From stunning tunes created in their hometown Montreal in Canada to gigs in Omnia Las Vegas, Tomorrowland, and anywhere you can think of; Sultan + Shepard are forever intertwined with the best electronic music has to offer. Ever since they joined forces in 2002, they’ve been on top of their game, working with world-class artists such as Lady Gaga, Nelly Furtado, Madonna, and Bruno Mars. We can finally welcome them to Armada Music, and we’re glad we got to do a little interview with them.
Hi guys, thanks for taking the time to sit down with us! You’ve just released a brand new Sultan + Shepard tune with Kreesha Turner called ‘Bring Me Back’. Can you tell us something about this collaboration? Where did this dash of brilliance come from?
We met Kreesha through a remix we did of a song by Delerium called ‘Dust in Gravity’ that she was featured on. We fell in love with her voice and we were like, “we have to work with her!” About a year later, she contacted us through Twitter asking for the stems for the remix so she could perform it live. When we found out she was Canadian, it was like instant “oh, we have to hang out!” She came by our studio in Montreal and we became instant friends and started writing music together. Fast forward a few years later, we were all living in LA and we decided to get back in the studio and do something properly, and we made ‘Bring Me Back’. Recording with her is so easy, because her tone is amazing. Her talent is so natural that almost every take she does is worth saving. Plus, we’re good friends. So we have a really fun time writing and recording together.
From the early 2000’s ‘til this very day, you’ve been part of the electronic music industry. Can you tell us how you’ve managed to come up with fresh and innovative tunes time and time again, despite having done so much already?
We always try to move forward and not repeat ourselves, whether that means finding new sounds or just creating new styles. When we started producing, we always liked a lot of different styles: house, trance, progressive, even techno and breaks. And we listen to a lot of different kinds of music outside of electronic stuff as well, for instance hip-hop, r&b, indie, reggae, everything. This means that we can make lots of different types of music, because we’ve always listened to and appreciated different styles. For us, the only thing that matters is that it feels good and feels like something you’ll want to hear for a long time.
You have witnessed the rise of the electronic music industry from the very start. Can you tell us how you feel about the current state it’s in and how you think the industry will or should develop further?
Right now, it’s in an interesting place. It’s gotten bigger than it has ever been before, which is both good and bad. The good thing is that now, at least in North America, it’s finally a real genre. There’s no longer a feeling that a DJ or electronic producer is any less of an artist than a rapper, singer or guitar player from a band. We’re all just making music. Back when we started, we felt like outsiders in the music industry. People came to us if they wanted a remix or to party in cool after-hours clubs, but it wasn’t something a lot of people really understood. Now, people have our music on their phones or Spotify next to huge, amazing artists like Kings of Leon or Kanye. That feels really nice.
On the downside, there’s a lot more people trying to use electronic music to become famous or rich, whether they’re promoters or producers. What people don’t understand about the artists and people organizing events who’ve become successful in the last decade is the amount of time and effort they put into this world for years before this. A lot of people don’t realize all of the hard, unrecognized, countless hours that goes into doing this. Most of the top DJs have years and years of experience, playing small shows and perfecting their craft before there was so much money involved. And most really great festivals and club promoters were doing this out of true passion when it was for just a few hundred people. It’s amazing that it’s grown into something so huge, but true success in this industry only comes to people who are passionate about it. People who are only interested in making a quick buck or having fifteen minutes of fame only hurt the longevity of what the music is about. So for us, the future of the industry lies in people who are truly passionate about living and breathing this music and sharing it with the world. It doesn’t matter if they’re young or old, veteran or up and coming.
You’ve set up your own record label (Harem Records), you’ve collaborated with some of the biggest artists in the world, and you’ve even been nominated for a Grammy with your remix of Bruno Mars – ‘Locked Out Of Heaven’. What is left for you? Where do you still dream of?
There’s so much left to accomplish for us, we feel like we’ve really only touched the tip of our full potential as artists, musicians, and performers. There are so many artists that we’d love to collaborate with. The Weekend, Robyn, and Of Monsters and Men are just a few of our dream collabs and also so many places we want to go with our music. We plan to develop a really great live show sometime in the future that will allow us to jam out a little more. And we want to work with more of the amazing songwriters we’ve met in the last few years. We love being in the studio, trying to find that amazing spark of a song that happens when you work with great people. We can’t do everything at once but we’re going one step at a time in the way that feels natural to us.
Is there anything you’d like to say to the die-hard Sultan + Shepard fans? What can they expect from you in the near future?
To our fans: we are so grateful for your love and support! The love that we get from you guys makes so happy and motivates us even more. You can expect a lot more music from us in the next few months. We promise!