DJ Shadow (born Joshua Davis June 29, 1972) is an American music producer, DJ and songwriter. He is considered a prominent figure in the development of instrumental hip hop and first gained notice with the release of his highly acclaimed debut album Endtroducing....., which was constructed entirely from samples. He has an exceptionally large record collection, with over 60,000 records.
DJ Shadow began his music career as a disc jockey for the University of California, Davis campus radio station KDVS. During this period he was significant in developing the experimental hip hop style associated with the California-based Solesides record label. His early singles for the label, including "In/Flux" and "Lost and Found (S.F.L.)", were genre-bending works of art merging elements of funk, rock, hip hop, ambient, jazz, soul, and used-bin found records. DJ Shadow is often cited as a leading creator of U.S. trip hop. Though his music is hard to categorize, his early contributions were certainly important for alternative hip-hop. He cited groups such as Kurtis Mantronik, Steinski and Prince Paul as influences on his sample-based sound, further claiming that "lyrics ...were confining, too specific". His music rarely features more than short clips of voices or vocal work. He released several original works (during 1991-1992 for Hollywood Records) by the time Mo' Wax's James Lavelle contacted him about releasing "In/Flux" on the fledgling imprint, it wasn't until his distribution association with Mo' Wax that his sound began to mature and cohere. He eventually formed the label Quannum Projects in 1999 out of the previous label Solesides.
Shadow's first full-length work, Endtroducing....., was released in late 1996 to critical acclaim. Endtroducing would make the Guinness World Records book for "First Completely Sampled Album" in 2001. The only pieces of equipment Shadow used to produce the album are the AKAI MPC60 12-bit sampling drum machine, a pair of turntables and a borrowed-by-visiting Pro Tools setup from an early adopter of the technology, Dan "The Automator" Nakamura. In November 2006 Time magazine named it one of its "All-TIME" 100 best albums.
In 1998 Shadow released Preemptive Strike, a compilation of early singles. Later that year, he produced tracks for Psyence Fiction, the debut album by U.N.K.L.E., a long-time Mo' Wax production team that gained superstar guests including Thom Yorke (Radiohead), Richard Ashcroft (The Verve), Mike D (Beastie Boys), Kool G. Rap, Jason Newstead (Metallica) among others.
Around 2000 he produced the score for the documentary Dark Days filmed by British director Marc Singer. This film is about a community of transients who live underground in a subway tunnel. It shows the horrific world of people who have hit rock bottom in their lives. These people live in complete darkness. It has six award wins in various competitions.
The Private Press
Nearly six years after his debut production album, his second album, The Private Press, was released in June 2002. In the same year, the movie Scratch (2001, Doug Pray) was released to DVD with DJ Shadow appearing several times throughout the movie. A video for his track "Six Days" was also released in 2002, directed by Wong Kar-Wai.
In Tune and on Time
In 2004, Shadow's feature length DVD, In Tune and on Time was released. The DVD features a live performance in London, emphasizing visuals. In 2005, Brian Udelhofen began work on the Shadow Percussion Project, an attempt to adapt some of the tracks from Endtroducing... for a live performance group. The result was largely successful and well-received by DJ Shadow himself.
The Outsider album was released on 18 September 2006. A special edition CD box set was also released containing 'The Outsider', the album on CD and a DVD entitled Tour Visuals. The Outsider, which prominently featured several artists from the local San Francisco Bay Area hyphy hip-hop movement, got a mixed welcome among Shadow's fans. Responding to criticisms, the DJ/producer explained on his blog why he made no apologies: "Repeat Endtroducing over and over again? That was never, ever in the game plan. Fuck that. So I think it's time for certain fans to decide if they are fans of the album, or the artist." DJ Shadow has also collaborated with fellow DJ Cut Chemist. Together they have created three popular mixtapes entitled Brainfreeze, Product Placement, and the recent The Hard Sell. These mixes fuse jazz, funk, and soul in the framework of a cohesive concept. He has also collaborated with several other artists, including Blackalicious, Zack de la Rocha, Keak Da Sneak, Mos Def, David Banner, and Dr. Octagon (also known as Kool Keith).
During Shadow's Outsider 2007 tour, he was spotted filming with 90's NYU film school prodigy Dean Fernando aka "DINO" as reported on Shadow/Quannum fansite Solesides. On April 1, 2009, DJ Shadow announced on his Facebook page that he was working on a Diminishing Returns re-release. On March 7, 2009, DJ Shadow announced that he was working on new music. Though no release date was given, he assured that "it will sound different from the last one". DJ Shadow is involved with the new Activision game DJ Hero.
Studio and equipment
The book Behind the Beat documents Shadow's home studio (named "Reconstruction") through photos and a brief description (as of 2005). It is "nestled within a leafy San Francisco suburb" and Shadow apparently moved to the area "to be closer to the local record store". It also states that "Shadow only keeps a small selection of vinyl at home with the rest occupying storage units around town". His equipment (as of 2005, according to Behind the Beat) consists of two Akai MPC 3000s and a Korg Triton. His album Endtroducing was "created on an AKAI MPC60 and an A-Dat".
Main solo albums
- 1998 - Preemptive Strike
- 1999 - Funk Spectrum: Real Funk For Real People
- 2007 - The 4-Track Era (Volume 1: Best Of The KMEL Mixes (1991))
- 2007 - The 4-Track Era (Volume 2: Best Of The Remixes And Megamixes (1990 - 1992))
- 2008 - The 4-Track Era (Volume 3: Best Of The Original Productions (1990 - 1992))
- 2008 - The 4-Track Era (Volume 4: Bonus Disc KMEL Mix (1991)) included in the 200 limit run 4-Track Era Bundle only
With DJ QBert
- 1997 - Camel Bobsled Race (Q-Bert Mega Mix) CD-EP
- 1998 - Psyence Fiction
With Cut Chemist
- 1999 - Brainfreeze
- 2001 - Product Placement
- 2003 - Milk The Basic Breaks
- 2004 - Product Placement on Tour
- 2007 - The Hard Sell
- 2008 - The Hard Sell (Encore)
- 2005 - "We Might As Well Be Strangers" (Remix)
- 2003 - The popular Essential Mix on BBC Radio1 was later released in a 1000-copy self-published release called Diminishing Returns.
- 2005 - Funky Skunk
- 2009 - Diminishing Returns - 'Last Chance Limited-Edition Re-Release' (with bonus track 'War Is Hell')
- 1993 - Sleeping with the Enemy (by Paris)
- 1995 - Meiso (by DJ Krush, DJ Shadow features on Duality)
- 1995 - The Story of Mo Wax (various artists, Lost and Found and What Does Your Soul Look Like? (1 & 2) by Shadow)
- 1996 - Dr. Octagonecologyst (by Dr. Octagon, Shadow featured on Waiting List (DJ Shadow / Automator Mix))
- 1999 - Quannum Spectrum (various artists, DJ Shadow on Divine Intervention and Storm Warning)
- 1999 - So... How's Your Girl? (Handsome Boy Modeling School, DJ Shadow features on Holy Calamity (Bear Witness II) with DJ Quest)
- 2000 - Solesides Greatest Bumps (various artists, Shadow contributes 3 tracks and produces 6 more)
- 2002 - The Ultimate Lessons (various artists bootleg, Shadow on Lesson 4, Live Lesson B, and Live Lesson C)
- 2004 - Damage (by Jon Spencer Blues Explosion produces the track Fed Up And Low Down).
- 2004 - Brothers from the Mother (by Zimbabwe Legit, DJ Shadow's remix called Shadow's Legitimate Mix)
- 2005 - Same Shit Different Day (by Lyrics Born, produces Over You)
- 2005 - Hell's Winter (by Cage, produces Grand Ol' Party Crash with Jello Biafra)
- 2005 - Beef or Chicken? (by Teriyaki Boyz produces the track Kamikaze 108).
- 2006 - Escape From Planet Monday (by Fresh, DJ Shadow features on the track Closer)
- 2007 - The Prelude EP (by The Mighty Underdogs, cuts on U.F.C - United Flow Champions)
- 1991 - Lifer's Group/DJ Shadow - The Real Deal (Shadow Remix)/Lesson 4 Promo 12" Only
- 1993 - Asia Born/DJ Shadow - Send Them/Count and Estimate (Dub)/Hip-Hop Reconstruction from the Ground Up 12"
- 1993 - In/Flux / Hindsight 12"
- 1994 - Lost & Found (S.F.L.) (Split 12" with DJ Krush - Kemuri)
- 1994 - What Does Your Soul Look Like
- 1996 - Fully Charged on Planet X / Hardcore (Instrumental) Hip-Hop (by Chief Xcel/DJ Shadow - Hardcore (Instrumental) Hip-Hop and Last Stop are Shadow tracks)
- 1996 - Midnight in a Perfect World
- 1996 - Stem CD/7" (His only top 10 hit-it reached number 9 in the Republic of Ireland singles chart.)
- 1997 - High Noon CD/12"/7"
- 2000 - Dark Days (Music from Dark Days Documentary Soundtrack) CD/7"
- 2002 - You Can't Go Home Again: DJ Shadow Selections CD/12"
- 2002 - Six Days CD/DVD/12"
- 2003 - Mashin' on the Motorway / Walkie Talkie CD/DVD
- 2003 - March of Death (with Zack de la Rocha) mp3 only
- 2004 - Would You Buy A War From This Man? 7" Picture disk (Remix of Radiohead's The Gloaming)
- 2005 - Keane - We Might as Well Be Strangers (DJ Shadow vs. Keane Mix) 10"
- 2006 - 3 Freaks - DJ Shadow feat. Turf Talk & Keak da Sneak 12" Promo
- 2006 - Enuff - w/ Q-Tip and Lateef
- 2007 - This Time (I'm Gonna Try It My Way) UK #54
- 2001 - Freeze VHS/DVD (with DJ Nu-Mark, DJ Z-Trip, & Cut Chemist)
- 2003 - Product Placement on Tour CD/DVD (with Cut Chemist)
- 2004 - Live! In Tune and on Time CD/DVD
- 2008 - The Hard Sell: Live at the Hollywood Bowl (with Cut Chemist)
- 2005 - Funky Skunk as part of OBEY's Public Works in collaboration with Shepard Fairey, contained 5 tees, a Shepard Fairey hardcover book, a bag of stickers and some batches. 450 limited units.
- 2006 - Freeze 45 Box Bundle, which contained a 45' carry case, Freeze and Product Placement DVD, 2 Slurp 45 slipmats, and two radio spots advertisements on an exclusive 7" limited to one of these 200 items.
- 2008 - The 4-Track Era Box Bundle in collaboration with artist Paul Insect. It contained all three CD of the series plus an exclusive volume four plus a slipcase, 2 tees (one is exclusive to the release) and some buttons and stickers. 200 bundles.
Notable live appearances
- BBC Radio One: Breezeblock (1999/06/01)
- La Route Du Rock Festival, St Malo, France (1999/08/13)
- BBC Radio One: Breezeblock (2000/12/04)
- Bowery Ballroom, New York, NY (2002/06/04)
- Creamfields, Roudnice nad Labem airport, Czech Republic (2002/08/09)
- BBC Radio One: Essential Mix (2003/03/30)
- L.C.C.C., Manchester (2006/06/17)
- O2 Wireless Festival: Hyde Park (2006/06/23)
- Splendour in the Grass, Byron Bay, Australia (2006/07/22)
- Lowlands Festival, Evenemententerrein Walibi World, Biddinghuizen, Netherlands (2006/08/18)
- Pukkelpop, Belgium (2006/08/18)
- The Electric Picnic, Stradbally, Co. Laois, Ireland (2006/03/09)
- SUE Festival, Santiago, Chile (2006/11/02)
- Fillmore at the TLA, Philadelphia, PA (2007/01/25) (The Hard Sell tour w/ Cut Chemist & Kid Koala)
- Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, Indio, California (2007/04/27)
- Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival, Manchester, Tennessee (2007/06/15)
- KCRW World Music Festival, Hollywood, California (2007/06/24)
- Oxegen 07, Punchestown Racecourse, Ireland (2007/07/08)
- Summercase, Madrid, Spain (2007/07/13)
- Summercase, Barcelona, Spain (2007/07/14)
- Pohoda, Tren?ín, Slovakia (2007/07/22)
- Humboldt State University, Arcata CA (2007/09/17) (Special up close non-festival appearance alongside with Cut Chemist)
- Pemberton Festival, Pemberton, BC, Canada (2008/07/27) (w/ Cut Chemist)
- Official website
- Quannum Projects
- DJ Shadow interview from May 1997 on Synthesis.net
- DJ Shadow interview from June 2004 on Synthesis.net
- DJ Shadow Interview on skinnymag.co.uk (August 2006)
- DJ Shadow Interview on I Like Music (January 2007)
- DJ Shadow and Cut Chemist 'Product Placement' entire set
- DJ Shadow at Discogs
Biography from Wikipedia