The Sound of Garuda: Mixed By Gareth Emery

Shane Halcon - Interview

We Catch up with Shane Halcon, And chat to him about moving to Holland, Managing First State and Playing Cricket...

 01.So, long before DJ’ ing and Dance Music came across your path, you were quite a successful Cricket player… tell us a bit about the transition from Cricket to DJ’ing, Producing and Managing one of Dance music’s Finest Acts came about?
To keep a long story short…I was in the UK in 2004 for my debut international season as a Cricketer, I stumbled across the London clubbing scene. On a rare weekend off, I ended up at a club called Canvas, the lineup on the night was Matt Hardwick, Scott Bond, Paul van Dyk, Eddie Halliwell and Judge Jules.  I was so blown away after the event, that the very next morning , quit cricket and decided that I wanted to be a DJ. Since then I progressed from being a music sales rep, to working in a record store and being a DJ instructor , then moved up to being Label Manager at Sheer Music… and now manage FIRST STATE as well as Co-Own the  umbrella of “FIRST STATE MUSIC” record labels.  While working my way up through the “day jobs”, focused non stop on learning the ins and outs on the performance and production side of the music industry too.

02.Do you still swing a Cricket bat around from time to time…?
The last time I held a cricket bat was around 5 years ago. I gave  Baseball a shot though, just for the hell of it… but leaving a nightclub club at 6am on a Sunday morning to play Baseball the rest of the day… well.. lets just say I spent more time sleeping in the changerooms then actually on the field!!

03.What would we typically find in a teenage “Shane Halcon’s”  Bedroom?
My father and grandfather were in the cinema industry … so I grew up as a huge movie fan. I  collected any merchandise I could find.. Star Wars, Superman, Batman… my room was full of action figures, replicas etc. That, plus all my sports equipment.

04.Now, as far as I know the rest of your family’s last names are “Santos”… Where does Halcon come from?
Well, actually Santos is my mom’s maiden name. Halcon is the Spanish translation of my real name which is a Persian name, which in English translates to “Falcon”.

05.Dance Music in South Africa has a very small yet very dedicated scene, Before being the Artist Manager for First State  you were label manager at Sheer Music in South Africa, getting Artists like Armin Van Buuren & Paul Van Dyk distributed to a market better known for being into “Braaivleis & Rugby” did you find this to be a difficult task or are South Africans broadening their Horizons?
Getting names like Armin and PvD out into the market was never really a problem. They both have huge fan bases in South Africa. But trying to introduce a new artist , or lesser known artist rather, was always a little tricky. But lately, seeing that Dance Music is becoming more a part of Pop-Culture then before, people are definitely expanding their horizons to
the Electronic Dance phenomenon.   

06.Since your days at Sheer , Armada’s rights in the territory have been bought over by Next Music, home to most of South Africa’s pop music, Do you feel they will treat 
Dance Music with the same respect Sheer did?
Yes. I think that Next Music have always been a great label, and they wouldn’t have grown to where they are now if they didn’t handle things in the correct manner. They have some huge Dance releases on the shelves, and ultimately that’s what its all about, getting the numbers. 

07.You’ve recently been back in SA for the closing gig of the legendary Club E.S.P, having been a resident there and catching a lot of your breaks through the Club, what will you miss most about E.S.P if anything? 
ESP was like one big family… the staff, the dj’s , the regular clubbers… I met some amazing people and life-long friends there, and it was a first step towards my “big break” internationally. So I guess theres a lot to miss really.

08.These days you’re based out of Dordrecht in the Netherlands, working as Artist Manager for First State as well as doing quite well as a DJ yourself, what have the biggest changes been in lifestyle since leaping across the ocean?
It’s a huge difference in lifestyle… and I’ve still not completely adjusted yet. Cycling lanes , Reliable public transport, higher taxes, smaller houses, taller people, windmills and dykes , legal marijuana and red light districts … I’m still culture shocked!!  But it’s still the best place to be, I’m only an hour away from one of Europe’s biggest travel hubs (Schipol airport), and from there… getting anywhere in the world is just so easy.

09.How did the management deal with Sander (First State) come about?
In April 2009, I worked with James G and ESP to bring FIRST STATE to play at the Slippery N Wet party. After their tour, I kept in touch with Sander, and we shared similar ideas on the industry, and ultimately we both wanted the same thing. So we discussed the idea of me being his manager ,as well as helping to  set up and run the record labels.

 11.Tell us a bit about “First State Music”?
First State Music is the registered name for the company, which comprises of 3 record labels, namely “First State Music” (Trance), “First State Deep” (Progressive) and “First State House” (House) . We’re a sublabel of Black Hole Recordings, who as you may know, was initially set up by Tiesto.  Our aim is to help promote new and quality releases from established as well as up and coming artists. We already have artists signed up from around the world…. Russia, South Africa, UK, America…  We’ve launched our debut track, Jason van Wyk’s “Dream On” and that’s been receiving some great support from Above and Beyond and Sander van Doorn for starters. We’ve also debuted a new artist on the House label, “Propaganda” and his tunes are doing pretty well on the Progressive House scene too.

12.You’ve also signed a 2 year deal with Menno De Jong’s Intuition recordings, how did this come about?
After spending a few months in studio with First State, I was really inspired to find a new sound for me , and I think I did just that with the tracks “Solid Ground” and “North Gate”.  I’ve always been an admirer of Menno’s work, the Intuition Label and some of the best parties in Holland… the Intuition festivals. I sent Menno samples of the new tracks, and he loved them so much, that he signed them right away and decided that he was gonna hold on to them as exclusives for his new cd compilation. The label are also about building an artist’s profile , so I think I made the right decision.

13.Best gig you’ve played far?
There have been many. But to name some of my favourites… “Nu Wave & Perfecto pres. Paul Oakenfold” , First State @ Slippery N Wet  - April ’09 and my International debut @ Club SE One in London back in ’07. 

14.Worst gig you’ve played?
I was booked for a gig in Plettenberg Bay in May ’09. The “club” I was supposed to play at,
didn’t have a  proper sound system, nor a DJ booth, nor any DJ equipment. Their setup comprised of 2 x hifi speakers from 1981 I guess, 1 LP player , and a Sony “discman” cd player.
The club manager argued that he didn’t know HE was supposed to supply the equipment and blamed my booking agent for not keeping him informed. Yet the club had signed my contract which had my technical rider written into the contract, so he clearly didn’t read what he was signing.
There were people wanting to hear me perform, so I couldn’t let them down. The club had rushed to hire CD players that I could mix off… and I played for a few hours, to the delight of all 20 people that could  bear to stay behind and listen to the distorted speakers that were probably last used when the new Bee-Gee’s LP hit the shelves!!

15.You’ve shared stages with some of the world’s best Artists & DJ’s… who has been your favorite and Why?
Being on the same lineup as Paul Oakenfold was a dream come true. I was listening to Oakey’s tunes before I even knew that HOUSE wasn’t just a thing that you lived in.
Other then that, sharing line ups with First State, Menno de Jong, Jon O’Bir, Jose Amnesia, Lisa Lashes, Armin van Buuren, Kyau & Albert  and so many more.. there’s just so many great moments and memories.

16.Lastly what does the future look like for Shane Halcon?
For the near future, I’ve got my debut EP coming up soon , and I’ve got a few great gigs up ahead… Including the Intuition Sessions Vol. 2 CD launch, which will be at the biggest Electronic Music Festival around, the Amsterdam Dance Event.
And for the foreseeable future, I’m aiming to pump out the releases, build the record label, and try to squeeze some big remixes too. We’ll just have to wait and see I guess.



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