Today #ZonaDjs comes back a brand new stunning interview. The canadian duo Sultan + Ned Shepard told us some details and curious stuff about their career and about themselves.
You will know with the interview a little bit about how they started in the dance music scene, which hits they co-produced, in addition of their hobbies outside of the music and how Sultan’s dreadlocks are.
You can also read the interview in Spanish here.
We know that you guys got into the music with a classical training, but we don’t know your first steps on the dance music world. What led you get into it?
S+S – In 2002, Sultan was Dj’ing in Montreal and had just released some music on Deep Dish’s label and was getting a lot of really good buzz on his music. He was also one of the only DJ’s playing progressive music, that combined both house and melodic stuff. Most of the guys were either playing funky house or hard techno, or straight trance. I (Ned) was just starting to produce tracks and saw Sultan play wth some bigger Dj’s at the time and liked his music. I gave him a demo at one of his shows of a song as I working on and he called me up the next day and wanted to hear more music. We became fast friends and eventually started to work together.
In which moment you though “Sultan + Ned Shepard” started to be a stablished name in the scene?
S+S – I think 2008 was probably the first year we really solidified ourselves in the scene. Back then we were doing tons of remixes. In recent years with the explosion of the EDM scene, we established ourselves with the young fans in 2012 with our release of “Walls” on Tiesto’s Club life compilation. But we started releasing records together all the way back to 2003. The scene was much more underground then so our music was quite different, but the vibe and the passion that we had for producing and dj’ing was the same.
Talking about your songs, in addition of all your productions under your own name, you’ve co-produced some well know tracks like David Guetta & Showtek’s “Bad”. Did you co-produced or ghost-produced another hit? If the answer is Yes, would you gave us some other examples?
S+S – Just to clarify, we don’t ghost-produce anything. A ghost producer is someone who’s hired by an artist to produce music, which they then stick their name on. When we work with other artists, we’re always collaborating in the studio with them, and are fully credited on song writing. We like to write songs with other artists because it allows us to express ourselves in ways that we might not do on our own record.
Bad was something that we started in our studio with Vassy. We wanted to write something that was influenced by the samples that were used on old house and hip hop records but we couldn’t sample anything so we just created our own song that felt like a sample. But besides co-writing Bad with David and Showtek and Vassy, we’ve also co-written a song with Tegan and Sara called Drove Me Wild, which appeared on their last album. We’re currently working on some more writing projects for other artists that will see the light of day soon. It’s definitely something that will always interest us and that we will continue to do.
If my sources are reliable, you are supposed to release a brand new EP this month, on Dim Mak Records. What can we expect from it?
S+S – We have a few projects in the works with Dim Mak…we really love the way they’re such a diverse brand so we’re excited to work with them. Check our socials for updates coming soon.
Appart from djing on the best clubs around the globe and releasing sick beats on big labels, you have your own label (Harem Records) and a radioshow (On The Road Radio). How do you guys manage to run all your different projects at the same time?
S+S – All of those projects are really an extension of DJ’ing because when you’re touring and playing all over the place, people are constantly sending you music. The idea behind Harem was always to showcase some of the cool music that producers sent us, and also as an outlet for some of our clubbier music (different re-edits and things like that). The radio show is the same idea: it allows us a different outlet to showcase music that we like to play as well as stuff that is maybe a little too mellow to play in clubs. And it’s fun because we use the platform as an opportunity to interview our DJ friends and chat with them about what their life is like.
And also… On what hobbies do you invest the, apparently, little time between all the music stuff?
S+S – Sultan is really into cars; Ned likes collecting rare books and records. We’re both really into art and design and always check out galleries and interesting spaces when we have a chance, especially when we’re traveling!
One of the things that always came to my mind when I see Sultan & Ned Shepard, is the really long Sultan’s dreadlocks. How many years have you been with them? Have you thought about cutting them in the future? They must be very heavy.
S+S – I’ve had my dreadlocks for about 13 years now. I’ve trimmed them at least 7 times now over the past 13 years. I pretty much always try to get them trimmed when they reach a length below my waist. The reason being is that i end up sitting on them and they tend to get heavy. But in general they actually aren’t too heavy, except when I go swimming! Then they’re really heavy!
In the social networks we have seen you signing some curious stuff, a surfboard for example. And this one must be one of the “normal” ones. Do you remember any other strange object or place that someone asked to sign on?
S+S – We’ve signed everything from walls to clothing to merchandise to arms and chests. The most memorable signings are those on vinyl records that people have had from back in the days starting from 2004.
Now we’re going to ask you some short questions about your own favorites. Now explanation needed, just the name of it:
DJ: Sunnery James & Ryan Marciano
Producer: Rick Rubin
Track: The Chainsmokers- Roses
Club: New City Gas in Montreal.
As we did on all our interviews, we would love to hear any funny/weird story that happened to you guys playing live.
S+S – At one of our recent shows the resident Dj playing before us ended his set with a track and came up to us and asked us if we had heard the record before not realizing it was a Sultan + Shepard record!