What was on your mind when you were recording this mix?
I imagined myself playing a DJ set at Cxema, and I wanted to play some of the music that I’ve been enjoying recently.
Where do you go looking for music nowadays?
I still like to go and listen to records in the shops, but I haven't done it as much in the past few years. I mostly buy online these days, both digital and vinyl. I like to support artists and labels directly. With Bandcamp and Soundcloud, the cool thing is that you can find very talented artists who maybe don't have an opportunity to work with a record label or don't have a chance to do the distribution traditionally. This way, they can release whatever they want any time they want. I think it's cool because it gives everyone a fair opportunity to showcase their music.
Would you say this mix represents the sort of music you usually listen to? It has quite a range, from Speaker Music to Charli XCX.
Yeah, I like to listen to music that comes from different areas and different scenarios. I'm quite open.
Noise, though, seems to be a prevailing direction in your sets as well as productions. Why does it resonate with you so much?
This physical element and undesirable acoustic phenomenon surrounds us in everyday life. It's something people generally see as ugly and annoying. I find it very interesting to sculpt these sounds into something beautiful.
Your latest LP Aesthesis came with a video for the track Blaze that is also quite disturbing. Why did you opt for such a visual?
My music is quite powerful. It’s physical and provocative, so I think it's important to also reflect it in the visual aesthetics. It’s important to transmit certain sensations and emotions so that the visual and the music together can transport you into spaciousness.
You created that video with filmmaker Pedro Maia and performer Aun Helden. What’s your process of working with other artists like?
I like to work with people I'm close with who also have a certain interest in my music. I always say that it's important to have the same ideas on a professional level, but it's also important to have a good connection on a human level with the artists you work with.
Did you know them prior to working together?
I knew Pedro for about two years and I knew some of Helden's work, but I didn't know them personally. Pedro was already in touch with them, so it was mainly an idea of his. They were trying to work on something together for some time, so we thought that Aesthesis was the right project in which to involve Helden as they are also fans of my music.
How closely did you work?
Pedro, of course, discussed some ideas with me, but the main output came from him alone. With the audiovisual show, in particular, I wanted to do something on stage, to stay together, and to create a show so that it's not just me in front of the screen. The whole experience of the show was very strong and people were really focused on the whole thing, not just on me on the stage.
Speaking of that, how did you go about turning the album into the audiovisual show?
We collected different materials — photos, videos, etc — for the whole project. It was the first time Pedro worked in the digital domain because he usually works in analog. He wanted to try something different and something that he thought would fit better with my music because it has a strong, high definition. Pedro wanted to experiment on this project, and he applied the same technique he usually does with film to a different medium. The visual of the show is a mix between creating glitch and error, as well as working with a double screen and modifying my shadow using lights.
What do you mostly see yourself as? A musician, a DJ, a performer?
I started DJing when I was very young, maybe 11–12, when I bought my first turntable. I got into production when I was about 19 or 20. I also studied sound engineering and audio production, so I started working as a sound designer then. My first Shapednoise performances were as a DJ, but after my first album, I decided to play live because people are interested in experiencing your music live. It made sense to have an intense live show and, even, an audiovisual show because I like to work in different spectra.
Did many places in Italy, your home country, exist at the time where you could hone the craft?
Generally, I was mostly DJing at private events with friends because I didn’t like the Sicilian club scene back in the days. So we used to host our own parties and illegal raves to be able to do something different. I only played one or two clubs when I used to live in Milan before moving to Berlin.
What about now? Has it changed much?
I think there's a good crowd of people who are interested in the exceptional side of electronic music, but the problem is that we don't have the right infrastructure. There are almost no venues and no support from the government. Most of the stuff in Sicily happens on the East coast, in cities like Catania. They have a more vibrant nightlife. In Palermo, it lives more on the street. There have been some positive things, especially with Manifesta Biennial, but I don't see this helping develop something that will continue in the future. We had Manifesta and then, one year later, the city went back to how it was before.
Why do you think that was so? What should happen differently?
Maybe that’s because Manifesta was conceived mostly by and for the people that were coming from outside of the city and not for the people of the city itself. I guess what should happen is the continuous support and promotion of the arts in the same way as during Manifesta. Especially, maintaining the infrastructure that Manifesta created.
With your friends from Italy, Ascion and D. Carbone, you co-run two labels called REPITCH and Cosmo Rhythmatic. How would you describe the difference between these two labels?
REPITCH began almost 10 years ago. It was mainly an idea of my partners, Davide and Pasquale, who created the label’s concept. I was living in Milan at the time, and they were talking to me about their ideas, so I decided to join them. REPITCH is focused mainly on club music, and two years after we started the label, I took a different direction with my music. I decided to create Cosmo Rhythmatic to have a more personal platform where I could release music that reflects the noise aesthetics more. This label includes a wide spectrum of music that’s not necessarily for the club or the dance floor and has different influences: rhythmic noise, ambient, drone, etc.
There’s a release coming out on Cosmo Rhythmatic at the end of this month. Could you introduce it?
Yes, it will be out on July 31st. It's a new Shackleton record, this time in collaboration with Polish clarinetist and multi-instrumentalist Wacław Zimpel. It’s a flipped-out mix of Wacław’s avant-garde jazz with Shackleton’s esotericism, which creates new ritual trance music.
Did they come to you already as a project?
Yes, they were already working on it together and asked if I was interested.
To you, is collaborating with someone you’ve known for a long time any different?
I don't think so. If there's a good connection, it doesn't matter.
What’s your advice to artists who’d like to collaborate more?
I always try to make these things happen in the most spontaneous way. But if there's someone you really like, I think there's nothing wrong with trying to connect with them and seeing if they'd be interested in doing something together.