SHDW & Obscure Shape founded From Another Mind in April of 2014, a party which brought their favorite artists to their hometown of Stuttgart, in Southern German.
Of course the natural progression from promoting a successful club night is founding an imprint that carries the night´s ideals on to the decks of likeminded DJs, and so the first From Another Mind record was released in 2015, a stellar debut for both the label and its producers. The duo didn’t skip a beat and by early the next year they already had their second EP out, “Die Weiße Rose”.
The “Nachtblende EP” gained wide acclaim throughout the Techno community, with the tracks receiving support from scene stalwarts, bloggers and critics alike. Aside from appearances on the Rekids label, where they remixed Radio Slave’s ‘Vision’ in 2016 and then released their “Himmel Und Erde EP”, the pair’s abilities in the studio have seen them invited by Slam for two separate remixes of Monoloc and Envoy on Soma, as well as the highly-acclaimed Afterlife label.
Their DJing fuses old-school influences of Acid, Rave and EBM with the dramatic Techno sound one can hear on the FAM records. They are equally comfortable with the first, the last or the peak slot of a night, thus making them an universal party weapon. Though young at age, their record collection demonstrates musical knowledge some veterans can only hope to gain and they swiftly but thoughtfully moves through different periods of electronic music in their sets.
Marco Bläsi and Luigi Urban together make up the DJ and production team known throughout the world as SHDW & Obscure Shape. These two relatively young newcomers have in a very short time managed to build up a large and loyal following that continuously keeps growing with each year since their start in 2014.
2018 was a huge year for the duo, with massive gigs at European festivals throughout the continent, including Awakenings Music Festival in Amsterdam, Amsterdam Dance Event, Time Warp, Verknipt in the Netherlands, Voltage Festival in Belgium, PollerWiesen Festival , Soenda Festival in Utrecht, Stuttgart Electronic Music Festival in Germany, Telekom Electronic Beats Festival in Budapest, the massive Tomorrowland in Belgium, and many more.
Of course this was all on top of their headlining sets at clubs throughout Europe such as MMA in Munich, Fuse in Brussels, Civic Underground in Sydney, Australia, Rex Club in Paris, and many more.
The duo readies for their first ever U.S. Tour this coming Spring! Be sure to catch them at one of the following dates:
Friday, April 26th in Phoenix, AZ for Techno Snobs
Saturday, April 27th in Chicago, IL at Obscure Warehouse for Obscure Events
Friday, May 3rd in San Francisco, CA at F8 for Robot Ears
Saturday, May 4th in Los Angeles, CA at WORK Warehouse for for WORK by 6AM and Synthetik Minds
YourEDM took the chance to chat with them ahead of their upcoming trip across the pond.
Hi Marco and Luigi, it’s great to get to speak to you ahead of your debut North American tour! Are you excited to be coming over to the States?
Luigi (Obscure Shape): Hi all – excitement is an understatement for sure! It’s the first time for us touring through North America but we’ve already heard a lot of good things about the crowd, clubs and the warehouse raves. We’re not only excited about the shows but also about the culture, history, sights, nature etc.
Have either of you been here before?
Marco (SHDW): I’ve been in the states with my family in 2002. We’ve spent holidays in Detroit, Chicago and Toronto. I had an amazing time in North America so I am even more excited to be back!
What cities are you hitting up for this firs tour?
Luigi (Obscure Shape): For our first tour we’ll play in Phoenix, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Chicago. We’re really looking forward to it!
Are you looking to do/see anything else in the country besides the gigs themselves?
Marco (SHDW): Of course! We love to explore the cities, visit some sights and enjoy the beautiful nature. Especially in North America are a lot of things we want to check out, e.g. the great buildings, the leisure time facilities, the history, the parks, different restaurants & shops. Hopefully we’ll have enough time for it!
How long is it that you have had the dream/idea of coming to play on this side of the world?
Luigi (Obscure Shape): We’ve been pushing our management setting up a tour in North America since a very long time. Playing on different sides of the world is always super exciting, it’s an adventure with new challenges!
Let’s back-track a bit here: how did you two meet?
Marco (SHDW): It’s already a long time ago at a party in Stuttgart! Probably in 2007 / 2008. Before we became close friends, we talked about music only. Honestly, we didn’t like each other a lot at the beginning but with the time we got to know and love each other.
One of you is SHDW and the other is Obscure Shape, but at some point you became SHDW & Obscure Shape and became one act complete with quality releases and mind-blowing sets. When did that fusion come about for good?
Luigi (Obscure Shape): First of all, we didn’t plan to become a duo although we’ve spent a lot of time together in the studio. Moreover, we’ve been working with different booking-agencies.
But the promoters wanted to book both of us and we’ve really enjoyed playing and travelling together as well, it makes it more comfortable and amusing.
Do you two live in the same city?
Luigi (Obscure Shape): No, Marco lives in Plochingen. I am living in Birkenfeld. It’s about a one hour drive away from his city! We’re both located in Southern Germany, close to Stuttgart.
How does the production process work for you guys… who does what in the studio?
Marco (SHDW): Well, we’re working on all tracks together from start to finish. We’re using mostly Ableton so far but we do have some analog machines which we’re using every now and then. The workflow really depends on the track we’re working on!
You guys have had the luck of playing smaller clubs as well as massive stages such as Awakenings, Voltage Festival, Verknipt, Tomorrowland, etc. Which one do you prefer?
Marco (SHDW): You can’t really compare a club with a festival gig. Both are great even though they’re totally different! But in general, we prefer smaller stages and clubs.
The connection with the crowd is more intimate, you can literally smell the vibe and feel the energy.
You have both founded From Another Mind, a label that was born from an event series you both run in Stuttgart. I saw there are other From Another Mind events coming up still. Do you guys still consider yourselves event promoters or are these showcases that your label is booked for now?
Marco (SHDW): For sure we still consider ourselves as event promoters. We’re always looking for new locations to host an event or even a festival as well as cooperation with clubs and other crews. It is still important for us to bring new talents to our hometown and sharing our vision of “intelligent techno” globally. It’s a lot of work but we have a really great team and talented residents. After all, we’re super happy and thankful that there’s a lot of interest by promoters to host a From Another Mind showcase.
How do you guys keep up with it all? The touring, the studio work, the label, the event series… that’s a lot of work!
Luigi (Obscure Shape): First of all, it’s true. We do have a lot of work with the touring, the label and the studio. Touring as a DJ around the world can be really exhausting and frustrating, there is a lot of pressure you have to deal with. We’re mostly on tour from Friday until Sunday. Monday is usually the “day off” to recover as we don’t sleep a lot during the weekend.
Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday is fulfilled with going to the studio, meeting friends, business meetings, label work, etc. But we do what we love and we’re very thankful that we’re able to live our dream!
What are your secrets to working together and touring as a duo without conflicts?
Luigi (Obscure Shape): Without conflicts? Our friends say that we’re like an old couple but maybe that’s the secret? (laughs) We complement each other very good though.
Do you guys practice your sets at home/in the studio, given that it’s two of you, or how do you coordinate on the direction of a gig’s set and tracks you guys will play so it flows well?
Marco (SHDW): We don’t really practice our sets at home as we have the similar taste of music. Both of us play our own music collection but for sure we’re talking to each other during the show to see which track could fit nicely next, for example. But we don’t really prepare our sets as you never know what to expect in the club. There are so many things you don’t know before you enter the club, e.g. the crowd, the vibe, the music the DJ played before, the sound system etc.
Nevertheless, sometimes we’re going through our music collection together, testing some combos of tracks, doing edits etc.
By the way… do you have any releases coming up for 2019 you can tell us about?
Luigi (Obscure Shape): We’re super busy in the studio recently and we’ve finished a lot of tracks which will be released this year. In June, we’ll release a new 12” on our imprint “From Another Mind” followed by another full EP in November 2019.
Moreover, we did several remixes, e.g. for Daniel Avery, and some more great things are scheduled for 2019 which we don’t want to reveal yet – stay tuned!
What else is planned for SHDW & Obscure Shape this year following your first U.S. tour?
Marco (SHDW): Our agency is working hard and we’ve some really cool shows coming up, e.g. playing at the legendary Awakenings Gashouder, amazing festivals, touring through South America again, great clubs… good times ahead!