Aptly named musician and DJ Dan Shake has earned a reputation as an international party starter. Having been thrust from behind the scenes into the limelight somewhat prematurely after a chance encounter with Detroit legend Moodymann, Dan (real last name Rose-Weir) spent 6 months teaching himself to DJ and started playing live. The rest, as they say, is history. We caught up with Dan to talk blowing up, slowing down and what’s coming next…
How is Dan Shake, your performance name, different from Daniel Rose-Weir?Good question — they’re actually complete opposites! Dan Shake has a non-stop hectic life who travels endlessly, hardly sleeps and doesn’t stay in one place longer than a day. But then, as soon as he gets home, Daniel appears; a quiet introvert who likes nothing more than sitting by the fire with his dog, eating homegrown food from the garden and being in bed by 10.What was the origin of ‘Shake’?I wish I had a good story here. When I first got signed, I didn’t have a name for myself yet, so when the label asked me what alias they wanted my tracks listed under, I had about a week to decide. Honestly, I just tried combining a bunch of random words with Dan and Shake won.You famously got your big break by handing a demo of 3AM Jazz Club / Thinkin About U to Moodymann, who then featured it on his ongoing project, Mahogani Music. What gave you the idea to give it to him?My wife. Making music had always been a hobby for me, but I was working at Dimensions Festival one year and suddenly had all this proximity to some of my favourite artists. I’d never shared my music before and was reluctant to do it, but my wife burned some CDs and basically pushed me into Moodymann’s path. If it wasn’t for her, I’d probably be a farmer or something.
Did you feel a pressure to deliver on all the hype generated by that release?
Absolutely! I got chucked straight in at the deep end, on a label with artists I massively looked up to. It was amazing but also terrifying. Somehow it’s all managed to come together nicely, though.You seem very attuned to the mood and energy of the crowd when you play, like an artful conductor leading an orchestra. Can you describe that feeling?
An artful conductor, I like that! I guess that’s essentially what DJing is. Just replace the orchestra with a sweaty crowd on drugs. There’s no feeling quite like it (conducting, not drugs). The endless travelling and lack of sleep is what makes it feel like work, but the engagement with the crowd is magic.What are your go-to tracks to instantly elevate a crowd’s mood?
I like my sets to be quite versatile so it completely depends on where I’m playing. But I’ll drop some disco if the crowd start frowning.Do you have any pre- or post- show rituals?
I’m good at hiding it, but I get really nervous before every show, big or small. I usually just sit by myself for 15 minutes beforehand and relax.
What do you like to wear while playing? How do you like to feel?Comfy clothes with a relaxed fit but with some personality and style. That’s probably why I own so much YMC!You’ve become a regular fixture at NYC Downlow, the iconic and gloriously sweaty club inside Glastonbury’s Block9. What is it about that party that makes it so special?
That place really is special. I think it’s partly because everyone has to wait a year to go. The atmosphere in there is like nowhere else. I feel very lucky to have played the Meat Rack a few times now.You’ve been touring pretty relentlessly for the past few years. Which city has the wildest crowds?
People ask me this a lot, and there’s no easy answer. I love Japanese crowds because they’re super respectful and, when the party’s good, super wild. Beirut has a really beautiful and unforgettable music scene. Then the Irish don’t fuck about — you physically can’t have a bad time there! There are too many choices.How do you retain your sanity when on the road for long stretches of time?
Sleep every second I can. Noise cancelling headphones, a good neck pillow and a blackout eye mask. I’ve gone through so many but have finally found my holy trinity. (Hit me up if you want the neck pillow recommendations!)
How do you maintain a balance between touring and making time to work on your own music?For the last few months I haven’t had a chance to do anything but tour. Which I love, but does mean I’m pining for a bit of downtime, to crack on with some music.How did Covid-19 and the ensuing lockdowns impact the way you lived and worked?Honestly, changed my life for the better! I had been planning to buy somewhere in London, but then someone ate a bat and lockdown happened. We decided to get out and move somewhere completely remote for a while, which ended up being Devon (where these photos were taken).We fell completely in love with it and never left. We essentially live on a patch of land between farms, with no neighbours in sight. We grow our own food and essentially feel like we’re retired. I feel very lucky to have that freedom.
Do you have any dream collaborators?There are a few names, yes…
I like the idea of working with someone outside of the electronic music scene; an unexpected pairing, like how Floating Points and Pharoah Sanders created that insanely beautiful album, Promises.Tell us about your new BBC Radio 1 residency?
I take over the airways every Thursday in August, from 11 to 12pm! Each show will have a different theme, exploring different musical chapters in my life within the electronic music sphere. The first is going to be ‘House Party Essentials’.Finally, we ask all of our Journal interviewees to complete the following phrase:
You Must Create… Homemade pesto