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Retrofit: Jay Shepheard

In advance of his collaborative Tad Wily release, Dazed catches up with Jay Shepheard to talk about the birth of his label and uncover some surprising listening habits

Jay Shepheard first arrived on the scene in 2006 having previously worked in music PR and at the UK's largest online music store, Juno Records. He made his mark with Munich-based imprint Compost, in particular their Black Label Series which received critical acclaim. Shepheard was soon producing remixes for the likes of Buzzin’ Fly and Dirt Crew and this year he returned home to London after spells in Berlin and Poland to set up his own label, Retrofit. The label has gone from strength to strength, the first release achieving top positions on vinyl and download charts and garnering support from the likes of The Revenge, Catz 'N Dogz, dOP and Brendon Moeller.

Dazed Digital: Tell us about your upcoming EP release with Tad Wily? How did that collaboration come about?
Jay Shepheard: I met him while I was living in Sopot near Gdansk in Northern Poland a few years back. He's a wicked producer, is pretty handy on bass, keys, perc etc and he's got some cool kit like this big old Russian synth. We've been meaning to release something together for a ages, now I've got the label up and running it seemed like a good time to do it.  

DD: You own your own label project, Retrofit, what is the label's mantra and how do you see it moving forward?
Jay Shepheard: The term 'retrofit' means to take an existing or classic product and update it for a modern environment. I've always loved acid house, disco, vintage techno etc so the plan for the labels is to use all these influences to create something that both references the past but also feels modern at the same time. I want it to be pretty broad in terms of the genres etc, so people don't know what to expect from one release to the next.  

DD: You've played in clubs all over the world, which has been your favourite?
Jay Shepheard: It's pretty hard to pick any one venue or party as 'the best', there have been so many. Secretsundaze at Sonar this year was a stand-out one lately though.   

DD: You're playing in Australia this November - how do the crowds over there compare to the UK?
Jay Shepheard: It's wicked there, can't wait to get back over. Each city is somewhat different but I think in general there is a more laid back vibe than London - but people are really into the music and are up for long haul partying, so I guess in many ways not so different from UK crowds.

DD: How do you like to spend your down time?
Jay Shepheard: All manner of non-music related wholesome activities really... Pubs, reading, films, hiking, cooking, restaurants, parties, gym, art, Internet, swimming, spending time with my beloved fiance... That kind of thing!

DD: What are you listening to at the moment?
Jay Shepheard: Right now it's Gardeners Question Time. That's the one on Radio 4 by the way - not a trendy new band!