love what I’ve done in the past and I’m proud of what I’ve done in the past, but for every artist it’s all about what we’re doing in the future.” And that future sees the boys returning to their roots. “I do feel like we’re making the best music we’ve made in a long, long time… we’ve gone back to what we did originally, which was take inspiration from our funk and soul backgrounds.”

After retreating for some time from producing records for the charts because they felt the industry had lost its way, Marlin says dance music has now found its place in the world.  “It’s not just the bastard child of the music industry anymore. When we first started, people didn’t take it seriously, you know,” he explains. “House music has definitely come back in a big way so that makes us a bit more inspired. We have struggled in the last couple of years with the whole EDM thing. We definitely felt that the scene had lost its way. So we pulled back but now we’re inspired.”

Never the shrinking violets, Simon gets frustrated with the volume of under-produced work that gets churned out nowadays. “Whereas before you would have to press vinyl which is a whole process in itself, you would have to go through a lot more processes before you let the world hear it. So that naturally weeded out some of the crap.” His advice to the many kids that can now pick up a laptop and become a DJ: “Believe me I know it’s really hard, when you’re faced with 10,000 people in front of you and you’re playing what you love and it’s not quite connecting. You’re like: “Should I reach for this? Should I suck Satan’s cock, or not? It’s better to be true to what you believe in then play a lot of shit that you don’t believe in – then what are you doing it for?