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New Zealand’s Shapeshifter Gets Real at Tall Tree Music Festival!

As we stated in our last few articles, Tall Tree was one the best weekends! We had an amazing time, while still managing to get some great work done. One of the most rewarding parts of our festival was the opportunity to sit down with the mighty and legendary Shapeshifter from New Zealand.

Shapeshifter formed in 1999 after the four founding members met at Jazz School. They had a range of musical backgrounds ranging from dub, jazz, and hip-hop to metal, funk, and electronica. As a result, they decided to bring these influences together to create live drum & bass.

After playing locally, they released an early EP entitled D.N.A. and the rest, as they say, is history! Since then the guys have had 18 years of commercial and critical success, touring all around their home turf of New Zealand, as well as all across Australia and the UK. Now, they’re branching into Canada and the US. The sky is the limit for this group of hard working kiwis!

We were lucky enough to get to sit down with Nick Robinson and P Digs to pick their brains about tour stories, their favourite artists they’ve played with, and what it’s like being on the west coast! They were playing “just the one stop this time around,” so they’re enjoying their time on the mountain.

“It’s sort of like NZ with the scenery, but the nature is unreal.” — Nick Robinson

The last time they visited it was an entirely different climate, so it was certainly nice for them to have the opportunity to attend a summer festival.

“Getting out in Vancouver and coming across on the ferry. We came to Whistler and Vancouver last time, but it was winter, so it was a whole different world here last time!” Digs explained.

“Yeah, I just wanted to say, everyone here is so friendly! Everyone smiles at you on the street, it’s amazing” said Nick.

We broached into the subject of worst tour stories, and immediately they both sigh and laugh at each other, with one of those looks only old friends can have. “There were a ton years ago” Nick said with a smile, “but as you get older, you start just getting better at it.” But Digs chimed in with a real story, one from an old tour where “[their] gear got left, it didn’t get loaded on at the airport, so [they] arrived at [their] gig and [they’re] wondering where the hell [their] gear is, and it’s not a small amount either it’s like 200k worth of gear, it was a nightmare.”

But, all’s well that ends well, and it seems like the group dialed in their tour schematics. Now that technology comes into play, it does help with organization. This comes on the heels of another tour story where Nick and Digs played a DJ set together, quoting that it was “basically an all nighter.”

The next day, Nick realized he lost his passport, and they had to find their way back into town to get a new one. Of course they were in a part of England, back “before phones really didn’t do much more than make phone calls, none of [them] were very tech savvy”.

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Written By

26 years old, with a voracious appetite for bass, dancing, all things art, and a flair for the dramatic, Jamie Gib grew up in the rave scene, having been introduced to electronic music in the late 90s as a small child from his cousin and he joined the rave scene in 2004, and never looked back, A DJ, Promoter, Go-Go Dancer, and writer, Jamie has made his mark on the Vancouver Island scene and beyond, having worked or attended 90% of the festivals on the Pacific North West and has no plans on stopping there. If there's dirty house, drum n bass or glitch hop to be heard, you can bet he's not far behind.

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