What: Kranked 7 premiere/Shane Philip
When: Saturday, May 17, 10 p.m.
Watching Shane Philip perform is an overwhelming, awe-inspiring experience. He is in a constant state of motion, with all limbs moving at once, simultaneously playing the didgeridoo, guitar and drums. And when he isn’t on the didge, he’s singing.
“It’s not that hard,” Philip said modestly. “After you practice it for a while, it’s like dancing. It’s like your limbs are doing different times, but it flows and all comes together.”
Philip first started his multi-instrumental act about six years ago, after attending an “Island Rhythms” drum show at his local community centre.
“Right in the middle of the show, this guy grabbed a didgeridoo and played the didgeridoo with these drummers, and it was phenomenal.”
While he had heard the didgeridoo before, this sound was totally different.
“The way he played it, was kind of like playing a drum with your breath, and I’m really into drumming, so it’s super percussive and super rhythmic, and I was like, ‘wow, this is amazing!’” Philip said.
At the end of the show, he went over to talk to the musician, Zach, and ended up buying his own instrument, which he took it back to his small cabin up in Smithers. He taught himself how to play it, calling Zach occasionally to get him to play over the phone and recording so he could listen, memorize and parrot it.
Philip already played the drums and a weissenborn guitar, and he quickly discovered that the sound of the didgeridoo blended really well with the other instruments. So he decided to incorporate them all into a single live performance. The end result is an action-packed set that leaves the crowd staring in wonder before they start to groove.
“The best compliment I’ve ever had was actually at a Whistler show at Dusty’s. This guy comes up to me and he says, ‘Shane, so what kind of looping pedal do you use?’” Philip said with a laugh. “I was so happy, I just said, ‘dude, I don’t have one, I just play live!’”
A career in music wasn’t Philip’s lifelong goal — he actually used to be a school teacher in Smithers, B.C. “My secret weapon for that one was me and another teacher, we used to practice at lunch hours writing songs for the social studies program,” Philip said. “So we would turn the Upper Canada rebellion into a reggae song, and the Lower Canada rebellion into a rap.”