Masters of the House
After years of deejaying (live and on radio), remixing, making mixes and releasing a debut album, THE ASTON SHUFFLE have timed their recent independent status well. With a strong following and a solid reputation it makes sense that the local duo would experience a surge of motivation to write. This is perhaps why, only months after the release of their debut album Seventeen Past Midnight, a new single, Won’t Get Lost, has already been released. “The new single is a way of doing our own thing, independently,” says a self-assured Vance Musgrove. “We’re just putting things in the water and living the life of an independent artist. That was the motivation behind it.
“But we aren’t focussed on another album,” he insists. “We’ve been working on new material but one of the lessons we learnt from the last round was that once you say you’re working on a new album, suddenly there’s a giant ticking clock on your shoulders; we’re actively avoiding that.”
It is reasonable for The Aston Shuffle to avoid that high-pressured anticipation from listeners, particularly because even if they are not immediately working on album number two, they are also not the type to dick about self-indulgently. Among the usual band-y things, they hint at co-production opportunities and continue to put together an impelling weekly radio show (The Friday Night Shuffle) on triple j, perfect for any clubber preparing for a night out. The rewarding experience for listeners is clearly a result of The Aston Shuffle’s considered approach.
Musgrove explains, “Deejaying at its most ideal for me is people going crazy to music they’ve never heard before. And there’s always a fine line between playing something that everyone will know and pushing them a little bit. It’s a matter of context, and time and place. When you’re in a club you need to be able to stand in front of the crowd and gauge their reaction as the set is happening. You’re supposed to take risks because you can’t always predict how people are going to respond to a track… But on the radio, sometimes we’re undecided and we want to know what listeners think. You can cast a wider net, and that’s something we’ve always enjoyed. It’s way more fun than we ever expected it to be!”
Despite the nation-wide weekly audience, The Aston Shuffle frequently tours their hometown, Canberra, with Musgrove asserting “Canberrans have always been some of the more open-minded crowds we’ve played. Growing up in Canberra, I found it was always pushing boundaries.”
If this is the case, one might wonder why there’s an apparent lack of enthusiasm for Stonefest, which has been downsized this year. “I think music festivals in Australia are evolving,” Musgrove speculates. “Older festivals like Splendour and Big Day Out have perceptively lost numbers in the last 12 months. But your Laneways and Weekend Playgrounders are entering a golden age.”