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INTERVIEW with DJ & producer Shugz by William Daniels

Shugz (Christopher Kirkpatrick) is a name that has appeared to come out of nowhere on the Trance scene. Combining youth, energy, electrifyingly impressive deck skills and a notable production ability, it doesn't take long to realise why there is such a fuss around this exceptional talent.

Interview by William Daniels
Picked up by Irish Trance star Bryan Kearney and later hosting the "KEARNAGE" podcast, it was then that Shugz got his opportunity to truly shine. Unleashing a blistering remix of Kearney’s 2010 Tech-Trance anthem "Mexican Rave" exclusively for Bryan's set at FSOE 400 Mexico, achieving the number 1 spot and sat atop of Beatport's Trance top 100 chart for ten consecutive days. 

Shugz' DJ skills are arguably where his real talent lies. From a very young age he obsessed about learning the technological side of DJing. Relentless practice for years has lead to an astounding array of deck wizardry, comparable to a very rare few in the scene. Often seen in sets using a 3rd deck, scratching, cutting & using layered effects, combining fast mixing and unexpected tune drops – Shugz is fast becoming a fan favourite. Having achieved local hero status in N. Ireland, Shugz recently debuted at the famous ‘Luminosity Beach Festival’ and was highly acclaimed as having the ‘set of the night’.

With regular support from trance giants like Paul van Dyk, John O’Callaghan, Aly & Fila, Bryan Kearney & John Askew, there is a feeling amongst many that Shugz is a trance star waiting to happen.

William: Hi Shugz, Thanks for taking time out to speak to us here at Flux BPM, let’s jump in & get started.

We have seen your gig diary go from strength to strength in the last year playing some amazing shows in Australia, Indonesia & Holland, how do you prepare for big gigs like that? Do you get nervous leading up to those shows?

Shugz: Keep cool & always focus on the job. I get nervous for every gig whether it’s 50 or 5000, the nerves are the same. The one thing I always focus on in my head is once you hit them decks it all goes away, it’s like being transformed back to my room in Belfast. Game on.

William: Most djs always have a funny story to tell from their touring, can you fill us in on any funny stories?

Shugz: There was one just recently but I’m not sure you could post it here put it that way haha. I can tell you a brutal joke that might make you smile. 

Why did David Hasselhoff get rid of the first part of his surname? He couldn’t be bothered with the hassel anymore…. My taxi is ordered.

William: You have released on some well-respected labels in the last year, Subculture, Kearnage & Blackhole Recordings, can you tell us how you approach a new track in the studio & how does this approach differ for you when doing a remix?

Shugz: I always start with my Kick & Bass in a track. For my tracks, it’s the driving force & once I get those nailed I can always build everything else around them very quickly. In regard to remixing I always try & make the remix completely different from the original in every single way, so kind of like my own original track with a few elements from the original (melody, vocal etc.). It’s the same process for both most times.  

William: Following on from production, can you give you fans a little insight into your studio set up?

Shugz: Recently got myself a new set of Monkey Banana Turbo 8 monitors, amazing sound. I adore them. Soundcard is a Focusrite USB6, had it for 5 years or so & has never let me down. Plugins I’m loving now are XFER Serum & OTT, MagEQ & Glitch Bitch from Vengeance Sounds. 

William: Last year you were named one of the top newcomers in the Trancepodium awards, you’ve certainly lived up to the moniker, have you any advice for all the up & coming djs & producers looking to break into the scene?

Shugz: It was nice to see that. I’m not one for votes or polls. Let the music do the talking is my motto although to be voted for & to do well on there was humbling indeed. The best advice you will get anywhere is to be unique. It’s been a cliché saying from day 1 but it’s true. Break the mold, do things different than the norm.

William: Speaking of newcomers or breakthrough artists who are the ones to look out for this year?

Shugz: Hard to name just one but I think David Rust, Maria Healy, Stephen Kirkwood, Jak Aggas & Project 8 are all supplying the goods & will have a big 2017. 

William: You have played some b2bs in your career, who would be your ideal b2b & also given the opportunity, who would you like to collaborate in the studio?

Shugz: Eddie Halliwell or Jordan Suckley. I’d be happy with either haha. Studio, I’d love to work with John O’Callaghan, Bryan Kearney or Will Aktinson. You’d learn a mountain of knowledge working with any of those 3 in just one day!

William: You are signed to Music First Agency, how does it feel to be part of such an elite roster of artists?

Shugz: It’s a great feeling, yeah. It’s the one that gets you up in the mornings & getting to work. All my life I have wanted to be part of a proper DJ agency, it was the biggest goal for me growing up so to be finally involved on such a prestigious roster is a dream come true of the highest degree. Still feels unreal. 

William: How is the rest of 2017 looking for Shugz, can you give us a preview what’s coming gig & music wise?

Shugz: Musically there is going to be a LOT. I’ve just finished a track which is a heavy hitting Tech Trance number. A little less going on than my usual style but no less banging. I’m almost finished the follow up to End Product, same style but MUCH bigger, it has me excited. I’m also working on a big remix as well which will surface soon too.

Finally quick fire round

William: Dance/No dance related, who would you like to check out this year ?

Shugz: Would love to see Hans Zimmer at some point before the year is out. Class act.

William: Essential tour items ?

Shugz:  Phone, Toothbrush & a portable Speaker.

William: Cats or Dogs ?

Shugz: Dogs all day man.

William: Favorite film?

Shugz: Predator.

William: What is your guilty pleasure tune ?

Shugz: Sash – Ecuador 

William: Brilliant, thanks for taking the time out to speak with us Shugz. Good luck for 2017 & we will catch up again soon!.

Many thanks to William Daniel and Shugz for this brilliant must read interview.

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