A veteran in pirate radio with a strong connection to Deja Vu FM, Hackney-hailing producer/DJ Shenin Amara has been a regular face in the UK’s underground house music scene for years. His sets typically combine tech-house with the deep, organic grooves of classic house, and anything with soulful, warehouse-filling vocals. When the dancefloors do eventually reopen, he’s going to be perfectly positioned to soundtrack the euphoric feeling of freedom we’re all overwhelmed with.
Like everyone else, the pandemic has kept Amara from doing what he loves most, so to scratch the itch he’s pivoted to livestreams—including two 24-hour shows—and has started a fortnightly podcast called Blacklisted with Fabio Luis and Dayran, where they dissect the inner workings of the industry, share their experiences of lockdown and tell some wild stories from their years on the London scene. Amara has barely slowed down at all because on top of all that, he’ll also be launching House Passion TV and a record label this summer.
We managed to pin down Shenin Amara for an exclusive new mix and a chat for the latest edition of Complex Sessions. Tap in below.
Tell us a bit about your selections in this mix.
It’s very upfront, with lots of grooves and catchy vocals. Towards the end, I take it back with some deep house classics, which is the era I first transitioned into the genre.
What was the one track you absolutely had to include?
Mine and Francis’ 2020 VIP remix of Hitty’s “In My Room”. The original is very nostalgic for me, and with Hitty generating a big buzz at the moment, it’s been a favourite with everyone.
Any tracks that narrowly missed the cut?
I was very tempted to put a pre-master that DJ S sent me from his label. If I did, I would probably never play at House of Silk again [laughs].
What’s the first single or album you ever bought?
In primary school days, the Reggae Hits compilations were essential albums. This was when Shabba Ranks, Buju Banton and those guys were dominating dancehall. My dad was always dragging me to record shops, which was really boring for me at the time, but I was excited whenever I got to purchase the latest edition.
What’s the last physical record you bought?
I’m testing the real UK rap fans right now—it was G-Force Camp’s No Mersh. That’s a throwback from my time at Deja, on the roof. We were working on some projects together so I had to support. I spent hours editing the tracks to be able to play on radio.
What do you want to see happen musically over the next 12 months?
I’d love dancing to become legal again… How weird does that sound!? As much as I miss the festivals and big crowds, reduced capacities and even 10pm finishes weren’t the main problem last summer; it was the law that everyone had to be seated. Sitting down and house music is a complete no-no.
What trend or scene absolutely needs to die right now?
Division and discrimination in the industry. I touch on these issues on the Blacklisted Podcast.
1. PARTYNEXTDOOR – Recognize (Hitty Edit)
2. James Saunders – Ten Hours (ANOTR Remix)
3. Lana Del Rey – Blue Jeans (Acapella)
4. Hitty – In My Room (Francis & Shenin Amara 2020 VIP Remix)
5. Ki Creighton – Nightshift (Ben Grunnell Remix)
6. Max Chapman, ThreeSix – Make a Move
7. Marcellus & Kolombo – Twisted
8. Baka – Live Up To My Name (Hitty Edit)
9. George Mensah – Decay
10. Francis – Best Night Ever
11. Hitty – Take No Chat (Shenin Amara Remix)
12. Rosie Gaines – Closer Than Close (Sam Beach Edit)
13. Aaliyah – Try Again (Late Replies Edit)
14. Hitty, Fabio Luis – Yo A
15. East End Dubs – London Thing
16. PAWSA – The Shapeshifter
17. Cozzy D – Aphrodite (Acapella)
18. Sammy Porter – What We Started (AR & Shenin Amara Remix)
19. Blaze – Lovely Day (Bicep Remix)
20. Azari & III – Reckless (With Your Love) (2015 AR & Shenin Amara Remix)
21. Dusky – Nobody Else
22. Deniz Kurtel ft. Jada – The L Word
23. DJ Le Roi ft. Chappell – Get Ready (Halo City Deep Vocal Dub Mix)
24. NA ft. Rosina – Fables & Fairytales (Deniz Kurtel Remix)
25. Black Coffee – Crazy (Quentin Harris Remix)
26. D. Tee ft. Lush Kells – King and Queen (Supa D & Mr Taffa AMA Mix)