Synth Presents...Shaun Fae Solar
If someone were to fashion a version of Top Trumps in which each card represented a prominent figurehead from the Glasgow club scene then you’d find it difficult to match Shaun Fae Solar. Visualist to some of the biggest nights in the area, stalwart at Subcity Radio, exceptionally talented DJ and innovative promoter – Shaun has made a name for himself which is recognized on a variety of levels. Weird analogies aside however, his vast wealth of experience has given him an edge in many respects – you need only look at the success of Glasgow’s freshest party, Vitamins to realise that.
As you’ll read in the following interview (and hear in today’s mix) his passion for dance music stretches right back to the early days of 90’s Breakcore and Rave. He was only 8 when Mega Dance 92 was released and, like for so many other people The Prodigy who featured on the compilation were a huge influence. Fast forward through the years - the era of big-room Trance, the rise of Garage and the evolution of Dubstep and we arrive at 2011 where we of course have a situation of blurred boundaries and experimentation. Shaun’s current sets take in futuristic House and Garage, sub-rumbling rnb and a flavour which is altogether conducive of dancefloor bliss.
Glasgow’s club scene has of course changed as well, the recession has hit hard and it’s becoming ever more important to make yourself standout – something that Vitamins realised from the start. Along with a number of others, Shaun has helped throw parties in forest clearings, secret warehouses and West End flats, each one proving more popular than the last (their next event is tomorrow at Chambre69 – we advise you get down early). There is also his work for Subcity Radio – he practically lives in the open office during term time and played a huge part in the now legendary Research parties which will no doubt go down in Glasgow club folklore. Truth is, we could bang on about Shaun all day (we’ve not even touched on his visual work with Visual Aids or a certain Happy Hardcore alias for that matter), we’ll leave that til’ next time. For now, check out an interview with Shaun below as well as this week’s mix, recorded live and dangerous by the man himself.
Synth: You’ve been heavily involved with Subcity Radio for many years, DJing regularly at the infamous Research parties and hosting a variety of shows. How do you think Subcity has developed since you joined the station and do you think it still has a big role to play in Glasgow?
This is one of these ones where I'm probably too close to the wood to see the trees. When I first got involved FM was still the biggest thing we did by far, the whole station revolved around it each year. This had its good sides like the FM Launch parties, the big name shows and that potential live audience but it was a huge waste of money and a really poor way of distributing the type of radio we like to make. The station is kind of currently shedding a lot of baggage and hangovers from the FM era but once it’s out the other side it should be in a great position to become another resonance / wfmu / rinse / NTS... for a certain generation.
Synth: The Glasgow club scene has no doubt gone through some substantial changes over the last year or so – some for better, some for worse. Having witnessed these changes from a considered viewpoint, how would you describe its current situation and how do you think it can move forward?
I think small nights are going through a bit of a renaissance just now whereas your Death Disco, Pressure, Colours et al scale nights are kind of looking a bit lost. I'd probably put that down to the recession more than a backlash or anything. As much as I love stripped back basements, the technician/VJ in me does want to be able to spec a 20 foot stealth screen and a silly light show, festivals are the only place you see that stuff just now which is a shame. I think the recession is going to be here for a while though, I guess seeing if anything can replace The Art School this year will be interesting in the short term.
Taps aff at Subcity says Stay Fresh
Synth: Focusing on the mix, how did you go about selecting your tunes and how closely does this represent your live sets? We know you have a love for classic Hip Hop and Baltimore – what newer sounds are you into at the moment?
The Vitamins mix I did for Radio Magnetic is probably the best representation of what we're doing in the club just now throwing recent garage/funky releases together with rnb jams along with classic house, juke... whilst my more brain juice mix is probably closer to what I'm listening to at home more footwork, aphex twin and experimental stuff.
This mix however, is a whole different story... you mentioned classic hip hop and baltimore but my first love goes back to listening to early prodigy tracks on a mega dance 92 CD I had when I was 8. A few years later and I was listening to happy hardcore tapes and starting to buy stuff myself. This mix is 1992-1995 breakbeat hardcore / jungle, all off of original pressings, in one take. The pitch shifted amen breaks, the sine wave basslines, the pitched up vocals, massive pianos, spin backs... my first love.
Synth: As well as DJ’ing regularly you are also renowned for your skills as a visualist under the name Visual Aids. How did you originally get into club imagery and are there any parties or particular visuals which really stood out for you?
I've been doing flyers and graphic design for a while and one of the other guys from Solar Island, Matthew Sillars, had a thing for making shite animated gifs. I ended up getting involved with him and we did a bunch of gigs about the place. I got more and more into it and started doing gigs as a VJ more often than as a DJ. I get bored easily though so it's good to be able to switch between the two along with all the other shit I dabble in.
Shaun Fae Solar: big on visuals
Synth: Finally, you also involved with Glasgow’s most innovative party starters, Vitamins. What initially inspired you to launch the event and when can we expect the next party? We’re getting impatient.
Next party is tomorrow night. We only came up with the idea/plan 3 days ago in the pub but I think it's going to go off. We're putting in a soundsystem that even I'm excited about and it should be a good laugh with everyone getting in free and so many good DJs behind the decks. It's quite close to the original outlook of Vitamins which was really to try and fill the gaps in the scene and bring as many of our favourite crews together as we could each time. Later on this year we've got Lunice coming over and before that we've got a little secret location number planned but I can't reveal anything about it yet.
Synth: So there you have it…big things are on the horizon and they all start tomorrow night. In the meantime we suggest you get stuck into Shaun’s mix – a throwback to big shapes, silly jumpers and inexplicably raving your tits off.
Synth Presents...Shaun Fae Solar by synthmixes
TRACKLISTING TO FOLLOW
Shaun Fae Solar on Tumblr
Shaun Fae Solar on Soundcloud
Shaun Fae Solar on Mixcloud
Catch Shaun along with Vitamins, One More Tune, Deadly Rhythm & I Hate Fun for Can't We All Get Along? at Chambre69 tomorrow night (23rd): http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=222917477752477