For the past 5 years Shugz has fast become a go-to name for fans of harder-edged trance music with standout tracks such as ‘Mexican Rave’, ‘End Product’ and more recently an insane update of Scot Project’s Overdose classic, FM’, (alongside David Rust). With a whole host of electric performances under his belt for ‘Luminosity’, Subculture (Argentina}, Dreamstate (USA) and of course our Hard Trance Europe stage at Captured Festival Ibiza last year, it’s exciting times for the energetic showman! With a remix of our milestone 100th HTE Release ‘Force Majeure’ dropping this Monday, we grabbed a few words with him to chat about influences, plugins, hard trance classics and meeting football legends.
Hi, thanks for speaking to us, how are you, and what’s been happening for you this week?
Hello! Not much this week just the usual. Loads of studio and even more sleep haha.
A tough year for many, how have you been coping amongst the obvious restrictions of 2020?
I’ve been doing OK. I’ve been up and down in periods throughout the year but I have my health and that’s all that matters. Just buzzing for some sort of normality to get back, as I miss my job dearly.
A local hero in your native Northern Ireland, which local names and clubs influenced you growing up and made you decide to embark on a career yourself in music?
In regards to DJ’s locally there isn’t many to be honest. I was always more inspired from the guys down south (JOC, Bryan Kearney) and across the waters. Names like Eddie Halliwell, Alex Kidd, Jordan Suckley and Barry Connell were names I used to always have at the forefront of my head when I was younger. Proper DJ’s, with not only with technical abilities but an amazing presence on stage. With clubs it was always ‘The Coach’ in Banbridge and ‘Lush’ in Portrush, two institutes of NI club culture right there.
Over the last 5 years, your releases have found their way on to an impressive list of giants such as Armada, Black Hole Recordings, Subculture, Kearnage and many more, what musical goals are there left to kick?
An album eventually is something I have thought about. When the time is right, that will happen.
Over the years it’s become increasingly tougher for young artists to breakthrough, if you had to pinpoint 3 pivotal moments that helped you get to where you are now, what would they be?
I can’t really put it down to 3 moments exactly but what I will say for some advice for anyone up and coming, or looking to get into the scene – don’t rely on help from anyone else. Work hard, stay true to yourself and be nice. If you focus on those 3 things and do as much as you can you’ll have success eventually.
There will no doubt be a lot of aspiring producers reading this, what juicy new plugins have been added to your day-to-day studio workflow recently?
My favourite plugin right now is Izotope Stutter Edit 2, it’s absolutely ridiculous for FX and transitions. A go to EQ of mine that not a lot of people use is the PSP e27, check that out as well.
You have just remixed the 100th HTE release and the incredible vocals of HATi, which will be the final release of 2020 on the label. Please tell us about how you approached the project, and what people can expect from your rework of ‘Force Majeure’?
Once Nick had sent me the vocals I fell in love with them. I knew I could come up with something really cool with HATi’s voice. The idea was always an uplifting vocal breakdown with maximum feels then a big surge in energy with a melodic drop. Decided to go for a bit more of a techy intro to introduce the breakdown much better, kind of ‘out of nowhere’ with that feeling. I think it has come together well, I’m very proud of it.
What other projects are coming up for you next year?
I’m starting to delve a lot more into techno and the harder sounds are something I want to try out as well. Next year is all about expansion of my sound.
With the recent positive news that clubs may be able to return by the middle of the year, if these predictions are right, where will you be, or like to be heading first to play?
Anywhere haha. I would love to get back to my Argentinean fans and also get some more ‘Kill Your Idols’ shows lined up ASAP as well.
Lets see what happens.
Who is still left on that desirable ‘Kill Your Idols’ hit list?
There are many DJ’s we still need to book, we’re only around half way through. I’ll keep my lips sealed for now as we already have a few drafts down for 2021 haha
As this is an interview for Hard Trance Europe, please give us your top 3 most influential Hard Trance tracks of all time?
Scot Project - FM
Derb – In Afrika
Arome – Hands Up (Scot Project Remix)
Northern Ireland is currently a hotbed of new talent, who are your favourite names that are coming up through the ranks right now?
I have loads of young talents around me over here but I’ll go for these three.
Symmetrik, Tyler Jack and Reece Foster. All have serious futures ahead of them.
You have already had the opportunity to play in Holland, Australia and South America to name a few, Please give us one amusing tale that no-one knows from you global adventures?
I’m a football fan so this one is surreal haha. When we were in Argentina a few years ago the Boca Juniors and River Plate derby was being played the day after our show and I can remember coming down to the hotel lobby still a bit steaming from the night before and walking past Carlos Tevez as he was waiting. Actually laughed out loud at the randomness of it, what a player.
Any final words?
Big thanks for reading and thanks for all the support as always.
Hopefully see you all very soon in 2021.
S.H.O.K.K. & Nick The Kid feat HATi - Force Majeure (Shugz Remix) is out now on HTE Recordings.
- LISTEN & BUY HERE