Innovation is what keeps Hip Hop Fresh. But sometimes in order to look forward you have to go back
Shungu is a producer that respects this. Whilst pushing boundaries, he also has a healthy obsession with crate digging and accessing the past. Hailing from Brussels this young artist has been making waves with his own beats as well as his work with rappers such as Rejjie Snow and Ivan Ave. Crafting the funk through his MPC and impressive musical knowledge. We took the chance to speak to him whilst on tour in Montréal to find out exactly what makes him tick.
So you feature on Rejjie Snow's newest 'The Moon and You'. What can you tell us about the beats you produced and how that partnership came about?
I had made a lot of beats and it’s been like 4 years since I started working with Rejjie. I had been sending him some tracks but he’s still got lots of others. Those (on ‘The Moon and You’) are just a small part of the work. But yeah, Rejjie likes the vibe that I provide, so he asks me for beats sometimes.
So it’s been an ongoing relationship?
Yeah sure. We’ll make more too though.
Do you prefer to work like that? Like with the end goal of having a rapper or singer on the beat?
I actually don’t really care. I do my shit how I like it, then show it to people I think have a similar vibe but sometimes rappers or singers pick something I didn’t expect they would pick.
Like they are picking up on a vibe that your putting out there?
Yeaah. I really wanna do my shit though. I think it’s important.
Sure I get that. It's like; you need to be true to your art before anything or anyone.
It’s definitely essential for me.
Let’s talk about 'Solar Groove Vo.l 1'. It has a more cosmic feel than the ‘All Star Series’ in my opinion. What was the process for that album?
There were no actual process. I’d been making a lot of beats and at some point Jamie (from Hot Record Societe) and I were like ‘Let's select some beats and do a cassette.’ With the money from the cassette I paid for a flight to Oakland. While we were there we produced some more beats during the 3 weeks I was out there. In a bigger studio too.
So pretty much all your music comes organically? I gotta ask how many beats you make in a day. Your discography is impressive!
It depends. I mean I can make a lot of musical ideas in a day. The most difficult part is to finish them but I can maybe make 5 or 6 or even more sometimes.
Do you still work with samples mainly? Or are you moving into live instrumentation more?
I still use samples. I’m working more and more with real instruments and on instrumentation though. Plus I love to practice reading music and going further into understanding music in general.
Your sample choices are crazy. Did that love of more obscure or overlooked music inspire Radio Soliel?
Yeah definitely. I was digging a lot of music and just wanted to share it. Also with some people I felt like those tracks weren’t having the success they deserved. So I’m just doing their promotion! But I love those forgotten treasures.
Did you hometown, Brussels, inspire that? Like was there something about the scene there that encouraged finding those gems?
Mmm not really. I think its travelling and just making more and more music with an open mind.
Talking of travelling, you’re currently on tour in Montreal. What’s the best thing about playing live or touring for you?
For me it’s meeting new people and getting to dig for vinyl haha.
Haha a noble cause! You have also played Boiler Room in London. What was that experience like?
It was nice. I met some nice people from London and the Boiler Room party was lit.
So with all that you have done already, what's next for Shungu?
I’m building a studio for September. So it’s like a rebirth for me. There’s gonna be new material. All I can say is that I’m going to produce a lot! Got a few albums on the way with different people but I can't say nothing yet.
Oh wow! So what watch this space! Thank you so much for taking the time man. Where can we follow you?
Cool. You can follow me on Facebook, search 'Shungu', and on twitter @shungujazz.
Listen to more Shungu below: