The Aston Shuffle
The Aston Shuffle are officially Australia’s number one DJs, according to the 2010 inthemix50 poll, but if you need any reminding as to why, it’s coming your way in the form of debut album Seventeen Past Midnight next month. Pretty amazing stuff, really, considering it’s taken a mere three years for the Canberra-based duo to get to this point, all the while managing to sway both underground and mainstream audiences in their wake.
“I honestly never, ever would have dreamed in a million years that we would get such an accolade,” says one-half of their pair, Mikah Freeman. “It’s definitely a big deal to take out the [inthemix50] poll, even though it was never our intention to do something like that. We’ve just been very grateful to be able to play music for a living, to have this job is a blessing in itself. At the awards, though, I was so nervous. We get up in front of crowds all the time when we’re playing, but at that moment when we were sitting there at the awards, and they announced our name, I just wanted to throw up! You’ve got to get up and give a speech and stuff, but I was so stoked and grateful and sick and feeling weird at the same time.”
Their new-found title as the nation’s top DJ/producer team has just led to bigger and better things, according to Freeman. After the awards ceremony, Freeman and partner in crime Vance Musgrove received a call from Triple J offering the duo a broadcasting gig each Friday night, something that Freeman says has been a tremendous honour to take up. Welcome to the Friday Night Shuffle…
“That was yet another weird surprise,” laughs the DJ. “They’ve been supportive of us from day one and always played our records, but when they asked us about doing a radio show every Friday night, all I could think was, ‘oh my god, there’s no way I could do this!’ I mean, I was so nervous just to get up for the award so having people listen to my voice all around the country was definitely a little bit intimidating to me. I mean, we’re not the most charismatic guys in the world, like, ‘hey what’s up, you’re listening to Triple J…’ We’ve had no formal training and we had no idea what we were doing, but the show’s approach is not necessarily even about the Aston Shuffle. We’re just there every Friday night curating two hours worth of music that we think is hot for people to hear.”
Thanks to their number one accolade, it’s safe to say the general public trusts Freeman and Musgrove in their musical taste and selection. With the upcoming release of their debut long-player Seventeen Past Midnight, Freeman admits he has no idea where the duo will find the time to meet all of their commitments.
“It’s literally all systems go right now,” he confesses. “We’re also working on some remixes on top of everything else. The only good thing is that we’re going overseas for a holiday so hopefully we’ll have time to chill out and soak all of this in properly. To be honest, I think our manager wants us to start our second album already! We always envisioned that we might do an album one day, but we never had the opportunity until now and we just weren’t quite ready. It took us a long time to realise where we wanted to go in terms of direction and story, so we weren’t about to do an album without clearly identifying that. Looking back, we could have done a lot of things differently, but I’m still happy and excited with the outcome.”
And so he should be – recently the single Your Love from Seventeen Past Midnight has already been causing sparks across national airwaves, and given Freeman all the more reason to get excited about upcoming nu-electroclash follow-up, Start Again.
“I’m especially happy that the songs turned out great because we really had no idea what we were doing at first,” laughs Freeman. “When you first talk about doing an album, it’s like, ‘yeah, yeah, no worries, we’ll be fine,’ but then it comes to that time and you realise you really don’t even know how to start the process. We wrote demos which were just sort of sketches of what we wanted out of a track, then we’d flesh out the idea with more layers until a song felt complete. The thing that I’m most proud of is that even if you hear each of the songs individually, you can still tell that it’s an ‘Aston record. It’s really filled with hooks and the vocals always make the hairs on my neck stand up. My favourite song is hands-down Into Forever, because the vocals in that are really taken up a few notches and it’s also the last song we worked on, so it’s the freshest in my mind.”
THE ASTON SHUFFLE are currently touring Australia and will land in Melbourne for a show at the After Dark Social Club this Saturday April 9, and will return for the Groovin’ The Moo festival in Bendigo in May. Their debut album, Seventeen Past Midnight, will be released on April 15 through Ministry Of Sound.