Friday, 7 January 2011

TEA with Redshape

Untitled track names, hand-stamped white labels, 909 drum machines, masks and anonymity. When it comes to electronic music Redshape is one of the most talked about names, behind those two Parisian punks.

In a world of instant google searches and expanding social networks sustaining a hidden identity is as easy as winning first division Lotto. Since 2006 Redshape, along with fellow mysterious acts Sandwell District, Horizontal Ground, Skudge and Traversable Wormhole have all been doing their bit to keep the music we love underground, puzzling and real.

TEA managed a quick catch-up with Redshape prior to his January 8 show at Fabric's room 1 to talk deep house production values, rock drums, Polanski's Ghostwriter and German peppermint tea.

After having to cancel an Australian tour mid 2010 due to Mt Eyjafjallaokull, you made it down for a recent December festival circuit. How did that go?

In one word, great! I don't know if it was the summer there or the friendly relaxed people but party-wise I had the best fun of 2010 and definitely will return.

And your live show? Without giving too much away can you tell us a bit about how it works and the setups you are running.

The show now is pretty much the best I can do and has been developed and refined over the last 5 years. I have 3 different setups; a home setup up where I use drum machines, Moog synths and a lot of external hardware, the tour set up where I switch between a small drum sampler and a small analog synth and finally the "Redshape And Drums" show with my drummer Ben. Additionally I’m running Live with some controllers, arranging everything from 1 bar loops to 12 tracks. This is live and unprepared.

And overall how did the live show go down in 2010?

It’s always hard to judge myself but I had some stellar moments and my recordings prove that the people had these moments as well.

Are your live shows an ongoing thing or do you slow down to settle and concentrate on new live projects?

Yes and no. I am working on something new and if I manage everything well time-wise it should happen after summer, before that the shows will continue as they are.

What eventually led you to Redshape?

No master plan that’s for sure.

You have a close relationship with Delsin, how did that come about?

Meeting at such an early stage of a project people meld together pretty fast. I guess that’s what happened with Marsel and I. When I was trying to find some distribution for Present our paths crossed and since then we have remained close.

Give us some background on your Content and Present imprints. Did you start these primarily as a means to release your own music?

These labels are more than labels but emotions, emotions which I’m trying to fit into words

or concepts but it’s harder to describe then what I first thought. I don't think about the labels as a label but more as a place, or many different places fitting my actual mood of sound.

In an interview with DJ Mag in regards to musical trends you say “The Deep House movement has better production values, some good drums and hi hats, but these tracks don’t say anything to me.” Tell us what productions and styles of music are saying things to you.

All creatively done music says something to me, as does music with a feelable message that says more than "dance!". It's not just about lyrics or abstract figures. For me it's a lot about the sex in it, if that can be communicated. Even a 909 kick drum together with a closed hi hat and a low tom can be

marvelous! I was never a fan of genres inside dance electronics anyway.

You also mention your love of rock drums. How much have different genres effected your own productions?

Quite a bit starting more from folk & ethno based stuff for rhythm structure as well as indie rock and partly metal for showing me how to reach darker grounds. There are so many influences such as film scores and things that it’s hard to pinpoint them all. Music in general has had a big impact on me.

Your love of analogue equipment is well documented. Tell us about your favourite analogue toys.

Beside the unbeatable classic 909 & 808, the raw SP-1200 and the icy DX series, the new Moog ‘Little Phatty’ just "phats" it for me at the moment (laughs).

Many international DJs have opted to use Serato or Traktor due to savings in space, weight and time. Being a vinyl obsessive and DJ yourself sorting and choosing your records for international gigs must be a big part of your preparation? Do you enjoy this and how do you go about it?

I kind of enjoy this yes, but normally I don't prepare too much. I go to Hardwax and get about 10 new records one or two days before the show and exchange them with 10 others in whats called a "mood order", and that’s it.

You are next playing Room 1 at London’s Fabric nightclub. Fabric is renowned for its sound. Are there things you would try in clubs like this where normally you wouldn’t?

Normally their is no "wouldn't" for me. Trying things is more about the sound, style and mood of the venue. Sometimes I play very slow or more bassy but if I know that the sound is great somewhere it makes me play differently anyway, even if I didn't know before.

You have mentioned that remixing takes up a lot of your creative energy and that you have turned down remix requests in the past. In terms of production how much do your remixes differ to your original productions?

They really differ as people may have heard in my mixes. Generally I use remixes to more or less step out of the Redshape world. It also allows me to have some fun and play around with ideas from other people. The closer those ideas are to mine, the closer the outcome to the Redshape style.

Tell us a bit about the man behind the mask, what does he get up to in his spare time?

I must admit there is only one hobby at the moment, being lost in Azeroth and eating! (laughs). Beside that I love a good book and film. Right now I’m enjoying Wallace's Infinite Jest and Polanski's Ghostwriter.

What’s in the pipeline for 2011?

If everything works out as planned, a lot. A new project, some new exclusive compilation material and maybe a new full length, let's see!

What is your favourite tea?

Classic German peppermint!

If your in London on the 8th you can next catch Redshape here


  1. "Beside the unbeatable classic 909’s & 808’s, the raw SP-1200 and the iCDX series"

    no iCDX, "icy DX" - describing the cold FM sound of the Yamaha DX-7 / DX-100 ... and "only" 808 & 909 (without the 's) ;-) red

  2. Honestly you Germans, you just dont know tea.
    You need to spend time with the Black Dog, he'll teach you how to make a brew.

  3. Great interview.

    Playing at Micron in Manchester on March 11th!

  4. Looking forward to seeing you at Melt.