Simon Neale unveiled the Shadow Child alias in 2012 after nearly a decade of putting out music as Dave Spoon. He got right to it with the String Thing EP on Dirtybird and has been running with it since. He has continued to put out music over the past seven year, culminating this year with a new EP on Hot Creations, The DBG. With his wealth of experience in the business and loads of gear he has accumulated over the years, we asked Shadow Child to show us How It Was Made.
He takes us into the study to show off gear like a TR-909 and 707 and modular Eurorack.
Stream the EP and get your copy here.
“The DBG” was made back in March 2018, when DJ Haus came over to hang out with his custom Eurorack synth. We made a stack of noises to potentially use in some collab material that day with it balanced on a Roland W30 box!
One of the ideas that came out of it was one neither of us felt it suited where we were at the time. I got programming on the 909 but was quickly drawn to the Oberheim DMX and squashing the hi-hats.
I also cut up the main sawtooth LFO that features in the breakdown of the tune and for me, was just making a DJ Tool. We got talking about “Joyenergizer” by Joy Kitikonti that day too, so the huge breakdown in that was a massive influence. However, it still wasn’t a tune, just bleeps, LFO’s and the DMX which now had Roland tape delays on it too.
I was playing about with ideas and hit the SH101 with a random pattern generated by the Arturia Beatstep Pro - such a great low-budget sequencer. It triggered the SH101 and the bass pattern was born. Some are now saying I was channeling my inner Dave Spoon for this one, and I can hear what they mean, although it wasn’t in my mind at the time. I mixed it very quickly but it sat in my computer for a year before I sent it to a couple of people. I really don’t have a huge issue genre hopping, so I hit up Erol Alkan after hearing a live DJ set on Radio 1. He liked it but they were stacked on his label, so I thought, what’s the maddest place you could have a record like this, and for some reason Hot Creations popped into my head. I know Jamie [Jones] and the crew is fond of non-type-cast tunes appearing on the label, and to be honest the tune isn't quite the Shadow Child outing either, but I remain someone who likes to make a statement and so do they - the perfect match.
“Get Busy,” the B-Side, was made pretty much from a live jam in the studio. I was messing with the 909 and a Minimoog bass pattern, when the need for a main synth line hit me. I tried a 303 on it, but wanted a less obvious sound. The Jupiter 8 is a bit of Holy Grail synth for me, but above it sits a Jupiter.6 in my studio - they’re both completely different beasts. The 8 has a rounder sound, and is akin to the Juno 60, where the 6 has more edge and a gnarliness lacking in the 8. Anyhow, I started detuning some sawtooth and the acid line in “Get Busy” was born. It’s nothing overly groundbreaking but has a huge impact when it’s wobbling around the track.
I added some 707 hats to add some edge and the shape of the track was in place pretty quick. I record everything in at once to Logic, then edit and arrange, but I actually didn’t find myself doing much to this as I wanted the live jam aspect kept. The only thing I added was a controversial 909 snare-roll, the kids love them, and the “Get Busy” sample again with Roland Space Echo tape delay on it. It’s about as rough as I get production wise I think.