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Josh George, also known as Shiftd, is a tech house producer and DJ from London, UK.
One of Shiftd’s tracks, ‘Avalanche’, caused a storm and was supported by DJs in Amsterdam. His recent track ‘Lovin’ U’ was recently aired on radio stations such as Kiss FM, courtesy of DJ Ray Foxx.
How did you initially get into music and the stage you’re at now?
I’ve loved music since I was little. My dad is a musician and former producer. I used to sit down with him in his studio and watch every move he made, from connecting wires to recording adlibs. I remember recording a song I wrote when I was about six years old with him. I used to go through his tapes and find music without vocals on it and write my own songs over the top. I also did some keyboard lessons at school.
As the years went by, I went from a youngster pushing keys on a keyboard to rapping and producing trap music under the alias Jae Small. I built a name around the area but as the years progressed and my musical knowledge and passion developed, I become intrigued by house music to a strong point where I knew it was my comfort zone. I love the creativity and musical dynamics of the genre, you can get more of a crowd reaction with house music and release a record without any vocals on it and people still love it!
What made you choose a career in music?
I didn’t choose it. It somehow managed to wrap itself around and stick to me like glue.
I haven’t been interested in any other craft since I was little, it has always been music and I wouldn’t change it!
I use to write songs as a kid and God knows what was going on in my mind, but I used to listen closely to tracks on the radio and wonder how it was made and I’m talking when I was about 10 years old. I remember downloading the FL Studio Demo software when I was about 12. I went from having to leave my laptop on overnight to finish the beat in the morning, as you couldn’t save your project on the demo version, to now being played on Kiss FM and other radio stations. Seeing my music elevate and develop is such a wicked step, and I’m thankful for all the support.
What is your process of making a track?
Depending on whether I have an idea in my head to start with, I first start with the drum pattern. If I’m using vocals, I chop them up with the drums. I try and fill this part up as much as possible. I then get the melody down and spice it up to swing with the drums. I like to use those two elements together to build up the crucial vibe that gets listeners dancing. Then I construct the rest of the beat around that … then I start mixing and mastering.
What makes your music different to other similar genres of music out there?
My own music, I wouldn’t know personally. That’s for listeners to distinguish. I just make the music I love I guess? With music, I think we differentiate ourselves through our feelings at the time of making the track. Whereas House music, speaking in regards to the whole genre itself, it’s more uplifting, bouncy, friendly and the vibe it gives off only puts you in a good mood.
Who would you credit as being your biggest influences in music?
What I like about the House scene is it’s a friendly environment to be part of. Producers, DJs and vocalists support you, whether it’s good feedback or constructive. I’m influenced by many acts. When I started out, I listened to a lot of Gorgon City and Huxley and still do. I learn a lot from many different musicians and I’m influenced by the genre of house itself as a whole.
With a tough industry to get into, what keeps you motivated?
It would be cliché to say my fans and supporters, but it’s true! They keep me going, and I’m so thankful that there are people out there who appreciate the work you put in. I also love a bit of constructive feedback. It’s always good to hear what people have to say and what opinions they have no matter what industry you’re in – it boosts my motivation to do better the next time. I’m always learning and always will, and I never want to get to the point where I’m not! Music is a really tough industry. Nowadays everyone wants to either be a producer or vocalist. It’s a massive competition, but you can’t let that break your dedication.
Outside of music what else gets your attention?
I’m a gym kind of guy. It sounds soppy but it helps maintain a clear head and takes your mind off other things. I also love a bit of fashion. I wanted to get into modeling a few years back but never followed it up! Maybe one day aye? My path is open.
Have you done much gigging, and if so, what do you enjoy most about it?
Only locally at the moment. But I do love watching the reaction of the crowd when you’re in control of what’s being played. It’s like, one minute you might play a track half the venue likes, but then when you mix another track in everyone goes crazy. I love it! That’s one thing I must push further though. I’d like to DJ around the UK and eventually worldwide. Festivals and clubs. I think I should make that my next step for this year, don’t you think?
Do you think social media is important at promoting your music?
Very! Social media is a crucial part of any business. It’s a way of communicating in an extra way. But I do NOT recommend spamming everyone’s Twitters with promotion as it gets boring. Build a relationship with the person and ask for feedback on the track. I feel more positive about asking for feedback when I converse with somebody first than when I demand they take a listen to my latest song. When you talk to someone first, you learn a lot more about the person and they learn about do you as well.
To anyone aspiring to go into music, other than a strong work ethic, what do you think they need?
Well one thing I would say is don’t quit your day job – I made that mistake plenty of times. You need a job to finance your passion. What I’d also say is, don’t let anyone tell you to focus deeply on what THEY feel is YOUR first priority. You know what is right for yourself! People are going to forever tell you that you’re wasting your time, you won’t make it.. But unless they’re Mystic Meg can they predict that? Nope. If you’re passionate about making music, then you’ll be able to find time to make it and will only succeed if you actually want to.
What’s next for you and how can our readers stay up to date with your music?
I’m currently working on my E.P. titled Are You House?. I’m such a perfectionist though. It doesn’t help at times, but I want to get this E.P. spot on! It has some amazing singers and even rappers on there, so I’m just finalising that at the moment whilst working on other projects with talented London artists such as JIMS and Carl Codie West.
I will be putting out some free downloads in February and some other bits and bobs so stay connected to find out! I’m easy to find on Twitter and Soundcloud. I reply to everyone. I don’t bite!