Originally from California, and now relocated to Barcelona, Ellie Hewitt speaks to up and coming Sci & Tec artist SHADED about surf and skate, muscial vibration and the grungy side of minimal. There is also an exclusive remix of Plastikman - Ask Yourself (SHADED RMX) get it here.
You hail originally from California, and come from a musical background, what did you listen to growing up and how did it influence your music? I grew up in the Orange County area, specifically Newport Beach, which is located in Southern California. If you have ever been there you will see that it is probably one of the most mellow places to be. Everyone seems to be in cruise control, which is cool, and the electronic music scene is definitely in its infant stages compared to other parts of the world. Growing up, before my teenage years, I pretty much only listened to classic rock and rock. My Dad is a musician and would always be jamming in our garage, and still does to this day! But every night all I would hear was classic rock and rock and surf music. No joke, like 4 hours a night. So when I hit my teenage years, when all I did was skate and surf and get in trouble, some friends and I started exploring the more aggressive side of music, like punk and harder rock stuff. Orange county was really cool in the sense that even though it was mainly a relaxing, low key place, there was still this more underground side of music going on. I attribute a lot of my musical style and approach now to the punk music and surf tunes I discovered in those years of my life. I think house and techno have a lot of similarities to the punk style. Especially with all my new releases coming out as SHADED, I really just love incorporating those surf-punk-rock inspired baselines and percussion rhythms to give the music that driving yet funky vibe. It was definitely those teenage years that really molded me into what I'm currently creating.
You surf and skate, how far would you say surfing and music go hand in hand? They are neck and neck. I think a lot of sports go hand and hand with music. Music would get me pumped to skate, surf, and sometimes push me to do things that probably were not to safe to attempt! I thought about it like this: Music pushes me and motivates me to try new things, so how cool would it be to make music that was new and forward thinking? I think Electronic music is just that, its very open, with no rules or limits, which really relates to the skate/surf mentality of not really sticking to the norm. Its really cool right now actually because all of my favorite things to do in this world are becoming more sociable acceptable as possible careers. Being a DJ / electronic musician now or, for instance, being a pro surfer, is totally cool and respected today, which to me is something fantastic.
You’ve recently relocated to Barcelona, where do you hang out over there and how is it making you progress with your music? Yeah, I love it over here. To me it feels like the LA of Europe. I live off La Ramblas in the Raval area, which is cool because I am right by the Bullit Agency office were all my friends live. It is also the area where all the cool shops are for music and records, vintage gear and skate stuff. Musically it has been amazing for me. Seems as if there is always really amazing parties happening, usually a couple times a week, and its always fantastic artists playing. And it is nice here, because the party people really trust DJ's. I feel like the mentality here is very open. People go out expecting a new experience of new jams rather than waiting all night to here their favorite ones. Thats refreshing for me . So yeah, I just think that mentality is seeping into my music, trying to explore something new all the time, while still keeping my roots in my sound. At first I did not notice really, but now that I'm looking back at my progress in the last few months I'm really pleased.
Tell us about the differences in your DJ set and your Live Set, and the importance of both in the dance world. I would consider myself a music maker turned DJ and live act. I guess I fluctuate between everything. I originally started out doing the whole band thing. Then I got over being in a band. I never really thrived in the whole team spirit thing. So I started being my own band, programming everything, which meant getting into the electronic side of creating. Then it just snow balled and now I'm here. Both DJ sets and LIVE sets are very important in my mind. Dj sets are necessary because they allow you to make 5 hours feel like 1 hour. You are able to become lost in a feeling, in a groove, and really tap into that hypnotizing energy. When I DJ I feel like that is the aim, to really emmerse people in the music, and make time slow down yet speed up at the same time. Playing LIVE is totally different i feel in terms of approach. I definitely want people to get lost in the music, but at the same time I want to share a lot of special moments and make them very recognizable and stand-alone. And unlike a DJ set, i feel there is only a certain amount of time a live show should last, because in essence you are playing all your own music, which will naturally have your sound no matter the style of music, be it house or techno or whatever. After an hour or hour and a half, I feel the magic starts to fizzle… like a rock show or any concert. 2 hours of the same band can be overwhelming. In a way you want to leave some mystery behind. I really enjoy playing LIVE right now because I love sharing what I love with others. And there is no better way to do that than share vibrations you created yourself and have people connect with them. That feels really good.
What would you say drives your ethos in life and music?I think it I would have to say vibration. Everything in life, at its core, is a vibration. I think that is what really intrigued me about electronic music in the first place. It was not really the actual audible sound, It was more about the feeling. that constant groove and funk your body feels is insane. You can not help but move when bass hits you just right. like that beach boy's song "good vibrations" , classic ! I love all types of music and listen to other forms of music just as much as electronic stuff. I just always gravitate toward bassy stuff because it feels the best. And I think something that creates feeling at both a physical and emotion level is where its at.
How would you say you’ve advanced from SHDWPLAY now into SHADED? What's the story behind the change of name? SHADED is my extension of SHDWPLAY. If continuing SHDWPLAY was possible, I would have, but under the circumstances it was not feasible. Actually, I have one more 2 track EP release coming out under the SHDWPLAY moniker via SCI+TEC called 'Save as / close shut' , which is fitting in the sense that I am closing one chapter and beginning another. They are 2 jams I really dig, and its a fitting close. I feel to achieve true artistic expression you have to be able to follow your gut, and do whatever you feel right. I reached a point in which I had all these cool Ideas that were not possible to create in the musical situation I was in with SHDWPLAY, so I decided to create SHADED. It is a very great thing for me because I now have the freedom to do me 100%. In essence the music will be governed by the same sound because I have worked hard at creating that vibe. I would say the advancement would be more so on a personal level than anything else. So if you dig the SHDWPLAY sound, you will dig the SHADED sound!
Can you tell us about how your relationship with the label came about, and particularly what it's like to work with Dubfire. Ali and myself had a solid talk about changing my name and moving forward as SHADED. He has been totally supportive and behind me 100% and that has really made this transition easier for me. He's a huge reason of why my productions as SHDWPLAY got out in the first place. He was the first person to really start pushing, and playing my music out on a regular basis, which was huge because he is so well respected. He is by far one of the raddest dudes in the scene and working with him is super easy. In terms of releasing on SCI+TEC, I pretty much just do my thing and send him tracks. We have a very similar taste in music so it makes everything that much easier and stream lined. It is the same when we play gigs together, I usually will play a live set, and I just do my thing however I see fit, then he comes on and rocks it his style. It all came about from being persistent and sending him music for a while. Eventually we connected on some jams for the label, and the rest is history!
Tell us about Sci + Tec as a label, is it a family vibe? What’s your role in the family? Family vibe for sure, its a very fun family. It is really all about just having a rad time, getting loose, and in way, giving each other a rousting every once in a while. For the most part a good chunk of the boys seem to live in barcelona for the summer, which is cool. Hang out, eat dinner, go to cool parties in the city when everyone is around, and then the occasional crazy after party! We have BBQ's on the roof over at the Bullit office, Carlo Lio also runs an unofficial hair salon as well at the office, so ye its pretty sick. He can cut a really good fade! I guess my role is just being the surf-ginger from Cali!
What advice would you give to aspiring producers out there? Patience and persistence coupled with a strong vision is everything. If you put in the work, and really believe in what you are creating, then it will be noticed. The level of recognition will always vary, but i truly believe you get what you give. Make music, sit in your studio for 2 days straight on a marathon, don't stop, or don't sleep, or whatever your thing is. I think there was a period of about 2 years where I don't have to many memories outside of making music in my room. A lot went on in my life, but the focal point was just perfecting the sound I loved, and nurturing it. I really think you have to know what you want before you receive it. On top of loving making music, having specific goals, and knowing exactly what I wanted to achieve made sitting in my studio for endless hours that much easier. In terms of getting your music out, don't rush the process. You will know when its ready. Patience is so key to the process. When things happen organically its because you were ready, and the work had been put in.
Do you think you’ll evolve again as an artist? What are your plans for the coming months? I will most definitely evolve as an artist. I think evolution in your personal, musical exploration is inevitable. But as far as SHADED is concerned, This will be my focus for quite some time, hopefully many many years to come! I am a very big fan or cultivating something and helping it grow. SHADED is my new SHDWPLAY, or my extension of it. In a way, musically, they will be one in the same. I wrote 100% of all the SHDWPLAY tracks from the beginning, and actually some jams that were originally meant to release as SHDWPLAY will now be coming out under SHADED. So my goal over the coming months and into the winter is to really spread the word on the new move and let the fans of the music know that the sound will continue. It will definitely evolve, as it has to, but the core funk will always be the same. The sound I love and the sound people have come to associate with me is just a natural occurrence when I sit down in the studio, and its something that organically happens. So ye, the coming months the goal is to spread the word, the funk, and start gigging and playing LIVE shows more frequently.
Tell us about your inspiration for the exclusive mix you’ve given to Pulse. This mix is actually a live recording of a LIVE set I played at a rad place Called La Cave in Orange County right before Sonar. The venue is underground, a hot box, always over capacity by dangerous numbers and has a low ceiling! Its a real cool place to get lost and allows for really bringing the heat musically! The crowd loves to party so you can push the limit. The set is almost like 75 percent or so unreleased material, or material that is set to release this year. I usually will never hit the record button when I play LIVE since Im always playing pieces of tunes that I literally just wrote, or am testing out, but this time I did! This is actually the first LIVE mix I have ever really put out which is exciting. So I hope everyone enjoys, and if you like some of the jams there is a good chance they will be coming out in the near future! Stay tuned !
What are your top three tracks of the moment?
The Dead Kennedys - Too Drunk to Fuck
Matthew Dear - Her Fantasy
Anything by Maetrik / Maceo Plex … guys killing it right now
start selling tickets with ease
start sharing your music for free