Interview: The Shapeshifters

Shapeshifters - Simon Marlin

It’s been 14 years since The Shapeshifters stormed to the top of the UK charts with Lola’s Theme and became stalwarts of British dance culture.

In that time, there’s been a signing with the legendary Defected Records, the creation of their own Nocturnal Groove record label, collaborations including Nile Rodgers, and productions and remixes for the likes of George Michael, Faithless, Christina Aguilera and Moby – all of which have kept the duo at the top of their game.

As one of the UK’s most successful ever dance acts, the pair – AKA Simon Marlin and his Swedish partner Max Reich – continue to tour the globe and are set to play the award-winning We Are FSTVL in London on 25 to 27 May.

Ahead of their set, we chat to Simon (pictured) about the secrets to longevity in music and what else is in store for 2018…

You’ve maintained a career spanning almost 15 years – what’s your secret to longevity?

I think I have always just stuck to what I am best at and tried not to let trends dictate me too much in the studio or when I’m playing. Keep good people around you and get keep it positive, even if you are making records about a break up!

There’s been a few hints on your Facebook page that you’re in the studio – what are you working on?

Yes, I’m writing again and working with Teni again – as well as another new male voice – and should have something by the end of February to hear.

What have been the biggest changes/developments you’ve seen in dance music throughout your career and what do you make of the current scene?

Biggest change would be the digital revolution: not always necessarily a good thing, but not all bad either as some would make you believe. I like to embrace new things but sometimes it just moves at such a pace, it forgets what it is and some of the quality falls away with it.

I’d like to see more young producers embrace some of the older techniques when putting records together and spend a bit more time perfecting their craft rather than spit out 50 half-cooked squashed files a year – just my opinion.

Is there anyone out there you’re tipping?

Melvo Baptiste cause he’a a good egg!

What are you listening to at the moment?

As much good music as I can absorb.

How do you think you are evolving as artist? Is there anything you do differently now to when you first started out?

I think I am totally comfortable with who I am and what I do now, so I guess my music these days reflects that. When first starting out, you’re looking for that recognition and acceptance – climbing the ladder so to speak – and I guess I may have been a bit uptight about some things which I now know are not important.

If I could wind the clock back I’d probably have eased up on myself a bit. Would I change anything? Not so sure, I’ve had a pretty amazing ride so far with ups and downs. I still feel privileged and excited every time I get to put a record out or stand in front of an audience.

What’s in store for 2018?

Couple of new records and some remixes, continue to play as much as I can and most importantly, welcome our first child in May!