One of the biggest names in Dubstep, Doctor P is known for his energetic and in-your-face brand of melodic bangers packed full of malicious bass. Holding such a large reputation, it’s a surprise that it took so long for him to finally come through Central Florida with Live Nation’s Identify Festival this year. The level of anticipation in the crowd was palpable and I’m certain that no fans were left unsatisfied after his set. I was lucky enough to catch up with the Doctor for a few moments later that evening.
We kept the interview informal and enjoyed the company of his entourage including the beautiful and talented Eva Simons. Shaun is a very collected and chill individual. Not very talkative or forthcoming, I got the impression that he is more of a reserved person with a very dry sense of humor. Our conversation touched on the history and success of Circle Records, their newest team member, and plans for Doctor P’s upcoming EP. I’ll admit the experience was a bit surreal, but both Shaun and his manager were very cordial and I enjoyed being able to hang out with them. Here is how part of our conversation went:
Electro Jams – So you just joined the ID Fest tour yesterday. How was Atlanta?
Doctor P – “It was fun. It was pouring with rain, just like today really. And we were outside, but it was still good.”
EJ – Did they keep it going in the rain?
DP – “They kept it going as long as they could, but they ended up shutting the stage down about an hour after me I think. It was actually really good though. I was dreading it because we looked out at the crowd before my set and there was like 10 people out there, but by the time I went up there it had filled an everyone was really going for it.”
EJ – That’s awesome. It doesn’t surprise me because you have a lot of fans in the states, including myself. There’s something about the Circus Records Style that’s just obnoxious in the right way and pretty much undeniably badass.
DP – “When we started out, before we made any music or signed any acts or anything, we originally said we wanted to be hard so [our music] would work the clubs and stuff, but still be like, ‘accessible’, so anyone could listen to it. Like your mom could listen to it, and get some enjoyment out of it.”
EJ – So when you started Circle did you have any idea about the response you were going to get?
DP – Of course not. (chuckles) “We were just making things up as we went along, doing what we wanted. I think luck had a lot to do with it, you know, we were doing the right thing at the right time, and that was the key.”
EJ – I agree. It seems like there’s a new generation of kids who were ready to listen to electronic music, but didn’t want to listen to anything that had been done before – they wanted something new.
DP – “Well my whole life I’ve had a thing against four-to-the-floor House. I don’t know, I feel like ‘how many times can you make a track with quarter note kick drums that go or hours and hours on end?’.”
EJ –Was there a moment in time when you realized at Circle, that your flavor of music had caught on?
DP – “It was almost straight away. We started the label, we put out a couple things and it was clear straight away that people were definitely interested. They were definitely into it so we created a Facebook fan page and got thousands of likes instantly, so it was definitely going on from the beginning.”
EJ – So after having so much success, and since pretty much every track you guys release is an instant hit, when you get in to the studio now do you feel pressure to live up to the expectations your fans have?
DP – “Yeah, sort of. I know there are certain things I can’t do. Like, I couldn’t put out some really mellow Drum and Bass track, you know, people would be really disappointed. But that’s why I’ve used aliases before.”
EJ – You have?
DP – “Well, I have in the past.”
EJ – Would you mind sharing one of your aliases?
DP – “Picto is one of them.”
EJ – What style were you releasing under that name?
DP – “It was drum and bass.”
EJ – Was it like, Techstep, Liquid funk, Jump Up?
DP – “All sorts of styles, really. We stopped releasing stuff about two years ago. I just haven’t had time to keep carrying on with that.”
EJ – Right on. I’ll have to check it out. You know, I’ve never come across anything that said what the “P” in Doctor P stands for. Does “Picto” have anything to do with that?
DP – “Basically, in the predictive text on those old Nokias, when you’d type my name it would come up as ‘Picto’. So a lot of my friends would text me and leave it as ‘Picto’, and it became a bit of a joke to I called myself ‘DJ Picto’ and my friend Kevin used to call me ‘Doctor Picto’ just as his own nickname for me and now I’m stuck with it forever.”
EJ – This is the first time you’ve toured through Tampa, and only like your second or third US tour, right?
DP – “Well I’ve been in and out a few times. We did a big tour last year. I think it was about seven weeks in total. That was this time last year, but yeah I think this is my seventh or eighth time in the US since Christmas.”
EJ – Had you been to the states before you started touring, or did your success as a producer allow you the opportunity to travel here?
DP – “I came on holiday once when I was like twelve, but now it’s like my second home. I feel really comfortable here.”
EJ – Do you notice any major differences between the fans over here and the fans back home?
DP – “People here are really excited. You can feel the excitement about the music. In London I’ve played there so many times, people have seen me and they’ve come to know what I’m doing, but over here most of these people have never seen me before so you can tell there sort of looking forward to it – just to see what its gonna be like.”
EJ – Definitely. I can say first hand I was really stoked to see you mix life for the first time… Do you have a favorite place to eat after gigs in the US?
DP – “Um, I haven’t really had the time, you know, to go to like Wendy’s or anything like that.”
EJ – Really?
DP – “Yeah, I’ve never been. In Canada I always went to Tim Hortons after gigs and stuff early in the morning, but I’ve never had time had time to savor the American lifestyle, really. I’ve only been to Walmart once.”
EJ – How was your Walmart experience?
DP – “It was interesting. You see some interesting people in there, don’t ya? It was like two-o-clock in the morning as well… so I’ll just say it was ‘interesting’.”
EJ – When I watched you mix I noticed you blend a lot of different styles including Drum and Bass in your set. How much of your typical set do you think is made up of your original tracks, or stuff on your label?
DP – “I don’t know. I try and play a mixture of stuff, but I can’t stay away from Skrillex and Knife Party. Its worth playing every time – They’re too good.”
EJ – I know what you mean. And even though I’ve heard every other DJ play those tracks a million times, I kind of feel like when the UK guys come over here its like they’re paying respect to the American artists.
DP – “Yeah. I’ve had people say to me ‘Why the fuck are you playing Skrillex, what are you doing?’ and I’m like ‘It’s a good track. I like it’. (Chuckles) People like to think they’re into something unknown don’t they? As soon as something is a household name, they refuse to be into it.”
EJ – That’s true. Elitism will always be a part of the EDM scene – we have a lot of hipsters. Where do you find new tracks before they’re cool?
DP – “I get sent a lot of promos and stuff. I’m quite lazy to be honest. If it comes into my email I’ll download it and if I like it I’ll play it… But I find it hard sometimes, because when you listen to a track at home it sounds completely different to when you go play it in the club, so sometimes you just have to play it once, see what happens and then decide if you like it or not.”
EJ – I know exactly what you mean. Sometimes I hear a track at home and it doesn’t really do it for me, then I hear someone else plays it out at a club and it blows me a way.
DP – “Exactly. Run up to the decks and go ‘what is this?’ (chuckles) I do that all the time.”
EJ – Awesome. I love hearing stuff like that. It makes you seem more human, because Doctor P is a huge entity – one of the most influential names in Dubstep.
DP – “Yeah, people say that to me over here. I really don’t feel like that in the UK.”
EJ – Really? Who is more influential over there?
DP – “For most people in the UK, they know Nero, Chase & Status, Skrillex. They don’t necessarily know the next level down sort of thing.”
EJ – So do you play out over there as much?
DP – “I don’t play that much in the UK actually. I think the UK is probably one of my smallest markets… Not in record sales, we just play a lot more shows in other parts of Europe and America right now.”
EJ – That’s something that’s changed in the last few years, right?
DP – “Definitely… I think I’ve probably only played five times this year in the UK… But then again I’m doing a mini-tour over there with Live Nation in November as well.”
EJ – That’s tight. What else do you have coming up on the horizon?
DP – “I’ve just finished my four-track EP. I played a couple of them out there tonight. They’re like ninety-nine percent finished and the deadline is Tuesday, so I’ve got a couple days bus to make some tweaks. I think that’s gonna be out on the ninth of September, and there’s another EP that’s going to follow it.”
EJ – What’s your EP called?
DP – “I haven’t really got a title yet.” (chuckles)
EJ – You said the deadline is on Tuesday?
DP – “I know… I’ve got some names in mind but I haven’t really made a decision. I’ll have it by Tuesday by the time I send it out.”
EJ – Anything else coming up?
DP – “We’ve signed a new guy, Mizuki’s Last Chance, he just won my remix competition. His production is very basic, but I really like his style so you know in a few months or a year or whatever, I think he’s going to become something big.”
Remember, you heard it here first. So make sure to check back for more info about Doctor P’s new album coming up on Circle Records, as well as the other releases he mentioned forthcoming on that label. If you didn’t get a chance to catch him at Identify fest this year, chances are you’ll get to see him sometime soon whether you’re Stateside or in the UK. And if you’re still reading, here is a preview of one of the tracks from Doctor P’s upcoming album featuring Eva Simmons on the vocals:
Been in Florida my whole life nurturing a love for all beats that break. Never released a track, but I’ve been producing for nearly 15 years and playing out as a DJ for at least 8. I ran Floridub.com on the side (until godaddy stole it form me) and also write for NuSkoolBreaks.co.uk as well as FloridaBreaks.org and Breaksculture.com. You can catch me mixing on the award-winning NSB Radio station every Tuesday night 8-10pm (EST).