Massive new ‘Who We Are’ bomb with Amba Shepherd going dancefloor crazy
Interview : Dan Prince
Guys welcome to DMCWORLD – where in the world are you right now?
“Hey Dan, at the moment we are in London.”
You are grabbing all of the headlines right now with another huge new track, ‘Who We Are’ that you created with Amba Shepherd. Talk us through the history of the tune…
“It’s a funny story. Last year we were working with Afrojack in a studio in Amsterdam. We had our own room working for like a week non stop and one day I was going to see Afro in his studio when I saw this girl sitting in the lobby with her headphones on. I had no idea who she was and at that time Amba didn’t have that big tune with Hardwell. I asked her what she did and she told me she was a singer and songwriter from Australia. So I asked her if she wanted to join our session – it was magic! We wrote and produced two new songs that day, one of which was ‘Who We Are’.”
Cool tale! Any more plans to work together – sounds like you got on well…?
“The Amba experience was great. She is so humble and easy to work with. It worked out so good that we hooked up in LA last January to write some more and she is joining us again ADE this year in the studio…so it’s definitely a great match!”
We love the fact that you are from a musical family, your fathers and uncles were singers in The Sherman Brothers who you watched doing thousands of rehearsals growing up. What did they think when you decided you wanted to follow in their footsteps and try and make it as musicians – they more than anybody must have known how hard it is to be a success in this notoriously difficult business?\
“They totally approve with what we are doing and we can’t wait to involve them more with what we do. They are the first ones to re-post stuff on their Facebook’s…and we love that. They also give us advice in all steps we take, such as what the pros and cons are. They have been in the business for a long time, a lot of things might have changed but the basics always stay the same.”
One of the things you three are known for are your broad tastes in music. However it was Soul music and Motown in particular that influenced you growing up…which 1 artist did each of you want to be when you were kids?
“Ha ha! Michael Jackson, Prince and Whitney Houston.”
Andy – tell us the whole Tenerife/Artful Dodger story…stuff of dreams!
“The guys from Artful Dodger saw me perform in Tenerife and asked me if I wanted to move over to the UK and within 3 weeks I moved. My dad was a huge support and helped me financially to just grab my stuff and live my dream. The Artful Dodger story was a big step in my career, I’ve seen a lot being on the road and the guys treated me good. I gained a lot of songwriting experience with them and they are some real artists. As an MC that’s where I got to know the rules and tricks of the whole art. I toured with them for 2 years, learnt how to DJ at the Public Demand label office and they basically set the foundations for me to see what I wanted to do with DJing and live vocals…”
After doing two years as vocalist with Artful Dodger you realized you weren’t representing yourself and decided to move back to Holland and do your own thing…you sent a certain Feddle le Grand an e mail asking him would he be interested in hearing your stuff. Fedde like Laidback Luke listens to as much new material as they can from their fans, what was that studio experience like, what did you learn from him?
“I have so much respect for Luke and Fedde taking their time to listen to demos. I try to listen as much as possible but with such a busy schedule I sometimes miss some demos. It’s so important to listen to these demos because you are the key to someone else’s success. If you can help someone and make their dreams come true do it, there is so much talent around and it just feels good knowing you helped someone else. I still remember the feeling when someone else did it for me…it’s the best feeling in the world.”
You once said that the challenge now for you guys is to bring what you love into electronic music, you wanted to find a balance of what you like in the clubs with what you like to sing. That in DMC’s opinion is so refreshing, so many producers are quite content to simply produce the same old tried and tested formula of tracks over and over. Does that make you mad
“I never get mad at that. I’ve been in those producers’ shoes as well, it’s more difficult to be original than to copy something – but nowadays people wanna release songs every month. That’s a lot and also messes up the time frame to keep doing original stuff as that takes longer. You are better off releasing something every two months and working on quality – quality before quantity, that’s how we think. But every story has two sides. The public plays a part too. Nowadays people wanna hear stuff they recognise and if you go too crazy you lose them along the way. So be original but still make music that people will understand.”
What is the funniest thing that has ever happened to you at a festival?
“When we had a streaker on stage. You should have seen Dorothy’s face.”
What is the current top 10 you are spinning?
“I’m gonna mix it up a bit…
Tornado – Jordy Dazz
Move Around – Umek
Mosh it Up (Henry Fong Remix) – Kill The Noise
Revolution – Shermanology
Saturn – (GTA Remix) Kill The Noise
Who We Are- Shermanology
Funk Blaster- KOAN Sound
Static – Justin Jay
Man With The Red Face – Hardwell
Diamonds – Popeska
You have enjoyed great success in the States of late, playing many of the festivals with the crowds adoring you. You admitted back in May that the scene in America is a “totally different ball game” to Europe – how has the scene developed this summer, people are discovering new musical dance avenues over there at last…?
“To be honest the US is one of our favourite places at the moment. For us it was different in the beginning, we had to find the balance between how many vocals we had to do in the set. But I think we figured that out now. Music wise there is a big shift in the US right now, people are discovering a lot of new genres in the electronic scene and that’s good. That gives us more space to experiment with stuff on the dance floor, we still love the tech house sound, we love it when we can build up the night starting with some groovy stuff and build to the harder side of electronic music.”
Do you ever argue over music?
“We don’t argue about it, we discuss it! Myself and Leon sometimes wanna play harder and Dorothy is the more soulful side of the group. But we never argue. Dorothy’s face tells me if she likes it or not. We are a group of three, that means that everybody on stage has to agree with the sound – otherwise we won’t have any fun on stage and the crowd will notice that. So the more fun on stage the more reaction we get off the crowd.”
Tell us about some of the stand out shows of summer 2013…
“We had a show in Turkey last week called Frirave – that was amazing. Roseland Ballroom in NY with Afrojack was crazy too and off course Ultra Festival.”
It’s your birthday, who are the 3 DJs you invite to play for you and what 1 singer, dead or alive do you book to sing you Happy Birthday?
“Booka Shade, Claude von Stroke and Disclosure on the decks. On vocals, Stevie Wonder – that would be amazing.”
Where is the strangest place you have ever heard one of your records being played…?
“My mom heard us on the bus in Suriname and she didn’t know it was us. She started crying when she recognised Dorothy’s voice. I hope she cried because she missed us…”
How do you get over writers block?
“The best thing to do is take a break and find some new inspiration. Go out with friends, visit family and do stuff like that.”
So we come back to the Shermanology house after the club, what are some of the Back To Mine type tunes you’d spin us to mellow the vibe?
“Janelle Monea – Ghettto Woman. Sam Smith – Nirvana. B Slade – IRS. Chronix- They Don’t Know.”
Who are some of the producers from around the world you are giving high fives to right now?
“Martin Garrix, Disclosure and Justin Martin.”
I interviewed Kaz James this week, something he said was kinda interesting…”I don’t think it’s necessary these days to actually be a good DJ like it was 15 years ago at the start of my career. These days you can get away with pressing play on a laptop.” Discuss…
“Every story has a flip side. Nowadays DJs are not known for their skills but for the music they put out. The definition of a DJ changes over time, mixing is not the issue anymore because with BPM matching everyone can mix. But that still doesn’t mean you can rock the crowd. I’m sure that if you give 10 DJs the same songs not all of them are gonna rock the crowd. No creativity is the main issue, it’s like a piano – everybody who knows how to play chords can still not make a great song. The tools are easier to use now, but how you use it has to stand out.”
And finally, what is coming out next from you guys studio wise?
“We just signed our new track to Afrojack called ‘Revolution’ that is coming out in December. We have a lot of new collabs coming out as well, we can’t wait to let y’all hear what we have been doing these last couple of months.”