Defining a signature Balearic sound, legendary DJ & producer Roger Shah takes uplifting and melodic music to a whole new level. Venturing into his earliest nightlife memories, Shah further explains his early experiences and unveils how he balances his aliases (Roger Shah, Sunlounger). Serving as a dance music veteran, DJ Shah has been producing and DJing for nearly two decades.
Upon releasing his latest Sunlounger project, “Balearic Beauty,” on August 19, Roger Shah further explains “I Just Wanna Dance With You,” and the inspiration behind the track. Find out more about Roger Shah’s musical journey leading up to his most recent release, as well as what’s to come for the DJ/producer in this NightlifePost.com exclusive.
NightlifePost: What do you recall as some of your earliest nightlife memories as a partygoer and as a DJ?
Roger Shah: I went to local clubs, nothing really exciting…at some point I started to become a resident DJ in my hometown in Stuttgart and played seven hour sets every Friday night. I made a name countrywide and signed my first record deals.
N: You've become a groundbreaking DJ who's created their own genre of trance music while gaining tremendous appreciation from those like Armin van Buuren, OceanLab and Tiesto. How do you find a balance between transitioning between your different styles and aliases?
Shah: I'm still trying to find the balance haha. I just like to make music. Since I listen to so many different genres, I also enjoy to work on different projects from house to trance, classical orchestra music to rock, but of course also on my beloved so called Balearic music with my big Sunlounger project under whom I just released my new album called “Balearic Beauty.”
N: This has been a highly anticipated album after 3 years. Your inspiration must stem from the same roots. With such a strong connection to the Mediterranean/Balearic region, what is it that inspires you to create such melodic tones?
Shah: I think I just love melodic music, even if I play much more banging in my DJ sets, I think every track still has a great melody. So for this album, since it's my first album in 3 years, I just wanted to step into the footsteps of the very first Sunlounger album – “Another Day on the Terrace,” which has been so chill that it was hard to play it in the clubs. With this new album I wanted to create another album for pure listening pleasure. I kept all the trademark sounds with all the Balearic guitars, but also some ethane and world music influences.
N: "I Just Wanna Dance With You" off of your new album has a hint of reggae sound, making it standout. Do you find yourself exploring new musical styles?
Shah: First of all I'm a music lover myself. If you were to check my iPod, you would be surprised about all the bands you can find on it from Bob Marley to U2, Hans Zimmer music scores, to 80s synth pop, and even going back to the Woodstock era (blush). Kingseyes, the vocalist of "I Just Wanna Dance With You" is a great reggaeton artist and a long time friend of mine and since I love reggae I tried to do a fusion of Sunlounger and some reggae influences. I think that his Caribbean voice fits perfect to the summer mood of the new album.
N: What does it mean to you when you're playing a show as Sunlounger as opposed to Roger Shah?
Shah: I actually never play a Sunlounger only show even though we always receive requests. The Balearic Beauty world tour of course, the main influence of the night will be music from the new album, but I will also play a bit of my current Roger Shah library and highlight tracks from my weekly radio show, since those components are a big part of Roger Shah live as well.
N: Having seen many different places, what would you recall as your most memorable live experience?
Shah: Mexico City is always a special place for me. Something is really different there and my profile is way higher there than in other countries. Just right now my collaboration with Suzie del Vecchio from the Balearic Beauty album made it straight to number #1 in the radio charts of the most important radio station. So, the most memorable gig has been my solo concert in Mexico City where I played a six hour live show including all my singers and my big hits.
N: What has been your favorite city to perform in? Is there a city that you’ve yet to perform in that you would like to?
Shah: Mexico City as mentioned, although there are still so many places I haven't been to. I would love to go to some exotic places like Hawaii or Mauritius to play there and I think my music would even fit perfect to such places, right?
N: Describe your journey throughout your career as you've helped mold Electronic Dance Music.
Shah: Wow, describing my journey of my career would take a full site of space haha! Since I'm in this industry for almost 20 years, I’ve seen so many people come and go, had so many ups and downs, and so, so many different music styles. EDM is under a constant evolution. At the moment we see so many different genres melting together, a big fusion of sound, which I find very interesting, and like to support. It’s good to see that EDM is getting bigger and bigger and that it's about EDM and not sub-genres anymore. Also in lineups, just this year I played along with many big trance DJs, but also house DJs. It’s very interesting to see what will be the next step of the evolution. I just hope and dream to be still there doing my part to support the EDM scene as I’ve been doing now for about two decades.
N: What can you share with NightlifePost regarding what’s to come for Roger Shah in the near future and your plans for the prolonged future?
Shah: You can expect a lot of new music. After I had like two more quiet years, Roger Shah is on full fire again. I’ve just released the new Sunlounger album, but already working on a couple of huge collaborations, and Roger Shah singles. I also do something very interactive where we invite people from around the world to sing along with me on a new single. So, stay in touch under www.facebook.com/rogershahartist or on my website www.rogershah.net to keep yourself updated about all my activities…and I’m going to be very active.
BY: JACQUELINE DELEO, MARK MANCINO