Interview - Shamanic Technology

DJ and Producer Chris Hare, describes his Shamanic Technology alias as, "an ever-evolving exploration in sound experimentation. A collision of dynamic sound design, beat science and hypnotic melody." We couldn't put it better ourselves! Fantastic production and cutting-edge sound design ripple throughout all of the Shamanic Technology output, no matter the fusion of genres and classifications it is given, the music speaks for itself. We caught up with him while he's in Canada for some words about how he got started in music and his studio and inspiration...
Tell us about how you got into producing and your first moves with technology, music and production... 

"My journey with music began when I was very young; both my parents played instruments and had a pretty formidable record collection. I grew up listening to my dad smash out drum solos and my mother tinkering away on the piano. We listened to a lot of reggae, post rock, jazz and classical so I had a lot of influences coming at my young ears from many musical directions. I learned to play a ton of instruments and eventually, around age 12 my sister's boyfriend introduced me to electronic music, taking me record shopping with him. I was instantly in love with all strange and wonderful connotations being done from garage and trance to drum and bass and hip hop."
420590_360891297265246_163663722_n.jpgWhen did you start producing?

"I started producing my own music on a beaten up 386 PC at around age 16. I was teaching myself how to use the software and hanging with friends who were doing the same. When I left school I lucked out as I was already DJing in clubs, on boat parties, and at illegal forest parties.

"I eventually got a job in a clothing store, and my friends used to come in regularly to pick up my latest mix tapes so my boss at the time decided I would be a good fit for a new business
 venture. She and I opened a record shop slinging all the latest vinyl releases and I was given the keys to the kingdom. 

"After my first shop bit the dust a few years later I was headhunted for another local underground music store – this shop had its own label and was regularly pressing new releases. They quickly put me on the roster and sent me to a 'real' studio to cut my teeth with hardware and learn from an engineer. I think I put out my first 12" at around age 19. It was a house track."

Were you a musician, DJ or producer first and foremost? How do you see yourself now? 

"I would consider myself a DJ first and foremost, but I've always been a musician; the transition to producing music that I would want to play out was a natural progression. These days the lines are fairly blurred because when it comes to DJing I love controller-ism and so have dabbled with using Akai APC40's, OHM Livid RGB 64's & Midi Fighters, in combination with CDJs or Serato. But I guess I feel at home behind two turntables more than anything else.

"I remember a tour recently where my controller decided to die a horrible death the day before the show and so I had to jump on CDJs for the first time in a few years, it's just like riding bike. I'm a producer though, that's what I spend 99% of my time and energy doing."
How much does technology inspire you? 

"I've been a big fan of doing things as much in-the-box as possible lately, but over the years I've hoarded and utilised a few key pieces of tech. The Virus TI Snow was always a staple in my early bass music productions, it's just fat as f**k and extremely usable.

"I've owned both a full key and desktop Wardolf Blofeld over the years, which is a sheer powerhouse for creating insane wavetables and interesting patches, if a little fiddly. In the end I would really use it to generate long stems of audio with lots of modulation, so I could drop audio into my sequencer and move the sampler position around to make awesome hits and parts out of all that movement, without having to painstakingly automate a million things, I never really gelled well with having it run MIDI parts live in the arrangement so that method worked well.
"I've used every DAW there is with the exception of Bitwig Studio, but I'll get round to it though, and I think they all have their merits. Ableton to me is like playing a really awesome video game. Cubase was something I used consistently and I find its visual aspects really useful especially the mixing desk."
Who has been your biggest teacher or inspiration in your career so far?

"To be honest I've always been a bit of a lone wolf as far as seeking out teachers or learning from others. I started my production journey before YouTube was a thing so naturally was forced to go at it alone and at best check forums and mags for people's opinions on things.
"I've always set myself the task of figuring things out for myself and often spent, and probably wasted a lot of time, making mistakes, but you have to know how not to do something in order to really know why you're doing it right. Rules are there to be bent and broken, but you must know when and why you're doing that. 

"In terms of producers I'm inspired by, Boards of Canada changed my life, I was making a lot of techno and house, then I heard Music Has The Right To Children and suddenly this whole broken beat world opened up to me. I started listening to everything I could find on Warp Records / Ninja Tune / Planet Mu… I've got a lot of love for the artists on those labels and more recently Brain Feeder and Ghostly International's roster too. Also pretty much everything Inspector Dubplate posts gives me an eargasm."
Tell us more about your production methods... How do tracks start? 

"It's never the same process for me, I love the feeling of staring at an empty DAW. It's inspiring because there's an infinity of possibility sitting there in front of you, it can feel daunting at first though and I can understand why that's intimidating when you're starting out. I've usually heard a track that's got me fired up and sparked some idea in me, sometimes I just wake up with a melody or groove in my brain. I like to start with something musical to set the tone, a sample can be a good way to get things flowing, building a track around it and later removing it.
"A few tips I always like to offer up are mainly for creative blocks, we all get stuck. When I'm hitting the wall I tend to listen to a bunch of music outside the genres I'm working on to jog my musical brain into new territory. Another is working on multiple styles and moods so that whatever might be going on that day I can find something I'm working on that taps into that mood and utilise it.
It's good practice to finish the main essence of a track as fast as possible, before your vibe or mood shifts too much and before your brain gets bored of hearing every iteration and starts telling you the tune sucks.
Take regular breaks. Also turn off your monitor when you're listening back so your ears get more priority and you're not starting at waveforms. Take a walk around the house with your tune playing in the background and do mundane tasks so you switch from analysing every single moment of it to just absorbing it, like a first time listener will be. Never be afraid to experiment. I'll leave it there before this turns into an essay for you!"

Any tips for someone trying to get their music out there now?

"This is a tricky one and can really depend on the genre you're making. With me I got a lot of headway from remixing for people, this exposed me to new countries, new scenes, someone else's entire fan base and new labels.
Put out free music. Use those free releases to gather a mailing list so you can hit those folks up with your new track, there are lots of tools for doing that like Toneden or Topspin. Post your stuff in relevant groups on social media, but don't be spammy about it. No one likes spam.
If you DJ, play out as much as possible, if you don't, give your tracks to people who do! Write solid music and never give up on your dreams, if your work is good eventually people will get into it. These things take time and it's all about the joy of creating something new, be original!"
What's coming up for you next?

"I'm really in the thick of it with productions at the moment, at the start of this year I decided to take some time away from my usual bass music productions to explore Lo Fi Instrumental Hip Hop, Downtempo and Electronica again. The project started out as an exercise in restraint but quickly turned into a four volume saga now titled 'The Otherside Beat Tape' series. It was inspired by my love for all things Hip Hop and Lo Fi and I wanted to go back to sampling old records and obscure films and make something more musical again. This album is an ode to some of my favourite producers. I'm really stoked on how it's come together so that is doing the rounds at the moment.
In December I have another more neuro/bassmusic release coming up, it's a collaborative EP with my friend Mirrorman who's an OG in the DnB scene, it's footwork, future garage, drum and bass and that's up on my Soundcloud right now as a teaser. 

"Gig wise I've been living out in Canada most of the year and I have a couple of shows coming up in Toronto, one for the Sound Advice crew with Frequent which I'm super excited about as he's an incredible producer in my opinion. I am doing another show at this legendary weekly event called Architextures where I plan on showcasing the new beat tape series, and I'll be running a little production master class with them in December. Next I'm headed over to New Zealand and hopefully Costa Rica for some shows, but I can't announce much about those gigs just yet! For 2018 I plan to tour the US! It's a really exciting time for me at the moment and I feel very blessed."

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