MCBN: You have almost “grown up” with the trance scene here in Cape Town, what was your first outdoor you DJ’d at?
Shift: My first outdoor gig was a the first timecode outdoor we did it was near Rondeberg (westcoast). Very Dusty! I think it was October 2001, followed by an Alien Safari and Vortex later that summer.
I did many indoor gigs, mostly my own parties in 1999 and 2000, and my first Live set for over 500 people was an Indoor Alien Safari at the Bijou in Obs in mid 2001. I hit pause half way through my first track! Never did that again…
MCBN: You have played at some of the biggest festivals overseas, how does it compare to Cape Town parties?
Shift: Huge festivals are great, but your set can get lost in the chaos. I find events with around 1000 to 3000 people much more satisfying. The dance-floor is more focused. Boom 2004 and some massive events in 2007 and 2008 in brazil were my biggest dance-floors, with well over 15 thousand people actually moving around you as you play, its pretty insane. Having said that the scene here in Cape Town is probably the best in the world. We have the most agreeable weather, the most professional promoters, the best array of local artists, the most fun and beautiful crowds, and a great choice of venues.
MCBN: You have teamed up with some of the sickest DJ’s in Cape Town, making up part of the LEGENDARY Twisted System and Pitch Hikers. You are working on a side project called USB Human, which is already hard at work on some crazy remixes. Can you tell us more about that?
Shift: Yeah, twisted system was a lot of fun – some special music and moments – great for a certain time in my life, but we are all are doing our own things now – perhaps a reunion some time, but not yet.
Pitch Hikers is still going strong with my good friend Slug – been giging in cape town a lot over the last year – and there is a 3rd album on the way soon too J
USB HUMAN is where most of my focus is at the moment – although I’m always going to make hardcore shift tracks there is a need in my life to do other things with music. I have a compulsion to make it in the commercial dance market. Anything goes for this project really. Dirty electro, progressive house, techno, breaks, drum ‘n bass. I’ve been doing it as a side thing for a few years, honing my skills, now I’m setting it upon the public 🙂
Yeah, got a nice break from Just Music in Jo’burg recently – they got me to do remixes of their artists Flash Republic, Locnville, and Zebra & Giraffe. Some pretty big names and I’m pleased with my efforts! Got the Z&G remix played on 5fm a few times already – its weird hearing my stuff on air – I get nervous listening to it.
MCBN: Having played on some crazy dance floors, you must have seen your fair share of wild antics by us stompers. What sticks out in your mind as the craziest thing you have seen while behind the decks?
Shift: hehehehehehheheheheheheh… at an outdoor party near London in 2002. This dude took too much of well whatever it was, and proceeded to strip off just in front of the booth. His buddies tried to stop him, but he was having none of it. He danced around butt naked in the pit at the front for over an hour. Damn funny! Shane Gobi played after me and by that time the dude just stood in front of the booth looking out toward the crowd. Shane had an excellent view of his spotty white butt. Ahahahha!
MCBN: Your sound can easily be described as dark, twisted, full on psycadelic trance! Who has influenced your sound over the years?
Shift: It can be described as that, but I think that’s maybe a little to much of a generalisation – I got known for that, sure, but I have definitely put out my fair share for morning and twilight stompers too. Still always psychedelic though!
Of the over 200 shift, pitch hikers, twisted system , and mantis tracks out there I’d give at least a third of them to the light side. The rest will just fuck you up if you aren’t expecting it!
I like to keep my tunes emotive. Too much psy these days is purely dance-floor tricks and does no engaging with your consciousness. So most of the music I like is quite deep. Real psy from the old days – music for travelling – My SHIFT sound is influenced by so many artists, but these are my most important:
Cydonia (dino psaras)
Psychaos (joti sidhu)
MCBN: I personally think we have some of the most insane producers/DJ’s here in Cape Town, who would you say are your favourite local and favourite international acts?
Shift: Local: Rubix Cube, Phyx, Deliriant, Headroom, Artifakt, Slug, Lost&Found, Cybernetix, Solar Axis, Rabdom L, Token Boy ( broken boy, I mean broken toy! ) and more
International: all those names form the previous question plus; Azax Syndrom, Abomination, Menog, Digital Talk, Scorb, CPU, and Species.
MCBN: You have been involved in the scene for many years, running records labels, producing and DJ’ing. You must have seen the scene change/evolve over the years. How has it changed for you? And where do you see it in 5 years?
Shift: It was my life. Then my Job, Now a paying Hobby.
I prefer it this way.
I used to travel every month. From 2003 to 2009 I did enough to last a lifetime.
I have seen a lot. The scene is more accommodating… not as hardcore and spiritual. But there are pockets of the old vibe still around and it rises when the time is right.
The commercialisation of it has taken it to great levels in many ways, but a lot of the meaning behind it is lost.
I have no idea where it is going or where it will be in 5 years, But I think its fracturing all the time.
Sub genre’s becoming whole movements in themselves.
Cultural twists within the scene in single geographical areas.
It’s become a bit of a turf war too. So much competition.
Music sales die, but popularity rises ands it is those who are positioned to travel and gig live and give away their music to get the gig who will survive it.
The problem with free distribution though for the artists is that although your music gets heard, and you can get more popular, the DJ’s all have your music too, so you aren’t needed at all after making the track…unless you can differentiate yourself with a performance live act of new and different versions of your music – and be fucking good at marketing yourself or have a good agent.
It is a dynamic system – artists slip in and out of popularity as the production styles, drugs, and fashions change.
MCBN: What are your top three tracks at the moment?
SHIFT Live: Frequent Smokers, Crash, and Big Acid Binge
DJ set: Lost & Found – Advance, Pitch Hikers – Delete Me, Deliriant vs Cybernetix – Degenerate
MCBN: Dirty Signal was one killer album. Can we expect another album soon as we know you been hard work in the studio working on the USB Human project.
Shift: Yes I have half the album done, and the rest are in concept if not production already.
I’d say in 4 to 6 months it will be available.
MCBN: This question has been eating at me for a while and I am hoping for a positive answer here (please)… Will we ever see a Twisted System set any time in the near future?
Shift: You know, if we are booked we will play. That’s for sure. We just don’t have a lot of new material. Since core our second album we have made about 7 or 8 tracks. Some released and other kept back dj cannon-fodder. We had planned a 3rd album but its on hold for now – one day though – and I think we will make a new track at least soon – ha.
MCBN: Now for the dreaded MCBN would you rather question…
Would you rather listen to the 5 second loop of “baby, baby” by Justin Bieber, all day every day, even when you showering and sleeping?
Would you run from Cape Town to Stellies and back with butter and Vaseline on the inside and under your shoes?
Shift: I’ll take option 2 – awesome
Thanks again for chatting to us and we look forward to seeing you on the trance floor very soon!
Shift: Awesome – thanks hey and check my Soudcloud /Facebook profiles for some free downloads too 🙂
For some free tracks, go straight through to either the Shift or the USB Human Soundcloud pages and ENJOY!
Facebook page: (click here)
Sound Cloud: (click here)
USB Human Fan page: (click here)
USB Human Soundcloud: (click here)
Myspace: who goes there?