April 9th sees the latest release from Roska's esteemed RKS imprint with label affiliate and Rinse FM stalwart Shox providing it's latest outing. The 'Battlestar' EP marks a considerable step in so much that by his own admittance, Shox remains relatively new to the art of production.
Having started as a UK garage deejay back in the mid-noughties, Shox was lucky enough to work with some of the genre's pioneers and he acknowledges their influence on his own sound. "I always enjoyed the more bass-driven, heavier side of garage" he says before pointing to the likes of Narrows, Sticky and Agent X, each of whom he credits with developing his own understanding and subsequent use of bass lines.
Despite 'enjoying every minute' of playing UK garage however, it was the emergence of funky that would provide his first avenue to really get himself on the ladder. "I got the call from Rinse management to do a show when the new funky sound was coming into play and I was already steering towards that as a new sound anyway", he recalls before paying tribute to Rinse, not only for giving him the chance to DJ but for inspiring him to start producing; "Rinse definately had a big part to play as I didnt actually start producing properly until early last year. The calibre of the line up on Rinse made me want to step out of my comfort zone as a DJ and start producing. For me it just made sense as the next step."
Whilst a firm advocate of producing weighty 4x4 cuts, Shox's musical influences range far and wide with Moby's 'Go' his self-admitted 'percy'. "I still rock it from time to time and you can guarantee if it comes on I'll be bussing some of the weirdest moves you've ever seen" he admits. His like of down-tempo, more melodic electronic sounds stretches to influence his own too; "i think you can hear it the music I make most of the time" he says, "I like to use a lot of pads and strings and then tie in a big, electronic bass."
With such a rich and varied approach to making music combined with his growing reputation as a DJ, it is perhaps no surprise that Roska, one of the scene's undoubted heavyweights, was keen to sign Shox tracks to his own RKS label. Unbeknown to most however, the pair have been hard at work behind the scenes for quite some time. "I met Roska when I first got onto Rinse and was relatively new to producing" he recalls before going on to talk about the formation of his own label 'Hundred2ONE' records. "Roska was a big help and supporter of the tracks that I was putting out on that too. He asked me to do a remix for Tickles' EP on RKS last summer and that was received well. Soon enough, he asked if I'd be up for providing my own release for his label." A series of demos were sent across before Shox received a phone call. "He rang me straight up and said 'Bruv, you're taking the piss with these ones' which I knew meant he liked it."
Comprised of 4 tracks, Battlestar is evidently Shox's best work to date and one he himself considers 'diverse', with each track providing 'a little something for everyone'. Weighty, upbeat and every bit music built for the clubs, for the sole purpose of getting people up and dancing, it is a reputable EP that deserves to be commended. Although there is always room for improvement, it's a remarkably bold effort for an artist so new to production and points to an incredibly bright future. Highly recommended.
MR023 - Shox - Battlestar EP by RKSLTD
Buy Shox - 'Battlestar' EP exclusively via Juno here: http://www.junodownload.com/products/battlestar/1928358-02/