The legendary producer talks touring, his new label, and hip-hop engineering

DJ Shadow photo
DJ Shadow

DJ Shadow has not forgotten his roots. His current "Renegades of Rhythm" tour with Cut Chemist pays tribute to the pioneering hip-hop DJ Afrika Bambaataa, and two will work from records pulled from Bambaataa's collection of more than 40,000 pieces Tuesday night at the House of Blues. Bambaataa came to the New York stop on the tour, which Shadow considered “incredible validation of the time I’ve spent trying to contribute and learn from the culture.”  

The producer/DJ is currently focused on the tour, but he recently announced his new label--Liquid Amber--and the accompanying Liquid Amber EP. He’s also released a few scattered pieces of music including “90’s Music,” a remix and collaboration with young Los Angeles artist, Salva. As we discussed his work with a young, up-and-coming artist deeply involved in the trap scene, Shadow’s love for the engineering behind electronic music became apparent.

“I like hard beats and clever programming, whether it’s dubstep from the early to mid-2000s or trap, or some newer stuff," he says. "I like when I can sit down and listen to a piece of music and it seems like someone put a lot of energy and effort into it. That’s what always drew me to hip-hop production. That’s what drew me to any type of electronic music that is beats driven.”

It’s an adoration that is unfading. Shadow has recorded a classic album several publications have touted the best of the '90s (... Endtroducing) and has a “Definitive Box Set” of his records available, but Liquid Amber fills a niche for him. "It feels good, like both sides of my personality are working at the same time,” he says. “I’ve always tried to be involved in something worthwhile and forward thinking. If the beat is dope it deserves to be out there.”