One of the UK’s top session drummers is stepping into the spotlight and finally releasing his own music.
Feature by Jamie Summerfield
Ten years ago, at just 15, Stoke-on-Trent’s Danny Shaw was performing in arenas with his hip-hop band Aggy Fro after they secured a support slot with N-Dubz. He started his first drum and recording studio in Shelton aged 17 and since then he’s been working as a session and studio drummer, working with artists like Matt Johnson from Jamiroquai, 808 State’s Graham Massey, Shatta Wale the Dancehall King and many more.
Now he’s assembled an amazing group of musicians to put his own music firmly in the spotlight with Danny Shaw and The Sub Spartans.
“It’s something I’ve been thinking about for a while,” Danny says, “But I never had the chance to act on it because I was way too busy with the session work. Lockdown was horrific on so many levels but it was a blessing in disguise, really, in terms of my own music. Session and live work obviously dried up, but it gave me the time and the headspace to get The Sub
Spartans off the ground.”
From a series of jams at the end of last year, it was clear that something special was developing. The jams turned into songs with guest vocalists, and an amazing kaleidoscopic sound that takes in drum and bass, reggae, electronica, jazz and more, all with Danny’s electrifying drumming at their heart.
Some live performances on YouTube gave a glimpse into the Sub Spartans universe, and now comes self-produced debut single ‘Risky’ on 30 October.
Featuring Mumbo Jimbo on guest vocals, Jamie Sufi-Davies (trumpet), Clive Martin (saxophone), John Mageean (baritone sax), Sid Cawley (trombone) and Marcus Keith Barker (guitar) – it’s a bold introduction.
And ‘Risky’ is just the tip of the iceberg.
Danny says: “I wanted to start things off with a brass section, really develop that sound, but the aim is to build a full orchestra for The Sub Spartans. The string section is coming together and there are lots of guest vocalists who’ll be appearing on future singles and EPs.”
He’s looking to the Texas percussion-led funk-hip-hop collective Ghost-Note as inspiration, a collective based around founder members drummer Robert Searight and percussionist Nate Werth.
“This thing’s just going to grow and grow,” he says.