World-renowned DJ and music producer – Eva Shaw – continues to treat us all November long by releasing a new track every Friday from her new collaborative project alongside City Fidelia titled 4/4. The Toronto native so far has previously released 2 tracks, “Snakes” featuring DB Bantino and “Miles Away” with City Fidelia. With the November 23rd release of their 3rd track “What U Need” featuring Vincent Berry II, Eva renders a new sound unlike her previous work – but keeps spinning success and adds to her range of ever-expanding sound.
After gaining popularity in New York City, Eva shortly found herself performing at music festivals such as Digital Dreams and Ultra – and working with talented music artists like Shaggy, Demarco, Omar Kadir, and Poo Bear. But that doesn’t stop her there as Eva also dabbles in directing, producing and fashion design – collaborating on a collection with G-Star Raw.
Now, the multi-talented DJ maintains the pathway to creating more music – and with her latest fire releases from “4/4” EP with City, we can only expect major fuego on the way. The final track on ‘4/4’ will be released on Friday, November 30th, 2018.
XMPL got the chance to talk to Eva Shaw regarding her inspirations, the Canadian music scene, ‘4/4 EP’, working with collaborator City Fidelia and much more. Read the full exclusive interview with Eva Shaw below:
XMPL: Looking through your catalogue, you quickly notice a few unique tracks that carry an uplifting vibe with a Caribbean taste. What inspired you to produce songs like ‘Shoulda Known Betta’, ‘High’ & Ba Da Da Ding’?
Eva Shaw: I grew up in Toronto around a lot of Caribbeans and Caribbean music influences, so I guess that’s what I ended up being drawn to. I also have a ton of Caribbean friends and they definitely inspire me. It’s just a style of music I grew up around and I really wanted to put my spin on it.
It is very captivating, how your music keeps evolving. Since the big room sound of ‘Charizma’ to ‘Lifeguard’, you have developed a variety of sounds! Why is it important for an artist to experiment with new sounds & styles?
When I first started making music, I was making stuff I wanted to play out in venues. It was really catered to my DJ sets at the time. I’ve always been a fan of lots of different musical genres, so I am bound to make a variety of sounds over my career. Since at the moment, I am focusing more on music production, I feel it’s not as important to make those EDM-type of songs all of the time. As an artist, I want to do more festivals, and have more radio play and streaming success. To me, the right shows come from that. I love performing but I think it came to a point where I wanted something more out of my shows and I think the only way to achieve that is to expand musically. I want my music to really reflect my personality and what I want to present on stage.
In 2018 you have given us some amazing tracks, but the track ‘NT NT’ is easily in Buddha’s Top 5 for 2018. How did that project between Omar Kadir, City Fidelia and yourself develop? Did you picture the execution of that track and video to develop in the way it did?
Glad you like it! I love that one too, and I went back and forth a lot with the direction I would go with it musically. I first did a more Hip-Hop type beat and then I made it more big room EDM style… I was just trying out what type of rhythm I wanted on it and it was actually hard for me to decide. Dee Sonoram (At 300 ent & Brooklyn knights) had sent me the original a cappella demo from Omar, and I immediately loved it and knew I could do something with it. I had been working with City Fidelia a lot on this new project we have together entitled “4/4”. I thought it was a great idea to add him to the track since I knew I would be working with him a lot more. I also really liked him on “Shoulda Known Betta” and I thought it would add to the story of him and I coming together. I feel like City really finalizes the track and adds something really special to it.
Speaking of City Fidelia, whether you realize it or not, as a listener your chemistry really stands out on your tracks. Can you walk us through what it’s like working with City Fidelia?
That’s great to hear as we are currently working on a full album. City is from Ottawa but we met in Toronto as he works there a lot. A mutual friend was actually in contact with City’s lawyer at the time and when he heard his stuff, he told me I needed to work with him ASAP. I planned a meeting with City in Toronto and I think we immediately connected and had the same outlook on a lot of things. We were also going through similar circumstances with our careers and we just really clicked. Both City and I work extremely hard (i.e. 24/7) and that’s one of the things that really drew me to him. After that meeting, we sent each other stuff back and forth constantly and I could hit him up any time of the day and he would get something done. We worked a lot via email at first but I started booking more sessions in Toronto so we could feel that synergy. We both are down to explore, which has resulted in over 20 tracks over the past year. After I added him to “Shoulda Known Betta”, I wanted him on “NT NT”, and I just kept wanting his vibe on my tracks, so we decided to do a bigger project together and that is starting with “4/4”. Essentially what it is – is that we release a track every Friday in November. It’s basically part of the story, of us meeting and our journey discovering the type of music we want to do together. City is just a super cool, talented, driven and really nice guy and I love working with him. Not to mention that his stage presence is incredible. That was definitely something that was important to me if you’ve ever seen my live shows. Can’t wait for you guys to hear what we have coming in the new year.
You and City Fidelia are releasing 4 new tracks together, ‘Snakes’ being the first one we got to hear with Db Bantino. What was the meaning of that track to you, how did this 4-track project come about and what is the vision behind it?
First of all, DB is amazing and we are actually working on multiple tracks together. He is based in LA so I try to get him in the studio every time I’m out there. I actually saw DB on his manager’s website about a year ago. I was going through artists on the page and was totally blown away by him. I brought him in my studio in LA and was just trying a few beat ideas with him. He went in the booth and started talking about Snakes and we just jammed from there. His voice and rhythm is just incredible. Sometimes I think of the topic ahead of time with the vocalist, but this one he just started free styling. I knew already that City would bring heat to the record, so I finished it up the prod and went over to Toronto to record the rest of the vocals with him. I like the way their voices mesh together on this record and the topic really just hit home to all 3 of us. I wanted a feeling of danger and a creepiness factor to the music. The topic is all about people who fuck you over – backstabbers and people who promise things they don’t fulfil. This whole song is about over coming those shitty factors in life and making it through to the next level regardless of those shady people around you.
You have worked with many artists, especially this year. Walk us through what it’s like working with a variety of different artists.
I love working with more artists. As you know, I came from a background of mostly instrumental, club records. My first tune actually recording with a vocalist in the studio was with Martha Wash on my track with Showtek- “N2U”. Martha is an absolute legend. With her, I just wrote the topline with her and didn’t really have to do much at all directing her vocally. She literally blew me away as soon as she opened her mouth. So you have those really incredible vocalists, and then you have people who can sound amazing with a lot of coaching and direction (and vocal production). For me, as long as I get the product out that I’m looking for, I don’t care what the process ends up being. Part of being a good producer is finding the way to make that person be the best they can for that particular song. And it’s always a different experience. Some vocalists are very self sufficient – they can record themselves and make it sound damn good before I even touch it. Francci (on Shoulda known), Shaggy and Omar Kadir are some examples of this. You also have people who expect to write the topline with me, like Wyclef Jean or Vincent Berry. With both of them it was like this amazing energy in the room with ideas being yelled out and a very fast paced atmosphere that is like back and forth constantly. Some other vocalists actually go in another room and I just loop the beat because they prefer to be alone with the vibe. I actually really understand that, as I feel music writing can be very personal and I myself sometimes have a tough time concentrating if there are too many people in the room. It just depends on the artist. I always have a vibe in mind when I make a beat, and I usually ask specific vocalists in the studio when I think they will fit on something in particular. I usually come in with a basic idea and then when we get the vocals and concept laid down, I adjust the music accordingly. I also do a lot of topline writing and/or finding out the theme or general concept. When you work with a lot of people you have to deal with different opinions, backgrounds, history – everyone comes in with a vibe or a certain amount of baggage, and as a producer you need to be able to find that commonality between the two of you and see where you can click. Humans are actually more similar than we think, and as long as you appreciate and accept people for who they are and their process, good stuff will come out.
What inspired you to pursue music and how would you describe the Canadian music scene as whole?
From my experience, I find it has been harder to gain attention from Canada than it has been to get going in the U.S. I love my country and I’m very proud to be Canadian, but I’ve heard from many artists how hard it was to first gain respect from their own country. I find that Canada generally jumps on board later, once someone becomes big somewhere else first. I’ve heard it from models, singers, painters, photographers – a lot of different types of artists. At the same time, there is a lot of support from the Canadian Government in terms of grants for music videos and such. I just always found that growing up, a lot of the artists who were popular in Canada were ONLY big in Canada and struggled to break through in the rest of the world. Other than that, it was mostly international artists. I think that has changed a lot, especially for Hip-Hop, with people like Drake coming on the scene and gaining worldwide popularity. I grew up listening to a lot of Hip-Hop and Canadian artists like Kardinal Offishall, Choclair and Snow. I think those guys really inspired a generation and set the tone for the new wave of Canadian music.
You’re from Toronto the music scene there is second to none, even it’s past with venues like The Guv are embedded in it’s history. What were your were venues that you visited to growing up, can you explain the difference of going to a show as a fan and now as a headliner?
I listened to a lot of variety of music as a kid (Journey, Blackbox, Aretha, Ace of Base, 2pac, The Beegees, Offspring, Maestro fresh Wes and even classical music – pretty diverse taste I had). I like different artists for different reasons and some I would die to see live. I went to see artists like Mariah Carey as a kid. When I started to DJ and produce, I got more into seeing DJs perform. I was a big fan of Deadmau5, Wolfgang Gartner- I really liked that sort of “electro house” sound. I remember going to the Guv for the first time and seeing Thomas Gold. I was actually in shock at how cool it was – his mash-ups and energy blew my mind. I’ve never been a real party person so I usually prefer to stand in a corner and just watch. When I’m watching a performance, I look at the whole thing. The lights, the sounds, the visuals – I really take in the experience from an artistic perspective. One of the coolest experiences I saw was A$AP rocky at Panorama festival in New York. That really inspired me. It’s such a calm feeling watching others perform. When I’m on stage it’s like this big mash of adrenaline and nervousness and excitement. I’m just feeding on the energy in the room and it feels so incredible to see people going crazy.
You’ve scorched the decks at many different clubs but what 3 cities really stood out to you and why?
I’ve had some crazy shows in Toronto. Even when I first started DJ-ing I was playing at the Hoxton and it was an absolute blast. Digital Dreams fest was insane. Of course Ultra Miami is always wild… the other one I was blown away by was in Guangzhou, China. I did a venue there that was just madness – people did not stop jumping. I also love playing in Japan because of how amazing the hospitality is and the people are so friendly and inspiring. It’s really hard for me to say exactly my favourites – there are so many memories. All over Mexico is also incredible – I love performing there as well.
Your music is amazing and continues to bloom. Can you tell us what we can expect from you in the near future?
Thank you so much. I feel I’m really growing as a producer and I really can’t wait for everyone to hear how I’m developing. I feel like my DJ career sort of took off faster than I could figure out exactly what I wanted to do musically, so I am now stepping back and really developing my sound that I have always wanted to. I have a couple more tracks on the 4/4 project with City coming out now, and we are currently working on our album together which should drop early 2019. I’m also working on my own album, which will have a ton of features, and I’m really excited for that one. You’ll definitely hear more of City and DB Bantino on that project. I’m also dropping some music with Booka Banks coming up real soon. I also have a project I’m developing with Wouter of Showtek called “Detrop” which is more indie/pop stuff. That will be coming out via Spinnin Recs in the near future. I’m always producing and writing for artists as well, and recently I’ve started to direct and produce music videos too, so I’ll probably dabble in that a little more in the new year. I’m really excited for everything and really happy I stepped back from touring so much so I could find my direction.