Interview with Shonky

Berlin-based producer, DJ and label owner Shonky will spin at Tabaq this Sunday for D33P S3CR3TS, Stranger Than Paradise and Denis Bejan’s “Sunday’s Rooftop Closing Party” – alongside Panorama Bar resident Ryan Elliot, Circoloco’s Andrew Grant, Navbox and Jubilee. We were more than excited to catch up with him to discuss his inspirations, new productions, Appolonia, crate digging in Berlin and the “Shonky Touch.”

As a former student of mathematics and statistics, your first career choice was to work a bank – yet, the Parisian rave seen of the mid-90s drew you towards a career in music. What specifically about that scene pushed you in that direction?

The artists that inspired me are Gemini, Kerri Chandler, also mainly all the people from the west Coast: DJ Garth, Rasoul…I have always been into psychedelic deep house from San Francisco.

In an interview with The Guest List Network back in May you discussed how, even though your sound has evolved from minimal techno to deep house, your productions have consistently included a special “Shonky Touch” – can you describe the “Shonky Touch”?

I think one’s differences result from the way one produces and this includes one’s mistakes. I learned the process of production on my own so the way I produce is obviously particular to me. All those little habits make the shonky touch in a way. The point is to turn mistakes into strengths!

Moving from France to Berlin, have you found major difference in how the two environments have influenced your recent productions?

Well both scenes are good but Berlin is probably more convenient for the lifestyle I have. The city is cheap, many artists are living there and it is a city less stressy than Paris. In the end its more easy to feel free when you produce. Besides that, the scene is amazing and the clubs are great too. It would be hard not to love that.

You’ve announced the launch of your new label “Apollonia” with Dyed Soundorom and Dan Ghenacia – can you define the sound and vibe of Apollonia? What type of tracks will you be looking to sign? Can we assume the name was inspired by Apollonia Kotero?

The big new project is to launch a label with Dan and Dyed. Dyed and I have always wanted to start our own label and the end of Freak n’ Chic allows us to do it with Dan also. Obviously, we’ve got common roots, the same tastes and the same musical vision. It’s inevitable that we would do something together sooner or later. We mainly aim to release our music and of course some more from the producers we all enjoy.

We are really open minded to sign any track we all like. You’re right! The name of the label has been influenced by Apollonia Kotero which was the Prince’s girl in Purple Rain, but also the lead singer of the band Apollonia 6 which was produced by Prince. They were doing this sound that was called at this time “Minneapolis Sound,” a mixture of funk, soul, RnB and rock.

Will the first production to be released via Apollonia be one of your own?

The first release will be one of my own. Its a three-track EP called The Minneapolis Touch. It might be out mid-February.

From what I understand, the record shops in Berlin are great. Do you make time for crate digging, and if so, what have been your most recent vinyl purchases?

I try to go record shopping as often as I can. I love to do it. When I go to Hardwax and Spacehall it’s super rare I dont find anything I like. For example, I just got this new Mike Huckaby on Sushiteh called “Baseline 87.” A pure bomb released only on vinyl and in limited edition. Though, I’m now one of the lucky guyz owning a copy 😀

Will this be your first time in DC? Are you familiar with DC’s Stranger Than Paradise and Deep Secrets “Sunday’s Rooftop” parties at Tabaq?

It will be my third time in D.C. I love the city and the scene. I’ve heard about those Sunday’s rooftop parties but never experienced them. I’m glad to be one of the guests of the closing party!

For tickets and more information on Sunday’s Rooftop Closing Party click here.

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Shonky – Pulse Radio Podcast, December 2011

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Shonky – Oasis EP