Interview by Jenkin Au and Alan Ng
Words by Ryan Goldade and Amie Nguyen
Photography by Jenkin Au
Location: Montreal[Show Text Only Version][Hide Text Only Version]
Please introduce yourself to our readers.
I’m Conn Shawnery. A now Montreal-based DJ, producer, engineering and that’s pretty much it.
How did you first get into DJ’ing?
I studied music at Vanier College. I’ve been playing the guitar since I was 14 and I studied guitar and percussion. I started meeting friends who were DJs and I started getting into the funk scene back in the late’ 90s. It was when everyone was still collecting vinyl and digging for that break; I started collecting records and hanging out with the right people and started DJ’ing. It’s been ten years now.
How does Sean Connery feel about your name?
I don’t think he knows yet.
I haven’t got a message from him so I think it’s all good.
How did you get that name?
I don’t know. It just came to me one day, you know? Names like Gnarls Barkley were out there and it just popped into my head. I changed my name, started producing my music and working with ENPC and it just took off from there.
You said you changed your name. What did you change it from?
Before I went with DJ Dafur.
Why is that?
My last name’s Murray and all my friends used to call my dad Mr. Furry because he was really harry. So I became Furry Murray so it just went like that and when I was first DJ’ing it was Dafur.
You have three walls full of records. How have you managed to collect so many records over the years and how do they give you inspiration?
There are about 13,000 here and I guess it’s just like a disease. It’s like heroin; you see records you want and you buy them. I still produce my music the old school way by sampling records. Sometimes I’ll buy a box for ten bucks and I don’t know what’s in it. Usually there’s just a lot of crap but sometimes there’s a Motown album then you can pull out a break. It’s a disease.
How would you describe your music style to someone who’s never heard you before?
That’s one of the hardest questions I ever have to answer. The first thing I say is, “Listen to it and you tell me what style my music is.” I’ve had influences like studying jazz, percussion, Latin, afro beats, etc. In making my music, I do pull samples and look for the beat. I guess with my sound, it’s a mix of afro-Latin-hip-hop-lo-fi. My influences can go from Madlib to DJ Shadow to RJD2. I guess that’s the best way to explain my style.
What would you say your greatest inspiration is? And not necessarily just in music.
When I first started hearing MF Doom and Madlib, that really took to that style of hip-hop and that was my real inspiration. Dilla of course too. I haven’t dug that deep into Dilla but still, he made great music so big respect.
What would you say some of greatest accomplishments are so far?
My biggest accomplishment right now is finally finishing this CD after three years of evolving myself and how I make music. I only started producing music with an MPC five years ago so it was an evolution. Meeting BluRum13 was definitely an inspiration because he was well travelled and he’s a really good guy to work with. He’s brought me to the next level too.
Tell us about CS01. Will there be a CS02?
Yeah, that’s what I’m starting to work on right now. I got the name from the Yamaha CS01 synthesizer also Conn Shawnery 01. That was my idea for the album and the artwork.
When do you expect the next one to be out? Will it take another three years?
No, I expect this will take a lot less. Maybe another year.
Where do you see the DJ culture evolving too?
It’s very easy to be a DJ now with the technology. I think it’s going to come to point where it will be over-saturated. It’s not like the ‘90s where DJ’s were coming out and becoming producers; I think everything is blending and becoming a melting pot of all styles.
In your huge collection of records, are there any that are particularly rare?
I have a few that are pretty rare. I have the first ever Earth Wind and Fire vinyl. A couple 45′s. Nothing that’s worth a lot of money, but I could be wrong.
Tell us about your thought process when creating a new beat.
The first thing I’ll do is start grabbing records and find a sample. I’ll cut that up and put a beat behind it. I’ll play a lot of bass lines now with synths and stuff. I don’t think about it like “I’m going to make this type of beat.” I just go and find a record and find something that works. I might find another record to work on top of the first. I kind of blend a lot of samples from different albums.
What’s next for you in your career?
Coming up, I have the official CD release with Kalmunity Vibe Collective. [This has already happened before publishing]. So that will have the live band backing it up. I’m hoping to go to Europe and Australia with BluRum and a drummer and bass player to promote BluRum’s release and hopefully mine too. That’s it. My next step is to put a band together and get out on the road.
What is HYPE?
People who listen to music create the HYPE. If it wasn’t for the fans listening to music, nothing would become HYPE.