Dave Shades is someone that doesn’t need much of an introduction. Hailing from the depths of Scotland, the booty bass loving DJ has been shaking dancefloors up and down the country with his eclectic mixes for a number of years. As head honcho of Horror Boogie Records, he’s also responsible for bringing out some of my favourite tunes by some of my favourite producers the past while and with his other label The Beyond planning to bring out more gems whilst also running the excelent Banjax night, he’s very busy spreading the word of quality tunes. It’s an absolute honour to have the latest interview and exclusive Skirmish mix courtesy of the man himself. A Gentleman and a scholar!!
I suppose first for those who are unaware you want to introduce yourself…..
I’m a DJ, based in Glasgow. I run the labels Horror Boogie Records and The Beyond and also the club night Banjax. I previously ran Mount Heart Attack and have held various residencies up here. I play everything from wonky techno, mutant bass, booty, rave and breakcore, to house, disco, soul, funk, hip-hop, rock and metal.
What sparked your interest in electronic music? I know you’re a metal head also like the rest of us but when was it you decided you wanted to DJ?
I went from being into metal as a kid, to hip-hop from the age of about 10/11, though hardcore rave tapes were passed around our primary school, so it kinda started from hearing them but my main inspiration for starting DJing was scratching. I loved the sound of scratching in hip-hop and basically that’s what I wanted to do, so I bought myself a set of decks when I was 16 and got to work. I mainly just locked myself away in my room, practising scratching and beat juggling and every so often I’d borrow my mates’ hardcore records and teach myself how to mix. I had a brief stint as the DJ for Scottish hip-hop act Damaged Goodz, then I moved to Glasgow, where I fell in love with techno and house.
You set up Horror Boogie as in your own words a result of not enough people releasing “the good stuff” on vinyl. Did you have a set plan when setting up the label in terms of producers you wanted to release and a goal?
To an extent, yeah. From guests I’ve booked and also from seeing other producers I’m into playing live, I noticed that there is so much good wonky techno and bass being made and nowhere near enough of it being released. Also, the majority of bass was being released on digital only and I’m a vinyl head at heart. I’d thought about it for a while and then finally decided to go for it, so I spoke to a few folk who run labels and found out everything I needed to know and more. Shouts out to Jerome Hill (Don’t), Mustard Gunn (Coin Op) and Andrew Ingram (Tabernacle Records). Once I decided to take the plunge, I contacted a load of producers to see if they’d be interested and I’m pretty sure they all came on board, so I’ve got a serious amount of stuff still to come. Also, in amongst the tracks I was sent, some that I loved weren’t really going to fit in with Horror Boogie, so that’s how The Beyond came about. It’s gonna be more straight up techno, old school, acid, house, electro, electronica etc. It’s almost good to go for the first release so watch this space.
As far as both labels are concerned, the goal is to combine some of my favourite artists with lesser known artists, with the focus being solely on putting out tracks that I love. I choose tracks that I’ve listened to relentlessly and never get tired of.
What’s the Scottish scene like at the moment? You’ve been throwing parties for years but any notable nights going on and producers to look out for?
With regards to the wonky techno and bass scene, sadly, it’s very difficult up here. It’s been a bit of a struggle. We’ve had some nights that have been completely rammed but we’ve also had some great artists play to a handful of people. There’s not really any other nights up here that put on that sort of stuff, which is a shame because there used to be some great nights like the legendary Test, Monox, Radar and Bass Invaders to name a few. Scrabble was another great night but it stopped in 2011.
There are a lot of nights that are doing well and bringing over some big guests, not always to my taste but I’m pretty fussy these days. Our night, Banjax, has wound down a bit now and we’ve stopped doing regular parties now. We’re just going to put on the odd night here and there.
The club we were doing our nights in, La Cheetah, is pretty much the place to be for the smaller, underground nights. The club itself and some of the regular nights have been putting on some excellent guests. Scan 7 and Buzz Goree smashed it at the weekend for Tribute and DJ Godfather is playing in the club next Friday. Excellent new label, Dixon Avenue Basement Jams, have also just started a night there, which kicked off with Jared Wilson.
I’ve recently been taken on as a resident for my favourite night, Pi-Eyed, which is run by two brothers, Josh and Jake Goldsmith, who are good friends of mine. It was originally an annual free party but they will be doing nights more often now, including a HUGE NYE party, with a crazy line up. The vibe at Pi-Eyed is more along the lines of Bang Face, with past guests including Dave Skywalker, Demon Cabbage, The Parliamentalist, Taz Buckfaster and Wombcorps.
This year was the start of Aurorafest, which was an outdoor party in a forest in Dumfries. The atmosphere was incredible and many local DJs came together and played on the Friday and Saturday. The venue is amazing. Mark Archer (ex-Altern 8) came and played a blinder on the Saturday and he’s set to play again next year. The line up is much bigger next year and I’ve had the honour of selecting some of the artists, so check it out. There are guests from all over, including Michael Forshaw, Dan Monox, Thorpey, Mike Holmes, Sample Junkie and P-Hocto.
Over in Edinburgh, Substance is a great night. They book quite a wide variety of guests and they like a bit of wonk. The resident, Gavin Richardson, is a great DJ too.
As far as producers go, Alex-Ander has started his own label, Ander Traxx, releasing nice deep house. He makes a wide variety of stuff and his techno is incredible, which will feature on The Beyond.
There are a couple of young bassline producers on the go up here too. LZWretch has remixed Kanji Kinetic’s ‘Citizens Unite’ for Horror Boogie Digitaland C More has released on Diggin It Records.
For those who like their tunes a bit harder, Babyshaker is a breakcore behemoth and anyone who caught his set at Bang Face will agree with me on that. He runs Meganeural Records, which has everything from breakcore to some really interesting bass music. His alter ego, Distill, is where he unleashes his dark, dark bass side.
Banjax resident Data Rape has been making some excellent electro and has some releases coming up. So have Soundex Phonetic and Chordata, both of which have numerous releases available.
Fancy & Spook have been around for a while and their take on electro is something else. Like a collision between Aux 88 style electro and old Landstrumm style techno, resulting in a sound that is distinctly their own, their full hardware live sets are mind blowing.
Marcus Rafferty is a producer who has been around for years and has a solid reputation for making brilliant music.
If noise is your thing, The Man From Ultra is one to watch. He did the 365 Days of Sound project, where he uploaded a different sound recording every day for an entire year.
Other good labels from Scotland are Numbers, who’ve been doing their thing for a good few years now and are massive. Substance Audio, from the guys who run the Substance club night had out a Ten Tracks digital release, which featured Neil Landstrumm, Subhead, Smees and Automatic Tasty among others. They have their first vinyl release in the pipeline. Dixon Avenue Basement Jams, from the Monox camp, blew up with their hugely popular Jared Wilson EP and the forthcoming Marquis Hawkes EP. Tabernacle Records began as an offshoot of club night Slabs of the Tabernacle and they’ve released a fair amount of vinyl now. Ben Martin and Sam Murray’s label ‘High Sheen’ have a Neil Landstrumm and Twitch collab EP on the cards. All worth checking out.
Your mixes are always bouncy as fuck. How do you approach putting a set together? What’s your weapon of choice -vinyl or digital or a mixture of both?
I was strictly vinyl until January last year, when I got Traktor Scratch, solely because I was missing out on tracks that weren’t getting a vinyl release. I use a combination of this and vinyl. If something is available on both vinyl and digital, I’ll always opt for the vinyl. Traktor’s handy as it means I can road-test tracks for the labels and also unreleased tracks from other people.
When playing out, it’s always off the cuff. I never plan my sets for clubs, as I think it defeats the whole purpose.
For mixes I’m recording, I used to record off the cuff but over the last few years, I’ve started planning them and I tend to do that all the time now. I think that a well programmed mix makes all the difference. I record them in one take but I pre-plan the tracklist.
Have you made the trek into making tunes yet or are you happy just DJing?
I started making tracks years ago but after me and a friend did a joint live set, my laptop was broken at the party that followed. I never got it fixed and I didn’t get back into it until last April. I’m still trying to find my feet again and I need to put more time into it but I enjoy doing it. I just wish I was better at it. Every so often, I make tracks that I like and have been prone to slip them into my sets but for the most part it’s just messing around.
You’ve put out some weird and wonderful sounds from the likes of Fedka The Irritant, Michael Forshaw and Ben Pest. What is it that appeals to you about the I suppose off kilter ‘wonky’ sound?
I love weird and horrible noises! To be honest, I find the wonky stuff much more varied. I do love a lot of older, straight up techno and I still play a lot of it but most of the recent straight up techno bores the tits off me. Slow, bland, samey, uninspiring shite and minimal can fuck right off! With wonk, it can be proper heavy, nasty, warped mayhem or it can be jacking, funked-up and bouncy. I just find there is a lot more depth to it.
What’s your favourite thing about the electronic scene at the moment?
BANG FACE!!! I dunno. There’s not a lot, in my eyes but the few things there are, are fucking amazing, such as Bang Face, the Don’t nights, the Coin Op and Z Shed nights, Pi-eyed and Aurorafest.
What up coming gigs have you on the horizon and what can people look forward to coming out on Horror Boogie?
I’ve just been booked to play after DJ Godfather in La Cheetah which is a really big deal for me, as I’m a massive fan of his. Pi-Eyed at New Year is gonna be insane, as I mentioned. I am set to play Don’t at some point (Xmas -14th December) and I’ve got a couple of other things in the pipeline but I can’t really say more than that, as nothing has been fully confirmed yet. I’m always up for playing though, so if anyone wants me to come smash it up, giz a shout.
The Fedka the Irritant EP has just arrived and is available on pre-release from email@example.com and still to come are tracks and EPs from Queaver & 3D!T, Dexorcist, Ben Pest, Dankle, Thorpey, Cptn, LZWretch, Bebop & Rocksteady (Ben Pest and Luke’s Anger) to name more than a few.
Horror Boogie Digital is finally good to go and the Welcome to the Horrordome! EP is released on 29th October, with exclusive remixes of Kanji Kinetic’s ‘Citizens Unite’.
I’m doing a collab EP with Meganeural Records that will be digital only and will feature 8 artists. We’re currently getting things together for this one.
‘Ultraviolet’ on The Beyond features tracks from Dexorcist, Ben Pest & Fedka, Marcus Rafferty and Dorsal and there’s upcoming stuff from Data Rape, Stick 430, Memorex (aka Alex-Ander) and nodataavailable.
Finally for the age old question – How many chucks can a wood chuck chuck if a wood chuck could chuck wood?
I’d love to answer that but I’m too busy swallowing bees cos ALL I DO IS SWALLOW BEES.
A few of my most recent mixes have been more focused on bass and rave so I wanted to leave that out and get on a techno tip, so this has ended up being a fairly jacking, ghetto and acid-laced affair and I’ve included a few classics that don’t often leave my record bag. It’s all vinyl apart from the two forthcoming Horror Boogie tracks. Enjoy.
Big up to Dave Shades for the interview and whopper mix!! You can catch him in London on the 14th December at Thee Don’t Christmas Party. Click the poster below for more information!!