A self described “future shocked soul outfit”, the genre defying Shapeshifter was formed in Christchurch in 1999, by four jazz school students seeking to create live drum and bass using organic instruments rather than sequencers and pre-recorded samples and beats. The acquisition of singer P Digsss in 2003 brought more emphasis to their vocals and their sounds expanded to embrace jazz, funk, rock and electronica. While they have toured and recorded internationally, sold out festival appearances have made them an inescapable part of the NZ summer.
Electronic soul band Shapeshifter is one of the NZ acts whose songs were covered by international artists in Nick Dwyer’s Making Tracks TV series. Dwyer takes that relationship a step further with this infectious music video for one of the singles from their fourth album Delta. He accompanies their lyrics, about putting aside the pressures and problems of everyday life, with a series of vibrant images from around the world. Gathered during his globetrotting, they celebrate human connection and the simple pleasures afforded by music (and a NZ 1990 t-shirt).
Mark Trethewey’s video for Shapeshifter’s anthemic ‘Electric Dreams’ follows the band as they make their way by bus down the East Coast of the North Island to a typically storming performance at Rhythm and Vines in Gisborne. Along the way, there’s time for summertime staples like beach cricket and fishing off the jetty at Tolaga Bay. These quiet, largely empty spaces provide a marked contrast to the mayhem of the sold out festival. It’s a journey that echoes the summer holiday car trips that are a rite of many an Aotearoa childhood.