Some team-ups in the world of dance music are just made to shatter expectations, and this is one of them. Combining their specific skill sets into a track that radiates massive hit potential, Sultan + Shepard and Showtek pay homage to Heavy D & The Boyz’s iconic hit via their own tasty spin: ‘We Found Love’.
From the great instrumental to the recognizable vocals taken from world-renowned hit ‘Now That We Found Love’, Sultan + Shepard and Showtek’s new offering stands tall as an unbridled, genre-defying anthem, and will be featured on the former’s first-ever studio album. Juggling funky vocal shots with street-smart drops and chasing piano chords, this song has all the hallmarks of a song that dominates the airwaves and dance floors alike
Sultan + Shepard: “The sessions we had with Showtek while working on this record were some of our favorite that we’ve ever had. Between the four of us, we had so many musical references and inspirations that we decided to put as many of them as we could into the track and it ended up being a blast. We wanted to pour that free flowing energy into the song and make something that didn’t conform to any genre or rules or feel serious. We just wanted something that felt as much fun as we were having together.”
Showtek: “The first idea of this song started already in 2015 which proves that good music is timeless. The process of how we created this song all together was so much fun and you can kind of hear it in the track; it’s funky and very surprising”
Listen to ‘We Found Love’ on Spotify!
- Guys, thanks for taking the time to chat with us! Tell us about that first track that put Sultan and Shepard on the map in the electronic scene and the journey since.
Well, we’ve been making music together for 15 years now, which is really crazy. But I think the song that really put us on the map as Sultan + Shepard is “Walls”. We had been touring together and releasing tons of remixes and originals that were sort of in between an underground, techy style and a more big room melodic sound. But there was a big momentum in the US at the time towards big records and Walls was the first time we just went there, went really big. And the response was amazing, so it really set the tone for the next few years in terms of style and sound and what people expected to hear from us.
- Your latest track “We found love” with Showtek has just dropped, tell us about the track and how this collab came about?
We first connected with Showtek because we co-wrote their song “Bad” with David Guetta and Vassy and also worked on some music together with Tiesto, but we never actually met in person. We first met in person backstage at Mysteryland USA and it was funny because we felt like we knew them super well. It felt really natural since “Bad” was such a success to do more stuff together so we just started hanging out and we actually became good friends, which doesn’t always happen with people you work with. We had this idea for “We Found Love” using the O’Jay’s sample and the song really came from the fun that we were having all together in the studio- just throwing in different influences and styles and seeing if we could mashup a bunch of things that made us laugh and dance around. The fact that we were so comfortable with them made the whole process really fun.
- What single night out has been the most memorable for you both as DJ’s and Producers?
We’ve played so many incredible parties together so that’s a tough one! Playing Ultra Miami several years in a row and eventually playing the mainstage was so epic and legendary and being able to actually play there was a really important step in our career. The same goes for Tommorowland – just going there and seeing that festival and playing it felt like we were a part of something so legendary and beautiful. Even the flight attendants on Belgium Airlines who we flew over with came to the festival and were cheering us on!
- Your duo has quite a diverse culture mash up, with Sultan having roots in the Middle East, and Shepard originating from Canada. Has this featured in or moulded your personal sound in any way?
Ned: I actually grew up in New York City and the diversity of sounds that I heard growing up- everything from hip hop, punk, rock, disco, house music, jazz, classical, r&b and latin music- made me like all different styles of music. When I play the keyboards, I try to pull little bits from everything I love into songs. As I got older, I got really into the club scene in NY and seeing legendary DJ’s like Danny Tenaglia and Sasha and Digweed really influenced my taste.
Sultan: Growing up in the Middle East definitely influenced my musical taste. I’ve always been drawn to the Arabic rhythms especially, since it was what I first heard when I was playing drums as a kid. It also influences how I play guitar, playing on the off-beat with lots of poly-rhythms, and the types of sounds and melodies that I’m drawn to. Montreal was also a melting pot and a great place for creativity. It’s a place where all of these influences can be expressed and also connecting with people like Ned who had his own set of influences was easy and natural so Montreal is definitely an important part of our influence.
- Give us the name of one track that never gets old for you no matter how many times you listen to it?
Ned: Underworld- Born Slippy
Sultan: Massive Attack- Protection
- Are there any Tours / residencies / upcoming events that you guys are super excited about?
We’ve got our album coming out in June so that’s really exciting. We’ll be continuing our residency in Atlantic City at Haven this summer which is always a really fun time, especially in the summer, and we’ve got a bunch of dates throughout the summer as well.
- Tell us one thing the world doesn’t know about Sultan and Shepard?
Ned officiated Sultan’s wedding!
- How do you get a track started? Tell us a bit about your production process. How long does it take you to complete a track on average, do you ever get writer’s block and who has been your favourite co-lab?
That really depends. Sometimes Sultan comes up with a guitar riff or a synth hook on his laptop and then I’ll add some chords to it and we’ll just go from there. Other times we have some vocals or samples laying around that we recorded and we’ll strip it down to the acapella and then try stuff around it. For sure, we usually start with melodies and riffs but we try to find something that inspires us, whether it’s a vocal or a sample. Then we can get the vibe of where we’re going and how the song is taking shape. The most important thing for starting a song is creating a shape and identity for what the song is. The more you know where to take it.
As far as our favorite collab, we’ve really had too many to name. We’ve been blessed to work with big artists like Tiesto and David Guetta, but It’s been really fun for us to work with our friends like Showtek, Fedde Le Grand, Hook N Sling where we can have a good laugh as well.
- Sultan, what was it that you heard in Shepard’s music that made you call him the next morning after hearing it? Did you foresee such a dynamic duo forming even then?
I liked the music but also liked his vibe and personality and that was just as important as the music. If someone makes great music but is really annoying to hang around, it sort of kills the whole vibe. So yeah I could tell that we would get along, he felt like the little brother that I never had.
- Fan question – “You guys have A LOT going on in your lives – how do you unwind and relax?”
Sultan: I love playing sports, especially basketball and volleyball. I play ball every morning before the studio and try to get some volleyball in on the weekends that we’re not touring. That’s a big part of my life as well as going to concerts and having friends over for food.
Ned: Meditation is a big part of my life. I do it every morning and like to go on retreats where I’m completely off the radar for a week or so. I also love watching soccer (go Liverpool!) and going record shopping. Amoeba records is kind of my happy place when things are stressful!
Grammy nominees and frequent Beatport charters, Sultan + Shepard have collaborated with a range of top-tier artists, such as Tiësto, David Guetta, Ed Sheeran, Lady Gaga, Bruno Mars and Coldplay to name a few. As Canada’s well-known dance music force and one of the biggest duos in the industry, they effortlessly bridge the gap between dance music and pop, which landed them the Canadian songwriters SOCAN Music Award for International Song Of The Year in 2013 for ‘Bad’, the multi-platinum single they co-wrote alongside David Guetta, Showtek and VASSY. Moreover, they spent six weeks atop the U.S. Mediabase Airplay chart and racked up a JUNO award nomination and over 24 million streams on Spotify with ‘Almost Home’ (with Nadia Ali).
Consisting of brothers Sjoerd and Wouter Janssen, Showtek are one of the most successful DJ/producer duos of the moment. After notching up hundreds of millions of streams through global hit singles such as ‘Bad’, ‘Sun Goes Down’ (both with David Guetta) and ‘Booyah’, the Dutchmen struck gold in the second half of 2016 with ‘Believer’, a collaboration with globally acclaimed hit machine Major Lazer. Adding to their streak of success with various notable chart positions (e.g. in Billboard’s Hot Dance/Electronic Songs Chart and the official Dutch Top 40 chart) and over 75 million streams across the most popular streaming services, ‘Believer’ led the way for even more infectious releases to sprout, including last year’s collab with Moby (‘Natural Blues’) and this super-infectious, dance-floor-ready link-up with Sultan + Shepard.