After hearing a Shur-I-Kan tune for the first time not all to long ago, we were instantly hooked. Tom Szirtes has been resonponisble for some outstanding house records over the past few years and has shown that he has the momentum and groove to still be one of the hottest names in deep house here in 2011. Tom has had a string of releases on Jimpsters renounded Freerange Records and most recently on his Co-owned label with Milton Jackson, Dark Energy Records.
This guy has got us excited and were sure his not going to be stopping anytime soon. Find out more about Tom in the interview.
You've been involved with Jimpsters "Freerange Records" for quite some time now.
How did you get in contact with the label and when was your first release?
I was introduced to Freerange via Tom Middleton. I met Tom at the very first live gig I did as Shur-i-kan. It was pretty much chance. He was well into what I was doing and suggest I speak to Jimpster as he was doing similar stuff. The rest is history.
"Once I started DJing people just started inviting me to play around the world"
How do you feel your music has changed or progressed from the first release?
Well its obviously been a lot more dance music influenced. I'm not sure that's entirely a good thing, but thats the reality. When I started I was influenced by dance music (mostly D&B though rather than house) but I wasn't doing much serious DJing. Once I started DJing people just started inviting me to play around the world, this changed the music because I wanted to play tunes that I had written that worked in the dance floor and then you get more gigs - its a circle. I think this happens to a lot of producers. The good thing about dance music is that it makes you become very production focussed - so you gain skills in that area that I didn't have when I started this game.
Has the way you write music changed much over the years in terms of hardware/software?
I started with a Roland Workstation and hardware sampler. Now I produce almost entirely in the box. Its interesting now because they are suddenly lots of interesting products and new ways of interacting with computers, so I think the hardware will start to play a bigger part in my productions again.
Tell us about the Dark Energy Records project you run with Milton Jackson.
Its just a fun side project really. Sometimes as an artist it can be frustrating to always rely on other people to get your music onto the market. Thats why lots of artists like to have their own labels. Its control. But the problem is with power comes responsibility and that does start to suck up your production time to do all the admin and marketing. Luckily as I'm a software developer by training I've pretty much automated a lot of it and our software Mozaic Accounts is also used by other labels like Freerange. We've had quite a few cool artists on Dark Energy like Office Gossip, MANIK, Chris Wadsworth who have all gone on to make their mark - so thats the rewarding part of it.
2011 has been a little quite for you in terms of releases, can we expect a new record anytime soon?
Yes, its wasn't planned that way. I had a lot of difficulty in letting go of some tracks this year even though I've still been writing - so theres a lot of stuff in the vault. But actually you'll see quite a few releases from me at the end of this year, there was the Lazy Days release last month, got a new one on Lo:Rise this month and then Dark Energy release next.
Take us through one of your DJ sets, what would we be listening to at a Shur-i-kan set?
If you are familiar with my radio show (http://shurikan.libsyn.com/) then you'll get an idea. Basically its the finest deep and underground house out there. For the clubs I play slightly more energetic tracks - it depends on the vibe. I move between styles quite a bit so people don't get bored, it might be more disco orientated stuff, or a bit more tech, or just straight ahead house.
What does the rest of 2011 hold for yourself? Can we expect any Australian tour dates?
No tour to Australia this year. I'd love to come but someone needs to organise it - please :)
Finally, which artists have you been liking latley, any albums or releases we should know about?
I've been feeling all the Bristol 'bass' or 'post dubstep' sound (being an old Bristolion myself) like Julio Bashmore, Coats of Arms etc... I'm also always into Floating Points releases and there are lots of talented house guys like James Johnston from Glasgow, Vakula or established artists like Andre Lodemann for the deep.