Hailing from the Jacaranda lined streets of Pretoria to the canals of Amsterdam I finally get a chance to chat with DJ/Producer Shane Halcon who is currently residing in downtown Toronto. The Canadian city is alive with dance culture and the arts in general and as Skype connected us and revealed a sleeping Shane with a bright dishevelled orange mohawk, I remembered there’s a 7 hour delay and he confirms to me that he just woke up “How’s Canada?,” I ask.
“Canada’s been pretty good, I’m not able to travel all that much due to immigration restrictions right now, but that’s given me a lot more time to stay in studio, work on new tracks, and I’ve done a lot of new remixes which I never really had time for before.”
So it’s been a blessing in disguise really? “Yeah, you could say that”, he replies “it’s given me a chance to work with Glenn Morrison (best known for his hit Contact), I hang out at his studio from time to time and it’s given me a nice working environment. It’s a more professional studio than I’ve worked in the past… It boosts your own standards and everything you do.”
About Toronto Shane confesses to enjoying his baseball now, an interesting admission from a guy who once made a go at provincial cricket in South Africa and county cricket in the UK.
“It’s pretty much the first or last stop any artist makes on their North American tours. It often happens it’ll have everyone from ATB, to Chris Lake, to Deadmau5 within the space of 2 – 3 days.” The city also plays host to Guvernment who DJ Mag voted #8 in their Top 100 Clubs of 2008.
We start chatting EDM, not just the rise of the term, but how so many artist are using it like a genre umbrella to really cover a lot of different music.
“When PVD goes back to ’99 and talks about playing electronic dance music, it’s just them jumping on the bandwagon and commercializing the term. Techno is electronic, Trance is electronic, people just tend to leave out the ‘underground genres.’ If they (DJs) are doing it with the full understanding of what EDM actually means then by all means, but don’t say you are an EDM artist and play Electro House non-stop.”
“People don’t want to see DJ’s they want to see producers, the people who make the tracks.”
The conversation turns towards the politics of dancing, and Shane admits he’s never “experienced it anywhere else in the world as bad as it is in SA; top 3 worst that I’ve seen”, but that leaving his homeland and moving to Europe was “probably one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.”
He concedes that, “If it wasn’t for me having a European passport it would have been even more difficult. It’s nowhere near as easy as everyone thinks it is. When you move to Europe you are competing with the best of the best. When you try and put yourself on the level of guys whose music you’ve been playing, what’s to stop a promoter from booking that person rather than you?,” a rather daunting challenge to anyone I agree.
His advice is “I would tell anybody first, get your tracks out there, produce. People don’t want to see DJs they want to see producers, the people who make the tracks. Not some guy who plays somebody else’s tracks. But of course you have to start somewhere, and that’s what the DJ is. People would rather see a producer play a DJ set, rather than a DJ play a DJ set.”
We wrap up by discussing his release schedule, “Last week was the release of a remix I did for Glenn Morrison on Sony Music. Then I’ve just finished a track with the German producer Strobe and it features Roberta Harrison on vocals, that’s gonna be on Black Hole pretty soon. I’ve just delivered the master this week.” He goes all low key about some remixes and work including a remix for Armada. “The content is there, it’s now getting the release schedule right so none of them clash with each other.”
He concludes with some sound advice to aspiring DJs/Producers, “Just to do everything sooner. I waited a little too long to get my own tracks out there. I have learnt along the way, I’ve made mistakes, I’ve learnt from them, and I’m a better artist because of it.”
Find Shane Halcon here: facebook.com/shanehalcon
Shane Halcon Details