clubZone Interviews The Shapeshifters
by Carolina Galli
Published Wednesday, July 20, 2011
Purveyors of the finest house music and all round party people, The Shapeshifters (aka Simon Marlin and Max Reich) have been at the forefront of dance music since 2003. As DJs, producers and label owners, they’ve set the pace with their unique kind of nocturnal grooves, and there’s no sign of it slowing down with the forthcoming release of their ‘Nikki Beach – In The House’ compilation for Defected Records. Add to this a selection of hot new productions, including collaborations with Frankie Knuckles, as well as a packed DJ schedule, and 2011 looks set to be another vintage year. Check out what Max Reich had to say to clubZone about their latest album for Nikki Beach, their upcoming tour and his favorite DJ – who do you think that is?!
For our readers that aren’t familiar with your sounds how would you describe it?
House music, plain and simple. Nothing more, nothing less. Party music that makes you want to put your hands in the air!
What first pushed you to pursue a career in the music world? Was this something you both always knew you wanted to do?
I was listening to the radio back in ‘87 when MAARS “Pump Up The Volume” came on. I got so inspired, I bought a couple of turntables two months later and started DJing. The natural progression after a few years of DJing was to buy studio gear and start producing, and that was exactly what I did.
How do you two work together? Are there benefits of being a duo and working together as opposed to doing your own stuff individually?
Simon and I come from quite different musical backgrounds, and that gives us an advantage, as we always bounce ideas back and forward. We’ll tell each other if an idea is good or not! [laughs]
The Nikki Beach Music label has recently announced the debut of its NIKKI BEACH IN THE HOUSE mix compilation series, out now. You guys mixed two of the three CDs. What was your inspiration behind the Nikki Beach series for you?
We wanted to do two quite different CDs on this project. CD1 has a relaxed poolside focus; check it out when having a cocktail and enjoying the sunshine in some exotic destination! CD2 is a more accurate reflection of what we currently play out at our shows. Included in the mix are “In It Together” from the hot new band from L.A., Human Life, and Frankie Knuckles’ amazing new song from his Director’s Cut project. That one is called, “I’ll Take You There” and is out now on our own Nocturnal Groove label. Obviously, we have also included two of our latest releases, “She Freaks” and “Waiting For You,” amongst the 30 tracks featured across the two CDs
Have you ever partied at any of the world famous Nikki Beach Clubs? Any crazy stories?
Yes, we’ve done Nikki Beach in Miami a few times and been to some great parties! We have also DJed there too, but I’m afraid that there haven’t been too many crazy stories, at least none that we can share. [laughs] I’ve also been once to the Nikki Beach in Koh Samui, Thailand, but again, it was more on the chill tip.
You have some pretty great shows coming up: Algeria, Holland, Russia, Ibiza, Thailand, Malaysia, China…wow! Where are you most excited about going?
Our gigs in Algeria and Holland were really good, but Algeria really surpassed our expectations and turned out to be a great gig with an amazing atmosphere. Obviously, Pacha in Ibiza is one of our favorite places to play, and on the 2nd of July we kicked off the summer with our first gig for this season on the White Isle. Asia will be fun, too; we’ll be back to Zouk in Singapore for the fourth time and we know that’s going to be a massive party!
How do you find that the taste in music changes from country to country?
Maybe a little, but a good house track is a good house track. Music is universal in that sense.
If you weren’t running around the world as a DJ, what do you think you’d be doing?
Something I really enjoy is interior design and working with building development and renovating, but I think we have got more than a few years before we’ll put the decks on the shelves.
You’ve worked on productions and remixes of some big names, George Michael, Christina Aguilerra and Moby, to name a few. If you could work with anyone dead or alive, whom would it be?
I’m a huge fan of Prince, but more of the sound he was doing in the 1980’s, so I’d love to do something more in that vibe. I’ll drop him an email and ask. [laughs]
What’s your favorite club to play? Pacha, Ibiza.
Who is the craziest artist to play a show with? Jenna G.
You’re on the road a lot. What’s your favorite time of year to be at home? Anytime is good time.
Track you’re most proud of? “Lola’s Theme.”
Favorite DJ? Pookie.
Favorite Band? The Gorillaz.
What’s the most embarrassing track you have on your iPod? Anything from Smurf Hits Vol. 9! [laughs]
Do you have any superstitions or lucky charms? The “down to earth” philosophy.
What’s on your rider? Sambuca, Grey Goose vodka, cranberry juice, and lots of water.