Forward Planning: Richard Sen Talks To Lo Shea

Two longstanding figures from within British electronic music talk shop.

Forward Planning: Richard Sen Talks To Lo Shea

Two longstanding figures from within British electronic music talk shop.

Longevity can be a fickle foe, one minute you are up, the next you are down. Remaining relevant in an ever changing space is a daunting and difficult task. However for those who are able to attain such legacy a world of opportunity and excitement awaits. 

Richard Sen and Lo Shea are two prominent figures amidst dance and electronic music in the United Kingdom and beyond - they have been for many years. Each has ventured upon a different path but somehow they have managed to ride the wave and their musical careers are blooming with life as a result. 

Richard Sen is an iconic staple of British dance music: since 1997 his music has been released on the likes of Heavenly, Endless Flight, Marble Bar, Distance, Emotional Especial and Firehouse. His career has been a reflective insight into the changing face of electronic music within this country across decades. 

Meanwhile Lo Shea has worked tirelessly as a disc jockey and curator across many years. As the founder of No Bounds festival he has played a fundamental role in showcasing new and upcoming talent on a huge platform with the likes of Gesloten Cirkel, Demdike Stare, Object Blue, Dj Storm and Adrian Sherwood all having graced the event in recent years. 

As a disc jockey and producer he has played at the likes of Berghain, fabric and beyond whilst his own productions have featured on 17 Steps and Dext Recordings. 

Tomorrow night the pair will play in London at Grow in Tottenham, Richard Sen interviews Lo Shea below. 

How has 2018 been for you and what have you been up to this year?

It’s been amazing. Loads of great shows at Hope Works and a full year building up to No Bounds Festival, which was a great success and a really encouraging step forward from year one. I’ve played Houghton and went on tour with Dusky supporting my release on 17 Steps earlier this year too.
No Bounds music festival was a massive success. 

What is the ethos of the festival and what was the highlight of the event for you?

The ethos is about freedom at its heart. It’s subversive, diverse, multicultural and multi-dimensional in its approach to the communication of ideas. “Hybrid Britain” was a theme this year in which we explored how much better this country is for the continual waves of immigration enriching our culture, especially music culture. Joe Muggs interviewed our Lord Mayor Magic Magid with Adrian Sherwood dubbing out the conversation exploring this topic. It was a wonderful way of approaching this subject… literally a conversation in dub. We are exploring many things with No Bounds, but importantly we are creating the space where ideas can grow, and questions asked in a space that we create for the festival, an environment that represents new visions for the future.

Sheffield has a rich music heritage, are there any artists from Sheffield that have inspired you? Or, who are the artists and DJs that you have been inspired by?

LOADS. Clock DVA, The Human League, Cabaret Voltaire, Heaven 17, Chakk, DJ Parrot, Forgemasters, The Black Dog, Warp Records, Mark Fell, Winston Hazel, Rob Gordon and RAC are all part of my schooling here in Sheffield. The Artificial intelligence era of Warp was a major thing for me as I came here in 1991 and before this I didn’t experience all of it first hand, some of Sheffield’s heritage I have explored in retrospect, and had an amazing time discovering so much in the process. In modern times that evolved into seeing Basline emerge via Niche, Toddla T, all the crew at Off Me Nut Records and right up to the present day with artists like Coco doing great work in the grime zone. That’s just electronic music… In the live arena we have an amazing amount of talent in Sheffield from The Arctic Monkeys, Pulp, Richard Hawley, Drenge and Pink Grease to Steve Edward. Then there’s improv and free jazz with Martin Archer, Mick Beck and so many others doing amazing stuff. It goes on.

Worldwide my inspirations come from every corner of the planet. I have a global view but as an artist it tends to always be focusing through the lens of UK hybrid music strains. I’m from here and it always bleeds out through my music. I was originally a drum n bass artist and the influence of jungle and D n B often pokes through my productions. I’m a child of the Rave generation and this culture, from a UK perspective has always fed my work. I increasingly love the global, stateless nature of electronic music and its culture though, so for me now my influences and loves range from Mexico to Scandinavia via India, Africa and Japan to name a few. I love the new hybrids and increased accessibility to music outside of traditional norms. It’s a great time.

When did you start making music and DJing and why?

Mid 1990’s. Because my friends suggested I might be good at it. I’m so into music they thought I should have a go. My mate ran a night at The Arches in Sheffield called No Logic. It was a techno night with an upstairs room that was a real musical playground. I started there with a varied pallet from Aphex twin to Dillinja via Speedy J and Autechre.

What do you consider to be your finest musical achievement?

That’s tricky, depends how you define “finest”. Rather than thinking in absolutes, it’s perhaps better for me to think of a notable moment in a series of great adventures. Maybe writing my first album as a solo artist (something very few people probably ever heard). I wrote and produced a maximalist album that was somewhere between the Prodigy and Queens of the Stone Age. I wrote, sang, played everything and performed it with loads of motion graphic video work I did too. Talk about self-indulgent! It was an important stepping stone on my life journey though. I define it as a success as I actually did it and toured it for a while before stopping and doing something totally different. It made me go deeper than I’ve ever been into production as well as songwriting. That was something I’ll never forget.

How would you describe your sound?

For Lo Shea it’s generally bass heavy experimental body music with a rave culture twisted backbone that embraces elements of industrial, techno and bass music in an idiosyncratic way and a UK slant.

What excites you about the current UK electronic scene?

Diversity and a continually evolving palette that never stands still. There are many great new acts from Giant Swan to Klein via Batu and Lanark Artefax that I’m super excited by. I need to mention people like Ben UFO, Shanti Celeste too - superb DJs. Not just new though, the blossoming of incredible veterans now getting recognition like Steevio & Suzbee through to the brilliant legacy Craig Richards is building. There are so many more, but these are just a few that come to mind, and I limited this to people living in the UK, not UK people now living in Berlin. That might change the list somewhat too!

What do you have planned for the future?  

No Bounds 2019! That’s my next mission - to build on this year’s festival and really grow the seed of this wonderful adventure. That and lots of great shows through the year at Hope Works. It has really established itself as a northern Rave bastion and I want to continue championing this. A space for this in the north! A no bullshit place where you can be free to create new open and diverse cultures on the floor in communion with likeminded adventurers…


Party details can be found HERE

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