DJ Shadow

Last updated

DJ Shadow
DJ Shadow tim festival.jpg
Davis in October 2006
Background information
Birth nameJoshua Paul Davis
Born (1972-06-29) June 29, 1972 (age 48)
San Jose, California, U.S.
Origin Davis, California, U.S.
Genres
Occupation(s)
  • Disc jockey
  • record producer
  • songwriter
Instruments
Years active1989–present [ citation needed ]
Labels
Associated acts
Website www.djshadow.com OOjs UI icon edit-ltr-progressive.svg

Joshua Paul Davis (born June 29, 1972), [1] better known by his stage name DJ Shadow, is an American DJ and record producer. He first gained notice with the release of his acclaimed debut studio album, Endtroducing..... . [2] He has a personal collection of more than 60,000 records. [3]

Contents

Biography

Early years (1989–1995)

DJ Shadow was experimenting with a four-track recorder while in high school in Davis, California (suburb of Sacramento metropolitan area) and began his music career as a disc jockey for the University of California, Davis campus radio station KDVS. [4] [5] During this period he was significant in developing the experimental hip-hop style associated with the London-based Mo' Wax record label. His early singles, including "In/Flux" and "Lost and Found (S.F.L.)", were genre-bending, merging elements of funk, rock, hip hop, ambient, jazz, soul, and used-bin found records. Andy Pemberton, a music journalist writing for Mixmag , described the single “In/Flux” as "trip hop," a term that had already been attached to Bristol, England-based groups Massive Attack and Portishead and the Bristol scene in general in June 1994. [6] He has cited Kurtis Mantronik, Steinski, and Prince Paul as influences on his sample-based sound, further claiming that "lyrics (...) were confining, too specific." [7] His music rarely features more than short clips of voices or vocal work.

During 1991–1992, DJ Shadow remixes were released on Hollywood BASIC, a short-lived rap/hip-hop subsidiary label of Hollywood Records. Notable amongst these is a 1992 compilation release titled "BASIC Beats Sampler", [8] which features a remix of "The Real Deal", a song by Lifers Group, as well as a 12-plus-minute "Mega Mix" of the rest of the album, including tracks by west-coast underground hip-hop act, Raw Fusion and east-coast acts, Organized Konfusion and Zimbabwe Legit. Also in 1992, Shadow contributed scratching and production work to Sleeping with the Enemy , the controversial second release by rapper Paris.

Early in 1993, Shadow was a part of the creation of the Solesides underground hip-hop label, in conjunction with Blackalicious and Lyrics Born (whose stage name at the time was Asia Born). The first 12" release on this new imprint was titled "Entropy," [9] with the A-side containing the Asia Born track "Send Them" and a dub rendition of the DJ Shadow track "Count and Estimate," and the entire B-side consisting of the 17-plus-minute title track. Rapper Gift of Gab is featured in the version of "Count and Estimate" that appears in Entropy. Shadow continued to participate in releases on the Solesides label for years to come, until the label was disbanded in favor of Quannum Projects.

Also in 1993, Mo' Wax's James Lavelle contacted Shadow about releasing "In/Flux" on the fledgling imprint. The association with Mo' Wax was a productive one; his tracks "In/Flux" and "Lost and Found" made their way onto some releases over the next few years. Shadow also worked with DJ Krush during this period. On a 1995 visit to the Mo' Wax Studios in London, England, Shadow was recruited to perform scratches on a Lavelle and Tim Goldsworthy mix of the Massive Attack song "Karmacoma". [10]

Endtroducing....., UNKLE and Scratch (1996–2001)

Shadow's first full-length work, Endtroducing..... , was released in late 1996 to critical acclaim. Endtroducing would go on to make the Guinness World Records book for "First Completely Sampled Album" in 2001. [11] The only pieces of equipment Shadow used to produce the album were the AKAI MPC60 12-bit sampling drum machine, a pair of turntables and a borrowed-by-visiting Pro Tools setup from an early adopter of the technology, Dan "The Automator" Nakamura. [12] In November 2006 Time magazine named it one of its "All-Time" 100 best albums. [13] In November 2014, automobile maker Chevrolet used a sample "Building Steam with a Grain of Salt" in a Chevy commercial. [14]

In 1998 Shadow released Preemptive Strike , a compilation of 1993–1997 singles released on Mo' Wax. Later that year, he produced Psyence Fiction , the debut album by UNKLE, a long-time Mo' Wax production team that featured guest appearances including Thom Yorke (Radiohead), Richard Ashcroft (The Verve), Mike D (Beastie Boys), Kool G. Rap, and Jason Newsted (Metallica). [15]

Around 2000 he produced the score for the documentary Dark Days filmed by British director Marc Singer. This film is about a community of transients who live underground in a subway tunnel. [16] It has six award wins in various competitions. [17] Shadow also starred in the 2001 movie Scratch , produced by Doug Pray, alongside Z-Trip, Grand Wizard Theodore, Mix Master Mike and DJ Qbert. [18] He makes multiple appearances during the turntable and digging sections of the movie.

The Private Press and Live! In Tune and on Time (2002–2005)

Nearly six years after his debut production album, his second album, The Private Press , was released in June 2002. A video for his track "Six Days" was also released in 2002, directed by Wong Kar-wai.

In protest against the 2003 invasion of Iraq, DJ Shadow collaborated with Zack de la Rocha, releasing the song "March of Death" online for free. [19]

In 2004, Shadow's first feature-length DVD, Live! In Tune and on Time , was released. It features a live performance in London that combines tracks and samples from past albums as well as his work with UNKLE and Quannum, and emphasizes visuals, with the help of Bay Area projection artist Ben Stokes. [20]

The Outsider and Diminishing Returns (2006–2009)

In 2006, he signed a deal with Universal Records, [21] on which would be released The Outsider , on September 18. [22] A special edition CD box set was also released containing The Outsider, the album on CD and a DVD entitled Tour Visuals. [23] This album, which prominently featured several artists from the local San Francisco Bay Area hyphy hip hop movement, got a mixed welcome among Shadow's fans. [22] Responding to criticisms, the DJ/producer explained on his blog why he made no apologies: "Repeat Endtroducing over and over again? That was never, ever in the game plan. Fuck that. So I think it's time for certain fans to decide if they are fans of the album, or the artist." [24] [25]

Throughout 2007 and 2008, DJ Shadow toured with fellow DJ Cut Chemist in support of their The Hard Sell mixtape, released in January 2007 and recorded during the reheasals of a June 2007 show. [26] The duo had already produced several mixtapes in the past, most notably Brainfreeze and Product Placement , mixing jazz, funk, and soul. [27] The were joined by Kid Koala, [28] and the rehearsals of this tour spawned The Hard Sell (Encore) , a "refined" version of the duo's set. [29]

Diminishing Returns was a 2-hour DJ Mix originally broadcast as an episode of the Essential Mix on BBC Radio 1 on March 29, 2003. It was released in 2003 on CD in a pressing limited to 1000 copies on the Reconstruction Productions label. [30] On April 1, 2009, DJ Shadow announced on his Facebook page that he was working on a Diminishing Returns re-release.[ citation needed ] Reconstruction Productions reissued the album in 2009 with a sticker stating "official, last chance limited edition, re-release". [31]

The Less You Know, the Better (2010–2013)

During Shadow's Outsider 2007 tour, he was spotted filming with Dean Fernando (aka "DINO") as reported on Shadow/Quannum fansite Solesides.[ citation needed ]

On March 7, 2009, Shadow announced that he was working on new music. Though no release date was given, he assured, "It will sound different from the last one." [32] In September 2010, DJ Shadow released a single with two tracks called "Def Surrounds Us" and "I've Been Trying" and taken from the new album as a preview. [33] While on the 2010 "Shadowsphere" tour new songs began to emerge, although he stated that a new album was not yet ready and that he would continue working toward having it ready in time for his 2011 tour. [34]

On May 10, 2011, Shadow confirmed via his Facebook page and official website that his new album, titled The Less You Know, the Better , was finished and that it would be released the following September on Verve/Universal. [35] The same day, he also released an EP called I Gotta Rokk featuring remixed tracks from the forthcoming album. [35] A second single "I'm Excited" was also released, featuring Afrikan Boy, on July 7, 2011. [36] However the single was pulled because of copyright infringement. [37] The infringement also delayed the album's release. Another song from the album, titled "Warning Call," featuring Tom Vek, was released on 7 September 2011, and was featured as a free download on the official DJ Shadow Facebook page. Shadow announced on September 30, 2011 via Twitter that The Less You Know, the Better would be released on a 3xUSB format.

The artwork for this album, the associated singles and promotional material was done by Tony Papesh, an artist from San Francisco, California. [38] The album was mixed by Jim Abbiss.

Liquid Amber (2014–2015)

On August 12, 2014, Shadow launched his new record label imprint Liquid Amber, releasing The Liquid Amber EP for streaming in accompaniment. [39] Other acts signed to Liquid Amber include Bleep Bloop, [40] Noer the Boy, [41] Mophono, [42] and Ruckazoid. [43]

In April 2015, a group called Nite School Klik released a single called "Posse" on Liquid Amber. In May 2015, Shadow revealed to Billboard that the group was in fact himself and trap producer G Jones working together. [44] The first self-titled EP by Nite School Klik was released on June 9, 2015.

The Mountain Will Fall and The Mountain Has Fallen (2016–2018)

In April 2016 Shadow announced a new album entitled The Mountain Will Fall , which was released on June 24 via Mass Appeal Records. [45] A music video for the album's lead single, "Nobody Speak," featuring rap duo Run the Jewels, was released on August 24, 2016. [46]

In collaboration with a Los Angeles record store, Shadow held on September 10–11, 2016 the "First Annual DJ Shadow Storage Sale," selling duplicates in his collection, and limited editions of his "The Sideshow" track. [47] It has been an annual event since then and ran until 2019. [48]

On April 20, 2017, a new collaboration between Shadow and Nas named "Systematic" premiered on Zane Lowe's Beats 1 radio show. The song was revealed to be part of HBO's Silicon Valley soundtrack. [49] Later that year, in June, Shadow released the EP The Mountain Has Fallen, featuring "Systematic" and "Horror Show," a new single featuring Danny Brown. [50] 2018 saw the release of Live in Manchester: The Moutain Has Fallen, a nine-track live album recorded at Manchester's Albert Hall on October 5, 2017, as Shadow was touring in support of his previous album and EP. [51]

Our Pathetic Age (2019–present)

On June 25, 2019, The New York Times Magazine listed DJ Shadow among hundreds of artists whose material was reportedly destroyed in the 2008 Universal fire. [52] He later announced a double album entitled Our Pathetic Age that was released November 15, 2019. [53] This two-part release includes an instrumental section and a vocal suite, featuring returning collaborators Run the Jewels and Nas, and artists such as Ghostface Killah, De La Soul, and Raekwon. [54]

Shadow was approached by Deftones to contribute to their White Pony 20th anniversary re-issue remix project, Black Stallion. Singer Chino Moreno explained that they originally wanted him to remix the whole album, [55] [56] citing him as an inspiration at the time they recorded it. [57] He ended up remixing "Digital Bath", [57] alongside other confirmed producers such as Trevor Jackson and Clams Casino. [58]

Studio and equipment

The book Behind the Beat documents Shadow's home studio (named "Reconstruction") through photos and a brief description (as of 2005). [59] It is "nestled within a leafy San Francisco suburb" [59] and Shadow apparently moved to the area "to be closer to the local record store". [59] It also states that "Shadow only keeps a small selection of vinyl at home with the rest occupying storage units around town". [59] His equipment as of 2005, according to Behind the Beat, consists of two Akai MPC 3000s and a Korg Triton. [59] His album Endtroducing was "created on an AKAI MPC60 and an ADAT". [59]

Sampling

DJ Shadow's work involves manipulating samples, taking rare and seldom-heard pieces of music and reworking them into parts and phrases for his songs. Many of his tracks feature dozens of samples from a wide array of styles and influences including rock, soul, funk, experimental, electronic and jazz. Shadow famously sampled American composer David Axelrod on his collaboration with DJ Krush, "Duality", sampling Axelrod's "The Warnings" (Part 1). The piano in "Midnight in a Perfect World" from 1996's Endtroducing was originally recorded for Pekka Pohjola's "Sekoilu seestyy." [12] Although Shadow currently uses fewer samples than on his earlier albums, several examples feature on his 2006 album The Outsider . His collaboration with David Banner, "Seein' Thangs", features a synthesizer and vocals from Cecilia's "Crimson Red" and "Outsider Intro" includes an excerpt from Ron Geesin's "Concrete Line Up" from the 1973 album, As He Stands. [60]

Discography

Studio albums

Related Research Articles

Trip hop is a musical genre that originated in the early 1990s in the United Kingdom, especially Bristol. It has been described as "a fusion of hip hop and electronica until neither genre is recognizable", and may incorporate a range of styles, including funk, dub, soul, psychedelia, R&B, and house, as well as other forms of electronic music. Trip hop can be highly experimental.

Mo' Wax was a British record label founded by James Lavelle in 1992. Steve Finan became co-owner shortly after. Mo' Wax came to recognition for being at the forefront of trip hop, turntablism and alternative hip hop during the mid-1990s. The label is also responsible for bringing attention to the graffiti artist Futura 2000 by using his artwork on many of its releases in the early to mid-1990s. Lavelle signed partial ownership of Mo' Wax over to A&M Records in 1996. Some of the Mo' Wax catalogue is now part of the Beggars Group.

<i>Endtroducing.....</i> 1996 album by DJ Shadow

Endtroducing..... is the debut album by American music producer DJ Shadow, released on September 16, 1996 by Mo' Wax. Compositionally, it is composed almost entirely of samples mostly from vinyl records, and features moody, atmospheric slow tracks and heavy upbeat jams that demonstrate influences from early to contemporary hip hop as well as progressive music, ambient music and drum and bass. Shadow produced Endtroducing over two years using minimal equipment, primarily an Akai MPC60 sampler.

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<i>SoleSides Greatest Bumps</i> 2000 compilation album by Quannum

SoleSides Greatest Bumps is a 2000 compilation album released by Quannum Projects and Ninja Tune. The album was compiled by DJ Shadow and is a retrospective of the work of the SoleSides Crew, consisting of material recorded between 1992 and 1997. It was ranked at number 5 on CMJ's 2001 hip-hop chart.

Latyrx is an American alternative hip hop duo consisting of Lateef the Truthspeaker and Lyrics Born. The roots of their partnership lay in the formation of the Solesides collective at the University of California, Davis.

SoleSides was an American underground hip hop label based in Northern California, founded in 1991. It comprised various DJs and MCs, the most notable being DJ Shadow, MC–producer Lyrics Born, and the duo, Blackalicious. The members of Solesides all met via the radio station, KDVS, the 5000-watt community radio station of the University of California at Davis. During high school, Davis-natives DJ Shadow and The 8th Wonder used to frequent the station to support Orus Washington's hip-hop show. In college, journalist and then-grad student Jeff Chang, broadcast a weekly hip-hop radio show that got the attention of DJ Shadow and The 8th Wonder, freshmen Xavier Mosely, Tom Shimura and Joseph Patel. They all shared a like-minded passion for hip-hop that pushed beyond the sounds of mainstream commercial music.

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Midnight in a Perfect World 1996 single by DJ Shadow

"Midnight in a Perfect World" is a song by American DJ and music producer DJ Shadow. It was released as the lead single from his debut studio album, Endtroducing....., on September 2, 1996. The song peaked at number 52 on the Scottish Singles Chart and number 54 on the UK Singles Chart.

Sampling (music) Reuse of sound recording in another recording

In music, sampling is the reuse of a portion of a sound recording in another recording. Samples may comprise elements such as rhythm, melody, speech, sounds, or entire bars of music, and may be layered, equalized, sped up or slowed down, repitched, looped, or otherwise manipulated. They are usually integrated using hardware (samplers) or software such as digital audio workstations.

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DJ Shadow discography

The discography of DJ Shadow, an American music producer and disc jockey, consists of six studio albums, six live albums, six compilation albums, two remix albums, two mix albums, five extended plays, twenty-eight singles and fourteen music videos. He released his debut single – a split release featuring his track "Lesson 4" and "Real Deal" by American hip hop ensemble Lifers Group – in 1991. After signing to Mo' Wax Records in 1993, he released the singles "In/Flux" and "Lost and Found (S.F.L.)", both of which became minor hits in the United Kingdom. Shadow attained his first top 75 single the following year with "What Does Your Soul Look Like", which peaked at number 59 in the UK. In November 1996, his debut studio album Endtroducing..... was released to critical acclaim. It peaked at numbers 17 and 75 in the UK and the Netherlands respectively, later being certified gold by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI). The album's first single, "Midnight in a Perfect World", charted at number 54 in the UK. "Stem", the album's second single, became a top fifteen hit in Ireland. Remix singles of the Endtroducing..... tracks "What Does Your Soul Look Like " and "The Number Song" were also issued. The compilation album Preemptive Strike peaked at number 118 on the United States Billboard 200, becoming Shadow's first album to chart in the country. It produced one single, "High Noon", which peaked at number 22 in the UK.

"Send Them/Entropy ", is a double A side EP by Asia Born and DJ Shadow and the Groove Robbers. This was released 1993 from Solesides. Parts of this were later featured on the retrospective album Solesides Greatest Bumps.

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<i>The Less You Know, the Better</i> 2011 album by DJ Shadow

The Less You Know, the Better is the fourth studio album by American hip hop producer DJ Shadow, released on September 30, 2011 by Island Records. As with his previous efforts, it relies extensively on samples, which span different genres and time periods. The album sees Shadow exploring many genres and production styles, from fast-paced tracks prominently featuring guitars and scratching to slow tracks featuring pianos. Contributions came from a wide range of artists, including Talib Kweli, Afrikan Boy, Posdnuos, and Tom Vek.

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Lyrics Born

Tsutomu "Tom" Shimura, better known by his stage name Lyrics Born, is a Japanese-American rapper, singer, and producer. He is one half of the duo Latyrx with Lateef the Truthspeaker.

Nobody Speak 2016 single by DJ Shadow featuring Run the Jewels

"Nobody Speak" is a song by American hip hop producer DJ Shadow, featuring rap verses from American rap duo Run the Jewels. The song was first a part of Run the Jewels' Record Store Day release, which was a virtual reality cardboard viewer that included a digital download code for the song. It also acted as the lead single from Shadow's fifth studio album, The Mountain Will Fall (2016). A music video for the song was released on August 24, 2016.

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