As half of the UNKLE team, member
of the Solesides/Quannum Crew, one of the major players
on the MoWax Label, a leader of the sample-based music scene
- to say Josh Davis (DJ Shadow) has credibility is an understatement.
In 1991 he won Source Magazine's
"Unsigned Hype" contest by entering a four-track
demo he made called "Hip-Hop Reconstruction From The
Ground Up." From there he got some production work
for the HollywoodBASIC label, and through this, James
Lavelle (who at the time was starting the MoWax label)
got in contact with him.
Along with MoWax, he released a number
of singles and such albums as Entroducing, Preemptive
Strike, and Private Press.
In 1998, he hooked up with James
Lavelle to create the UNKLE album Psyence Fiction.This
album featured a number of big time guest appearances such
as Mike D (on "The Knock
(Drum Of Death Part 2)"), Thom Yorke (Radiohead), Richard
Ashcroft (ex-Verve), Ian Brown (ex-Stone Roses), Justin
Newstead (Metallica) and Badly Drawn Boy. There are only
two different versions of the track with Mike D on vocals:
the Album version, and "The Drums Of Zep" Mix
which was done by Noel Gallagher of Oasis. (Note: There
is also an Instrumental version of the album track, though
obviously Mike D doesn't appear on it) DJ Shadow has been
using the Drums of Death track in his live shows with a
different slant on it which is quite cool.
Later, Mike D, Thom Yorke and DJ
Shadow all guest appeared on Dan the Automator and Prince
Paul's joint project Handsome Boy Modelling School.
In 1999 he joined with Cut Chemist
and went on tour mixing 7" records. Two official releases
have been created from these sessions entitled Brainfreeze
and Product Placement. (Do a search on "Brainfreeze"
in your favorite search engine to read the drama relating
to this release - it's an interesting story)
DJ Shadow has also edited and scored the soundtrack to
the movie "Dark Days."
To quote DJ Shadow: "I miss
albums that demand an hour of attention," he says.
"Today, lots of music insults the listeners. [Entertainers]
think [audiences] can't handle anything longer than three
and a half minutes at a time. I like music that has a theme,
a plot. That's why I love Public
Enemy's It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us
Back, De La Soul's Three
Feet High and Rising, and the Beastie Boys' Paul's
In 1991, DJ Shadow met up with 5
other like minded people and formed the Solsides crew. The
group consisted of DJ Shadow, Chief Xcel, Lateef the Truth
Speaker, Lyrics Born, The Gift of Gab and Blackalicious.
In 1998 Solsides broke up and formed Quannum, as they felt
the collective had changed. Various singles and albums have
been released from different members of the groups including
an album called Quannum Spectrum which had collaborations
with Jurassic 5, Divine Styler, Souls Of Mischief, Company
Flow and Dan the Automator.
One final note, don't get Josh Davis
(DJ Shadow) confused with J.Davis (Q-Tip
from a Tribe Called Quest).