Saturday, May 01, 2004

shawn new

Interview by Brent Crampton ~ photo by Moonfire ~ Shawn New is a dj and rookie producer based out of Iowa City, Ia. I have had the pleasure of seeing Shawn New perform at a couple of Iowa parties recently, and I can attest that he has a driving and emotional passion for deep and dark progressive house. He’s the type of dj that gets very personal and connected to his crowd when he is playing out. When it comes to his ethics behind the decks, he’s an all around purist. There is nothing posh about this dj - just clean mixes, interactive stage presence and love for the music. Shawn is very active in the scene in Iowa. I often see him on Ubersonic.org and he always seems to find his way to the dj roster for the parties in the Iowa City area. So here’s the low down from an Iowa head about his experience with life lived in music.

Alright Shawn, let’s start with the basics. How long have you been doing your thang and how did you get into it?

Well, I went to my first party back in ’94 and I was just amazed by the power and control the deejay had over the crowd. All I could do was stand in front of him and watch what he was doing, and I would turn around and see tons of people with smiles on their faces and dancing like no one was watching. I said to myself, “I want to be the guy that makes all these people happy.” It wasn’t until ’98 when I finally got my hands on turntables, and when I first touched them, it was love. I had found my niche, and I just took it and ran with it. I am 26 now and I started playing when I was 19 . . . it’s been a long tough and road, but well worth it.

I had a similar experience as you which motivated me to become a dj. Who and what influences your music now? Where does your inspiration come from?

If I had to say what influences my music, it would be seeing people dancing to the beats I am playing. My style kind of makes people put on the “I mean business” face. I really enjoy making eye contact with my audience, and I can tell if they are feeling me or not, and this inspires me to give them more and more. So really, my audience is my inspiration and major influence. I would also say that one of my influences include mostly my friends and fellow crew members. We have a crew called the Iowa Mopeass crew and basically we all critique each other all the time. Which motivates me to attempt to get better.

What is the Iowa Mopeass Crew?

Well, it started when my long time close friend Susie Douglas and I went to Atlanta to visit some friends. They were talking about starting a crew called Mopeass crew. It started as a joke but then Susie and I came to the conclusion that we should take it back to Iowa, and call it the Iowa Mopeass Crew. we immediately talked to Zach Douglas, Ryan Isenhart and Ryan Klassen. The Iowa Mopeass Crew was formed. It was put together just as a group of friends who loved music and loved to spin records together. Then we talked about throwing an event, and it just got bigger from there. We have manifesto on our web site along with all of our bio's , mixes, and such. We try to keep things fresh and real. All of our deejays are really solid, and we just like to see a lot of smiling faces at our shows. We try to make it a place where people can go and feel welcome, and be safe. The best thing about our crew is the diversity. We try to represent many different genre's so people will have more to choose from. If you haven't been to one of our parties, or seen one of our deejays, check it out. We think you will be pleased.

If someone was to hear you at an event, what could they expect?

Hmm . . . hard one. People could expect me to put my heart and soul into what I am playing for them, also to go on a little journey. I pride myself on not just spinning records, but trying to create a little roller coaster ride of emotion. Also, I love to hype the crowd, so they could expect to see me animated and getting into my music as much as they (hopefully, hehe) are. Usually when I take command of the decks, the environment tends to get a little dark and spacey.

You definitely have a passion for your music. What is the best, and worst, party you have performed at?

Actually, its funny you ask this. Just last Saturday march 27th , I played at the best show I have ever been to. The vibe was amazing and it had that old school warehouse feel to it. I came on at 1 am, and the intro I started with was a dance floor killer. It is something that my friend Ward and I produced just for this party, and will probably be the intro for my next cd. This is a little review I wrote to the crowd and the promoter for letting me play: “The party MVP on this night goes out to the crowd. I am sure you have all heard I cried during my set, and it was all because of you . . . you guys were by far the best crowd I have ever played for . . . amazing and I am still floating from it today . . . thank you Iowa. One more reason I am glad I am in it and a part of something so beautiful . . .”

“My review of this night is unexplainable in words. I don’t even know where to start, so I wont rack my brain. Thanks a million to the mi6 for providing such a great party and I will never forget this party. Everyone did an awesome job and the vibe was the best I have EVER felt!”

“I love you guys (partygoers) and thanks for helping me feel something I have never felt - truly an amazing experience. I am proud to say I live in Iowa because of you.”

So yeah, I am sort of emotional.

If I had to pick the worst, it would be this new years party in the middle of nowhere Iowa. We get there to find out we’re playing in an unheated barn, on top of hay and horse doo doo. The sound system was the worst, and the people that were there were looking at me like I was some freak or something. Well, the power went out so we were saved and could finally go home. And just for the record, we don’t make a habit in Iowa about playing in horse crap filled barns.

(laughs) I sure hope not. Who are your favorite producers?

Man, I have so many. I love Gabriel and Dresden, Shawn Astrom, Steve Lawler, Martin Villeneuva, Marcelo Castelli, Vinny Troia and Dark Providers are only to name a few. I have many more, but I wont bore you.

What are your plans for the future?

I want to take my career to a higher level and really concentrate on producing. I am basically just a novice producer right now but I plan on getting one of my own records pressed in the next few years. I would also love to go to different cities and play for people and just have a great time meeting new people. I have kind of a joke with my friends, I usually tell them that I will be the old guy walking up to the decks with my oxygen tank fastened to me and my cane in hand. I will never stop playing music.

How much is too much for a dj to get paid?

Wow, that is a really controversial question. I would say, it is entirely up to the deejay as to how much he or she wants to get paid. If they want to live the superstar/rock star life, then so be it. Let them charge whatever they want and see how many gigs they get. It would also depend on what kind of crowd they could draw, and how much the cost of the show was. I on the other hand, as long as my costs are taken care of and I have a place to stay, I will spin anytime anywhere on anything just because I love to. I am not trying to get rich being a deejay or producer (although it would be nice). I simply want to be able to do what I love to do, and have a good life doing it. And anything more than that would be too much.

If your house was on fire, and you could only grab one record - what would it be?

You know, I really don’t know, I would honestly probably burn up trying to get them all. They are in flight cases you know. Just kidding, I would probably grab one of my newest ones, by Dark Providers, called “Believe” on the Intenso label. That track is sick and dark. Or it would be a toss up between Lexicon Avenue “Dusk 'til Dawn” (Weekend World remix). That one always destroys the dance floor.

Thanks for talking with me Brent. It has been a pleasure. And if I may end on a quote, “Music binds us together with invisible threads” and “Long live the Underground.”

Have comments about this or any other article? Post them to the Forum!

Read more about Shawn New and others involved with the Mopeass Crew at www.mopenation.com.

You can download Shawn's mix "Brink of Obscurity"at www.Iowa-Mopeass-Crew.com

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