Monday, 14 February 2011

INTERVIEW: if you're gonna be a one man army, be an ELITE FORCE!

Elite Force smashing it up at Deathwish!

Managed to catch up with Simon Shackleton AKA Elite Force during his set at Deathwish and asked him to do an interview for my blog which he was more than happy to do! At first I just thought he was a good breakbeat DJ who made a few smashing tunes. But no, he's much more than that. To my amazement after doing a bit of research I ended up way out of my depth in the ocean that is his career in music, and I can barely swim! During his uni days he was in a band with Thom Yorke before he went on to do Radiohead and is on the soundtrack of a few movies, one of them being none other than The Matrix! He also runs a record label called U&A Records which feature artists such as Peo de Pitte and Mike Hulme. Anyway enough blabbering and more interviewing, enjoy! 

Before we get to the crazy, vast and what I’m finding to be quite overwhelming things you’ve been up to, where did you and music shack up together? (pun intended)

Music's always been my 'thing' from an early age. I broke my elbow when I was nine years old quite badly and as I result I focused on playing the piano & singing rather than the sports that I was into prior to that ...

Obviously I’ve done my research on you and everything just screams “Elite Force: Musical Legend!” You’re involved in so many things! How on earth do you keep up with yourself!? Do you feel any pressure at all?

Constantly, yes, but it's a self-imposed pressure. I'm not sure I do keep up with what I intend to achieve, but I do find that having deadlines & commiting to projects and a fixed timeline really helps to focus the mind - that being said, this is still very much a creative artform and when it comes to music creation, it takes as long as it takes. I guess what i have learnt over the years is how to manage my time efficiently and which battles to pick & when. For example, it's not always worth persevering with ideas on a given day - sometimes it makes more sense to abandon a project & focus on something else for the day & as you get older you become more adept at making the right decisions.

You studied and played in a band with Thom Yorke and you’ve done music for The Matrix among a few things. When you were in the process of doing these things did you have any idea how big these things would be or where you just living your life and going with the flow of things, seeing what happened?

No, of course not - you never really have any idea of how things are going to be received, and to a certain degree I'm a lot less bothered now than when I was starting out when I think you have the expectation that a certain track or remix or licensed piece of music will have a revolutionary impact on your career. The fact is a career is an evolving beast and time is the great decider of what works & what doesn't.

Tech Funk. Explain.

Well it was a term that several of us was tagged with a few years ago to cover a broad range of music (house, electro, techno, breaks) that we were playing in our DJ sets, but I'm not really sure it has any real relevance - I'd more likely describe my own style as Warehouse or Eclectic as anything - those are at least terms that don't need to come with a lengthy explanation!

Which musicians inspire you the most? I’ve found that you have a broad musical taste so feel free to give more than one person!

Jeez - well how long have you got :) What thing I have discovered is that we have a truly formative period in our lives where music resonates and we have more disposable time to fully immerse ourselves in it, especially if we go on to become professional music creators & involved in 'the business'. For me the influences range from the string arrangements of Nat King Cole to the bare repetitive minimalism of Terry Riley / Steve Reich, from the crushing filth of Big Black or Swans to the introspective dark soul music of Joy Division or Velvet Underground, from the naked whimsy of Pavement & Sparklehorse to the tweaked out perfection of early acid house, from the raw funk of The Meters to the dark corners of Massive Attack's urban visions, from the proto-breaks brilliance of Depthcharge & Renegade Soundwave to the timeless electronic elegance of Underworld & The Chemical Brothers, from Penderecki & Ligeti's modernist textural brilliance to the righteous thrash of Extreme Noise Terror .... and so the list goes on!

Nowadays, especially with all these programs everybody is jumping on the djing and producing bandwagon. Myself included! Any words of advice to us wannabees?

Be prepared for the long haul. Don't expect success straight out of the box. Be prepared to work extremely hard 24/7 on developing a sound, the skillsets and the fanbases. Happily it's easier than it's ever been to do all of this - way easier. Just learn to be extremely self-critical and don't accept second best from yourself at any time & in any situation.

What’s been your favourite set that you’ve played so far? Not including Deathwish Disco obviously, that wouldn’t be fair on the others!

There have been many great sets over the years, but I'm going to plump for Burning Man Festival 2010 at Opulent Temple which was the culmination not only of an awful lot of hard work last year, but also came on the back of about 6 hours sleep in the space of as many dusty days, and was the last of my 13 sets at the festival.

Who should we be looking out for this year? Anyone in particular you’d like to promote?

The U&A kids are all coming through really strong this year - look out of The Loops of Fury, Peo de Pitte, Mike Hulme and Felix Luker who are all fixtures on the label & all smashing it with their own style. It's a really exciting time for music & I predict a BIG year for Bass Music in 2011 in all it's glorious forms.

Lastly, anything you’ve wanted to say in an interview but haven’t had the chance to? Speak now or forever hold your peace!

There really is nothing that hasn't been said in an interview!

Well that's that!
Massive thanks to Elite Force for doing this.
If you're so behind the times catch up with him on twitter or his .com
also has a the tune below up for a free download on his facebook  
Also give me an add to keep up with myself
Gonna leave you with him bro fisting all my fans as agreed, (okok it's a press shot...)
till next time!
oh and happy valentines btw!

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