Artist of the Week: Simon & Shaker
Ever since 2001, Simon Garcia and Karim Shaker formed an inseparable producer team, reaching out to people through their aliases: The Sundayprayers, Element, The Latin Soul Drivers, Outsiders, Teramik and the Dark Providers. But the most outstanding guise of all of them, was the Simon & Shaker alias. Not only by staying close to their personal names, but their own sound too, they rose in fame with productions like 'Pure State', 'Zero' and 'Plan 9'. Their sound, a genuine mixture of tech-house, progressive and trance influences, is one like no other. Lucky enough, they decided to team up with Armada to start their own imprint: State Recordings. A label that stretches from deep tech-house to progressive madness. Time for a deep dive into the world of Simon & Shaker.
Lift offLet's start from the beginning. About 15 years ago, both guys were infected by the captivating beats of EDM. S&S: 'It started about 15 years ago, when electronic music arrived in Spain on Vinyl and by other influential electronic groups such as the Chemical Brothers, Orbital and Daft Punk.' It didn't take long before both guys settled themselves as DJ's, and eventually became residents in some of the biggest clubs in Spain. S&S: 'It was something that happened gradually with our productions being an excellent business card that opened the doors at many clubs around Spain. This all started around eight years ago with us now playing a wide range of clubs around Spain. The international circuit has begun to took notice of us around five years ago and from that time till now, we are playing around the globe. We have a great fan base who have followed us as we have developed as international DJ's. When we return to Madrid it feels like a school reunion in which these fans have seen how we have grown. We only play twice a year in Madrid so it's really special every time we return, with all the fans really excited and luckily every time we play it has been a huge success.' When it came to productions, both guys certainly knew the deal from their early start. They worked on several solo stuff and in different groups. But the real magic didn't happen until they teamed up. S&S: 'We first met in an electronic group called 'Shock System' in the mid 90's. It was a group which allowed us to experiment with a variety of influences: House, Techno, Drum 'n Bass and Big Beat. The group faded over time, and ended up with two remaining members, which was us.'
Different soundsShock System made place for a new guise: The Sundayprayers. And Element. And Outsiders. And most recently, they also started working together under The Dark Providers and Teramik. That's a whole bunch! S&S: 'The Sundayprayers was the first project we worked on together and was based on pure techno and house rhythms, we still have a lot of love for this project and I think this guise will emerge once again very soon. The Dark Providers is a project which contains a lot of atmosphere and melodies while Teramik is a harder tech-house sound based around rhythm.' But of course, we're talking about Simon & Shaker now. Their sound has definitely fluctuated over the past years. S&S: 'The Simon & Shaker sound! From deep-house, deep-tech, house, tech-house, Nu-techno to progressive house. We like good music and this is transferred into our productions, sets and radio shows. If we would have to choose just one genre we would say it has to be tech-house with deep, techno and progressive house influences.' And that's right where the guys manage to hit the spot. Next to numerous travels to gigs all around the globe, their studio is the centre of everything. And a real division in who does what, doesn't really apply to them. Or does it? S&S: 'We do everything together, we are both producers, creators and engineers. You could say the more creative concepts come from Karim with harmonies and Simon is more of a rhythm and bass person.'
Surfaces and StarstuffRecently Simon & Shaker started a new compilation series at Armada: Surfaces. Their first Surface, 'Plastic' was filled with their favourite selection of tracks. For their Spanish fans however, things weren't really perfect. S&S: 'We are very happy with the reactions, but it is a shame due to distribution problems that the CD cannot be found in shops in Spain. I think we will release a second edition before the end of the year.' So Spanish fans, keep an eye on the local stores! When it comes to track releases, Simon & Shaker have a new package coming up. They combine forces with D-Formation for an honourable mission: to rescue a classic from 2003. 'Starstuff' is one of those tracks that shaped 'The Sound of Spain' and is well worth to be remade. S&S: 'Starstuff is one of the most important remixes we have done in our career. I am referring to the original from 2003. We decided to re-release it in 2009 with new remixes from us. We also had remixes by D-formation (who is also a co writer) and Ismael Rivas. It was great to see a wide variety of DJ's supporting the new edition: Mark Knight, Axwell, Francesco Farfa, Marco V, Jim Rivers and DJ Vibe.' And surely, a lot more supporters are coming up! Also stay tuned for their next release, 'Panorama'.
Live Deejay Experience On the Armada YouTube channel we've recently uploaded a video that announces a fresh, special thing going on with Simon & Shaker. They present their Live Deejay Experience. Please, explain! S&S: 'This is a new concept of performing which captures the impact of a DJ set with the elements of a live performance. We add what we do as DJ's with playing live instruments & synths which allow us to create a new experience from our musical productions. The show has been tested at various clubs in Spain and worked really well. Our international debut will be on the 21st of February at the Warehouse in Tokyo. We are really excited about this project because it allows us to really interact with the music.' Sounds exciting, guys. Upcoming cities will be able to experience this: South Korea, Egypt, Japan and a whole range of other territories. And when it comes to new tracks, Simon & Shaker surely won't be stopping anything soon. S&S: 'Yes, we are working on a new single which we are very excited about. The planned release date will be this April, so stay tuned!' We will.
More info about Simon & Shaker here.
Check their Exclusive Armada Mix here!
Starstuff '09 (Bladerunning Remixes)Simon & Shaker feat. D-FormationDownload
Shaker combine forces with D-Formation for an honourable mission: to rescue a classic from 2003. 'Starstuff' is one of those tracks that shaped 'The Sound of Spain'. The Simon & Shaker 09 mix brings this classic banger up to date by adding their typical dark and techy elements to it. Respecting the original melody, but adding a new breakdown and of course: an unstoppable groove. The D-Formation remix is a different story and revolves around the melody that dives into depth. Ismael Rivas is the third star invited to complete this seventh release from State Recordings. His Factomania remix adds an atmospheric feel. His idea to double the melody line adds a new dimension to the track. Ismael was one of the DJ's responsible in turning this track into a hit by playing the track on a weekly basis in his legendary sets at Space of Sound, Madrid. To complete this package you will find a new master of the Simon & Shaker Bladerunning mix from 2003. A sincere classic from the underground.
1. Simon & Shaker '09 Mix2. Simon & Shaker '03 Cut Bladerunning Mix Re-Masterd3. D-Formation '09 Mix4. Ismael Rivas '09 Factomania Remix
For more info on Simkon & Shaker, check out www.simonandshaker.com