Alternative Jungle Interview: 5 Minutes with Shadow Child

Alternative Jungle Interview: 5 Minutes with Shadow Child

Ahead of his exclusive 92-95 Jungle/Hardcore Set at Fabric this Friday alongside Hospital Records and nomadic party crew Jungle Jam, we caught up with producer and DJ Simon Neale for an alternative Jungle interview. Simon has had huge successes in the industry under his alias Dave Spoon and more recently Shadow Child. Having set up his own record label Food Music alongside Kry Wolf, we delved deeper into Simon’s history with Jungle music and found out more about how he got into the scene!

Shadow Child – The Only One >


First, thanks for taking your time out to speak with us Simon! Summer festival season is fully underway and as I can imagine it’s a hectic one for you. Fabric aside, which festivals are you most looking forward to this season?

No worries. I’ve literally just got through the door from Glastonbury which was wicked – playing the sun-up set on Saturday morning with Dusky. I’m looking forward to Beat Herder too, it’s more of a boutique festival from what I know. It’s got a great line up with Jackmaster and Skream onboard too. Sometimes the smaller ones are the best vibes.


So, we’ve seen releases under the alias Dave Spoon from as early as 2004 but I understand you were producing a while before then. How did you originally get into producing music and how old were you?

I was lucky – at the age of 11 I went to a secondary school which invested in music technology. That’s not unusual these days but in 89 it was extremely rare. You might find a few recorders, trumpets and a tambourine, but no iMac’s with Ableton like now, it was a different world. Around that time I’d already been into artists like Bomb the Bass – sample heavy hip-house – so you can imagine how hearing early breakbeat driven Rave and Hardcore grabbed me. I had no idea where to get samples back then, so I’d go into school with rave tapes and sample drum loops into the Akai and make my own tunes with an Atari ST. I met Liam Howlett around then and we kept in touch for a bit which was mad. It made everything real for me meeting someone from a similar background, especially doing what he was doing with The Prodigy. I never knew about DJing until I left school in 93, via my mates neighbour. By then I’d bought some records and plucked up the courage to go and knock his door to ask for a go on his decks. That’s the moment I caught the bug playing Hardcore and Jungle.



Although your alias’s Shadow Child and Dave Spoon aren’t necessarily synonymous to Jungle, like many producers of your generation you were brought up listening to the original Jungle and Hardcore sounds. What are some of your fondest memories from the early Jungle scene?

I was so deep into the music, I wasn’t even partying really. I mean I used to have a smoke with friends and play the music with them, but I was never in the rave every weekend, just here and there. I was obsessed with how to create. DJing was fun and taught me a lot but it was all about making my own music. I just remember hearing so many tunes for the first time, and knowing what an impact they’d have for generations. Everything from Zero B "Lock Up” in 91 to Origin Unknown in 93… then Goldie’s Timeless album seemed to take everything somewhere beyond what was thinkable in 95. I admit that when it got very 2-steppy and programmed, I fell out of love with it. It was the breakbeat thing I loved so much.


As tricky as this may be, can you name your three favourite Jungle/DnB releases of all time?

DJ Nut Nut “The Rumble” (Boom Shaka Mix) >

Q-Project “Champion Sound (Alliance Remix) >

Photek “Water Margin” >


We absolutely loved the preview set the other week when you went through some of your old-school and newer tunes. Are you going to be going through the tunes chronologically on Friday, starting with Hardcore and moving on to newer DnB or will you be taking us on a different journey during your set?

Thanks. I’ll probably do that again before Friday if I can. I’ll just be working through the tempos. I’m going to be like a fish up a tree really. I’m only used to playing house and techno in the club. Although I can play all this stuff well enough it’ll be a different vibe in the moment. I need to be ready to adapt but I’m sure crowd will go with me, well I hope so anyways! I’m not taking it too seriously, it’s got to be fun. It’s also 100% vinyl, it’s never right to play this music off usb, especially not in Fabric of all places!

Drumsound & Bassline Smith – Through the Night (Shadow Child Remix) >


As someone who grew up listening to your productions as Shadow Child during my mid-teens, I have come to recognise you and other similar artists like DJ Zinc for your more recent house-style productions. DJ Zinc has produced some recent drum and bass under his alias Dope Skillz. Can we rule-out any Jungle drum and bass productions from you going forward?

Never rule that out! I have a project with S.P.Y where we’ve made some house-tempo breakbeat stuff. We’re definitely going to do more and it’ll probably be full on DnB next time. I love the stripped back stuff, S.P.Y is known for his huge productions but Code 23 isn’t about that. Watch this space.


I’m loving the recent stuff you’ve been putting out and have been following the Food Music label you’re running along with Kry Wolf. What’s next in the pipeline on that side of things?

Thanks man. We’ve been picking stuff from younger up and coming artists again actually. There’s a few to come from me also. My album remixes are coming, plus a couple of other new releases. I was thinking of putting them on other labels but I’m in limbo with that idea. It’s great that the label goes from strength to strength, I love breaking new talent.


Finally, back to Fabric this Friday, Hospital and Jungle Jam have pulled out all the stops with this line up. Out of the other artists on the line up whose set are you most looking forward to and why?

It has to be Bukem really. I’ve never caught him live before and he’s obviously one of the true innovators. It’s a privilege sharing the line-up with all the names on board, but Bukem is definitely the one.



Catch Shadow Child at Fabric this Friday alongside S.P.Y, Nu:Logic, LTJ Bukem, DLR and Anile in Room 01 for Hospital Records x Fabric Live takeover. In Room 02 catch Jungle heavyweights and Leeds party crew Jungle Jam with an equally massive line up featuring General Levy (Live), Benny Page, Kenny Ken, Randall, Potential Badboy and the Jungle Jam residents Defacto and Shock. GQ, Lowqui and Anile takeover mic duties for Hospital whilst Jungle Royalty The Ragga Twins, Fearless and Navigator host Room 02 with Jungle Jam residents MC D Low and Double Gee. This one is set to be one of the biggest parties of the year, do not miss out!

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