Download: Lo Shea - fabric Promo Mix
For our readers who may not already be familiar with what you do can you introduce yourself?
My name is Liam O’Shea. I’m from Sheffield UK and I DJ and produce under the name Lo Shea. I also run a warehouse club in Sheffield called Hope Works and a few record labels as well as writing as much music myself as I can fit into my life.
Where did it all start musically for you, like when and how did you first get hooked on electronic skewed sounds?
It started very early for me. As a child I would sit in the corner of the living room with headphones on listening to records. From being very small things stood out, tracks like 'On the Run' and 'Time' from Pink Floyd’s Dark Side Of The Moon, Gary Numan’s The Pleasure Principle album, Jean Michel Jarre and 'Delius' from Kate Bush's Never Forever. It was when I was old enough to get a paper round that it really kicked in, though. I had money to buy singles from Woolworths and that meant things like Art Of Noise 'Close (to the Edit)' which totally had me - the drums blew me away.
God, when I think about it I even bought the theme tune to Miami Vice on 7" because I really liked Jan Hammer’s synth workout on that. Frankie Goes To Hollywood 'Relax' blew my mind, too - it sounded huge to me and so rich in euphoric energy. I think it was the time spent on said paper round listening to my walkman that truly turned me on to electronic music. I’d make tapes of tracks recorded from the radio, like most kids then, and also by compiling my favourite tracks from records and tapes I could get out the library. I listened to Oxygene and Equinox by Jean Michel Jarre a lot... they took me to another place far away from the grey council estate I was delivering papers in and where I lived. Hip hop and electro started to filter into my world too and I was well into that but then there was a change. By the time I reached 16 I was playing guitar and totally into Jimi Hendrix, blues and rock. This sucked up a few years of exploring the guitar and I started practicing and playing all the time. It would be another few years until rave kicked in that my initial interest in electronic sounds was rekindled fully. Even then though, in 1990 I was experimenting... playing guitar over tracks in raves in Nottingham. For me I’ve always blended those two sides to myself it seems.
What kind of artists would you say really informed what you do?
I have very broad tastes. Music to me has always been about emotions, communicating ideas and at times about dancing my arse off. There are things like Pink Floyd and Jimi Hendrix, as mentioned, as well as bands like The Doors. I have a huge love of jazz and blues (I still do a monthly blues/boogie/rock & roll night called The Boom Boom Room here in Sheffield) - people like Duke Ellington, Count Basie,Thelonious Monk, John Coltrane, Art Blakey, Herbie Hancock, Alice Coltrane, John Lee Hooker, Muddy Waters, Little Richard, Chuck Berry, Ray Charles and Etta james all have a special place in my music world and development.
From the late '80s when I first heard hip hop and electro I really didn't know who the artists were but I was like 'woooaaah...whats THIS!?!' By the 1990s I'm into raving big time. 1990 - 2 was a big time for me... a real tipping point I think. Hearing Forgemasters 'Track With No Name,' Sweet Exorcist 'Test Tone' for the first time and seeing the Bleep sound develop through tracks like One Tribe's 'What Have You Done' into early jungle all with the backdrop of the original Belgian stuff like Second Phase's 'Mentasm.' Going to Marcus Garvey Centre in Nottingham to raves introduced these things to me.
In the mid '90s it was jungle and drum & bass lighting my fire the most and artists like Dillinja and Goldie were very important to me as well as the work of V Recordings and the Bristol sound. Seeing Goldie perform 'Inner City Life' live when he first toured was an amazing moment. Seeing the bassline scene develop in Sheffield from the inside has impacted on me too in some way, I guess. Hanging out at my mates club, Scuba, for years also exposed me to lots of great house artists in the early 2000s... from Herbert and Reclooose to Gemini and Moodymann. In the later '00s visiting Berlin with my girlfriend at the time (who was German) really opened my eyes to this present phase of music I'm now in, though. From here I think that I've had the most new input and the most change was affected to my outlook and approach to music. The peak moment for me during this time was seeing Moderat in 2009 live at Sonar. This utterly - and I mean utterly - blew my mind. Witnessing modern masters of electronic music suck out and hold aloft all kinds of emotions, fearlessly and with style, while remaining raw and rhythmically diverse... all with the stunning visual production.... it was off the scale.
"I’ve always loved checking different scenes out, there’s inspiration to be found everywhere."
Sheffield is a city with an iconic place in the UK’s heritage – what’s your experience of the city been?
My experience of Sheffield has been a really good one - I was originally born and raised in Nottingham but I came here in 1991 to university and never left. I've always found the city to be full of music and its people are friendly and refreshingly forthright. I love the dry Yorkshire take on things and Sheffield has a certain quirkiness that's hard to pin down. When I first came here I shopped in Warp Records when there was still a shop here (Chris Duckenfield was the buyer at the time, I've still got loads of records with his scribble on them) it was a real meeting point where I met lots of people I still know now.
Loads of things have changed now, but there was a strong free party/soundsystem culture and the city had plenty of venues too - from the Arches (where I started DJing for a night called No Logic) to the Palais (that became Bed and is now a Sainsbury's local), Occasions and later Niche and Gatecrasher. I must admit, I partied hard for all the '90s and '00s and would check out all the different parties (although I just missed out on Jive Turkey as I hadn't found my feet in Sheffield before it ended) from house to techno, drum & bass to bassline. I was very into drum & bass in the mid-late '90s and early '00s and was resident at NY Sushi at The Unit. Drum & bass was big here at that time and I was bang in the centre of it.
I have to mention Scuba which my best mate Jamie Wilkins ran (he was also part of No Logic mentioned earlier) this was the first truly deep house focused night in Sheffield and was something I went to regularly. It was wonderfully programmed and Chris Duckenfield was resident alongside guests like Larry Heard, Dixon, Jesse Rose, Craig Richards, Pepe Braddock, Ame and Steve Bug. I've always loved checking different scenes out, there's inspiration to be found everywhere.
It's best known for it's heyday (arguably) and for the bleep era – but what’s happening now? What are its current strengths?
The current strengths for me are on the outskirts. Hope Works is obviously my favourite place to be and over the past couple of years its carved out a real niche here as being a place to experience some of the best artists in electronic music with a high priority on sound and visual production. The warehouse scene here has had room to breathe and grow thanks to ‘tens' licences... the 3rd wave of it! A few promoters here have all been throwing parties in disused and unique spaces and approaching the idea of clubbing with a more raw aesthetic, which is more reminiscent of where it all started for me. Kabal is a good example. The Night Kitchen is another warehouse space thats good and there are lots of smaller parties bubbling through who have really got their own angle and take on things. We also have a selection of clubs from Fez to Plug still providing regular places to hear electronic music. Its a healthy time in Sheffield and there is always something decent going on here.
Can you tell us about the labels you run?
I began with Seaghdha, a series of 10 releases of my own productions that started early 2012 and kind of set the scene for my sound as Lo Shea. I also have a techno label called 100 Years which I started to celebrate the anniversary of stainless steel (Sheffield was built on the steel industry in recent times). The tracks were made from field recordings of the Forgemasters steelworks and the design was handled by Designers Republic (another Sheffield institution and the guys behind Warp’s imagery).
Most recently I started a Hope Works record label off the back of the club and we've also just released a new sister label, WORKS which releases functional dance floor material and is an outlet to showcase some of the great artists I'm coming into contact with now. There are also plans for a HOPE label which will have a more open remit. It's really exciting to have vehicles to release music on in a way that I think reflects what the club is all about.
Production wise, what have you got forthcoming as Lo Shea?
I've got lots in the pipeline: the EP for SZE and Never Learnt are now both out. I have a release on Transit which is due out in a couple of months with a Kowton remix on it and an EP on DEXT in September with a Zenker Brothers remix. I'm buzzed about these and the fact I've got some artists I really respect on the remix. I'm currently working on a stack of new material too, this summer will once more be all about a complete studio immersion.
You’ve recorded us an exclusive mix can you tell us a bit about how you approached your track selection?
I wanted to kind of condense what I'd do in a whole night into an hour. I'm doing a warm up set on 9th so I thought it appropriate to start as I would do for a warm up and it progresses from there.