We love our dance music at Glam Adelaide and were thrilled to speak with the crew from Aston Shuffle, hosts of Triple J’s Friday Night Shuffle in the run up to their 100s show at Fat Controller
Can you describe the concept behind the Only 100s tour and where the idea came from?
Now that we’re 7 years into our triple j Friday Night Shuffle show, we’re pretty solid in our weekly workflow of hunting down new tracks, but it occurred to us that by the end of the month we’ve always got a kinda rough highlights list in our heads, despite the huge amounts of music we’ve gone through over that time. So we figured we should make that into its own thing – our monthly highlights playlist!
How has the Friday Night Shuffle changed the way you perform live and conversely, how has being a live act affected your approach to radio?
That’s a super interesting question! I guess it’s something we can reflect on at this point because we haven’t played many live shows of late. Our aim with our live shows was to really go into the depth of the music we’ve made over time, but it’s not every show where the crowd will go with you when you start playing the deep cuts. I don’t know if we’ve ever really had those types of fans, and looking back on it now we’ve always had more of a “play the hits!” fan base for our shows, so I guess we have a bit more free reign to go into deep cuts territory in the context of a 3-hour weekly radio show than our own live shows.
With acts like Peking Duk and Safia also hailing from Canberra, the city appears to be punching above its weight in electronic music. Is there something about the city’s culture that has played a role in your success?
I think there’s several factors that contribute to Canberra’s ability to produce some world-class musical talent. Being a smaller city is a big factor I think – it creates a sense of needing to make your own scene and your own opportunities. Winter being so cold also makes it easier to just shut yourself away and write music for extended periods. Canberra’s also had a long string of very on-point promoters putting their necks out there to bring amazing acts to Canberra and expose Canberra punters to them, that’s a huge factor for sure. It’s crazy to think how many of those people have gone on to take key roles in the broader Australian dance music industry beyond Canberra as well – we don’t just incubate artists here, its industry players too!
Dance music has arguably evolved exponentially in the last decade or so with the popular electro and house electro scene which you guys were part of in the mid 2000s giving way to dubstep, EDM, trap and bass in recent years. Do you pay attention to these developments or do you try to stay true to your own styles and directions irrespective of the wider music world?
We absolutely keep track of what’s going on, I think it’s just part and parcel of being a dance music fan, which is ultimately what underpins everything we’re doing. Being able to shine a light on new artists and genres as they develop is one of the most rewarding aspects of having the Friday Night Shuffle as well. When it comes to our own music though, I think in the past we may have tried to draw from too broad a cross section of those influences though, lately we are honing in on a more specific sound when it comes to our own music. At the end of the day, we can’t really describes something that sounds like “Aston Shuffle” in words, but we know when we hear it, so we’re just trying to be lead by that more than anything else.
You’ve been a favourite act amongst music festival goers and Triple J listeners alike in Adelaide for a while now. Which of your tracks do you think gets the best reaction when you tour here?
It does change over time, especially as new tracks of ours are released and our fans get to know them better, but it’s always amazing to hear how many requests we get for fairly old tracks of ours, and especially remixes that we almost forgot we did! It’s very cool to know that stuff we did years ago has meant enough to people that they’d be out in 2017 requesting it at the top of their lungs, although sometimes we don’t actually have those older tracks on us to be able to play them! We really should keep an exhaustive playlist with us at all times, because there’s always a curveball request thrown at us, and we hate to let down our fans!
Momentum is a big thing in dance music sets. What do you keep in mind when trying to pace your live sets and how much flexibility do you work in depending on the crowds?
That’s a great question! It comes down to the venue (size, vibe, etc.), the city, how early you’re playing, there’s a lot of factors really. An advantage of having 2 of us DJing has always been that we can chat about that stuff as the set goes along too, checking what we think is working and where we should be going next, that type of thing. Sometimes you’re hamstrung by the DJ playing before you as well unfortunately – every now and then there’s a difficult set where you’ve got to reset the vibe when the dude before you has been going too hard too early or something like that.
From your great work on the Friday Night Shuffle you are exposed to the cream of electronic music from around the world. What are the three producers that you are into the most at the moment and can you give us a favourite track from each?
Solardo – Tribesmen. These guys are just nailing a very specific tech house sound that is connecting so broadly at the moment, party vibes and not too serious.
TCTS – Icy Feet. Joining us on the very first Only 100s tour! Icy Feet is such a jam, it’s gonna be cool to see what’s next after a song that big & that fun.
Uno Stereo – Just 2. This guy is really honing a finessed sound and is standing out from the crowd of Aussie “beats”-y producers in a big way.
Aston Shuffle play Fat Controller on Saturday July 22nd. Tickets are available at Moshtix.