INTERVIEW: The Aston Shuffle

Let me preface this by placing my professionalism as a “serious music journalist” in jeopardy and saying that I was running late to meet with one of Australia’s biggest electronic duos and biggest exports, THE ASTON SHUFFLE.

The streets of the Fortitude Valley were packed, and I was due to meet with Mikah and Vance, the men behind the music, right next to Flume’s hotly anticipated Valley Fiesta set.

Of course I was late. Mikah and Vance kindly agreed to stay and talk to me, dashing off to the stage as soon as they were finished. As we powered through the interview, I couldn’t help but be struck by how friendly and humble the two were, for men who had effectively changed the face of electronic music in Australia.

For all their struggles and triumphs, they’ve been given a regular Friday night show on Triple J called Friday Night Shuffle.

“We’re loving it,” they agree. The first thing I notice about these two is that they are almost perfectly in sync. They think alike, they speak at the same time, and they didn’t disagree once during the course of the interview, to the point that I forgot to distinguish between the two of them in my notes.

“Triple J is really like a family,” Vance says. “When we started out we really had no idea what we were doing and slowly it’s become something that we feel confident about. I mean, we’re certainly no Zan Rowe or Lewis McKirdy…”

“I would hate to hear our first show,” Mikah jokes.

They laugh.

“We’re very fortunate,” Vance says, humble in his admission. “We try to only play music we like, and we get away with playing some amazing music and some great artists, so we’re very happy.”

I ask them, too, about their album, due out in 2013 if internet rumours are to be believed. It seems, in this case, that they just might be. “It’s almost done,” they agree.

From the floor-to-ceiling windows behind the two I can see outside to the stage where Flume is whipping the crowd into a frenzy. Vance leans forward. “We’ve been alternating between touring and working on the album. When you’re touring, it’s hard to find a way to block out productive periods of time where you can get substantial amounts of work done.”

“But we’re sort of back touring now,” Mikah adds sheepishly, “so… we’ll see.”

Tonight they’ll be playing Valley Fiesta partner venue Oh Hello!. I ask them if they’re excited. “It’s one of our favourite venues in the world!”

“It’s got a great set up,” I agree, thinking about the intricate audio-visual set up that the club boasts and jealous of all of the people who will attend the after party.

Before they make their mad dash to the stage, I have time for one last question. I think of the other artists I have spoken with that day and ask them how they prepare themselves for the release of a new album in the face of today’s uncertain musical climate – after all, what works one day might not work the next.

“We try to stay away from being too trendy and just try to focus on making the best music that we can, and something that we’re really proud of.” Vance answers simply.

Words by Cheryl Billman, check out her street on POSSE.COM

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You may or may not know Cheryl as the girl who’s unhealthily obsessed with Yves Klein Blue. I also swear a lot, and I promise, I’m working on that. Just for you guys. Because I love you.