Mediterranean Vibe

13 September 2012 | 6:30 am | Rueben Hale

More at home in front of the decks with his keyboard than behind them, Roger Shah tells Rueben Hale about music, touring and his Balearic trance.

Roger Shah says he is a diverse creature. He doesn't subscribe to a genre necessarily and he tends to do his own thing. It's always been that way and it's hardly surprising that the ultra-talented innovator with a keyboard has remained a crowd favourite and near the top of the DJ polls for many years. “To be honest I have no main influence,” Shah insists on what inspires him. “I listen to so many different genres; from trance to house; from rock to classical scores. In the past years I created this type of Balearic trance vibe which has been kind of unique, but nowadays I developed to a more pumping and clubby sound with a proggy-house touches, but still very melodic.”

Over the years Shah's unique style of DJing has made him iconic. Out front with a keyboard in hand seems to be a very comfortable place for the DJ. This may seem to be an unconventional mould for a trance man but Shah's background gives some indication on his style today. “Before I turned into DJing I played as a keyboarder in a live band at a young age,” says Shah. “After my producer/DJ career became bigger I always saw myself more as a performer than DJ, since I played a high percentage just of my own music. After playing piano at the main Armin Only Imagination Show, I wanted to have some live elements in my own shows, so I started to play my little wireless keyboards. Since I play a wide range of sound nowadays I'm also back a bit into more DJing and playing other people's songs since I don't want to play always my old big hits like a band.”

Shah says he is exploring his roots these days and also taking in some of the new movements in EDM. He says he is particularly fond of the new house. “EDM-wise I like the new progressive house sound which I consider as a development of my Balearic sound, because it has housey beats with melodic/trancey elements, just the beats are more pumping,” says Shah. “I like the fact that there is no barrier between house and trance anymore, my music has always been somewhere in-between, so for me it's a perfect situation that house got more melodic and trance bpm is slowing down. As an artist you try out new things so of course you play along with new sounds. I think the most important thing as an artist is that you have to be happy for yourself in what you are doing and not worry too much what you will read in forums when people hate for trying not to copy yourself again and again.”

It has been a very a busy time for the German DJ with the 2011 release of Shah's second LP Openminded to critical acclaim and followed by a seemingly never-ending tour schedule since then which will see him touring the country this September. “I have an interesting schedule till end of the year, also going to South Africa for the first time in my career,” says Shah. “Music wise I also have a lot of things to come; some collabs, another single from my Openminded album and also a new Sunlounger single called Finca, which is a very nice piano instrumental.”

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Shah also reveals that he is now considering another instalment of the his very popular Magic Island Series. “Just today after receiving a lot of requests I have started to think about doing a Magic Island Vol 4,” says Shah. “I'm even not sure if Armada wants to release a new mix album or not, so you are the first person that I have talked to about this at the moment of doing this interview.”