words: Andy McColgan

Boys Noize continues his quest for world domination with the latest album on his label – get ready for Golden Traxe, the debut LP from Scouse brothers Shadow Dancer. These two look set to be massive…

The latest signings to the uber-trendy German electro label Boysnoize Records are Liverpool-born brothers Paul and Alan Farrier. Expect to hear a lot more from these two, as their debut album as Shadow Dancer – titled Golden Traxe – shows them off as a cross between the futuristic acid house of Luke Vibert and Daft Punk. There’s way more to their music than a single sentence can conjure though, which is why tracks like Soap and Cowbois have been cropping up in DJ sets from the likes of Erol Alkan, Soulwax, Adam Freeland and Busy P. Every track on Golden Traxe could be a dancefloor smash – and there is a consistency in quality even though the album exhibits a true diversity that is lacking on a lot of today’s electronic long-players.

The brothers’ sounds have been described as a “fucked-up Justice”, but that simply doesn’t do them… justice. They made their DJing debuts on the Soulwax Nite Visions Tour at Bugged Out and Dollop, and they’ve performed alongside the likes of A-Trak, Sinden, Surkin and D.I.M. in the last year. But judging by this album – and last year’s Shadow Dancer EP – as well as some excellent remix work for the likes of label boss Boys Noize, The Whip and Chromeo, we’re expecting bigger things still for Shadow Dancer. EQ tracked down Paul for a chat about the new album, their journey so far and what’s in store for the future…

Tell us what we should expect from Golden Traxe.
It’s essentially us shoving all the things we love about house, techno, electro, acid and electronica into an hour’s worth of music – or sometimes just into one track. We certainly didn’t want to repeat the same idea over and over, as that wouldn’t have been a true reflection of our tastes. Of course, that could just end up sounding like a mess of ideas, so the difficult part was trying to keep it all consistent. I think each track still sounds like Shadow Dancer, so we got away with it this time.

How did working with Boys Noize come about?
Through MySpace rather than through any great self-promotion on our part. We’d just put Poke (which ended up on the first BNR EP) on our MySpace player and Alex Ridha [Boys Noize] got in touch asking for a copy. A couple of months later, he asked if we would be interested in producing a whole four-track EP for the label, and it just carried on from there. There was some interest from a few other labels around the same time, but we were sure Boysnoize Records was the right choice for us.

You’ve both been making music for a long time though, right? What sort of stuff have you made in the past?
Well, we started writing stuff with a Casio keyboard and tape overdubs in the 80s. I guess we wanted to sound like Pet Shop Boys or Wang Chung or Jean Michel Jarre, but in reality were just making crap. In the 90s, we were doing a lot of melodic Warp-type electronica through to Detroit techno and deep house. There were even one or two questionable stabs at drum & bass. I was listening to some of our old tapes the other day and while a lot of it is shockingly poor, there are some gems I’m quite proud of in there. I might leak them on the internet some day…

You seem to take a lot of the more discerning elements of the past 30 years of electronic music and blend them together. Is this done consciously?
Yes and no would probably be the best answer. The album is intended as a kind of tribute to the music that has influenced us over the years, only with a modern slant. The name Golden Traxe was chosen because we thought it had the feel of one of those old Trax or Mastercuts acid compilations. But I suppose there are unintentional elements seeping though here and there – I don’t think you can be so obsessive about music for so long and not have it rub off on you in some way.

I read that from an early age you were obsessed with acts like Kraftwerk and Pet Shop Boys. Have they been important influences on your sound?
A lot of 80s pop music – Pet Shop Boys, Depeche Mode, New Order, Erasure – had a subtle effect on the way we write tracks. Despite being instrumental, Shadow Dancer productions tend to be structured with a pop sensibility. There’s very often a verse-chorus-verse approach as opposed to just being ‘tracky’, and we like to keep things as short as possible. Pop isn’t the dirty word some people think it is. Kraftwerk were obviously the pioneers, and an inspiration to us many years ago, but no more so than Jean Michel Jarre (although I guess he’s not seen as cool enough), John Carpenter or Commodore 64 game music composers like Martin Walker, Rob Hubbard, Jonathan Dunn, Jeroen Tel and Martin Galway.

What have been the highlights of you musical life so far?
Signing to Boysnoize Records, playing our live set to a full room in Fabric last summer, and Soap receiving plenty of love and play from so many DJs we respect on the current scene are all high on the list. But the top placing has to go to the fact that Golden Traxe has – so far – been critically successful. I was so worried our music wouldn’t work as an album, so it’s great to see that people love it and get what we’re trying to do. I couldn’t continue producing if I didn’t think we were doing something worth listening to. I lack the self-belief to convince myself, so I need others to help me along.

Do you prefer DJing or playing live?
Difficult to say, really. They both have their pros and cons. We’ve been playing live for just over two years now, so the stage fright I initially felt has slowly dissipated. But in a live set of 14 or 15 tracks, there’s only been five or six the crowd could even know – everything else was demo stuff for the album. It’s been hard to know how people will react to a whole bunch of songs they’re unfamiliar with, which was always stressful, especially if they see us with a laptop and controllers but think it’s a DJ set. Now, with the album release, things are so much different, which makes things more fun for us. As for DJing, there’s not a lot of things that can beat playing records you love extremely loud, is there? But I’d have to say the live set beats it – there’s a uniqueness to it that we couldn’t offer from just spinning other people’s productions.

What’s on the horizon for the rest of the year?
A lot of gigs to promote the album and hopefully some new productions. Most of March will be spent in the USA – we want to do what Oasis and Robbie Williams couldn’t do, and break America…

Golden Traxe is out on February 23 on Boysnoize Records. Visit, and






“We started writing with a Casio and tape overdubs in the 80s. I guess we wanted to sound like Wang Chung, but were just making crap”