On The Road with Shiba San [Interview]

When We Dip Features Shiba San in an interview in San Fransisco

"Shiba San is no stranger to a good party- he’s been DJing them for over 15 years. From his roots as a hip-hop DJ in Paris to his work with Dirtybird Records and Coyu’s Suara label, the French Tech House/ G-house producer is all set for another packed summer of delivering top of the end songs to soundtrack some of the hottest parties worldwide. When We Dip caught up with Shiba San last Sunday as he kicked off the summer poolside concert series in San Francisco’s famous Phoenix Hotel.

The last time Shiba San played in San Francisco, it was during the winter for New Year’s Eve, at the club 1015 Folsom, a much different experience from being poolside under the sun. Shiba expressed his excitement to be back when he mentioned, “I come to SF often to play at clubs. It’s awesome to come back for an outdoor show. Pool parties are more friendly, you can easily meet more fans.”

From a personal standpoint, It’s true, the poolside DJ booth at the Phoenix is a very inclusive affair. At times, it felt like a raging house party- where your buddy just happens to be one of the most booty-bouncing tech house DJs on the scene. Shiba even invited party-goers dressed as mermaids and lifeguards to jump up behind the booth and get the crowd going. After the show, he was inundated with fans looking to trade hugs for polaroid photos.

Shiba has been feeling the love from crowds all across the U.S. He’s currently in the middle of a series of club residencies across the states including multiple stops in Los Angeles, Brooklyn and Chicago. He’s had a great time at every stop, although you can catch him playing favorites on the West Coast.

“I love all the cities in the USA, I’ve never been disappointed.” Shiba says. “But California’s crowd is crazy – maybe because of Dirtybird. I usually play bigger clubs in Cali than other states. And my first festival in the USA was Hard Summer so it means a lot for me.”

Claude Von Stroke’s Dirtybird Records has also been kicking off the summer in tried-and-true fashion with their famous BBQ tour – a multi-city party where each stop features a different delicious assortment of both BBQ food and the best of the Dirtybird Players. Shiba San joined the BBQ tour in Las Vegas which was the first time Dirtybird has brought the crew to play there. Shiba predicted a success saying: “The last time I played Vegas it was an insane, sold out show with 1500 people. The local people are waiting for this music. Dirtybird BBQs are my favorite. It’s amazing to be all together and play the Dirtybird sound with all Dirtybird’s fans. It’s something special.”

The Dirtybird BBQ certainly succeeded in making a splash in Vegas last weekend. Praise was high from fans on the facebook event page for production company Collective Zoo’s success in transforming the Downtown Las Vegas Convention Center into a “Casino Beach”, a venue complete with a 200 person wading pool, 25-foot water slide and dancefloor sprinklers to keep partiers cool. Will the BBQ be back next year? Only time will tell.

Shiba San also has a track on “Secret Recipes” – this year’s Dirtybird BBQ Compilation: “Don’t Hate Me”, produced with Will Clarke. Shiba and Clarke previously collaborated on the 2016 release “Give It To Me” and Shiba was excited to collaborate again, saying: “Will, I love to work with him. Together we get a sound that we don’t have individually. Each time we work together, we do it. Unfortunately our schedules are not often in our favor. [For “Don’t Hate Me”] Will came to Paris to play a show with me at Faust. He came the day before and we spent time in my studio to this track and then we played it at Faust. We’re so happy to release it on Dirtybird!”

Will Clarke and Shiba San certainly do go well together. Their thick infectious beats and irreverent vocal samples make for high energy house music that can kick any set into a raucous fresh gear.

Speaking of Dirtybird BBQ Compilations, Shiba San’s massive hit “Okay” came out on the 2014 edition, eventually climbing to the top of the Beatport House Chart and grabbing the #4 spot in its overall rankings. Looking back three years ago, how has his relationship with the song changed? Shiba told Dancing Astronaut last year: “I can’t stop playing [Okay]; if I do, my fans will kill me.” Does he still feel that way?

“Ahh true!” he laughs at the quote. “[I’m] still playing it, but I made an edit for the Do Lab at Coachella and now I will play this edit. Music changes, style changes, you always have to find new ideas, a new sound. I think I have a different sound from 3 years ago but I try to keep Shiba Vibe. That’s not easy, but I work hard for it.”

He certainly does. Shiba San dropped the fresh edit and the crowd of sunburnt pool partiers went wild. As of right now the edit seems to be staying unreleased, so you’ll have to catch it in person and in the meantime enjoy the classic.

What about music beyond house and electronic – what does he love to listen to? “Ahah that’s a great question. I spend my time making 60’s R&B and 70s Soul playlists.” Shiba admits. “I don’t know why but I need to listen to this music at the moment. It gives me inspiration and happiness, but I wouldn’t play it in a set.” As for his hip-hop roots – he knows unfortunately some of his favorites don’t make it to the setlist either. “The actual hiphop [I love] can’t be played as a DJ – it’s very soft – but Iove. The classics I love are from DJ Premier, Pete Rock and all of the early 2000 period.”

Shiba San will be all over the states this year – even back in San Francisco in October. Check out the rest of his residencies as well as festival dates in London, Ibiza and Canada on his Official Website Tour Dates .

Liliana Silva is a freelance contributor from San Francisco, California. When she’s not tearing up a dance floor you can find her road-tripping on the California coast, furiously reading science fiction novels and questing for the World’s Greatest Breakfast Burrito. Follow along with her adventures on instagram @lilsagnaa !"

His latest release, “Drop It” out last March on Basement Leak.