“I actually gravitated away from music,I wanted to do something different from what my dad was into... I skated and surfed and got into punk rock which introduced me to some 4x4 sounds. I went to a rave in San Bernardino when I was 18... It turned out to be some super candy flipped out rave. The sound system was incredible, I’d never even heard high quality sound like that. I started asking around and people said it was house music so that’s what I got into. I started producing it. I showed people and they said I was making techno.”
For Skyler of SHADED, a late introduction to house and techno has not stopped him from having a prolific career that has already seen multiple chapters. Fans of SHADED know him for his unique blend of techno and west coast hip hop. And also for a live performance that sees him performing and remixing his tracks live on the fly.
SHADED appears seamless and well-executed and finely tuned. And that's because Skyler got into the game long before the inaugural SHADED release. His first productions were under SHDWPLAY, a former project he had with a partner.
“I had a project called SHDWPLAY prior to Shaded. I sent a track to my partner that I thought would be good on Dubfire’s label. She somehow knew him and was able to send him the track. We sent him tracks for about eight to nine months until he finally responded saying he had been playing them out live and that he wanted to sign some EPs from us. Ever since then we’ve been really close.”
SHDWPLAY went on to release numerous EPs with Dubfire’s label until eventually deciding to call the project quits. Skyler was by no means done pursuing his career. With a vision of what his solo sound would be, and the support of Dubfire, one of the industry’s largest figures, Skyler created SHADED. Dubfire asked Skyler to be the opening act on his upcoming tour and the rest was history.
Not only was the tour an amazing opportunity for Skyler to properly begin his rebrand it also marked the conception of his live performance.
“I was talking to Ali (Dubfire), he told me I’d have an hour for the most part on the tour. He thought it would be more compelling if I played live… DJing doesn't excite me too much. I came from a band/production background so the idea of performing my music just feels better to me. The positives are that it’s a unique show… It allows me to play stuff at specific parties that I can get away with. At Paradise NYC I was able to play a little more techno than other artists because it is live and fans understand that. The cons are that 2 hours is a pretty hard limit. I would never want to see a band for longer than that. I treat it that way, my sound identity would wear on you after that long.”
Live performances in electronic music have long been seen as a niche concept. In recent years, however, more artists are adding live elements to their shows. It adds value for the fans and allows the artist to creatively up the ante while presenting their own music. Although Skyler already has a complex live setup, utilizing multiple pieces of hardware, he hopes to continue to take it to the next level. He is working with a visual artist to create a visual presentation that will sync with Ableton. Down the line, he wants to add keys and more drum pads, and ideally get to a place in which he can add additional performers on stage with him.
After touring with Dubfire, Skyler scored a defining release on Jamie Jones' Hot Creations inprint. He had been a fan and friend of the label for a long time, patiently biding his time for the right track to come up.
“I was in Ibiza a few years ago at a Paradise party, the sounds were very techno so I felt like there was a place for me. I eventually made ‘Mad Stacks’ and sent it over… i actually wrote it in a kind of janky studio set up I had back in the day in my dad’s garage. I knew I needed a vocal and was just driving around listening to rap trying to find vocals that inspired me. I went into the studio and recorded my own voice and layered it over itself a bunch of times.”
For Skyler going forward, there is no limit to his potential. He just released a new single with Desert Hearts called ‘Layback Maybach.’ His unique style is seeing him find new fans every day. He will be touring soon and likely coming to a city near you.
More from Artist Spotlight