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Shadow Dancer Exclusive Mix

Boysnoize Records' signing gets set to play Ridha's stage at London Festival SW4 by mixing up an exclusive treat for Dazed Digital...

Named in homage to the ninja-filled side-scrolling Sega game, Shadow Dancer were one of the more distinguishable acts to come from Boysnoize Records at the time, fusing more techno influences into electro tracks and swapping overused side-chain cliches for more experimental, almost softer melodies like in debut album Golden Traxe's 'Drivetime'. The prolific remixers have reworked tracks from the likes of Parisian band The Teenagers to Montreal's Chromeo, The Whip, The Faint and Turbo Recordings' Zombie Nation. Dazed Digital present an exclusive mix rom the duo's Paul Farrier before he plays the BNR Stage at Clapham's SW4 Festival in August...

Dazed Digital: What have you been up to since Golden Traxe?
Shadow Dancer: Well… 2009 was taken up with touring and promoting, which meant producing took a back seat for a good while. We only got round to seriously working on new stuff around the start of 2010 but even that was scuppered slightly by self-doubt and not really knowing what we wanted to do next. We did manage to squeeze out some remixes for Zombie Nation, Fischerspooner, Boys Noize and Lazersonic & Zak Frost, and these kind of helped us develop and progress our "sound". It's incredible to think it's almost a year and a half since the album came out, really. It doesn't feel like it… Thankfully, though, we have things planned, release-wise, for the autumn. Maybe winter. You never know with these things. I can say, with absolute certainty, that it will not be a repeat of what we've done before.

DD: Do you still feel very BNR or has your sound changed since you first started producing?
Shadow Dancer: I didn't really consider our sound to be very BNR in the first place. We didn't make any concessions or compromises once we signed to the label - a fair few of the tracks on the first EP and 'Golden Traxe' were done before Alex ever got in touch. Obviously, as we've been producing music for two decades, our sound has changed, but only in terms of a natural progression that comes with learning new techniques, advances in hardware and software. And getting older, probably. People would most likely not see any connection between a track we made in 1997 and, say, 'Soap', but I can still hear it myself and the same intentions are there: taking all the music that inspires us and trying to cram it together. Hence the occasional messiness… The great thing about Boys Noize as a label is that there is no remit when it comes to writing an EP or album... it doesn't matter what you choose to do, just so long as you make it good.

DD: Why do you work so well as a duo?
Shadow Dancer: Sadly, we don't actually produce together anymore. It wasn't always successful when we did as I think we sometimes had very different ideas about how a project should turn out. We do, however still do the live shows and occasionally DJ together, which is much better than doing it alone. Without Al to travel with and talk absolute nonsense to, miles away from home, I feel a little lost now and then. Plus, he's far better at keeping a level head and getting things organised than me, so that can be a bonus when we're trying to find out how to get free drinks backstage.

DD: I saw you play the pub, the Old Queen's Head in Islington once which was pretty weird, how do you feel about playing festivals like SW4?
Shadow Dancer: Ah… the Old Queen's Head. We've played there a few times and I've (nearly) always enjoyed it. It's a small room that doesn't feel pokey or claustrophobic, and the crowd is usually quite unpretentious. We get away with playing older tracks by Inner City and the like there, so I like it. The transition between small club and festival tent is not too daunting for us as you can quite often go from playing to 2500 people one day and 300 the next, depending on where your playing. Regardless of the crowd size, we end up doing pretty much the same thing… We love festivals, but we very rarely get booked to play them. Pukkelpop last year is probably the best gig we've had. We've yet to DJ at a festival (even at SW4, it's going to be our live set), which is something I've always wanted to do since seeing Darren Emerson at Glastonbury in 1995.

DD: How would you describe your DJ style?
Shadow Dancer: Er… I don't know, really. I've had people come up to us after playing saying that we play very tight, techno-orientated sets, but it's not something I've ever sat back and considered. Basically, we try our best to play things that may not be expected: these days, there are a lot of situations where the "warm up" DJ is keen to play the latest big tracks, which means you have to dig a little deeper in order to not make the night quite so predictable and repetitive. We put mixes up on Mixcloud now and then but they're maybe not indicative of what we would be able to play in a headline set at an "electro" night, which is a little bit disappointing. That said, we do like to slip the odd house or Detroit techno gem in when the feeling takes us.

DD: What are you listening to now? Any fave tracks of the moment?
Shadow Dancer: There's so much music that excites me around at the moment, it'd be impossible to list all the stuff I'm currently in to. But I do have a minor obsession with the resurgent Detroit house sound currently being championed by KiNK, Drumpoet Community, Submersible Machines, Iron Curtis and Basic Soul Unit. And then, of course, there's the next Shadow Dancer EP…

South West Four Weekender; Bank Holiday Weekend: August 28th - 29th