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  • Writer's pictureOliver Payne

In Conversation: The Native Project

Updated: Jan 4, 2021

The Native Project consists of Aaron James and Dave Sheard; two Sheffield-based house heads that came together to casually share their stuff with one another. They didn’t know, as they sent demos back and forth, that the sound they’d bash out would turn so many heads. And evidently it has, with their debut EP ‘Kelham’ on Paradiso Records receiving loads of love from fans and DJs alike. The soft, vibes-y EP has been premiered by Houseum, PalmStructure, Moskalus and Dance|Discover alongside a nutty breaks remix of 'Home' from Atdhe, which has received support from Definite Party Material. Oliver Payne caught up with one half of The Native Project, Aaron, to fly off some questions in an attempt to find out more about their style, their DJ sets and what future plans they have in mind.

Who are The Native Project?

The Native Project consists of Me (Aaron James) and Dave Sheard. We both met each other around 3/4 years ago at house parties in Sheffield. I ended up asking Dave if he wanted to play for us at BHAUS and the rest is history really. We started firing each other some tracks back and forth and ended up creating a sound that we both enjoyed so we decided to start taking it more seriously.

How long have you guys been Sheffield based?

So, I actually went to university in Huddersfield to study Music Tech but the nightlife in Huddersfield was shocking, so I ended up travelling to Sheffield most weekends to see my friends who were at university there and I ended up staying. We've been based in Sheffield full time now for about 2 years.

What's special about nightlife in the city?

The nightlife in Sheffield is great as all the promoters try to help each other out where they can. It’s a real community. Unlike the big cities where the big guys who book the big names are ran by money driven businessmen, all of the Sheffield brands are ran by ex-students with a massive passion for our cities scene.

Tell me about your latest EP

Our most recent release on Paradiso Records is ‘Kelham’. It’s a collection of tracks that almost walks you round our past 2 years in the city together. ‘Shoreham Street’ is a very sentimental track for myself especially. We hoped that you'd be able to feel the soul of the EP whilst listening through, as we never make and release anything that we haven't obsessed over.

What sound is on it? Who inspired this sound?

When it comes to the sound of the EP, I think we really encapsulated what we are about with this release and we are just happy Paradiso like it enough to want to release it! Our problem has always been that we don't make music to be signed. We make the music, then send the music out, which can always be a long-winded way of doing stuff but it keeps you true to your real sound, I think.

As DJs what do you play?

When we play out we just play what we feel is right on the night and what we have been listening to recently. I always hope that if anyone has the time to come watch us that they are open-minded enough to understand we aren't just going to play the vibes we produce. Usually, we flick between techno, italo, breaks and disco, to name a few. Whatever the room is digging, really!

Plans for the future?

What’s next? Ultimate world domination... Nah, we just want to keep the ball rolling. We're sat on another EP already that’s a bit different to Kelham which we are currently finishing off and we have a track coming out on a vinyl VA compilation at the start of April. The goals for this year were festivals and international bookings (always setting the bar high) so we will see!

Listen to the ‘Kelham’ EP here and catch them playing Inner City Electronic this summer alongside Nightmares on Wax, Motor City Drum Ensemble and Ben UFO:


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