Shapeshifter frontman P.Digsss is no stranger to the world of snow – he cut his teeth shaping terrain parks before his career in music took off.
When the rope drops on a powder day, there’s no doubt that he’ll be leading the charge for fresh lines, chahooing the whole way down. We had a chat to the man himself to find out what makes him so pumped on music & the mountains.
How did you get into music?
My whole family have been a musical inspiration to me really. My brothers & sisters all listened to soul and reggae, but I went the punk, rock, heavy metal route. By 16 years old, all I wanted to do was be in bands & play music.
Around that time, skateboarding was a massive factor in how broad my range of music went. Watching skateboarding videos, I loved how different the music was. It’s still the same today, like there’s a time & a place for pretty much everything in my music appreciation, although not too much country & western these days…
What’s your song writing process?
With Shapeshifter, we’re 18 years old now & we’ve gone through quite a few changes. In the early days it was just like a normal band really – we’d just get in the room with each other to play.
Now we all have our own studios & computers, & we’ll work on ideas at home prior to rehearsals. Then when you go to rehearsals you bring your A-game – you bring all your ideas that are a good feel for the band & we’ll all listen & jam them out.
How did you get into snowboarding?
It was really easy – it was just the coolest sh*t out in the 90s!
I did skiing first. I first got to do it in 1994 at Ruapehu – Whakapapa. We were psyched ‘cos we were all surfers & skaters. There were no snowboards for hire because it was really early & nobody was really doing it yet. I went skiing twice, but I remember every time we went skiing we’d always see one dude snowboarding… we’d be frothing to do it too. Once I tried it, that was it. Just made sense to do it.
What keeps you coming back to the mountains year after year?
I love the feeling of riding powder, riding snow, flying, & being with really good friends. The vibe – the vibe that’s on the mountain when you’re with other people that are around snow. If it wasn’t for Shapeshifter, being my bread earner for everything I need to do (& for being the best job I’ve ever had), I would be working for Cardrona.
What’s the connection between music & snowboarding for you?
They go hand in hand. Each are as complementary to each other as can be. When I’m riding, I hear music – hearing music in my head or playing music with a boom box that’s on me. Snowboarding is music – it’s just what you do on the snow.
What’s the plan for the next year?
We’ve just realised our sixth album, & we just got signed to Hospital Records in the UK, one of the world’s biggest dance music labels. It’s quite exciting times – we’re not babies in this, we’re quite long in the tooth at 18 years old. You never know what’s going to happen, but we’re just stoked to get this opportunity to go & get on some really awesome tours in Europe. We’ll be doing some fairly extensive touring this year, & I’m excited. Although not too much touring – I want to snowboard too!
When I’m not on stage singing for Shapeshifter I can also be found DJing & MCing with The Peacekeepers, which feature Nicky Research & Sambora from Shapeshifter, or singing with my original crew – the Sunshine Sound System.