It's pretty rare, almost like fate it seems, to come across another fellow producer that nests on the same wavelength and flow as you in terms of musical vision- and to keep that vision going for a good 15 years together. That's the story of Sultan & Ned Shephard, whose names even compliment one another's perfectly.
Both students at McGill, the remix-notorious Canadian-duo joined forces after Shephard gave Sultan a demo CD after watching Sultan's set. The following morning, Sultan called Shephard to express an interest in producing together- and the rest is history. Fast forward to present-day, the boys have since collaborated with top-tier artists like TIESTO and DILLON FRANCIS, graced the stages of some of the worlds finest clubs and festivals and have been nominated for a Grammy.
Tell me more about that/what the journey has been like working together and how you’re able to incorporate both of your visions into one tune when making music.
It’s been a really crazy journey together. We’ve been working on music together for about 15 years now and I think that makes it really special, because we’ve been through so many different styles and experiences together. The funny thing is that the way we make music isn’t really that much different from when we first started.
We have a natural chemistry when we jam with Sultan on guitar and me (Ned) on pianos and that hasn’t really changed. So we never really compete with each other, because we have skills and things that we like to do that are really complimentary. Sultan likes to mix and I like to edit and we talk about the arrangement until it feels right.
Your new single is finally out- congrats! Tell me a bit about the track because it’s going towards a different vibe as opposed to what you guys normally put out.
Thank you! We met Red Rosamond a couple years ago and we fell in love with her voice. She’s got something so special and powerful and we knew wanted to do something with her. We didn’t want to do a normal club track, because we felt like it wouldn’t do justice to her voice, so we wanted to go for something that felt organic but also had energy and that’s really just what came out.
Going off of that, are you guys experimenting with any new sounds or genres lately?
Yes. We still have some club records that are coming out that we’re excited about. We never want to abandon that because we grew up on house music and we really believe in it and think it will never go away. But now is also a great time to experiment with different tempos and styles and we have a few songs that will come out this year that are definitely different for us in terms of style, but they still feel emotionally similar to what we do and love.
Any plans of putting out an EP or an album anytime soon?
We are planning to do an EP but we’re putting out a string of singles first. Right now, an album feels conceptual and we love the idea of it, and maybe one day we’ll do it, but the way that we consume music and most people consume music is really focused on singles and so right now it feels right to continue with that route.
This year’s been pretty exciting for you guys so far- you also have a residency in Vegas! How’s that been going so far?
We love being back at the Wynn. It’s such an amazing property and we’ve always loved playing there. We have so many great memories and this year so far has been really great. Intrigue is a new club and it’s got a lot of great buzz on it, so the crowds have been really fun, plus it’s a more intimate room which is great. But each property at the Wynn has it’s own personality and we love all of them.
What’s been the most memorable/special set or place you guys have played to date?
We’ve played so many places so that’s always a tough question. We have some amazing memories of the first time we played in India at Sunburn festival in Goa on the beach. We DJ’d and then did a live set with NADIA ALI which was streamed live, so it was really special because all of our friends and family could watch around the world.
What’s one thing about the other person that your fans might not know about you guys?
Ned: Sultan is really good at building things. When we lived together he always built the ikea stuff.
Sultan: Ned changed his name when he was 10- he used to be named Edward!
What would you say is that one track that no matter how many times you hear it, it’ll make you feel the same way you felt as if you’re hearing it for the first time?
"Elderly Woman Behind the Counter In A Small Town"- Pearl Jam
What else do you have in store for 2017? Any other upcoming projects?
We’ve got a single coming out every month through the summer, with some club stuff and some more song stuff so we’re really excited about that!