There’s much more to Shiba San than what meets the first listen. Leaving behind a 15-year long career of production experience in the French hip-hop scene, the Parisian producer became fascinated with the sounds of Chicago house and was inspired to create his own productions, infusing his hip-hop influence with the soul of house music.

Then came ‘Okay’, the track that “changed the way we listened to music” (Dancing Astronaut) and became the anthem of 2014. It claimed the No. 1 position on Beatport’s House chart for 82 days, remained in the House Chart’s Top 10 for over 180 days, was put on rotation by radio tastemakers like Pete Tong, Annie Mac and Danny Howard and received support from the likes of Claude VonStroke, Eats Everything, Green Velvet and nearly every major DJ under the sun. Upon its release,
Rolling Stone deemed ‘Okay’ a “global club sensation in waiting,” a prophetic description that couldn’t have rung more true as it remains a commanding moment in DJ sets even to this day.

But Shiba San is far from a one-hit wonder, following up “Okay” with the award-winning track “Burn Like Fire” (Best Underground Track 2015 IDMA/WMC). With releases out on labels known and loved for their irresistible tunes like Dirtybird and Suara, as well as his own imprint Basement Leak, he’s since seen his career launch off far and beyond the city limits of Paris.

Staying quiet on the public front, Shiba San remains a curious enigma to his international fan base, allowing the music to do the talking for him. In between releases and time spent concocting in the studio, the Miami-based producer remains a mainstay on the nightlife circuit, hitting iconic festivals including Coachella, EDC Las Vegas, Movement Detroit, The BPM Festival in Mexico, The Warehouse Project, Stereosonic, Spring Awakening as well as milestone venues like Output in New York, Ministry of Sound in London, Sankeys in Ibiza, Exchange in Los Angeles and The Mid in Chicago.

Ending last year with two impressive Dirtybird releases ‘Up & Down’ and ‘You Know What?’, Shiba San began 2017 with a hearty compilation release on his own Basement Leak label featuring his standout tune ‘Drop It’ before embarking on a North American co-headlining tour with the esteemed MK. Later this spring, expect to hear a collaboration with Will Clarke on Dirtybird as well as a summer release on Lee Foss’ Repopulate Mars. It’s set to be another cardinal year for Shiba San and it’s guaranteed to be an exhilarating ride… just the way he likes it.

There’s mentions of you having a background in Hip Hop. Could you tell us a little more about your influences and what role did it play in your movement into House music?

I was a Hip Hop DJ and producer in France for the French market only. It helped me have a different approach to House Music and that influence can be found in my recent releases.

Did the transition feel natural?

I listened to and produced House music for a long time. Chicago House was my first love when I became DJ, so it was not really a transition, it was something I always enjoyed.

How does the music scene in France react to the “ghetto-funky” style of House music in comparison to the US?

There is a scene in France but mainly in Paris. I played a sold out show in a 1,300 capacity club in Paris 3 months ago, so it’s definitely good.

How have you enjoyed being signed to VonStroke’s Dirtybird label?

It has been awesome, I’m a big fan of Justin Martin. He is one of the producers who influenced me a lot and I played a lot of Dirtybird stuff before, so nothing was better than signing onto Dirtybird.

‘Okay’ was obviously a huge success, do you feel any pressure trying to follow it with another hit?

No not at all. I like to make this [underground] music because we don’t have a lot of pressure after a hit, the only pressure is to make good music and make my fans happy. It can be a hit or just a nice track for me and that’s enough, I just try to make quality music.

Who are some producers/DJs that you look up to?

Too many, there is a lot of talent. It’s hard to pick, but if I had to I would say Justin Martin, Will Clarke, Jamie Jones and Richy Ahmed always make awesome stuff.

Is there anyone, in particular, you would like to collaborate with?

Ahah, maybe the people mentioned before. 🙂

What are you listening to these days? Anything out there you can’t stop playing on repeat?

All the tracks on the Basement Leak EP, ‘Various Leaks, Vol. 2’: Malive’s ‘Open Cap’, ‘Freak Dance’ from Dateless and Black V Neck & Ayarez’s ‘My Style’. It just dropped last week on Beatport. My new song ‘Drop It’ is also on the EP!

Why did you have Bontan remix “What’s On My Mind?”

He is one of my favorite producers. I did a remix for him 2 years ago, so it was great to ask him back. His version is very different than mine and that’s what i needed.

Sometimes really big songs can be a curse because an artist can never shake that sound in the public eye. Has “OKAY” been a blessing, but also a little bit of a curse?

A song is a curse when it’s not really your sound and it brings you where you didn’t want to be. For Okay, it’s 100% a blessing. I can play my sound in clubs and festivals, and the people who know me because of ‘Okay’ usually like my sets.

Why did you go with Repopulate Mars for this EP?

Lee Foss is a great producer, DJ, and label-head, and I’ve share stages several times with him. As soon as he launched Repopulate Mars, I wanted to be a part of it. The sound of the label makes a lot of sense with the music I am producing. I am a big fan of all his labels so it’s an exciting opportunity to work with his team.

Do you have any plans for longer projects beyond singles and short EPs?

At the moment, I don’t know. I have some really exciting EP releases planned over the next couple of months. I am also focused on building my label, Basement Leak. We are actually launching a Mix Series in the next couple of weeks, so that might be a way to put out longer releases.

How has this EP gone off when you play it live?

The fan response has been amazing. These tracks work great in my shows. I have played them at The DoLab Stage, Movement Festival, Dirtybird BBQ Vegas, and they went great. I always feel if I can’t play music live then I shouldn’t release it!


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