Interview: Shapov discusses Hard Rock Sofa career, working with Axwell & Ingrosso and future endeavors
Shapov’s 2015 has seen him re-establish himself as a solo artist, breaking away from Hard Rock Sofa. The young Russian hasn’t just established root’s as a independent act though, he’s flourished – blossomed into something exciting and refreshing. Having just curated We Rave You Radio’s Episode 6, the hour-long podcast demonstrated his flare at performing, ear for organic electronic music and production skill. A powerful blend of character and technique that is on the hunt for distinctive sounds, over trending crowd pleasers.
Throughout the interview, you really get the sense Shapov isn’t one to get caught up the media hype and stage lights. His grounded humbleness and genuine passion for what he does is only topped by his appreciation of where he is, who he is surrounded by and what he can do. Something quite rare in a industry with ever growing economic incentives.
With several rumored collaborations with big artists, including Axwell Λ Ingrosso, there seems little reason for 2016 not to continue his upward trend. We were lucky enough to catch up with Shapov during his ever-hectic schedule, to fire some questions that we’ve been after answers for since his break-out onto the scene.
– It’s been a rapid and deserved rise into the respected spotlight for you over the past year as a solo artist. What have you found different now that you have started to work as a solo act? Do you have to put in more time to get the results you want?
The feedback on the new project has been amazing, the fans are really into the new music and I couldn’t be happier. I’ve done a few collaborations so the transition has been easy, but mostly I’m just enjoying the creative freedom! My favourite place to be, other than behind the decks, is in the studio – I’m sleeping there more than at home these days!
– Speaking of your past, how significant do you feel your time as Hard Rock Sofa will be for your career when you reflect on it in 20 years time?
I’m really proud of what we achieved as Hard Rock Sofa, we were lucky enough to tour the world, release great music and play on stages I never thought possible. I owe so much of what I know now to the project, so it’s significance for me is huge!
– Hard Rock Sofa weren’t exactly struggling to produce big hits and credible material, what made you want to breakaway and pursue a solo career?
The idea of a new challenge was really appealing to me, I want to push myself to produce bigger, sicker and more crazy tracks. I feel there’s more freedom to develop my own sound now too, that’s really important to me.
– Now that you are ‘Shapov’, how have you found your first summer? You’ve had the opportunity to perform with major artists and at iconic venues. Has this made you alter your career goals and ambitions?
No way, it’s only confirmed what I set out to do – take things to the next level!
– Speaking of your summer, what has been your favourite location to perform at? Why?
Ushuaia is a special one for me, the closing party with Axwell Λ Ingrosso really stands out, they invited me on stage and we dropped our collab together – was fucking sick!
– The image above almost makes it look like you’re telling Axwell and Ingrosso what to do! Can you describe what was going on in the photo? What was being said?
In this picture we’re having a quiet glass of wine and discussing new music ahead of Summerburst Festival in Sweden. It was such a crazy night on their home turf, the guys really smashed it!
– With Axwell and Ingrosso seemingly take you under their wing, with performances at their headlining gigs, you must have a pretty good idea as to what they’re like as people. Can you give us an insight into their habits, values and creative processes?
Honestly, they are two totally down to earth guys, still just as in touch with the music as the day they started. They love listening to new music and when in the studio with them you can’t help but feel the passion and energy these guys have.
– Your releases on Axtone, “Vavilon” and “Runic” are both significant both in terms of sound and status within the genre, but also for Shapov as an emerging act. How did the tracks come to fruition? Are you inspired by something, or build around a melody you create?
These tracks are actually two years old now, when I first started working on them I was really inspired by movie sound tracks and wanted to use these cinematic sounds in my music. Djs like Alesso, Axwell and Ingrosso were really keen to push the music from the start which meant so much to me, I’m happy that these work and people believe in what I’m doing!
– The ‘Russian Mafia’ is a quickly emerging trend within the industry, with the likes of Arty and yourself being joined by new artists such as M.E.G & N.E.R.A.K and Amersy. Has it been a conscious decision to support and work with each other to increase Russia’s presence within the scene?
‘Russian Mafia’ I like that! We never set out to push Russia’s presence, we just all share a genuine passion for producing electronic music and try and push each other to create the best tracks we can!
– Shapov’s EP, on Axtone, was nothing short of special. It showed your experience from Hard Rock Sofa, but also your ‘reinvention’ in terms of the sound you released. How did it come about connecting with Axtone and the partnership you now have?
It was a natural progression from Hard Rock Sofa really, Axtone understand what I want to achieve with Shapov and the Axwell connection makes total sense!
– Finally, after roughly a year of recreating your artistic persona, what is planned and being planned for Shapov? Are there any collaborations, projects or performances in the works that we can look forward to?
I really want to take things a step further now, bigger tracks and bigger performances! There’s so much to look forward to, including collaborations, but unfortunately I can’t announce anything just yet, watch this space!!
So there you have it, We Rave You’s interview with the one and only Shapov. Undoubtedly a current talent and one set to blitz the festival, club and chart scene for many years to come!