Photo: Nic Kane (Shanti Celeste)
There’s few young artists who are as versatile as Shanti Celeste. That however doesn’t come as a surprise if you take a look at the Chilean-born artist’s biography: Having started DJing during the Dubstep craze in the UK, she first focused on Minimal Techno before taking a job at one of Bristol’s finest addresses, the record store Idle Hands. After co-running one of the store’s labels, Brstl, with a strong focus on House music, she inaugurated her own imprint Peach Discs this year with a two-track EP, featuring the standout track “Selector”. Her often Electro-tinged productions are mirrored in what followed after that, releases by Fred, Checkov and Ciel. Shanti Celeste’s contribution to our Groove podcast is just as multi-faceted, ranging from adventurous Jungle vibes to the soothing New Age sounds of Pauline Anna Strom.
You started out as a DJ in Bristol when Dubstep was still in full swing, however stress that Chicago House or Detroit producers like Omar-S have had a far bigger impact on you. What drew you to that specific sound?
I started learning to mix when I was living with my parents in the Lake District around 2008 and there was a lot of outdoor raves because it was in the countryside so there weren’t may clubs to go to. At those raves they would mainly play Jungle and UK/Speed Garage so those where the first encounters I had with electronic dance music before making a trip to Leeds at the age of 16 to go to SUBDUB and experiencing soundsystem culture and Dubstep for the first time! A couple of years later I got my first set of decks and started mixing. My friend was teaching me how to do it with his records which where mainly Dubstep and some Minimal Techno, so I was learning how to mix and decided that I had to focus on one genre until I knew how to mix properly. So I decided to stick with Minimal as it seemed more new exciting to me at the time and by that point I had been going to Dubstep raves for a little while. Also the energy of the 4/4 seemed more energetic plus I thought it was just easier to mix with! hehe. It wasn’t until 2009 that I moved to Bristol and the Dubstep scene was still going strong but I was already buying Minimal records and getting deep into the House and Techno vibe, getting more and more into US House and Techno which was cemented when I started to work at the brand new Idle Hands in 2009.
As a producer, you follow what seems like an intuitive approach – “I’m not a geek,” you have said in an interview. How does your working process look like?
Its not that I’m not interested in the more technical (geeky) side of things! I just have a very very short attention span so I simply can’t work that way. In order for me to stay interested in what I’m doing I need fast results in terms of achieving a vibe of some sort when I’m making music. Be it a bassline or a pad that i like or just something to grip me quickly so that I can start building on it, even if I end up totally changing it in the end.
You are currently working on your debut album, a format that usually allows for more musical experimentation. How far have you progressed and what might we expect from the LP?
(laughs) I haven’t even started it yet! I moved to London in August and was hoping to have started it by now but It took me a while to find a studio. When I found it, I decided for the first time to do it up and have a proper “professional” studio with proper sound treatment etc. I painted it and got a new carpet and I’m actually moving into it today! So hopefully i will be able to start my album in the next year! need to get used to the new set up before I can start it really.
After co-running the Brstl label together with Idle Hands’s Chris Farrell, you founded your own Peach Discs this year. What prompted this move and what is important to you musically as well personally in curating the label?
I started the label because I kept listening to friends of mine’s music that was really good and I keep thinking “if I had a label I’d totally release this!” I also had a couple of tracks that I couldn’t decide what to do with, so all that combined with the fact that I really wanted to do something exciting and challenging, something that felt like another creative outlet, where I could be involved with the artwork – even though it’s only little painted doodles – and it just felt like my own new exciting project.
You have studied art and illustration. Which role does visual art play in your life nowadays that they’re a full-time musician and DJ?
Im a very visual person so I guess even though I’m not drawing and painting so much any more – apart from little painting every now and again that I use for Peach Discs artwork – it’s still present in many aspects of my life. I have lots of colourful bits and bobs in my house and always love colourful things! When I’m packing my records I mainly remember what they look like and not what the name of the track is! Which sometimes makes it hard for me when someone is trying to talk to me about music asking “do you know this tune? blah blah” and I’m usually like “mmm is it that red one with the black squiggly lines?”
Clocking in at around 92 minutes, your contribution to our Groove podcast is full of twists and surprises. What was your idea behind it?
There isn’t much of a concept behind it really, I just wanted to play some of the records that I don’t get to play that often in clubs but also just tunes that I’m really into at the moment!
Last but not least: Where can we see you behind the decks in the near future and what are your plans as a producer and label owner?
You can catch me in many places… Shanti is coming to a town near you! Very excited to play for the first time at the Pickle Factory on the 8th of December with Karen Gwyer and Josey Rebelle who are both amazing. Also excited to play at De School that same weekend with lots of the crew! Label wise, there will be a 12″ around February/March and some other good things throughout the year and someday next year or at the start of 2019… my album! (laughs)
Stream: Shanti Celeste – Groove Podcast 135
01. Call Super – No Wonder We Go Under
02. KLP/JBS – X-Meet
03. Max D – Stretch Navigation
04. Tim Harper – I Feel a Groove (Club Mix)
05. Simon Cell – Stop The Killing
06. Ciel – Elevate (Go Off Mix)
07. Numer – Track De Relaxation
08. A Sagittariun – Pseudo Science
09. S.O.N.S – Reversed Skies
10. E-Unity – Perihelion
11. Amar – Red Sky (Wikamen Vox Mix)
12. Martyn – KJLFYE3024
13. John Beltran – Ten Days Of Blue
14. Pauline Anna Strom – Freedom At The 45th Floor
15. Protect-U – Cypriot
16. Sleepwalker – Age Of Aquarius (Lemon D RMX)
17. Oblivion – Lush
18. Engineers Without Fears (DJ Rap) – Spiritual Aura
19. Jack ’n’ Phil – Dont Beg 4 Love
20. DJ Stingray – Serotonin
21. The Exaltics – The Truth
22. Mr. De’ – Woodward Av.