As a skilled DJ, Sheila “Shred One” Hernando has more than lived up to her moniker. Watching her work is like watching a master craftsman at play; the nimble dexterity, the effortless mixing, and the exquisite taste in music makes her a triple threat on the decks. Since arriving from San Francisco Sheila has spread her love of funk, soul, and boogie to audiophiles all over Chicago. And with each passing set she’s slowly forging herself as one of the best DJs around. Recently Shred One started a record label, Cherries Records, with her fiancé Andrew “Meaty Ogre” Brearley
and together they’ve shot new life into the local music scene. Centerstage spoke with Shred about her transition from San Francisco to Chicago and how her new label is poised for great things.
You recently competed in the Vocalo sponsored “Quest for the Best” competition, what was it like going head-to-head with such great local talents?
The Vocalo battle was the first time I have ever entered a DJ Contest, so I was definitely shook. But I really wanted to challenge myself and work hard towards accomplishing a goal as a DJ. For me, the goal wasn’t to win, but to prove my skills in a brand new city…especially in Chicago, where folks are not very easy to please.
The Sweater Funk crew is renowned for their deep crates and stellar work behind the decks. How did you guys come together?
Four years ago, Jon Blunck—a record collector and amazing human being—started the night in a grimy basement in a bar deep in the depths of Chinatown in San Francisco. It was a weekly Sunday evening where the record nerds of boogie music all got together and played each other their favorite modern soul and two-step gems for each other. We now consist of fourteen boogie lovers who still collect and play records, every Sunday night. Two of us (including myself) currently live in Chicago, and we are working on spreading the Sweater Funk vibe and sound to a city near you!
Making the transition from San Francisco to Chicago had to have had its fair share of ups-and-downs, what’s the adjustment been like for you?
I’ve lived in so many different cities but the transition to Chicago was probably the most challenging. I first moved here two years ago at the tail end of summer, then was quickly introduced to Snowpocalypse and hated life for the next six months. It was also a bit scary for me to try and start my DJ career again from scratch (no pun intended) in a brand new city. But things eventually fell into place, and I am falling in love with the city more and more every day. Chicago is finally starting to feel like home.
In comparison to the West Coast what’s your take on the nightlife here in Chicago?
I enjoy Chicago nightlife. There is a lot of talent here. It’s amazing to be able to see DJs that I have admired and listened to for years on the regular, like Ron Trent. But it seems that the locals are always referring to “the old days” on Chicago nightlife. I would’ve loved to experience it then, but I’ve enjoyed what I have experienced in the few years I have been living here. The music here is deep. And it stays deep. I notice the dance floors respond to deep sounds. I love that. They prefer the feeling the music gives them over what’s hot. This city has really forced me to step my game up as a DJ and selector, and has reminded me why I started DJing…to connect to people through music.
What are some of your favorite records stores around town?
My favorite record store was Mr. Peabody Records, but unfortunately has recently closed. Mark and Mike really schooled me on so much music. I also love digging at Out of the Past. I always come out of there sweaty and dirty, but have the illest records in my hand. I also love K-Starke…he always has dancefloor bangers.
Cherries Records just launched, what’s it like having your own label and what were some of the hardest things to overcome and are still trying to?
I worked at a label in New York City during my college years, so I was able to learn the ins-and-outs of how to run one. I always had dreams of running my own label and putting out music that I believe in. Andrew (my fiancé & co-owner) had the same dream, so there was no way we were not going to at least try to make it happen together. It really feels like this is exactly what we both are supposed to be doing. We have been fortunate enough to connect with amazing artists, new and old, who share our vision and are excited to work with us. Our first release sold out in one week, and we’ve been receiving such great support from people all over the world! I think we’re on to something really great...
I think the hardest thing will always be making sure that we’re finding great, innovative music to release. We’re really striving to work with older artists, pairing them with newer artists, and creating a fresh sound. But unfortunately, as we all grow older, our greats are passing, and we run out of time and opportunities to work with them. But I know there is always good, quality music being created, and it is now our job to find it, and share it with the world.
What’s the immediate future hold for Cherries?
We have an amazing line-up of releases coming out this year. Our second release features Tony Ozier, a Detroit musician and producer now residing in Portland. He is funky. Funky doesn’t even describe the amount of funk oozing out of this guy’s pours. We’re gonna blow your minds!
Can you give me a rundown of the top five favorite records (or songs) in your crate right now?
In no particular order:
1. Talk Together –Tall Black Guy (Bastard Jazz)
2. The Recipe –Kendrick Lamar (Aftermath)
3. It’s Me –Venice Dawn (Wax Poetics)
4. Got To Be Enough –Confunkshun (Mercury)
5. Love Is Comin’ –K-Maxx (Sound Boutique)
For more visit www.cherriesrecords.bigcartel.com