Before his set on the Heavy Bass Champions stage at MADE Birmingham 2016, I managed to have a lovely sit down and chat with one of the linchpins in Birmingham’s music scene –Tom Shorterz. Shorterz has been doing the rounds for a good ten years now and is one of the most established DJs in the Midlands. I caught up with him and spoke about MADE, festivals, new releases and err, mince pies?
So you’ve made quite a name for yourself in Birmingham, what’s it like to be back at MADE?
TS: I think it’s always good to play on your home turf but it’s extra special at MADE because the amount of effort that the organisers have gone to. For example, the Heavy Bass Champions stage that I’m playing on, it’s probably the best stage I’ve seen here and I’ve been knocking about a good ten years now. To play when they’ve put this much effort into it means so much more to me.
Do you believe that MADE just shows how far the dance/house/bass scene has come in Birmingham with a lot of young producers/artists/promoters now doing their thing in the second city?
TS: Someone once said to me when I first started coming out that no one will EVER go to Birmingham. If people are from London they’ll drive straight through to Manchester and if they’re from Manchester they’ll drive straight through to London. Now, I finally feel that ravers are stopping in the Midlands and especially Birmingham. I think that all the promoters as a collective, from house, techno, bass and garage have all made this happen. Birmingham is now firmly on the map.
How different do you feel MADE is in comparison to playing your usual shows in Birmingham? (02:31, Seedy Sonics, S.O.U.P)
TS: MADE has everything and anything. For example, you’ve got Andy C then Boddika and Dusky so they’re ticking all the techno boxes. Where 02:31 is a bit more house and bass orientated and the Rainbow nights are a little bit more techno based, MADE is a more complete package.
Which do you prefer?
TS: (Laughing) My own nights. Probably 02:31 because I created it and it is something I’m immensely proud of. However, any night at the Rainbow I enjoy. Whether there are 50 or 1000 people there – I’ll still play it and enjoy it.
I know some artists aren’t a fan of playing festivals and prefer to play gigs like the above-mentioned. What’s your stance on things?
TS: No matter where it is, I prefer intimate gigs and that’s not something you commonly come across at most festivals. Festivals can be amazing though, you get the chance to see so many people – like today, I’m completely spoilt for choice!
Do you have a favourite festival? Whether that’s as a festival goer or as a performer.
TS: Ooooooh, that’s a tough one, it really is. Lost & Found this year in Matla – that was absolutely amazing. Again, they had everything from bass, house, garage, techno and its was anyone and everyone there.
Now if you thought that was a hard question then this one is sure to get the cogs turning. If you could pick any three festival headliners, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
TS: Bloody hell. Ermm, I’ll go with Todd Edwards. He’s someone I grew up listening to. Second is a lady called Ellen Allien who formed BPitch Control. She plays such a wide range of music. And someone who is doing the rounds now…(laughing) this is a fucking hard question Matt. It’s got to be Hannah Wants just because she represents Birmingham and every time she plays I sense that Birmingham style.
Any plans for the near future?
TS: I’ve got a release coming out on Lobster Boy and that one’s called ‘Don’t Stop’ and I’m currently working on the B-side for that. I’m also playing at the Warehouse Project in October and we’ve got the big one which is 02:31’s 5th birthday party which is going to be absolutely massive. And of course, Christmas – I’m going to be eating so many mince pies.