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Interview: Shy FX

This weekend will see Wray and Nephew Overproof Rum team up with Reggae Roast to host Wray & Nephew’s Jamaica Rum Tings; a celebration of Jamaican culture through a series of music and cultural events inspired by Wray & Nephew’s Jamaican roots. Hosted at London Fields Brewery, the event will have have a pre-carnival warm up that will bring the spirit of Jamaica to the East for a one-off exclusive event. Legendary DJ and producer  Shy FX will be playing an exclusive reggae set at the event, and we managed to catch up with Shy ahead of tomorrow’s rum flavoured extravaganza.

Planet Notion:  How come you decided to go back to your roots and write a reggae album?
Shy FX: It’s something I’ve wanted to do ever since I was a kid really, and I wasn’t able to. I just came to a point when my production skills were at a level that I could do it, and do it justice as well. It just felt like the time to do it.

PN: What is it you love about the genre?
SFX: It’s what grew up on. It’s me; it’s the foundations of everything I do. I grew up literally in blues parties, and I’d be waking up and going downstairs and seeing everyone dancing! It’s just in the blood.

PN: How important is it to you to be a part of Wray & Nephew’s Jamaica Rum Tings?
SFX: I’m honoured to be honest; I love what those guys are doing. Especially seeing as it ties in to what I’m doing at the minute as well – it’s great.

PN: What has the response been from fans about this new musical direction for the album?
SFX: It’s been great. To be honest, it’s been a bit of a selfish project, something I wanted to do. For the last few years, every Monday, a lot of us at the label have listening sessions, and we vibe out and make music that no one really gets to hear. It’s just an outlet to what we want to do. This is more of an extension of that, but I was actually prepared to let people hear what was going on. I really didn’t expect the love and the feedback I’ve been getting from the guys that I play dance music to every weekend, to the older guys, and to people like my parents age. It’s been amazing.

PN: Did you and Ms. Dynamite work on ‘Cloud 9’ together especially for the sound of the new album?
SFX: We were both heading in the same direction. It was a bit of a weird one, because I’ve been working on her album as well, and we both seem to have been gravitating towards reggae. So that particular track started off as a reggae track, and then developed into a hybrid of reggae and jungle. If it wasn’t for what I was doing for my album, then that track defiantly would never have been made.

PN: Are ‘Soon Come’ and ‘Cloud 9′ the kind of thing we can expect to hear from the upcoming album, ‘Cornerstone’?
SFX: More ‘Soon Come’. There won’t be any Jungle or Dance influences on this album. But even ‘Soon Come’ is still a good summer time vibe. On this album there’s everything from dub to scar, which isn’t obviously reggae, but it’s still stuff I grew up on.

PN: Will there be an under tone of drum and bass on the record? Or will it solely be reggae?
SFX: Solely reggae. Some of the dub stuff I’ve done I’m sure you can hear the jungle presence in there. But this is basically a real authentic reggae album.

PN: What are your personal highlights of Notting Hill Carnival?
SFX: How far can I go back? (Laughs) The very first one, when I had ‘Original Nuttah’ out, so this is going back to the mid nighties. I was 16 years old and I just had a tune out and it was playing on all the sound systems, and I performed it. This would have been the first time I’d been in a crowd like that, and seeing the response that the tune was getting, and every single sound system passing by you’d hear that track, it was just nuts!

PN: Are you looking forward to this weekend then?
SFX: Yeah – always. It’s my favourite time of the year to be fair. A lot of our supporters come out, and it’s just one big party. We’ve got some really cool guests coming down and supporting, so that’s going to be a really good one.

PN: What are the plans post Carnival and post album launch?
SFX: A few more festivals – which I can’t remember off the top of my head (Laughs). You know what, my life is just studio and gigs to be honest, so it’s pretty much that.

‘Cornerstone’ will be available early next year, and ‘Cloud 9′ ft. Ms. Dynamite is available for pre-order now.

Tickets for the event are available here.

Keep up to date with Shy FX on Twitter | Facebook | SoundCloud

- Interview by Ben Lifton

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