Shiffer, real name Patrik Schifferle is the latest prodigy picked up and supported by Innervisions, Dixon & Ame. Residing in Basel, Shiffer has begun to develop a reputation for producing tracks that are as melodic as they are emotional. His most recent release, ‘Magnum’ is out on the highly respected Secret Weapons VA while Shiffer has also featured on Adriatiques, Siamese label.
As part of our Introducing series, we sat down with Shiffer to discuss his inner world and life as an artist breaking through in a highly competitive scene.
Your current base Basel is not considered one of dance music’s destination cities. Can you tell us what the electronic scene in Basel is like and about the wider Swiss scene in general?
First of all, thank you for having me on board for this interview.
I have to disagree with that. For such a small city we have a large music scene. Basel is known as, “The city of museums.” It is a melting pot for art in general mostly in part to its geographical location. We are lucky as we are located between three boarders, (Switzerland, Germany & France).
As a city, we have some very famous clubs known across the whole of Europe. Nordstern, Elysia, Das_Viertel are three that spring to mind. As a result, we have huge line ups every week. The city used to have a very strong reputation in electronic music around 20 years ago. This is probably what was responsible for giving me my early taste for house and techno. Unfortunately, the smallness of Switzerland results in a lot of competition and in my opinion, people or clubs don’t work together enough.
Some musicians decide to pursue a career in electronic music from a young age. Others have a ‘light bulb’ moment. When did you decide the life of a DJ & Producer was for you?
I started to DJ 15 years ago (age of 15) and a few years after that I had my first introduction to Logic and producing. Since the very early days, I recognized that I have a lot more fun in the studio than on stage. I think this is one reason why I tend not to DJ as much.
My passion is to work in the studio. I never had this “light bulb” moment. I just spent my entire teenage years engulfed in club culture and electronic music. Unfortunately, it is hard to live on producing music alone so I work as a freelance graphic designer for a few clients. For example I do the artworks for Adriatiques label Siamese.
Your latest release is out on Innervisions increasingly popular Secret Weapons. Can you tell us how you this came about and what it means to be recognised by such a prestigious label?
Four years ago I released on Adriatiques Label ‘Siamese’ and since then that I have met a few other producers and DJs. These connections and relationships encouraged me to reach out and last year I decided to send my productions to Ame & Dixon. The next thing I know, Kristian from Ame just signed “Magnum” two weeks later.
It was almost a dream and life coming full circle. In 2013 I had been at an Innervisions party and been blown away by the creativity and styles of their Dj sets. That was one moment in my life where I knew this was the path I wanted to pursue, therefore when I received the email from Kristian my head was blown. When you are such a big fan of the label anyway it just sends you into a state of shock that they recognise and enjoy your work. Even more, so that they want to sign it fand put their stamp on it.
As your popularity grows so does the number of bookings. Each coming from further afield. Do you think DJ’s have a responsibility to behave in a more eco-conscious way? Travelling to gigs on trains where possible. Plastic free-riders etc?
It is important to realise this is not just the responsibility of DJ’s. All of us have a responsibility here. In my eyes, it is the big festivals that are the biggest problem. However, again it is not just the festivals responsibility to be greener. Across the summer I go to a lot of festivals, and the biggest problem is the ignorance and lack of decency of the festival-goer.
People discard litter everywhere. Leaving their tents and rubbish at the campsite. In my opinion, this shows that people are still lacking education on the topic or too de-sensitised to the issue. To say, “I was drunk and having a good time” is not an excuse. You can still be high, drunk whatever but it does not have to change your values or the decency you show to people.
What has been your favourite gig to date?
I don’t do a lot of gigs as I said before. However, once I played at De Marktkantine in Amsterdam for the Adriatiques Label night. That was pretty intense. I also love the Dutch people in general.
and what has been the most important advice you have been given to succeed in the industry?
Don’t get too hyped over yourself. You must be critical with your work and your surroundings. If you think your tracks are not good enough to challenge the big names in the game then don’t send out any demos. If a Label gets demo tapes from you, they have to be lit. Otherwise, they will stop listening to it. If they receive a lot of average music, then that connection is lost. Be patient. Work hard.
Finally, what do you see as the biggest challenge for young artists trying to breakthrough in the industry?
That’s a hard question. Maybe to get the trust of a big label. For labels in electronic music its hard to sell music on digital and vinyl. So the cost/benefit thing is hard to quantify and labels are afraid of not landing good positions in the charts. This can often be because new artists haven’t got big ranges on Social Media platforms.
Furthermore, the level and amount of good producers and DJ’s is high these days.