DJ Shadow on sell outs, the death of ‘DJ Hero’
Tue 23rd Aug, 2011 News 1750 viewsin
As his dedicated Australian followers would’ve experienced first hand when the US veteran took part in an exclusive ITM-presented Q&A session on his Australian tour at the beginning of the month, DJ Shadow always has plenty to say on nearly any given topic surrounding his vocation and in an interview published by Pitchfork this week he’s shared his thoughts on a range of hot button issues.
The first talking point to elicit some ire from Shadow on this occasion was with what he sees as the decline of integrity that has taken over the music community in recent years.
“I remember when the big shift happened in 1996-97, when suddenly it dawned on the music community: ‘We should license our music to commercials and sell out for all intents and purposes. It doesn’t really matter.’ The level of integrity has dropped so far that it almost seems quaint to think back [before then],” Shadow told the website. “Now, when I think about the stuff I turned down it’s kind of insane.”
Opening up about the commercial endorsements and syncs that he’s rebuffed over the years Shadow listed a venerable list of projects that never happened like remixing the Mission Impossible movie theme and other “cheesy” Hollywood licensing deals.
“I was asked to do TV ads for Macintosh,” Shadow explained. “Nowadays, I think anybody would jump at that but, at the time, it didn’t feel appropriate for what I was trying to stand for. I don’t know if I would do it today, honestly. It was just never my thing.”
One venture that Shadow did lend his name and image to though was Activision’s short-lived DJ Hero series which folded after two reasonably successful editions.
“Ever since Guitar Hero blew up, I knew that this was the next natural step. I got the call, and I obviously had the normal bullshit check going on in my brain, like, ‘Is this something I want to be associated with?’ I took the meeting and didn’t really commit, but, for the first time in my life, I was like, ‘I actually think I’m qualified to do this.’ This is a game about DJ culture, and I have a particular stance on what that means to me. If I have a chance to positively impact how the populace views DJs, then I’m going to try to do my part to nudge things in the right direction,” Shadow said. “By the time the second game came along it was pretty clear to me that it was do or die, like, ‘We’ve got to go full pop on this one’. I was sorry to see that, but at the same time they’re a corporation and that’s what they do. I don’t necessarily agree with it and I certainly tried to hold my ground and make suggestions that I thought were valid, but I don’t know how to sell video games. They do. There are things I would have done different, but I can only speak for my own contributions and the mixes.”
You can check out DJ Shadow’s full thoughts on his money grubbing peers over at Pitchfork and rewind to the intimate show with ITM back in August below.