INTERVIEW | SHADED
Newport Beach born and raised, Skyler Taugher (better known to most as SHADED) has long racked up credibility close to home. As member in former duo SHDWPLAY, he had his earliest releases on Dubfire’s SCI+TEC imprint. Switching over to his solo project in 2012, it wasn’t long before he added a couple more notches to his SCI+TEC belt (while also being picked up by Dubfire to go on tour), later joining Tiga’s Turbo Recordings label with his “SheShe” EP in June of last year.
While spending his summers in Barcelona and winters in California, Taugher has been steadily been gaining notoriety from fans and fellow producers alike with his genre-bending sound and textured live sets.
While back on the west coast for the season, we took the opportunity to chat with the California native about his beginnings with a band, the ideal hip hop collaboration, and plans for 2015.
During the summer, you pick up your things and move to Barcelona. What convinced you to make this seasonal move?
It was a natural decision to move to Barcelona a few years ago. California is too far to travel when working the summer in Europe, so I needed to find a home base. Since I first made the move three years ago, it has almost become a sunny version of Berlin. So much of industry is there now, and many of my close friends from Europe, the US and Canada are there too, so it makes the transition easier to settle in. Plus being from Newport Beach – I needed to live somewhere within walking distance from the sea! Barcelona for me is the European version of LA.
Carlo Lio and many other DJs/producers move to Barcelona every summer. What’s the atmosphere like with all the different musical talent in the area?
Yes Carlo is one of my best buddies, and its great to have him there every summer – we often play together and generally hang out when possible! The musical talent in Barcelona is insane, loads of DJ’s and producers in one place. Like I mentioned, over the past few years the amount of DJs and producers has sky rocketed. In turn, it’s seen more and more friends relocate there and bigger and better parties and venues being organized each year. The vibe is buzzing every summer with tons going on, initially getting kick started with the DC10 opening in Ibiza and then Sonar – It just gets nuts on so many levels!
What are the biggest differences between living in Newport Beach and Barcelona?
Musically – think the awareness of the fans. Dance music in the USA is dominated by EDM right now, and although the underground techno house scene has always had roots in major cities like Detroit, LA, NYC – America just doesn’t have the choice and diversity that Europe offers. Fans in Europe know what they want, are serious music heads growing up on the deeper stuff. They love proper house and techno and are spoiled with choice when it comes to DJ’s playing and venues to choose from. Take Barcelona for instance – The amount of international DJs playing per week is like clock work, never ending.
Personally – well Barcelona is like a 2nd home now to me. I have all my friends there, the beach is also down the road, although there’s a serious lack of waves, but with what lacks in waves makes up for in music. When in Newport I never go out really. I just make music and surf. While in Barcelona its making music and going out to parties to see all the homies. The late night eating and drinking culture takes some getting used to but I have found a good few decent Mexican spots now – so feel right at home!
I met Ali about 5 years ago, through mutual friends, and began sending him music under my old moniker as SHDWPLAY. After a very long time of sending him music he signed 4 songs to his label SCI+TEC, and that was the real beginning of our relationship. After that first EP, we followed with 3 more EPs, and it got to a point were he was supporting the music so much he decided to take me on tour with him as a live act. It was right at the point myself and my old partner in SHDWPLAY split up, and I began the SHADED moniker, so it was a perfect spring board to launch my new project. It was a huge opportunity, and that year he took me on the road as his opening live act, and now he is a great friend and mentor. He believed in my sound, and for that I am grateful!
What’s it like being a part of SCI+TEC?
It’s a family vibe for sure, and its my home base within the electronic scene. Over the past 3 years my connection with everyone has only gotten tighter and tighter. Everyone in the crew has different tastes and techniques when it comes to their personal and musical style, so it keeps it fresh. Techno can be sometimes so serious. Everyone wearing black, getting odd haircuts, dressing like wizards… The SCI+TEC crew is all about fun and has a versatile style… Its almost like everyone looks like the music they play in a way. Look at Carlo Lio for example. He looks like a bad ass gangster in his graphed out Tees and fresh high tops. Im a bit colorful, wearing hawaiin shirts and shit, trying to ride the funk. Dubfire keeps the darkness flowing, in perfect harmony with his music. So its an eclectic house and techno crew that always keeps it light hearted and fun, which is awesome and refreshing.
What was the transition like going from playing in a band to producing techno?
It was pretty seamless actually. The production process is almost the same in terms of “jamming”. Thats how songs are made in a band – you sit down with your friends and you play until something clicks. Now, instead of trying to focus the creative energy of group, I now just sit in my studio in my own head space and hit record and sit down with synths and drum machines and see where it takes me. Musically hard rock and techno have similar back bones in drumming, utilizing the 4 to the floor rhythmic and bass patterns. So for me it was natural, and a lot less stressful! Being in a band is cool and sucks at the same time. It is a very give and take mentality, where releasing some of the creativity to others in the band is mandatory. Makin electronic has no boundaries, and gave me freedom in my creativity, which is the future of music to me, and I love it.
In addition to being a part of a band back in the day, you enjoy hip-hop. How have rock and hip-hop influenced your electronic music career? Who from the hip hop world would be your dream collaboration?
Both genres have influenced my music in big ways. I would say the first electronic music I was making is very hip hop. I was doing these lower tempo instrumental beats inspired by old school wu tang beats. I had some friends that liked to rap, So I was making beats, and they were flowing on them. Eventually my beats got faster and faster and started brinking into the house vibe, and that’s when I realized what I was really into making. If I could, I would make a track with Snoop, smoke tree and make techno! Or if Biggie Smalls was still around, it would be him for sure. I actually recently did my own edit of a Biggie track and released it for free via THUMP, which was a combination of my love for techno and hip hop.
My favorite place to play in the US is definitely La Cave in Newport Beach! Its one of the first places I ever played, when I use to DJ more, before I went exclusively live. Its small, sweaty, and goes off. Not many people know about it internationally as it’s a Wednesday night in Newport, but its cool. I only play once a year there usually, right on the eve of thanksgiving so its full of friends and family. Other than that I love playing the Space terrace in Miami, always bomb. Club 301 in El Paso is always fire. Playing LA is always cool, like Exchange, as the LED wall is insane, one of the best in the world. NYC always goes off with so many clubs to choose from there. Chicago’s Spybar is sweet as well.
How does the techno scene in Southern California compare to the rest of the world?
I would say it is slowly catching up. This whole EDM thing has really put electronic pop music on a platter for this younger generation of Americans, especially in CA with all these massive festivals. So hopefully these kids start exploring deeper into the roots of where this whole EDM craze came from. Techno and House are the roots of this sound, and I feel it is showing more and more now, as you see these mega star EDM DJs playing “Deep house” now. In terms of techno, California is beginning to wake up, with LA attracting loads of DJs to relocate to. I feel the techno scene has been slowly trickling west, with the trends being cultivated in Europe.
What do you have in store for 2015?
2015 will hopefully be an extension of 2014. I am working on 3 full EPs now for 3 separate labels. So I will be picking up the pace this coming year in terms of releases and remixes. I am also trying to finish my new live show. Its going to be a visual experience intertwined with my music. Its pretty much done, we are just waiting for the right time to launch it. Other than that it will be mainly gigging and pushing SHADED&FADED.tv to the next level in terms of video content and mini series!