Search Menu
Home Latest News Menu

Interview: Shauna

Working Classics Debut Release

  • Laura
  • 26 February 2024
Interview: Shauna

Can you tell us more about the inspiration behind your EP title, "2384"? What made you choose this particular year, and how does it tie into the themes explored in your music?

I had this dream two years ago that was set in 2384. Women were being kidnapped and put into compounds owned by massive corporations, we had no autonomy and weren't allowed to do anything. We couldn't even have notepads and pens - the guards would come and search our dorms everyday. We had lessons where we had to read out scenarios and say why the women in them were bad. Mine was about a girl who went to her mate's house but didn't tell the guards so they could check to see if she was actually going where she said she was. I found out the dream was set in 2384 when one of the teachers handed me a piece of paper that said 'in 2384 women no longer have any rights'. I usually forget dreams a few hours later, it's so strange that this one has stuck with me, especially the date, so I knew I had to do something with it. The tracks on the EP are almost a retaliation to this dystopia. Firstly, they're about freedom, the freedom to dance, to be yourself, to do whatever you like. Secondly, they're made for the dancefloor, the place where I feel most free.

The dystopian world depicted in your EP's title seems hauntingly familiar yet eerily distant. What aspects of contemporary society or personal experiences influenced the creation of this fictional narrative?

I didn't even have to create this narrative, it just came to me in my dream! One of my favourite authors is Octavia Butler and Parable Of The Sower is one of my all time favourite books, so that no doubt that contributed to my dream in some way!

Your description of women's rights being stripped away in the year 2384 is both chilling and thought-provoking. How do you see this narrative reflecting or commenting on current societal issues surrounding gender equality and autonomy?

These dystopian worlds are actually closer than you think. You only have to look in the news and you could argue that we're already living in one. Just the other day Rishi Sunak was making jokes about trans people whilst Brianna Ghey's mother was in parliament. Labour U-turning on their commitment to trans rights, the constant dehumanization of trans people in the media and by the gov. So the whole idea of people having their rights stripped away isn't actually dystopian at all, because it's happening to trans people right now.

In your dream, the protagonists are subjected to oppressive rules and surveillance. How did you translate these themes into the sonic landscape of your EP, both lyrically and musically?

Sonically, the EP is quite dark and unrelenting in its groove (for me anyway), which reflects this oppressive environment of my dream. But at the same time I wanted the EP to be the opposite of that. So, although the production is quite hard-hitting, the tracks are themed around freedom. I wanted the EP to be fun and not take itself too seriously, like the silly ringtone sample on Out Getting Gary, and just make tracks for people to dance and feel free to.

The dream you had seems to have left a lasting impact on you. How did you approach transforming this dream into a cohesive artistic vision, and what challenges did you face during the creative process?

For this particular dream it was quite easy as it's stuck with me. I had the dream 2 years ago but I can still remember everything that happened, which is rare for me. But sometimes I wake up with a melody or an idea for a track that I've had in a dream and it's gone after half an hour. Once I decided I was going to call the EP 2384 I shaped all the songs to be a retaliation to the oppression and lack of freedom I experienced in the dream. Out Getting Gary is about the freedom to do whatever you want, Elektra is about the freedom to be whoever you want, and Mangolicious is about the freedom to dance. I didn't really encounter any challenges, once I'd got past writing the first track (which is always the most difficult for me) everything else just flowed.

Set 2: Shauna's Creative Process and Vision

Your EP "2384" appears to be deeply rooted in a vivid dream you had. Can you elaborate on how you typically draw inspiration from dreams or other subconscious sources, and how this influences your creative process?

This was the first time I've actually taken inspiration from a dream. I dream about music all the time and I'll often wake up with a melody or an idea for a track in my head but I usually lose it. So, it was fun to have this ready-made narrative that I could build on and develop into a whole concept for an EP, not just musically but visually too in the artwork Georgia did. It gave me the chance to explore themes that I wouldn't usually and it helped push me out of my comfort zone and almost write a concept EP. I usually just make random tracks that appear on VA comps so it was nice to actually have a cohesive body of work. It's inspired me to create more conceptual work around different themes. I don't want to reveal too many details as it's still early days, but it's something that I'm going to continue with my next EP (which I've already started writing!)

Your dream narrative highlights the suppression of women's rights and autonomy. How do you navigate addressing such sensitive and complex themes through your art, and what message do you hope listeners take away from your music?

I think it's a lot easier to do with electronic music in some ways as it's not so lyric-based so you can address complex themes in a lot more abstract ways. For example, creating a soundscape that captures a certain feeling. At the same time, it's a lot more subjective and sometimes you just want to get your message out in the most direct way possible without having to explain it to people. It's important for my music to be political, my identity as a queer woman, as a woman DJ in a very male dominated industry, is very political so I think it's crucial to not shy away from addressing complex issues. One way I do this is through the use of samples. Yes, you could make a really dark, punishing track that reflects the oppression of queer people in society, or you could just sample a woman at a lesbian march yelling 'I'm a pissed off dyke and I want my rights back' (as I did on my track Pissed Off Dyke). You don't need to sit down and interpret that. I hope that listeners do take something away from my music, beyond it being something to dance to, like go away and research where the samples I'm using have come from.

As an artist, what do you hope to achieve with your music, particularly with projects like "2384"? How do you see your role in sparking conversations or promoting awareness about social issues through your artistry?

I want to make music for people to dance to that also has a message. A lot of my music is based around queer themes, for example. So, as well as reflecting my own experiences as a lesbian my music also pays homage to dance music's queer roots which are often forgotten today as the industry is dominated by cis, straight, white men. I hope that my music sparks conversations about dance music's history and encourages people to go and read up about it. Dance music is such a good vehicle for promoting social change as it's always been very political, so I do see it as important to continue that with my music, and make sure it always has something to say.

Shauna Socials




Load the next article