A mainstay in our interview sessions, Dr. Shiver‘s growth in the European dance music industry is showing no signs of stopping. This achievement of the is wholly due to the hard work that the Italian producer and DJ has put in to his own work as an individual artist and as a mentor to the young talents – such as David Allen – who find themselves at home at Dr. Shiver’s Art&Music Recording label. Having had a wonderful all round year, the label head honcho takes to this interview to explain the plans for the future of the imprint.
But before talking about the label news, Dr. Shiver’s latest track must be brought to the forefront. After releasing the thumping ‘Wusu’ with David Allen, Dr. Shiver is back on the label with chirpy and upbeat ‘Brave Love’ featuring Jmi Sissoko on vocal duties. A prime track carefully crafted for the radio waves, ‘Brave Love’ sees Dr. Shiver showcase his production versatility with a blend of House and Pop with the French vocalist adding to the effort diligently.
So, lets hear Dr. Shiver, the behind the entire setup, talk about it all.
Tell us a bit about your latest release “Brave Love”. How did the track come to life and what were your inspirations behind it?
It was about a year and had ago when I met my friend Dre Meltz and I have played him a chord progression and a hook melody idea of something I was working on at the time. He immediately loved the idea and so we started writing a track together. I was mostly working on melodies, while Dre was co-writing melodies together with me and handling lyrics on his own.
When everything was written, we made rough recording of the vocal. At that point, I have immediately started to work on the arrangement and the sound design. So I have called the great Luke Morse to play a few guitar lines, played on melodies I had written with synthesizers. Once that task was completed, I have started to look around for a nice vocalist. Finally, my dear friend Solberjum advised me about Jmi Sissoko: when I heard his voice, I immediately knew he was the one.
He came from Paris and in one day we recorded the final vocal. At that point, it was just a matter of a few days to finalize arrangement, sound design, mix and mastering and the track was done.
The inspiration for this track is coming from a very personal life story that I honestly prefer to keep private.
You’ve been working with a number of different vocalists recently. Tell us, how do you collaborate with vocalists to help make your ideas come to fruition? Do you tend to finish off the instrumental first, or build a track around a vocal from the beginning?
Well, I am a top liner myself, so most of the time I prefer to write melodies of the vocals on my own. There are anyway no rules and everything really also depends on which vocalist you are working with: there are singers that are very good at writing melodies and lyrics, others that can just interpret and sing something already written. In the case I am working with somebody who can already write, I usually cooperate directly with the singer in the writing process. On the other hand, when it comes to singers who just interpret, I usually pick a lyric/songwriter and, always considering the singer’s vocal extension and capabilities, we write something dedicated to that specific singer. But, as mentioned, there are really no rules: it can simply happen that you write a vocal first, and once it is done you find the right singer, which is actually what happened with Brave Love. The same happens with the production workflow: it is not written anywhere that you should work on the production/arrangement first and then on the vocal, or that you have to start from vocal and then do the production. You should just follow your feelings.
You appeal to very different audiences with your tracks “Wusu” and “Brave Love”. How do craft such different sounds, while maintaining your signature style?
The secret is always in melodies and chord progressions. The biggest advantage I have is being a musician: this has given me the chance to use the music, the harmonies and the melodies, to create my sound identity, without staying bound to a specific sound which to me is the most wrong thing on earth: if you stay bound to a specific sound, then all of your tracks will sound exactly the same. I am not saying that it is generally wrong to do it, because it is something that I also do, what is wrong is to use a main sound (for example, a specific lid) to create your identity, because in that case all of your tracks will sound a copy of the previous one. In my specific case, I like to use always the same kind of effects, which are small details that are not making the whole track but that at the same time give a bit more identity to my tracks. Another important process to create my sound identity is linked to mix and mastering: I mix and master myself, and you can hear that there is a connection in terms of mixing and especially mastering in each of my productions, which play and sound on the same level.
With 2017 coming to a close, it’s common to reflect on the year that was. What were some of your favorite highlights? Are you happy with how the year has panned out? What made 2017 sand out from previous years?
2017 has been an outstanding year, for myself as well as for Art & Music Recording. Personally, I’m very proud since this year I made my debut at Tomorrowland in Belgium, I have started to work and strongly cooperate with Protocol, I played on stage with Nicky Romero himself at the Protocol 5 Years ADE Party. With Art & Music Recording we have achieved some huge results: two tracks of mine (my remix of You Got the Love and my remix of Together) and two tracks by David Allen (Kubera and a new fantastic ID) have been used not only in some of their social videos, but especially in the Official Tomorrowland Aftermovie. I am also happy to say that at the moment we are the most efficient and powerful club record label in and that during this year we have really gained supports by all the biggest deejays including Martin Garrix, David Guetta, Avicii, Tiesto, Don Diablo, Afrojack, Nicky Romero, Steve Aoki, Armin Van Buuren and many more. Last but not least, after 5 years of legal fights regarding Mama Lover, the multiplatinum track by Serebro, we have finally won the legal battle against Vae Victis (EGO).
What are your plans for Dr. Shiver and Art&Music Recording come 2018? Do you have any exciting projects, releases or collaborations you’d like to share with us?
There is so much going on at the moment. We are now running a WAVO remix competition for Brave Love with amazing prizes, I am personally going to have a collab with my brother John Christian, and there a couple of other collabs on their way. There will be something new again with the guys of Protocol, but I cannot say a lot about it at the moment.
With Art&Music we have already 12 new tracks to be released, including a great banger by a new entry in Art&Music: Black Code directly from Rome… There is also Miami in March, but to know more about it keep an eye on my socials.
You can enter “Brave Love” competition and submit your remix here.
Dr. Shiver’s ‘Brave Love’ single is available for a quick download on Art&Music Recording’ Soundcloud page here.