Awareness 038: SHAO
Actualizado: jun 7
Chinese electronic artist SHAO releases new album Midnight Mountain: a masterclass in atmospheric, polyrhythmic techno that further establishes him as one of Asia’s most singularly creative producers.
Midnight Mountain is his latest studio album. SHAO's focus with the album has been on creating a consistently immersive and tangible atmosphere, resulting in an incredibly deep and considered LP. Intricate rhythms entwine against a background of sinister, often skeletal techno, creating an all-encompassing and strikingly
TF: Hi, can you introduce yourself in a few words ? Who is the human being behind Shao, and how would you describe yourself musically speaking?
SH: Well, I’m Shao Yanpeng from China. Born in 1981, sometimes I feel my soul is in between a donkey and a cat. The music of me ... it’s difficult for me to describe it, or maybe generally I don’t want to describe it.
TF: What does your Shao alias reflect ? Or are these your initials, an acronym or something like that ?
SH: It’s a small story: when I sign to Tresor, before the first EP came out, they think my previous alias Dead J is a little bit negative and suggested me to use my real name or just SHAO, but I forgot to reply that email! Then the EP released with name “Shao”, I feel OK cause I’m also thinking to change it, it feels like I’m a Hip Hop DJ a little bit …
TF: Can you tell us about your influences ? What do you try to (re)produce during a studio session ?
SH: My influences are very diverse I think… from Sex Pistols to Mazzy Star, from nirvana to Tom Waits, from Jesus Mary & Chain to Nils Frahm…from old Chinese pop to western underground techno. A lot of my favorite music, but not focusing on some certain genres.
Because the studio time is my daily life, the studio is just the upstairs of my apartment, there is no a certain way to work, I often check some old unfinished track in before, connect some sequence to pedals, find some feel or groove, many of my music was made by “happy accident”.
TF: There is an album incoming, can you give us some clues about what it will sound like ?
SH: Concrete, psychedelic. the Cover designer Qian Qian said to me he feels it is Brutalism, but I never think in that way.
TF: How do you compose these tracks? Do you treat them like musical narratives or more like sound sculptures or images?
SH: I have some pictures in mind, like Tadao Ando’s Church of Light , or the space feeling of berlin’s old Kraftwerk where the Berlin Atonal festival happened. It’s not try to translate that into music, but yes I like the idea of “sound sculptures”.
TF: A lot of producers claim to be analog fanatics, defending an analog-only way to create. You declare working on 100% analog gear but that it’s not in opposition to digital stuff. What is your opinion regarding the fight over analog/digital production methods ?
SH: I’m not very into technical side of things. Sometimes the analog gear is better to make good result, sometimes the software is more than enough, or sometimes it’s a combination. But they are just tools. Tools are important, but I try not to think about them too much.
TF: Can you tell us anything on your future releases?
SH: I have another album coming out this year, it’s more ambient stuff compare to Midnight Mountain, it’s a collaborative album with Shanghai guitarist Wang Wenwei.
TF: Could you tell us a few words about this podcast?, what can we expect from it?.
SH: It’s a combination with some relaxed music. First of all I’m enjoying Oasis very much these days, haha… I randomly selected some relaxed tracks from Chinese streaming app QQ music, some of the music I’m not very familiar with, like this “honeydip - summer's gone”, I somewhen heard it in the app, I guess there are from Japan or Korea, the guitar riff reminds me the band My Bloody Valentine who I also really like.