A night of double bass in Queenstown

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The creative energies of two of New Zealand’s mightiest dance acts will be focused on a few square metres of Queenstown on Sunday night. 

Shapeshifter and The Upbeats saw their landmark collaboration SSXUB top the New Zealand iTunes album chart on its release two weeks ago. 

Now the two heavyweights of the bass music scene plan to trade tunes with DJ sets at Loco Cantina. 

Their six-date mini-tour has sold out venues in Christchurch and Auckland. 

“It was never really a planned thing – we just thought ‘yep we should do this to celebrate the EP’,” Upbeats’ Dylan Jones says. 

“It’s blown us away how quickly it’s taken off. We had to add a second show in Christchurch. 

“We’ll be performing separately, Diggs with the Shapeshifter guys and with us, and half an hour of trading tunes. 

“So more a traditional DJ thing between the two of us, and of course stuff from the EP, remixes, some new Upbeats stuff and new Shapeshifter stuff.” 

SSXUB came about as a result of The Upbeats’ work on Shapeshifter platinum-selling album Delta. 

“We thought it would be good to do something a little less hemmed in by the boundaries of doing an album just for them,” Jones says. 

“We were doing production and things like that but ultimately it was a Shapeshifter sound. Some of the ideas had a more Upbeats tinge so that pushed us on to do this. 

“SSXUB is really 50/50. There’s some hardness, some softness, a lot of melody, there’s our aggression in parts and their nice pot sensibilities in parts – a good meld.” 

Shapeshifter frontman Paora ‘P Digsss’ Apera provides the vocals for all but one of the five tracks – including single Bloodstream. 

It’s all aimed squarely at the dance floor – which will be Loco’s square-meters on Sunday. 

And Wellington-based Jones and his Upbeats partner Jeremy Glenn are looking forward to it. 

“I’d like to say it’s all hard work but there’s always time to party. 

“That comes with doing the DJ set-up thing, it’s part and parcel of performing, getting into the vibe. 

“It’s been a while since we’ve been down in Queenstown so we’re really excited about returning. 

“We’ll bring the usual Upbeats’ energy and the Shapeshifter guys will be doing their thing, which everyone knows well, so it should be a good party.” 

Catch Shapeshifter and The Upbeats DJ sets, with MC Tiki, at Loco Cantina this Sunday from 8pm. Tickets $50.