We caught up with one half of Myon & Shane 54, Shane, in Toronto as part of their electrifying “Heart Beat” North American Tour. Shane discusses their new vision, recent tour, radio migration and he answers our question “Will there be an artist album?”.
It’s no surprise that the Hungarian duo have achieved worldwide recognition within the last few years, climbing the ladder of DJ Mag’s Top 100 DJs. They continue to pump out countless vocal tracks, remixes and their signature mash-ups of some of dance music’s most iconic tunes. All the while spinning at the world’s leading dance music festivals and cooking up weekly episodes on their thriving radio show, International Departures.
When we found out that the boys would be returning to Toronto we knew this was our chance to sit down and discuss where they were headed. As most of you know, they recently switched Radio Stations on Digitally Imported FM, from Vocal Trance to Club Mixes. The move seemed to be a precursor of what was to come of their image in the trance scene.
Curious to find out where the king of Mash-ups are headed? Read below to find out!
TU: You have fashioned many massive vocal tracks, remixes and mash-ups which create huge crowd sing-a-longs when played. Of all these vocal tracks, which one would you say you resonate the most with & why? On the flip side which one do you think gets the best crowd reaction?
Shane: That a very hard question to answer because it differs but it’s a pretty safe thing to say that it’s the On a Good Day (Metropolis) Mash-up. It’s so weird, we’ve played it for 5 years now and it has the same reaction so I assume that is the mash-up of all mash-ups.
TU: So both for yourself and the crowd as well?
Shane: Yea, well these days Strangers is a pretty big thing but it’s on the radio in the US so it’s different. It’s hard to tell because we always have favourites but it varies from time to time.
TU: Congratulations on one of your latest singles ‘Lie to Me’ for hitting #1 on the Beatport Club Dance Songs. Can you tell us a little bit about the journey with that track and what inspired you to create it?
Shane: Inspiration is a really hard question; you can’t really describe what inspires you. Everything inspires you, from records you heard on the radio yesterday, to the TV show you’ll be watching tomorrow. So it’s very hard to pinpoint anything, because the stuff that inspires us has nothing to do with dance music most of the time. So if anyone were to listen to what we listen to right before we go on a gig, they would be surprised. We are pop based so that’s why we like vocals so much, and that’s why we think if a song has no vocals, it has no soul. It’s much easier to remix a song with vocals, to remix an instrumental track you have to figure something out. Vocals touch people much better than instrumental tracks. Even though there is this universal thinking, that in a club you shouldn’t play vocal tracks all the time. “People don’t like them!” I have experienced shows that have proved otherwise. We like it if the crowd sings their hearts out.
TU: You’re both currently sweeping North America with your Heart Beat North American tour, alongside the talented Late Night Alumni. What has been your favourite gig thus far, and which cities are you most excited to play at on your upcoming tour dates?
Shane: Seattle, Seattle was probably the best gigs of our lives. It was such a big surprise because it was the second time we played in Seattle and it was just mind blowingly amazing. There are no other words to describe it. But we are only half way through the tour and LA, San Francisco and other MS54 head-quarter cities still haven’t been touched yet. The Seattle show was just 2 days before the Super bowl so it was really exciting and you could certainly see it.
TU: With Seattle, were you expecting that?
Shane: No, it was just another gig, but when we walked into the club, I was like “Really?”. Those people seemed like they’ve never been to a party. They partied like they’ve never been to a party and this was their first party, and they partied like there was no tomorrow. It was incredible, we have to thank Seattle.
TU: It appears your connection with Late Night Alumni started with your remix of “Every Breath is Like a Heartbeat”. With a remix is there any real communication between the two parties?
Shane: No, with a remix, you deliver something and either they like it or not. They really liked it, we really liked it. We were huge fans of Late Night Alumni ever since their first song, so for us it was a big thing. Touching your idols, following their footsteps, however you call it. When we did the collaboration, then there was a lot of back and forth.
TU: So that was the second part to the question, for your collaboration “Under Your Cloud”, who approached who? And how long did it take for the whole process?
Shane: To be honest, I don’t even remember. I think we had the idea of “let’s do something”.
TU: Pretty much right after the remix?
Shane: Yea of course. You have to have a remix in order to approach someone and you have to give them something to start the relationship. If you like someone and you want to approach them; you go and be nice to them. But we were so surprised they were so nice to us; because of the remix the connection was there, but you still can never predict the future. I think the track turned out pretty well. Becky’s vocals are just amazing, just other worldly; an ethereal creature.
TU: You recently migrated on Digitally Imported Radio from Vocal Trance to Club Sounds.
Shane: Because we are so far away from vocal trance. I love it when they say we are the“Kings of Vocal Trance Mash-ups” (sarcasm). We don’t even play trance at all. We wouldn’t call ourselves the kings of that. We always laugh whenever we play a completely non-trancey song; we always look at each other and (jokingly) say “Vocal Trance mash-up”. We were listening to our tracks before, and after the show and we were like, “It doesn’t really fit.” (with vocal trance).
TU: Was it your decision then?
Shane: It was a mutual decision. They said it would go better in Club Sounds, and we were like, “Yes!” faster than you could say “Indiana Jones”.
TU: Did Above & Beyond’s move have any influence over this decision?
Shane: It wasn’t like that; when you finally get to DI [Digitally Imported] you don’t jump around. It was their idea, and we thought it was good because we thought it was a little out of place on the Vocal Trance channel.
TU: So the next question dealt with Myon a little more, after your last appearance at Beta Waterloo he tweeted that, 138 BPM trance was un-evolving and dated.
Shane: Because it is to us. We’ve done it for so long. The first remix I dealt with was released in 2000, and uplifting trance was exactly the same as it is now. Fourteen years have passed by, what are we going to do with Uplifting Trance? We’ve pretty much done everything with Uplifting Trance we wanted to. It’s just not as exciting. I’m not saying its bad; But it hasn’t evolved, or moved anywhere where we think it should move to still be exciting. I can imagine for those people hearing it for the first time ever, there are tears from their eyes from the break downs and huge sounds. For us, that’s past tense. We can still understand people and relate to it, we just can’t do it ourselves anymore.
TU: When you were into Uplifting, what would you say your main influences were?
Shane: Ferry Corsten with capital letters! Without Ferry, Trance wouldn’t be what it is today. You can say Tiesto and all the big names, but Ferry Corsten was the guy who did it properly. That’s what got me into trance, back in 1999.
TU: Your Anatomy of a Megamixes have been proven to be quite legendary so far.
Shane: Yes we just finished the third one.
TU: Yea, I saw the tweet!
Shane: It’s been done for 4 weeks but all the hotels’ internet is so shitty I can’t upload it! It’s 10.5 Gbs and I can’t upload it on Youtube! It’s been finished for 4 weeks. It takes about 8-10 hours depending on the connection. The only hotel which had a fast speed had a bad connection; it didn’t last for longer than one hour.
TU: So the next part to that question is when can we expect it to come out?
Shane: Any moment! Whenever the hotel internet allows me. I am going to spend a few days in Orlando, so I hope I can get to some places where I can find some proper internet. If I can’t do it during the tour, then it’ll be around March 5th, when we get home.
The third instalment of Anatomy Of A Mega Mix
TU: So I know it was delayed due to chicken pox and the flu, normally how long would a Megamix take you guys?
Shane: Making a Megamix takes about 4 months of preparation. We usually go through the whole year, highlighting tracks so we might as well be starting in November for next years’ Megamix. The actual mixing takes about 3 days but those 3 days are 22 hours a day and we use 300-400 songs. We just scrap the ones that just don’t fit. We don’t really have a concept of how it’s going to be. It’s usually at 20 minutes that’s when we have our first problem, when we hit the wall. We have to figure something out, and if we can get around the first 20 minutes, the next one is at 45 minutes. If we can pass 45 minutes, we’re done. It’s fun to fit so many tracks in an hour. We enjoy it and we basically make it for ourselves to have an homage for the year.
TU: So Myon has quite the fascination with Batman? For yourself do you have a favourite superhero?
Shane: I am Spider-man and Star Wars! I live and breathe Star Wars. I’m not ashamed about it. Darth Vader is the man, probably not the best family man. James Earl Jones was recently on Big Bang Theory and if I was Sheldon I would have gone down on my knees and bowed. James Earl Jones has the best quality voice in the universe. So yea, we are superhero guys. I have the first Hungarian published Spider-man comic books. I have a friend, an ex classmate, who deals in books and stuff, and I brought him a hundred comic books and got them combined into giant hard cover books and they’re sitting on my shelf.
TU: One final question, can we expect an artist album from you guys?
Shane: Yes you can but I have no idea when. We have a lot of songs already done but it’s not finished. The way we work is that we start with the song itself. We like to build the tracks around the vocals so the vocals have space. If you have music and you throw vocals on top, there’s no space for it. The vocals are the most important part. Who cares about the bass drum? We care a bit but the bass drum is the least important part.
TU: We’re glad to hear that you’re planning an artist album.
Shane: It probably won’t be ready this year. We have about 17 songs but some of them are really crappy. When you have an album to make, you always have to a little overhead because you don’t want to write 10 songs for an album and figure out 2 years later 4 of them were crap. You want to have 14-17 songs and throw out a few. You can still release those other songs since they might not necessarily fit the album or they may simply be pure crap. Not everyone writes good songs all the time.
TU: Where does the 54 come from?
Shane: Just watch the movie “54” and you’ll know.
A summary of all the main points:
- The most memorable gig of their Heart Beat NA Tour, was Seattle. The crowd in Seattle was a huge surprise for them. It might have been due to the Seahawks winning the Super Bowl a couple days earlier, but they certainly left an impression; the fans partied like it was the end of the world.
- The idea of collaboration with Late Night Alumni for “Under Your Cloud”, came from MS54 right after they finished a remix of the groups track “Every Breath is Like a Heartbeat”.
- Their move from Vocal Trance to Club Sounds was a mutual decision between them and Digitally Imported Radio. Many would categorize them as Vocal Trance, however they personally didn’t identify with that genre so the move definitely made sense.
- They no longer find Uplifting Trance appealing. They can still relate to the genre, but they have moved on from producing it any further.
- Ferry Corsten was Shane’s biggest Trance influence
- Their Megamixes take months of preparation, and three solid days to mix together. Their 2013 mix was delayed due to sickness, and even when it was finished, uploading it was further delayed due to shoddy hotel internet.
- They have enough tracks for an artist album but they personally don’t think all the tracks are good enough. They will probably get one out eventually but most likely not this year.
Interview conducted by Nelson Lung