THERE'S SOMETHING TO be said for having the world at your fingertips. Just ask Josh Davis, aka DJ Shadow. His fingers have been his bread and butter for the past 10 years, helping him carve out a niche - or more like an empire - as one of the world's hottest turntablists. His story starts in college, where he spent every spare moment rifling through stacks of vinyl, experimenting for hours, searching for the right sounds to pull from the dusty records, then blending them with modern, sexed-up downbeats. He called the result Endtroducing, and it flew off shelves. His trajectory into the public sphere was swift. Success and adoration were instant. And that's how a young, white guy from San Francisco pioneered the instrumental hip hop movement. Although the 33-year-old DJ has had his share of good luck over the years, his attempts to play in Hong Kong since his debut appearance in 1996 have tested his mettle. His 2003 performance was cancelled after the Sars outbreak, and last month's show looked set to suffer the same fate after another bout of bad luck - this time, a typhoon. But Davis eventually made it to town and the show went ahead - albeit two days late. Settling into a chair in the Park Lane Hotel, just hours before the long-planned show, he looks worse for wear. His eyes bear the tell-tale signs that he hasn't had much shut-eye in the past 24 hours. But it's not due to excessive partying. His manager hovers, asking the media to go easy on the poor DJ, and issuing a warning to keep photographs to a minimum. 'We were stuck in Singapore for 18 hours,' says Davis, alluding to Typhoon Prapiroon, which left hundreds stranded en route to Hong Kong. Davis may be weary, but he's ready to talk. He says he has always strived to be different, with Endtroducing setting the benchmark for what's considered one of the defining sounds of the 1990s. But with his new album, The Outsider, he's nailing the lid on the past. 'A lot has changed since Endtroducing. I had a different outlook in college and it's hard now to relate to me as the person who made that record because I no longer think about or make music in the same way. I feel like my collaborations [with UNKLE] helped me to grow as an artist. The Endtroducing era is over.' So what can people expect from Davis this time around? The Outsider chronicles his transition from curious sampler to a polished hip hop sound. Whereas his earlier work had a decidedly darker tone, The Outsider reveals a more lighthearted side. But there was no template for what Davis wished to accomplish - this album evolved over time. 'When I started working on the record, I thought it was going to be political. It was an election year, 2004, when I started and there was a lot going on. But I'm only political about 5 per cent of the day, so it didn't make sense to make a political album. After working on some other politically motivated projects I felt burnt out. 'It was time to throw a curve into the music so it would sound different. I wanted it to be impossible to compare it to the other two. In that respect I think I succeeded.' Davis has always boasted a renegade streak. 'It's healthy to fight a little bit. There's a part of me that wants to evoke a strong reaction from listeners. I wanted to ruffle feathers with Endtroducing, and it's still the case with The Outsider.' The latest effort includes collaborations with former A Tribe Called Quest MC, Q-Tip, as well as Southern rapper David Banner and Bay Area regular E-40. The result is a glossy and gritty blend of beats and rhymes that may well confound fans of Davis' earlier output. 'People need to realise I will never make music like that [Endtroducing] again.' He may be unapologetic about changing direction, but he does apologise - profusely - two days later on stage at Western Market about the show's delay. The postponement has done nothing to curb his enthusiasm for the live dynamic, and the set flows with such a seamless pace that by its culmination the frustration of it having been delayed has disappeared. And with that, it seems the here and now is just as significant as his enthralling debut.