No strangers to putting on an epic show, Shapeshifter are renown for a wild live show of heavy soul, drum and bass, accompanied by bedazzling lights and visuals. They’ve graced stages from Big Day Out, Glastonbury, The Big Chill, Parklife, and Hospitality in the Dock. And now they are making their return to Australia for two very special shows this February. We chat to Paora-Daniel Apera.
Hey, thanks for chatting with Forté. You’re getting set to grace our shores this February with special shows in Melbourne. Are you excited to get back to Australia?
Yeah, we love coming to Australia. It’s always fun, we’ve got a lot of friends there and over the years we’ve had some great shows there.
You’ve played enormous stages such as Big Day Out and Glastonbury. How do they compare to the smaller gigs you play nationally?
Oh, you have to have a balance there and we like the big ones but we love the small ones. The small ones we do are more intimate and trip down memory lane from when we started. We like these ones, we really do. Sometimes you get a little more nervous, whereas the big ones can be a little bit easier because you block everyone out in the big monster. I like being able to see people’s faces and get more personal, it’s pretty cool.
Your live shows have been widely praised for their energy and passion on stage. How do you get up and about for gigs like that?
We pride ourselves on our live performance. We all come from classical music backgrounds and we played that style of music at school and we love playing together and making music together. There’s nothing quite as exciting as when five of you become one thing. I think the most hypnotic thing about it still, is playing music and getting it right and then we get to go to gigs and test it out on our fans and our people so that’s what gets our juices flowing.
You’ve begun to wrap up the festival circuit of your homeland. After nearly 20 years in the game, how do you find the crowd’s response to your evolving act over time?
Yeah that’s right, almost 20 years, bloody hell. The last gig we did was in Raglan at a festival called Soundsplash, which is on the west coast of the North Island in New Zealand. It’s a surf town with a younger crowd but a good mix as well. We had our stalwart fans who have been there from the beginning and all those in between. We always try a few new things. I asked them ‘How many are first-timers seeing us?’, and it was like three quarters of the people there. It was a good feeling to know that you were still getting to the younger generation as well and they are connecting with our regular and older fans.
Your most recent release ‘Stars’ was received with a lot of acclaim. Are there any plans for a new album in the pipeline?
You’re ahead of the game mate. Over the past month, we’ve just been reinvigorated. That’s the great thing about doing gigs and touring is to get the juices flowing. It’s like a tap you know, once you turn the tap on, it just flows. We’re just jumping on that at the moment and thinking what are we going to do, we’re just really looking forward to getting back in the studio and writing a whole bunch of music for an album. We just want to write some tunes that we’re feeling and music that we’re enjoying and in the last few months we’ve been exposed to a lot of inspirational stuff. We can’t wait to get back in the studio and get busy.
When & Where: The Forum, Melbourne – February 17. Tickets from www.shapeshifter.co.nz/tour
Written by Daniel Jubb