There’s Armin, there’s Above & Beyond, and then there’s Shane 54. Shane is a legend by all standards, being 1/2 of one of electronic music’s biggest international duos, Myon & Shane 54, who dominated the world of trance music for nearly a decade. With hits like “Strangers” and the euphoric remix to Andain’s “Promises”, these guys definitely left an unforgettable imprint in the scene. They split nearly two years ago (more on that later), with each going their separate ways, and for Shane, it was quite an intense journey to get to where he is now.
Shane has been a busy man this year, with some huge releases including his retake on the classic “Dark Train” and his collaboration “Budokan” with Cubicore on Armada that also was featured on Armin’s A State of Trance 2018 – Ibiza compilation album. I was honored to be able to interview Shane, one of my personal heroes, about this journey, especially dealing with the departure from Myon & Shane 54, sorting through additional life-changing issues, healing, and getting back to himself to where he’s now in charge of a highly successful radio show, International Departures, just provided the Anjunabeats Worldwide mix, and is releasing his biggest track yet, “Out of Time”, with Cubicore and Eric Lumiere.
‘International Departures’ has been a trending radio show on Mixcloud for some time now, and now you’ve added a live video element. Can you tell us a little more about that?
I’ve always wanted to do something that hasn’t been done before. The ‘International Departures’ format hasn’t really changed since 2009 and it was time to do something new, something fresh. It’s a huge opportunity to do go deeper with a radio show. I’ve always wanted to do this, it’s always been in the back of my head to have a visual companion to the mixes, but I’ve never taken the brave step to go forward and do it until now.
These video episodes are unlike any other show, since no one else has a full on one hour video to every single episode. It’s a huge amount of fun! I’m actually getting myself an animator program, which I’m really excited about, so I can execute my newly found visions.
You were a part of Trance music’s most successful international duo’s and it all seemed to end instantly. How did the breakup impact you? How did it affect your life?
When MS54 broke up it was really hard. Even though the end was inevitable, when it was over, it was still a shock. We let our fans down and I still felt horrible about it. At the same time, my marriage fell apart and it was all so overwhelming.
At the end, it was really bad. It’s very hard to imagine how being in an international DJ duo could be bad for you but trust me, it can be if things aren’t going smoothly. You’re touring all of the time, doing whatever you can to not face the harsh reality that you know this thing is falling apart. There’s a lot of strain that you hope people won’t notice, pressure to keep releasing new singles, and through all of it you can get to a very bad place where you find yourself drinking so much, just to cope, that you don’t even realize how much you’re drinking.
I think a lot of DJ’s go through this phase of having to cope with tough things and again, it sounds so harsh because people think it’s such a glamorous lifestyle, but you can really get depressed out there. Depression was knocking on my door, and I answered. It took a toll in every facet of my life. It took at least a year and a half until I could take a breath and sort out my personal issues.
How did you manage to get through all of this, the divorce, the drinking, the breakup, and then make it back creating music and being an artist?
When MS54 was over I was a mess personally and professionally. Everything was all over the place and I couldn’t find the way out. In addition to my band breaking up, I had a daughter to support, a soon to be ex-wife I was constantly battling with, and I had way too many feelings that I wasn’t dealing with. Frankly, I didn’t even know what to take care of or cry about first. I had to sit back and seriously rethink everything, starting with my personal life. I had to face my problems head on. I had to go through a phase where literally everybody disappeared around me, just a handful of people stayed. I had to focus on my daughter and being the best dad I could be. . I finally got separated, I started to build my own life up again and finally the songs started to emerge. It’s funny, as I started to feel whole as a person, it was then that I started to rediscover my creative voice.
What I learned is that sometimes you need a little time and a little space away from everything. Sometimes life just lets you know when you need to take a pause and sit down and think. By the end of 2017 when the “Return To Love” record came out on Armada, that was the first point when I started to realize ‘hey, I might have something again’.
If you’re not right in your soul, you can only make broken music, and I don’t think that’s the kind of music that I want to make.
Your brand new single, ‘Out Of Time’, with Cubicore & Eric Lumiere came out today! How did all of this come together?
“Out Of Time” has a special sound and special vibe and overall it sounds like a big hit to me. The track actually started around a vocal demo that I had sung. The Cubicore guys, who I’m good friends with, and I kept hammering away at it until we got to the point that the track surpassed the quality of the song I was signing. We knew then that we needed someone special to write a vocal that would finish the quest for the perfect song. That’s when Eric came in and delivered.
I was a huge fan already when we first talked on the phone, but when he sent me his first demo, I was simply and utterly blown away. I remember I was like ‘holyyyy sh!t!’ Even in its demo form, it was breathtaking. When I gave the song to Jono a month ago, the track emerged on ABGT almost immediately, and I’m so happy we now get to release it. It feels like this is finally me, back.