Shapeshifter: The fire is blazing

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It only takes one encounter with Shapeshifter live to be converted. This is one of the tightest acts in dance music, a five-piece with soul and brute force in equal measure. From the moment they step onstage until the final roll-out almost two hours later, the vibe never dips.

“The thing that struck me at this gig was the way that Shapeshifter’s tunes develop and evolve; jazzy ambience building to furious DnB synth stabs,” our reviewer wrote of their 2010 tour. “Their composition is a beautiful thing to behold.”

Most bands have off-nights brought on by the exhaustion of touring, but Shapeshifter always seems to harness the energy of the room. It doesn’t matter if it’s a crowd of 100 or 10,000. It must get tiring being such a hard-working unit, I say to vocalist PDigsss, who’s speaking to inthemix from his New Zealand home.

“Ah, fuckin’-eh,” he laughs down the line. “It is bloody hard, but when we started out he had to hold down jobs making coffee and pizzas or building people’s houses. That’s all good when you’re young, but now we’re at the point where our work is our music. You can get tired but you don’t have much else to do…except maybe that I have a couple of Superbikes that I like riding.”

A lot has happened for Shapeshifter since those Australian shows last winter. At the time of our chat, the band is recently back on home soil after a six month stint in Berlin. The Berlin sabbatical might have become a creative cliché, but the temperament of Shapeshifter feels perfectly in tune with the city.

“I think the fact that Berlin is so different from where we live was inspiring,” reasons PDigsss. “Just being in a different place where our music is paying our rent – all we need to do is wake up every day and plug in. It was wicked to be in a city with such a festive vibe. Every weekend there’s someone playing you want to go see, and the Germans are just relaxed about everything.”

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