Innovator DJ Shadow spins his way into Flatbread

DJ Shadow began his career DJing for the campus radio station at the University of California at Davis in the early 90s. — Photo courtesy of

The creative, inventive, and yes, cerebral musical artistry of DJ Shadow will be on display at Flatbread on Friday, August 9. The 41-year old California native has been crafting his own brand of instrumental hip-hop since his days as a DJ for the campus radio station at the University of California at Davis in the early 90s.

His career of more than 20 years has brought him to the forefront of a genre that is often thought of as little more than record spinning. But, in fact, he is a modern composer who uses his knowledge of a vast personal collection of more than 60,000 records to sample, or take bits of music, melodies, sounds, and rhythms to create entirely new compositions.

DJ Shadow, Joshua Paul “Josh” Davis, who plays keyboards, uses rhythm machines and synthesizers in addition to his turntables to build his compositions.

He has built a following on the strength of his skill in manipulating rare pieces of music and reworking them into phrases for his songs. His tracks often feature dozens of samples from a wide array of styles including rock, soul, funk, electronic, and jazz.

The music he creates spans a wide swath of musical styles, from relatively simple dance music and rock and roll pieces with bits of social commentary, to mind-bending psychedelic rock and meditative trance music and techno, to techno-funk, to straight out hip-hop.

DJ Shadow began experimenting with a four-track recorder while in high school. He was a significant factor in developing the experimental hip hop style associated with the London-based Mo’ Wax record label. During the early 90s his singles, including “In/Flux” and “Lost and Found (S.F.L.),” were genre-bending works of art, merging elements of funk, rock, hip hop, ambient, jazz, soul, and little known records.

“It’s going to be more drum and bass, more new age, contemporary stuff,” said Phil DaRosa, the Island musician who is producing the show. “He is just amazing, an eclectic, well rounded artist, a pioneer in the genre.”

The show opens with a DJ show featuring All Bases Covered with Islanders DJ Euphony, Supra Ricky Prime, and Matt Kurth.

DJ Shadow, Friday, August 9, 9 pm, Flatbread Company, Edgartown, M.V. Airport. $30; $25 in advance. 21+. For more information, call Flatbread at 508-693-1137 or visit