The Canadian based, dynamic duo, Sultan + Shepard, recently took some time out of their busy schedule to chat to us here at the SPG about their huge summer of music. From the glitz of Vegas, right through to how they became renowned EDM Stars, here is what they had to say…
Hi Guys! You’re now in your thirteenth year of being established! That’s fantastic, how is everything going for you both? It’s been going great! Every year is a new experience and it’s been quite a journey seeing how the scene has changed over the years.
Being active since 2002 is such an achievement! Roughly how many tunes do you reckon you have put together over the years? Way too many to count haha! At least 20 + remixes and about the same number of singles.
We love the track ‘Make Things Right’ over here at the SPG, but what we want to know is, how do you make things right if you ever fall out with someone? Honesty and transparency is the key. You never fall out with someone for no reason. And communication. A lot of the times things erode or break down through a lack of communication rather than some big transgression or argument. If you establish honest and clear communication with people then there’s no reason for things to fall out. Unless you discover that they suck haha.
You guys have got a big June ahead with three gigs in Vegas in the month! What is your favourite thing about Sin City?
The energy and the exposure to thousands of people. Every weekend is different bringing in different people to Vegas from all over the world. And the restaurants are amazing! So much variety and quality.
It’s always been somewhere I’ve wanted to go! Not only that, you’ve got a collab with the Futuristic Polar Bears coming out on the 1st of June, can you tell us a bit about it?
We met the Polar Bears in Amsterdam through a mutual friend from India, Arnold Wilson. We both had toured India at different times and become good friends with Arnold so he introduced us in Amsterdam at ADE two years ago. From there we kept in touch and ran ideas back and forth till we decided on one we both loved…..voila Manila!
And who would win in a ‘Who can play the longest set’ battle between you and the FPB?
We love those dudes but I would have to say us! Back in the day we used to play 8 hour sets easily!
Do you guys have any pre-set routines that you do? Some people are quite superstitious when it comes to their schedule. A glass of champagne for Sultan and a shot of Tequila for Ned is usually the first step, after that anything goes!
Aside from music, you originated in Montreal, Canada. The country seems to be the place for up and coming talent today with the likes of Drake, Justin Bieber, The Weeknd and PARTYNEXTDOOR, but who would you most like to collaborate with from the nation?
There’s so many great Canadian artists, especially in the indie world. It was awesome to work with our friends Tegan & Sara as they were definitely on that list, and we have a new song upcoming with fellow Canadian Kreesha Turner who is amazing. We also love the Arcade Fire, Kiesza, Feist, Emily Haines from Metric and K-os.
We also read that, Sultan, you lived in many different places on your journey to Canada, including Kuwait, Cyprus and Egypt. Have you got any exciting stories from your travels?
I think the most memorable were probably the moments I left Kuwait during the Iraqi invasion in the first Gulf War and being in Egypt to experience the first revolution ousting Mubarak from power.
Originally you set out to study business and mechanical engineering in Canada, but wound up in music! What was it that made you decide on the music industry?
Music has always been a hobby of mine. When I was younger I was in rock bands and during university I started Djing for fun. I took a year off after graduating and decided to focus on music and give it a shot. It took more than a year but i realized I could pursue a career doing what i loved most!
Ned, you actually gave Sultan a CD of a demo you’d put together and gave it to him. This forming S+S, did you always want to get into DJ’ing? What made you approach Sultan?
Yeah I loved DJ’ing but I wasn’t really playing anywhere besides my bedroom! But I was producing a lot at the time and always knew that would be the way in. Sultan just had a really great vibe about him and seemed like he would actually listen to it. We ended up becoming great friends instantly so it worked out even better than I thought but it also reminded me that you never know what’s going to happen unless you just go for it.
What advice would you give to any student aspiring to achieve their goals today?
Be yourself. Look at what’s happened before you and think about what’s never been done and find your place that feels right for you!
And also, your musical inspirations range from The Chemical Brother to Daft Punk, but as a neutral Canadian duo, who does EDM better? The UK or the USA?
They feed off each other. When something gets big in the US, it moves to the UK and they find a way to flip it and make it cooler and then it comes back to the US and people here are like, “that’s dope! Why didn’t we think of that?!” So it’s really a nice symbiotic relationship.
So, thirteen years in, 560,000+ Facebook likes and a great collection of tunes, do you see yourselves still mastering the decks in ten years to come?
Yeah definitely as long as we are still having a great time!
Thanks guys, it’s been a real pleasure chatting with you both and I wish you all the best for the near future and I can’t wait for Manila to be released! Speak to you soon.
Sultan + Shepard VS Futuristic Polar Bears – Manila is out JUNE 1st on Harem Records