Meet Norwich-based Ryan Shayper, the third DJ in the 1 More Mix series.
Following the raw jungle assault of Sofa and the slippery eel silliness of gladde paling, he flips us to another D&B nebula, bringing a stark, high energy rocket fuel mix that’s loaded with drama, tension and some of the freakiest basslines this side of Groningen.
With an outer-planetary signature that’s very much part of the new wave of hybrid sound, Shayper’s music punches with jump-up agginess first, asks questions in an eloquent neuro tongue afterwards then gives you a big old dancefloor hug to say sorry. It’s an intoxicating blend and one that’s found home on a vast array of labels in recent years from Program to Serial Killaz to Four Corners and Grand Theft Audio.
In the midst of an incredibly prolific release schedule this year, which has resulted in a recent slew of videos showing pioneers like Ed Rush and Black Sun Empire playing his music, Shayper now shows he can deliver on the performance side just as much as he can with his productions. 64 cuts heavy, including many dubplates from his peers and himself alike, this is full-throttle blend 1 More Thing is proud to add to the collection. Check it here and get to know him and the tracklist below…
Yeah! I played the last set of the night. It was great actually. Norwich is usually full of jump-up but I managed to slam out pretty much two hours of neuro which was great. I hit up a load of friends and said, I’ve got an idea – give me your dubs and I’ll put them on a USB and give them to A.M.C. I did and he was very grateful. He knew who I was, which blew my mind.
Ah big up Alex. One of the good guys! That’s awesome.
100%. It was a great experience and was nice to connect with quite a few people. Both members of what was Mind Vortex were there too – Raizer and Junk Mail.
Oh so many people from your part of the country are D&B. Bcee, Conrad Subs, T>I, Upgrade, Limited, Digital, Spirit, Klute…
I think Bladerunner was originally from here too.
D&B central! Was this one of your first shows since the lockdowns?
I did one last year supporting K Motionz for the Cabana crew, which was really good. But realistically I’ve not been able to DJ much or make music because of a nerve injury I’ve had for years. I’ve got an operation coming up to hopefully fix it.
So when you’re mixing or making music are you going through serious pain?
Yeah. It’s pretty rotten. I’ve been waiting for the operation for three years now, I can’t wait to get it sorted.
Can you hear the pain in your music? Do you think it adds a flavour to your creative process?
Maybe. I make pretty angry music anyway. There’s a lot in the mix there, though. Physical health, mental health, plus I lean more to the angrier side of music anyway. I also love the musical side of things and make sure that’s part of my tracks but there’s nothing like slamming out an angry tune is there?
Or slamming out a massive 64 track mix!
Haha yeah. I tried to keep it as close to my live sets as I could. I’ve been DJing for about 12 years now. My first gig was straight after Zane Lowe in the O2 Arena funnily enough.
That’s a pretty full-on way to immerse yourself into the world of DJing! How did that happen?
I won a competition and the prize was to be the support act at the summer ball and they liked it the most because it was multi-genre. I went from 100bpm, I think the first track was KOAN Sound Mr Brown then it goes through glitch, the dubstep, then electro and finishes in drum & bass. I used to love doing those mixes.
Yeah I love those real journey sets. This was during peak Zane Lowe back then, too…
Oh yeah this was like 2011. He was really supportive actually. After he finished, I shook his hand and said, ‘How am I going to compete with that?’ He said, ‘I’m sure you’ll smash it mate,’ and patted me on the back. It was like, ‘Yeah! Brilliant!’ And it was a good set actually. Considering he played this set of really hard house music before me, it went down well.
Sick. Did that lead to a flurry of gigs?
Kinda. I got a lot of gigs through uni – summer balls and freshers balls and ended up playing at places like Cable and Ministry Of Sound supporting Rudimental, which was pretty wild. I ended up on stage with them at one point!
So yeah it was good fun while it lasted. I ended up leaving uni because of my mental health but not long after that I had the opportunity to go on Rough Tempo and did a show on there for a few years. Then played Ministry again and a few more shows including one in Belgium. Sadly my laptop died so I knocked everything on the head for a while and settled down and started a family. But I’ve been slowly getting back into this, working on my productions, playing locally when I can. The social media side of it is just….
Bleugh. Feel your pain there man. Post something you’ve spent months on, zero traction. Post a picture of a dog, a billion likes.
Yup. They don’t really like intelligently made original content. If it’s anything beyond the mainstream then its quashed. I’ve seen great DJs become top shitposters as a result, just to get any type of engagement.
Madness. Sadness. Back to uni gigs and the craft of DJing, there’s a real trick to getting a crowd like that on side isn’t there? A dark art in getting them to dance what you want them to… But not alienate anyone!
100%! And it’s all about sourcing acapellas online! I started off a set at Cable with Dirty Harry – Fools mixed with the acapella of Skee-Lo’s I Wish, which fit perfectly. That was a mix I was quite proud of. There were of course a lot of terrible dubstep remixes.
Haha. Bootlegs galore! Acapellas can win over a crowd big time
Massively. The oldest trick in the mainstream DJ book.
How have those formative years influenced how you mix now?
Definitely the quick mixing side of things. As you can hear in the mix, finding those perfect complementary doubles and vocals that work together is something I really love. Those type of things. Reading the crowd, too. That’s so important.
I see a lot of DJs with what’s known as ‘Serato face’, looking down at the laptop. Before they know it, they look up, the dancefloor is empty and their confidence has plummeted and the set starts to suffer. My wife is constantly telling me to look up with the crowd and interact more. When you’re engaging with the crowd you can see what people like and how much you can get away. It’s nice to throw a few curveballs isn’t it?
Absolutely. There’s a moment in the mix where it all goes trumpetty and Latin. That’s a curveball for me!
Ah Sola… That’s a pretty special dub. It’s the perfect weapon to flip the vibe.
Still got that weight, though. Just a change of palette…
Yeah 100%! I love musicality and I’ll always have a strong element in every tune. There’s a lot of tunes that have sci-fi intros, maybe a couple of drones and suddenly it’s the drop. There’s no musical tension building, which is a shame. I love the musical tension and the drama of that. Especially in a live setting where the crowd need to come back down a moment before kicking back off again. There’s nothing quite like seeing that when it’s your tune too. That’s the biggest buzz you can get in this world, I think.
Yeah I bet! When was the first time that happened?
It was in Belgium, in this grotty little rave in a series of caves in Liege. I played Stay Where You Are which is a very old tune of mine. It went down well and got a rewind. That was it mate, I was hooked – it’s like ‘okay people react like that to my music! Let’s do some more!’
Go on. That’s the buzz.
Oh it is mate. 100% And while I haven’t had a chance to play my own tunes out that much but to see videos coming back of other DJs, DJs who I’ve looked up to forever, playing my music is just mindblowing. My heroes! Now I’m in touch with them. It’s crazy. Ed Rush actually sent me a dub which I used in the mix. That’s a persy, that one. It boggles the mind. Calyx and TeeBee too – I’ve been chatting to them, too. I can’t believe how chill they are.
Oh super chaps. So this explains why the mix is pretty dub-heavy!
I’m very blessed to get sent great dubs. I’m part of a really nice and supportive group with some very talented artists. Konquest, Kaizen Flow, Cyntax, Traced and a few others. We all share music, share ideas, support each other and help each other with feedback and ideas on our music.
Sounds nice and community-focused. Speaking of productions, Weight Of A Tiny World is a persy for me. Really interesting track you have there…
Thanks. I was really inspired by Secula on that one. I heard his remix of Annix & Fade Black’s Dismantle and was like, ‘Wow. The frequency shifting, I need to try it!’ That has a lot of meaning to me, that track. I was feeling overwhelmed about everything at the time. Everything felt very heavy at the time.
You can feel that. So it’s quite mad that you’ve not made tunes lately, but you always have a lot coming out…
A lot of that is quite old now. Weight Of A Tiny World is the most recent thing I made before I stopped being able to make it for a while. There are a few new bits like Party Hard and Amnesia, which are both in the mix. I hope I can get back on it after the operation but there’s a release coming on Close 2 Death, part of their 15 years release and another one has been taken by Technique. That’s a collab with JDizz.
Ah man. Rest in peace JDizz!
Yeah such a loss and he was a great talent. We were doing a few tunes and messaged a lot. Devastating. So it’s good to see that getting a release in the future.
Do you have anything else coming up?
There are always lots of speculative conversations with different people. I recently reached out to Marvin Screamarts and we’re hopefully going to do some collaborations. He’s a new talent I’ve been in awe of in the last few years. He’s had some amazing releases. I hit him up and he was super chill and up for sharing ideas and doing something.
That’s something I’ve found about new generation producers. Totally open and happy to share ideas. Like Secula; I dropped him a message after his Dismantle remix and said, ‘Bro how did you do that?’ We spoke for an hour about the mechanics of pitch-shifting and it was like, ‘Yeah! Cushty!’
The new generation of artists are cushty full stop. Way more open and happy to share ideas. The whole culture of sharing knowledge has changed a lot and I think that’s a good thing…
It has. I think it’s a much more creative playing field now and there’s a much strong culture of sharing knowledge. I get that it’s a business and people earn a living off this. I hope to do that myself one day. My dream is to end up doing this and more compositional work. I love the epic tension building in any form of music. I play a lot of games and I listen to a lot of the sound design and music on them. Take Elden Ring, the music on that is insane! Proper classical scores. I’m sitting here thinking, ‘Wow I’d love to do that’. To build an atmosphere that takes you to another world… And to have that in another world in the game.
None of that is impossible. Those channels are open. Noisia did the Devil May Cry one years ago…
Yeah! And then Armajet not long ago too. So that’s the dream… But in the meantime, I’m happy people are into my music and I can get to play it to people sometimes. Enjoy the mix!
1 More Mix 003: Shayper
1 – Shayper – This Ends Now (4 Corners)
2 – Result – Bone Bender (VALE)
3 – Harley D – Colours (Serial Killaz)
4 – Kaizen Flow & Inaudible – Contact (DUB)
5 – Burr Oak – Supreme Entity (Forthcoming Eatbrain)