MH Interview with my main.. ShapeshifterHustle Hall of Fame
Oh. My. Goodness. Help.
Shapeshifter. Need I say more?
A musical institution since they met in 1999 (yes, you read right), these guys decided from start that they weren’t always gonna play by the rules.. Instead of sticking to one musical classification, they began to combine and layer multiple genres, an amalgamated style of futuristic sound they’ve remained true to ever since.
Has there ever been a more apt name for a group? Their live performances are a journey, an experience.. Shapes have been known to actually shift as soon as they walk on to that stage (those taking human-form, especially).
I was lucky enough to have a yarn to Nick Robinson (bass/synth/MPC), ahead of Shapeshifter’s appearance at Auckland City Limits (which is, by the way, tomorrow!!) – and he had some great insights on staying true to the vibe..
So chuck your headphones on, get in the zone and check out the realest of the real talk below..
1) What is one reason you love a good Monday?
I reward myself with monday arvo beers with the Mrs whenever there’s a good Monday.. Luckily for me, the Mrs and I are often having arvo beers (2 to 3, sometimes 1) on a Monday.
2) You guys have been together for 12 years. 12 YEARS! That’s massive! How have you managed to stay so focused, and so incredibly relevant over the years in such an evolving market?
Aww it’s been a chunky, roll-ey, up and down old time, but it’s always good times making music, so we just enjoy that and whatever comes comes! We set ourselves up for failure every time, then anything that happens better than failure is a success.
3) The music you create is genre defying. You’re the definition of making a creative vision work for you! Has there ever been a time where there was a pressure to conform, and how do you manage to stay true to your sound?
There is pressure to conform, and in the past we probably have received a bit of stick because we base ourselves in a genre that is quite purist a lot of the time. But at the end of the day it’s just what ends up happening in the studio. Sam, Digsss and I would all come up with different styles in our individual studios, but when we get together shit just comes out the way it does and sort of becomes its own monster in a lot of ways. I’ll listen back to a shifter sesh, and listen like its somebody else. I don’t know about what’s relevant when it comes to Shapeshifter because I suppose we have an element of f*ck you when it comes to the norm- we’re just going to do our own thing, win or lose, while simultaneously hoping like anything people will like it.
4) I’ve been lucky enough to see you live a few times, and each time is such a moving, fresh experience (‘One’ = life affirmed!). With such an insane schedule, how do you keep motivated and energized for each live performance?
( Thank-you !! ) Every gig I think we all get nervous for, it never goes away.. We’re always going to expose ourselves, and potentially set our selves up for people thinking they don’t like what we’re playing, so we have a real desire to play as well as we can whatever the outcome. There are always f*ck ups, and things always play out differently to what we initially planned on stage, but the feeling of all the people that come to listen is totally humbling and always energizing. It still blows us away that there’s peeps who love our sounds. We feel lucky as a band.
5) How can we expect the ACL set to be different from other festivals/gigs?
We have two new songs that are going to be on our new album, which we’ll be releasing at some stage when we figure out how and when to do that.. But its cool to be part of ACL and have the chance to play there and get these new songs out there!
6) 12 years is a long time.. But you don’t seem to be slowing down! Where is Shapeshifter hustling to get to next?
We have a new album coming out this year, and we also have tours of Europe, North America, Australia and Japan getting lined up, so it’s pretty much getting stuck in .. Then a big old Kiwi summer tour, which is always our end of year treat. We’re just going to keep doing what we’re doing while it’s fun. Keep jamming, keep traveling, keep growing, and always Whanau first!
Thanks Shapeshifter – truly cannot wait to see you play live when a New Day Comes (so clever, me)!
And thank YOU, hustler, for indulging in this week long interview binge with me!! If you missed yesterday’s post due to St Patrick’s Day festivities (not one to judge with a last name like O’Connor), you can check it out here.
I truly hope you’ve gained something life changing from these yarns.. More inspiration like it to come really soon! See you at Auckland City Limits tomorrow!!!
Which interview was your favourite of the week, and why? Would love your feedback – comment below!