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Erasure4rum are very pleased to publish Ask Shelter V3,Shelter aka Mark & Rob have kindly agreed to do a third installment of the 'Ask' series.

E4M asked Shelter 10 new questions about Emerging,Ascending & all things Shelter from the past,the future and the now!





1. Shelter welcome back to the E4M for part three of Ask Shelter. A lots happened since last time we Asked,what's the years been like from Emerge to Ascend?

Mark:Rob and I have been very busy juggling so many saucers whilst still trying to ensure we were producing something we were creatively proud of. More specifically juggling rehearsing for live gigs and for Rob preparing and producing all the music for them which of course repeatedly took us away from 'ascend' and hence took us longer than we would have hoped.  Additionally Rob's been busy working on numerous remixes for different electro artists & I’ve been very busy writing independently with some artists for future solo projects alongside Shelter. Keeping those things very close to my chest until completion which is quite some way off yet.




2. Bands always talk about the 2nd album syndrome,this seems to be something you've sidestepped and laughed off,how does this 2nd album feel for you after the success of Emerge?

Mark: Emerge had lots of relatively recognisable collaborative artists & producers working with us. Emerge was also quite an experimental & playful album both in its colourful visual interpretation and in its wildly eclectic mix of electro pop genres from the cherry pop like Neva luv u more to the tumultuous storms of Broken. Ascend for me feels an altogether more grown up affair, slightly less candy pop (with the exception maybe of Figaro and 1 / 2 others) slightly darker in feel generally with a more considered, unified sound with each track having its own soaring synth leads & production wise Rob has somehow managed to make me sound better than ever. As a body of work, Ascend has had its challenges along the way coupled with the natural pressures you feel as an artist knowing it will be directly benchmarked against emerge but at the same time attempting to continually try to evolve your sound and move it in a bit from its predecessor. It's a delicate balance, you don't wanna change your sound too radically as it could alienate everyone that likes the sound you're putting out, but small incremental tweaks here and there, honing and unifying your overall sound and identity can't be an altogether bad thing. If nothing else it shows everyone you're passionate about what you do enough to endure its 100% right (or as close to) before you give it the big reveal! Releasing 'ascend' was indeed a take a deep breath moment and wait for the fallout whether positive negative or indifferent, as clearly we knew early on that it was never going to be emerge and we didn't want it to be.

Rob: We were really pleased with Ascend but we held our breath in anticipation
until the fans had heard it. The positive reaction they have given us has
been incredible and really made us more determined than ever to keep making
our music.





3. The anticipation for Ascend has been brewing for quite some time,and a few tracks have been around a while as you've played them live on occasions,so you've been teasing this out for a while,how has it felt knowing that all these fans have been climbing the walls waiting for its release?

Mark: Climbing the walls? Really? Would be completely humbled & flattered to think that.  The way in which we wrote ascend as I've already mentioned was organically around a myriad of other commitments, so the simple decision we had to make quite early on was A) do we release anything prior the album release? B) shall we simply release what feels right once we hear it and feel it? We went more with B! There was never really any grand plan with 'ascend' in the final stages it came together very quickly as opposed to the final stages of 'emerge' which became nightmarish and was almost a 25 track or so album long (as we simply couldn't decide how to whittle it down!) the fans have always been amazing to us since day 1 we feel v lucky indeed and it’s the fans who define your success and nothing else whatsoever. You can say you have the best music in the world, but if no one wants hear it or buy it, then what?! You remain a legend in your own bedroom that's what! Lol

Rob: It's been really frustrating for us too. When important gigs and remix
opportunities came in they really disrupted our plans and put the brakes on
the album. In the end we had to go into lockdown to finish it off. We had
planned to put more tracks on the album but in the end we drew a line on
what we could achieve within a reasonable timeframe.




4. As a thank you to the fans you added Lovescape at the 11th hour as the 11th track,the first time I heard it really shocked me,in a good way as it just sounded so different and fresh do you think the high of the Crowdfunder campaign reaching its goal had re-invigorated the song writing process or is it just a great sounding song and I'm getting all arty?

Rob: Wow, thank you. Lovescape was one of the additional tracks we had planned
for the album and it just came together in the few weeks after the
Crowdfunder campaign was launched. The pressure was off and it seemed to
come together and we really liked it and wanted to add it on the album
to say thank you to the fans for supporting the campaign. We have been
trying to let the songs follow their own path now rather than always forcing
them into a 3.5 min full on chart format.




5. On Ascend you carry on your collaborating to a whole new level,especially with Breathe Of Out Leaves you've taken the original track 'Cyclops' had DJ Jekyll work his magic on the original and turn it into this classic pop singalong smash,is it just a case of Oooh we like that we can do something with it,or do people approach you?

Mark: Pretty much I've heard most of Stephano's work but my mind starting writing around it the moment I heard it. Wasn't sure how Stephano would feel about it, so Rob & I started recording it & pinged a demo over to him of our idea & he said he loved it & permitted us to run with it free reign.




6. On the track 'Ascend' Mark's vocals to me sound amazing you seem to be singing in a different style on the chorus,it's sounds like another singer on the track,the emotion in your voice is stunning was that something you planned or were you trying out a new style of vocal?

Mark: Thank you very much, that's very kind. Not really sure how to answer that one (you've managed to silence me - quick bottle it!) lol The emotion is all me, the production I think on ascend is leagues better than anything we've put out previously. We have better gear now than in the early days, Rob has clearly honed his art and me, well I guess a mixture of being braver in letting people into an area of vulnerability (as I believe people connect more easily with an 'honest' vocal) and then Rob has produced the vocals up in a way that's both sympathetic technically to the mood and feel of each track but has also managed to maintain the elements of natural 'humanity' in my voice that all too often is destroyed by overkill of technology during the recording process.

Rob: I was totally shocked the first time I heard Mark belt out the chorus in the
studio. I turned around from the mixing desk and asked him 'what just
happened?' This was also another new approach for us. In the past I've
always tended to ask Mark to provide flat and more controlled vocals but
I've definitely changed my mind on that after hearing him sing on Ascend.




7. Erasure4rum has always been a champion for Destination and their synth pop output over the years & was really pleased with the inclusion of their remix on the triple cd iPop set,now Shelter has remixed their single Vinyl,you've also remixed Andy Bell's Torsten track Singing Along To Liza. It seems there is a incestuous relationship as far as remixing goes it's nice to see a bunch of likeminded artists keeping it in the family so to speak,how do you feel about these artists contacting you and either asking to remix your work or for you to remix theirs?,it must make you very happy knowing people trust you enough to offer you a remix.

Mark: I don't tend to get involved with remixing on the whole, it's something Rob tends to dabble with. Liza I played a hand in in terms of feel & direction working more as a mini conduit between Rob & Barney as Barney had quite a specific remit for that particular mix. Remixing between electro artists on the scene is great & reinforces working friendships etc. & very flattering to get asked.  I'm only very recently dabbling in production myself personally more related to my side projects, I can't see me genuinely having an interest in remixing tbh as I prefer songwriting on the whole but I never say never!

Rob: Yes, there's a great working relationship and mutual appreciation amongst
the electronic community with lots of people helping one another out with
remixes and other clients offering us paid remix commissions. We are very
grateful to all our collaborators who helped work on Ascend, Stephano
Barbaris on the amazing artwork and Icon, Parralox, People Theatre and
Jipsta  and we were very pleased to offer help to other artists too. We have
had so many requests this year though that it started to really slow down
the Ascend project and we had to stand down some really great opportunities.




8. What does the future hold for Shelter,is there anything in the pipeline as in the way forward & where do you see Shelter in 10 years time?

Mark: With the crazy world the way it is, realistically I don't think anyone strategically does any long-term forecasting or predicting anymore. We live & work in a complex environment. Rob & I will be getting back into the studio in the next few weeks to start album number 3 which realistically won't be ready we can't imagine until around next Summer. We are going to try different methods this time around in terms of the way we write & produce and that in itself may produce some hopefully surprising results. One thing we do know is that album number three (for which we already have a title! That's optimism & ambition for you!! lol)  wont contain any collaborations. This is to really find 'ourselves' and our true sound.

Rob: We plan to begin work on the new album as soon as the Cambridge gig is over
and we plan to step up the pace a little more so hopefully it won't take so
long to release the 3rd album. As for the future, we love doing what we do
and our fan base is growing all the time as word spreads. We just want to
keep doing what we do and make great music for our fans!




9. iPop seems so long ago now,how do you now look back at that era of your career?,and if possible would you like to return and make a follow up having a longer amount of time to create something even better.

Rob: Collaborating with Andy really was a defining point for us and yes, of
course we'd drop everything in a heartbeat if he wanted to do something
again in the future. Looking back it’s hard to forget the immense amount of
work that went into the project and how unprepared we were at the time. The plan was just to record the single Beautiful but Andy worked so fast we just kept going on to record the whole album.




10. Now with only a couple of days away from your next big gig the support slot for Andy Bell at the Cambridge Pink Festival. How did this come about?,and what's it like knowing that the target audience are in effect a mass of Erasure fans like yourselves but now most of those fans are now Shelter fans?

Mark: Actually I'm quite scared! The venue is huge & always a responsibility to deliver your best performance especially supporting legendary Andy. Knowing the crowd will hopefully get behind us is always a huge deal of course. Simon approached the Pink Festival with some Shelter soundbites and then got the call. We're hoping it's gonna be like a kinda family reunion there. We're sticking around that night in the centre of Cambridge after the gig for the whole night to mingle and soak up the atmos with everyone there. Very nervous & very excited to!

Rob: We were blown away when our manager Simon called to say he might have a gig
for us in the Cambridge Corn exchange and then couldn't believe it when he
told us that Andy was headlining. We are very humbled by the love that the
Erasure community has shown us and there seems to be an instant connection
when we perform in front of the Erasure fans. Our Shelter sound is quite
different but we go out on stage, perform our hearts out and have fun.





A big thank you from Erasure4rum to Mark R Bebb,Rob Bradley & Simon Skinner for finding time to do this Ask feature,also to Stephano Barberis for the Ask-send artwork,please do not copy & paste this interview unless you credit the Erasure4rum thank you.



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