Shapeshifters, 'Lola’s Theme (2013 Remix)': First Listen
Shapeshifters revive its groovy 2003 hit just as house music stages an international comeback.
Back in 2003, The Shapeshifters had as close to a crossover moment as there was for dance music at the time with house anthem “Lola’s Theme.” Named after Shapeshifter Simon Marlin’s wife (Swede Max Reich rounds out the group), the track married a bold and brassy R&B sample with a new gospel vocal and the undeniable thump-thump of house music. What started on underground dance floors eventually hit dance radio, making Shapeshifters a hot touring commodity around the world.
Ten years later, the guys are still at it, and pendulum has swung back as if on schedule. Thanks to acts like Disclosure, Hot Natured and Rudimental, house – the classic-sounding kind – is staging a return. To mark the decade, Shapeshifters have assembled a double-CD compilation, “Analogue To Digital...And Back Again,” which contains remixes of their catalog from a diverse bunch of names like Frankie Knuckles (under his “Director’s Cut” name), Laidback Luke and Little Boots (peep the full tracklist below), and their own anniversary mix of the track that started it all, “Lola’s Theme.” You can hear it first on CODE below:
We talked to Marlin about the decade that was, and how “Lola's Theme” changed his life forever.
Was the success of “Lola’s Theme” a surprise, and how did it affect your career, particularly in the U.S.?
Yes, it was a monster! We knew it was a good record but the way people took that record on for themselves was amazing, including the U.S. Still to this day we are very proud of it. Funnily enough we hit some problems with our name in the U.S. initially. We had to release as “Shape: UK,” which always felt like a yogurt drink to me. I never wanted it, but due to legal reasons – which I’m happy to say are no longer an issue – we had to go with it. So it took a while in the U.S. for people to make the connection, but after our second single “Back to Basics” went to No. 1 on the Billboard Club Play Chart things kind of got sorted, I think!
Explain the idea of “Analog To Digital…And Back Again.”
It's really just a metaphor of our journey over the last 10 years, the way sounds and technology have developed and how we’ve moved with them. But more interestingly, it’s the way it's come full circle again back to our roots and the roots of house in general, which suits us just fine. It all seemed to just fit with what’s going on in our world 10 years on.
How has your sound evolved since "Lola's"?
We have always tried to move with the times, as one always should, but we always have stayed true to ourselves and not crossed a line we feel we could never come back from. So I guess we got a bit more electronic along the way but we never lost the soul and funk of what we do, and never intend to either. We experimented with many voices, which keeps things fresh also.
What do you think about the "new" house revival. 20-year-olds are making old school soulful groovy stuff? It's kind of something.
Yes it is, but things always go in cycles. The last few years we had the fast noisy throwaway era, and now the younger generation is looking for something with more depth and integrity, and as always in music we draw from the past, remix it, and make it something new. “Viva la revolution” we say!
- Only You (Little Boots Discotheque Remix)
- Helter Skelter (Audiowhores Remix)
- The Shapeshifters & Davos feat. Natalie Peris – Universal Love (Original Mix)
- Lola’s Theme (2013 Remix)
- Incredible (Full Intention Remix)
- Come Closer (Original Mix)
- Back To Basics (Director’s Cut Signature Mix)
- Happy (Original Mix)
- Instead Of Falling (Something Good Remix)
- The Shapeshifters & Shermanology - Waiting For You (Mercury Remix)
- She Freaks (David Penn Remix)
- No Holds Barred (Original Mix)
- Frankie Knuckles & The Shapeshifters - The Ones You Love (DJ Spen & Gary Hudgins Remix)
- Sensitivity (Nic Fanciulli Remix)
- No Need No Body (Original Mix)
- Chime (Laidback Luke Remix)
- East & Young feat. Tom Cane – Starting Again (The Shapeshifters Remix)
- Little Boots – Broken Record (The Shapeshifters Vocal Remix)
- Soulmagic – Someone Like You (The Shapeshifters ‘Du Jour’ Remix)
- Mr Mike – Let’s Do It Again (The Shapeshifters Remix)
- Human Life – In It Together (The Shapeshifters Remix)
- G-Club feat. Haze – Faith (The Shapeshifters Remix)
- Frankie Knuckles pres. Director's Cut feat. Jamie Principle – I’ll Take You There (The Shapeshifters Remix)
- Empire Of The Sun - We Are The People (The Shapeshifters Vocal Remix)
- Danny Howells & Dick Trevor feat. Erire - Dusk Till Dawn (The Shapeshifters Remix)
- Christina Aguilera – Ain’t No Other Man (The Shapeshifters Classica Remix)
- Moby – I’m In Love (The Shapeshifters Maximal Remix)