Gimme Your Answers: An Interview w/ Shapeshifter

Shapeshifter
New Zealand’s Shapeshifter is a drum and bass group consisting of members PDigsss (vocals), Devin Abrams (sax/keys/synths), Sam Trevethick (guitar/synths/sampler), Nick Robinson (bass/synths/MPC), and Darren Mathiassen (drums). Just hours before their Canadian debut at Toronto’s The Garrison, I had the chance to sit down with P-Digsss and chat about their new album Delta, touring, and their first time on Canadian soil. Read the interview below:

AMBY: I’m sitting down with Digggs here of Shapeshifter, thank you for joining me and welcome to Canada! Tell us a little bit about who Shapeshifter is.

Shapeshifter (Digsss): You’re more than welcome, it is really awesome being here in Canada. We are a five piece act from New Zealand, we’ve been around since 1999. We play live, organic drum and bass- it’s called drum and bass but it’s not really just drum and bass, we’re really a lot more. So we amalgamate a lot of our inspirations and sounds we grew up with as children, like jazz, soul, reggae, dub, a bit of hip-hop in there and yea, it’s our first time in Canada and we’re pretty damn excited.

AMBY: Do you have something to cross off of the “must-see’s” in Canada?

Shapeshifter (Digsss): Well, today we actually went for an adventure to Niagara Falls. Growing up as a child, you see it on TV, but it doesn’t really do it justice, until you’re actually driving down and you can see how bloody big it is. We were like giggling school kids.

AMBY: It’s one of the 7 wonders of the world, in our own backyard and we forget about it.

Shapeshifter (Digsss): Damn straight, it’s phenomenal! It’s awesome to be blown away. It literally is breathtaking and it’s cool that nature can still do that.

AMBY: You’ve been called pioneers of your genre, do you think that there is one key element that has made you stand out?

Shapeshifter (Digsss): I guess, we started in 1999 and we’re still together. Our live shows, we’re really proud of our live shows and that’s really helped us stand out amongst the others.

AMBY: What’s the most exciting aspect of releasing your new album ‘Delta’ and what can you tell us about it?

Shapeshifter (Digsss): The greatest thing about releasing a new album is you get to tour it out and you get to test it out. Sometimes it’s hard to tell if the things that you do in a studio actually make sense in a live format, so that’s what we really enjoy about new albums, is playing the new stuff out, testing our wears out on new people.

AMBY: Having huge success already in NZ and Europe, playing fests like Big Day Out in Australia and Glastonbury in the UK, how do you compare that to playing to a new audience in a smaller room like tonight?

Shapeshifter (Digsss): This is where we first began, we started playing these kind of sized clubs. Love the intimacy. It’s almost nerve-wracking sometimes when they’re so close to you and it’s so small, but at the same time, it’s like if you can get that rocking, if you can find your mojo in these tiny little clubs where you’re all exposed, that’s where we find some of the original energy that got us firing and got us where we are now.

AMBY: What’s your most embarrassing tour story so far?

Shapeshifter (Digsss): So far? Well we’ve been together for quite a while so there’s been some funny ones. We were actually just talking about this, when we first went to try and play in Ireland, the day before we had a big night and Sam actually lost his passport. So we actually left England and flew into Ireland without his passport and we talked our way in without any visas or anything. They actually let us in on a charity visa and allowed the whole band come in, even without one of our members having his passport. So it was pretty crazy. Good old Irish.

AMBY: After tonight you’re heading to BC to play the Ski & Snowboard Fest in Whistler, what’s something you could tell our Canadian audience to get them to come check you out for the first time?

Shapeshifter (Digsss): Well if you like it energetic and live and a big sound, come check us out cuz I guess our music goes hand in hand with places like Whistler, and their snowboarding and ski community, so come on down. We’ve got some nice party tunes. We’ve got a great set actually, this is the end of our tour so we’ve already tested our wears on the Australians, got all the Australians proper, also went to the Czech Republic, did Berlin, Amsterdam, Edinburgh, Scotland, we also played Brighton and London, so we’ve got our shit quite dialed now. So it should be all guns blazin’!

AMBY: With the tour coming to a close after these 4 Canadian dates, what’s next for Shapeshifter?

Shapeshifter (Digsss): We’re nice and busy, working on a brand new EP. It’s us and our good friends The Upbeats who are an amazing two boys who are incredible producers and they do some amazing music. So new EP with Shapeshifter and The Upbeats and after that we’ll be working on new material for the new album.

AMBY: Thanks for taking the time to sit down with me and be sure to check out Shapeshifter online at shapeshifter.co.nz. Any parting words?

Shapeshifter (Digsss): Check out our merch, buy your mum a t-shirt, grab her one of the CD’s, I’m sure she’ll love it.

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Thank you Shapeshifter, for giving us your answers!

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Shannon Bryan | @xoradioxo

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