The unlikely pairing of Sultan, an incredible zen Palestinian, and Ned Shepard, a Jewish wonderkid from Montreal, is forever intertwined with the best of electronic music has to offer. Once called “kings of the progressive scene” by Beatport, Sultan + Shepard duo are worldwide known for their stunning music productions and top class gigs in Omnia Las Vegas, Tomorrowland, and anywhere you can think of, while their natural musical chemistry has also led them to be nominated for Best Remix Non-Classical 2014 Grammy Awards on Bruno Mars ‘Locked Out of Heaven’.
Most recently, the duo reunited with singer Nadia Ali to release the folk inspired dance anthem “Almost Home” also featuring NYC based songwriter Iro. This was followed by the melodic “Bloom” featured as the opening track on Armin Van Buuren’s A State of Trance Ibiza. Having met Sultan + Shepard in ADE 2017, Viralbpm sat down with the talented duo to talk about last year’s achievements and successful career so far.
V1. To begin with, how was your time in ADE 2017? Did you enjoy it?
Sultan + Shepard: Yeah, it’s pretty much amazing, because we had the chance to meet up and catching up with old friends, hanging here around with Armada and go to some great parties, like for example Awakening. There are a lot of things to check here out during this event, it’s always nice to be here.
V2. You had a massive release on Armada Records, featuring the lovely Nadia Ali and Iro, called “Almost Home“, with 7 million streams on Spotify already. How did this collaboration happen? Could you tell us something about the creative process of the track?
Sultan + Shepard: We met Iro a couple years ago and wrote a song with him, and then we were just hanging out with Nadia, she is a good friend of ours. So, we played her one of our songs in our studio, and she said “I really like this, can I take this on?” and we said “Yeah, of course, go for it!“. She really added a whole new section to it. We had to work on it really hard to keep a nice balance to it and it ended up to be a wonderful collaboration between the four us.
V3. What do you have planned regarding releases and songs for the coming months? Anything you would like (and can) reveal to us at this moment?
Sultan + Shepard: We had this song called “Bloom” that was also featured on Armin van Buuren’s sets and we are currently working on another collaboration and a bunch of really cool remixes like the one we did for OneRepublic. We really have a lot of stuff going on for 2018 and will announce new shows and gigs!
V4. Sultan + Shepard you have worked together for almost 15 years, are there any hard times or bad moments you are recalling? Did they make you stronger in order to “survive” in a demanding and challenging business like the music industry?
Sultan + Shepard: The music is always changing, especially after so many years, so there will be always ups and downs. You go for the good times and you go for the bad times, but we sticked together, we are family, so whatever we will go through, we will work it out, no matter what.
V5. With a heavy and loaded schedule like yours, do you have enough time to focus on other things aside from music related things? Any hobbies or side activities?
Sultan + Shepard: I like to do meditation, especially after a tight schedule, with a lot of work and meetings. I love to play basketball, almost every day and I collect also art.
V6. We’re based in Greece, so is there anything you would like to say especially for our greek readership and your fans located in Greece?
Sultan + Shepard: We really love Greece, we have been there many times. Like for example in Chania (Crete) and we have visited a lot places in Greece, we love the people there. There are really good people in Greece and we hope that we will visit your country again very soon.