Owen Sheppard goes by the artistic name of Castro. Most of you reading this probably know him best for his Enchufada release, Toot Toot.
He has since released two more tunes, an original called Mama Mango, and most recently, a bootleg of Stylo G’s Badd. Both are groovy, funky, very danceable, and fresh. Judge for yourself:
I’ve also taken the opportunity to ask Castro a few questions: (F is me and C is Castro):
F: Where did the name Castro come from?
C: The name itself was something I had lying around from years ago. I had wanted to use it for an old project that never got off the ground. So when I decided to just start producing for myself full time, it was the most obvious choice. Back then the only reason I thought of it was just because it had a nice ring to it.
It kind of rolls off the tongue and it’s pretty easy to remember. Although I guess the reason I know the word in the first place is from the infamous Fidel.
F: When did you first got interested in music?
C: I come from a very rich musical background. Both my parents are music teachers and my brother is a Double Bass player. The list goes, everyone in my family is a musician but more on the classical side. I played Cello when i was younger and have played a lot of orchestral percussion and drum kit for swing bands and jazz groups. I guess the point where it really took a hold of me was when I first started playing drum kit, which would have been around the age of 10, can’t remember exactly how old I was. The first songs I wrote were for rock bands.
F: When did you decide to start producing music? How much did your background in music help you?
C: Well, like I said I started out writing for the bands I was a part of. I’ve been in musical outfits of all shapes and sizes from death metal to pop rock. Writing just came naturally to me. My interested in electronic music started when I started gigging as a night club percussionist. Until then I really didn’t even know what ‘House’ was, let alone ‘Tropical Bass’. Slowly and surely that love for electronic beats grew and just over a year ago I started making my own tracks.
My background in classical training can both help and hinder me at times. It’s great because I don’t have to spend all my time trying to figure out what key a song is in or how to make a beat “swing”. I just naturally feel all that and I’ve got the theory to back it up. However, the best club music has this beautiful naivety to it, where even a simple repetitive bass line can make a room full of people bounce. The most important part about making a track, for me, is when I take away all the over eccentric “musical” ideas at the end in order to get to the fundamentals of the idea.
F: What are your goals as a musician?
C: Basically, until about 6 months ago I was happy just gigging around the clubs as a percussionist and doing my thing with ‘Yacht Club’ (the outfit I play most of my live shows with). However, it came to the point where I felt like I’d taken that as far as I could go and in order to push everything further I needed to move forward as a producer. I’m still happily gigging, severally times a week but I just constantly have this itch to be writing fresh material.
So with a view to the future, I want to be travelling, DJing and producing music for a living (the big three…). On top of that I’d like to be able to bring the two sides of what I offer (live percussion and electronic production) in to one big performance. The reason for that, is I think people who pay money to see electronic artists deserve more bang for their buck than just a producer mixing tracks in to one another. You can do that with automated software these days… think bigger.