Since the beginning of FC we’ve strived to keep healthy amounts of bedroom beats on top of just plain sexy music. It was only fitting to arrange for a Valentines day mix that would keep this practice alive and that would warm boo’s everywhere on the day. Marking the day with us is Ekali, aka Nathan Shaw of Said The Whale. He’s been an active with FC for a few months now, his catalog is just so conducive to Valentines that it made sense to both parties for him to take this day with a mix. Do the get to know below. Don’t fall in love, your online.
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Hey man, thanks for being the face of our Valentines. How do you normally introduce yourself to people?
Anytime, dude. My name’s Nathan, and I’m an independent musician living in Vancouver, BC.
What does today hold in store for you? Any romantic plans or boos?
My bae is at work, so I have to wait ’til tonight for some snugs.
Does the name Ekali relate to anything to do with love? Or is the name in reference to the suburb of Athens Greece? The Greeks were bout all kinds of love.
The name Ekali is a modified version of one of my favourite video game characters. I love video games. They were a huge part of my childhood, and video game composers like Nobuo Uematsu sort of created the soundtrack to my early years. I’d say that’s how my appreciation for music started.
You have been into making beats for about a year correct?
Yup, just over a year.
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And before that your musical life has been with award winning band Said The Whale. What can you tell us about this experience?
I joined Said The Whale in 2011 when I was 19. I left my life plans, my job and my savings behind, and basically jumped into the life of a full-time touring musician. It’s what I always wanted to do, but after playing in various bands in my teens (which never took off or toured), I felt uncertain about my future as a musician. I had even quit playing any sort of music for awhile. Said The Whale happened to find me during that period of uncertainty in my life, and rekindled my deep love for music as a lifestyle. I feel lucky that they did; there are a lot of incredibly talented people out there of all ages who have amazing work ethic and directional focus and deserve to be doing what they love to do for a living… I just happened to be in the right place at the right time.
Being in the band has affected me in a lot of ways. Living in close confines with 4-7 other people for months at a time really teaches you a lot about yourself and your personal boundaries. Every human has a unique set of needs, and keeping 5 sets of those perfectly in line is majorly difficult. I’ve been working on being more tolerable person in general, so I don’t drive my bandmates insane. It’s also difficult if you have a loved one at home. Sometimes I’m having the time of my life, sometimes I’m counting days til I’m home for snugs. But in the end, I am in love with what I do, it’s incredibly rewarding, and I have no regrets.
How is producing music while on tour difficult?
Producing on the road has it’s benefits and it’s drawbacks. On one hand, you’re traveling to different cities every day, meeting new people, playing with different bands, being with people you love.. it’s not very hard to find inspiration. Translating your ideas into sound can be a bit of a struggle though, when your production time is mostly limited to van-drives with motor-hum, cramped space, background noise, and a lack of hardware. It’s interesting when I compare songs I write on the road with songs I write at home. The former usually sounds a bit more warm and nostalgic, a little less structured and technically sound, while the latter sounds a bit more distant and cold, but also more precise and soundly arranged. It’s a product of being in two completely different head-spaces. I’m working on being able to find a balance between the two, so my music can be a true representation of my life as a whole, in all of my different modes.
You are also a member of the Chapel Sound collective. How did this come about and how has being involved in a collective like this helped you?
One of my best buds Shawn (DJ Sadgirl, VZNS), started taking me around to hangs in Vancouver and introducing me to some of the Chapel homies last fall. They had to have been some of the most welcoming people I’ve ever met, and made me feel comfortable sharing my music with them. It felt really natural. Being a part of the community has helped me come out of my musical shell and to be more willing to actively share what I create. They’re also just amazing buds, all around.
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Any collaborations forthcoming from yourself and other members of the collective?
I have an ongoing collaboration project on the fly with Jacob (The Oneiroscopist), and Shawn (VZNS). We have a few more original tunes to complete to go along with the two we’ve already released, as an EP in the early spring.
Which direction are you pointed in musically at this point, and for how long do you expect to move forward in this direction?
I’m still in the stages of developing my sound. I’m so inspired by so many different kinds of music, and I’m still limited by my technical inability. So, given time, I’d like to find a sound that represents who I am and where I came from, and then stick true to that sound moving forwards, and let it evolve with time and experience.
In a previous conversation we’ve had you mentioned R&B is very near and dear to you. Why do you think you enjoy it so?
I grew up listening to Timbaland/Neptunes songs on MuchMusic. I don’t think that I fully understood half the lyrical content of the music, but it made sense to me on a basic level. As I grew up, and experienced love, and went through heartbreak and difficult times, I grew to understand the music on a deeper level. The beauty of RNB music to me is how it simply makes sense emotionally. It’s contemporary soul music. And if you know sadness, wanna fuck, or miss your baby, the music will speak to you.
What would be your all time fave R&B albums?
Laura Mvula – Sing to the Moon
Justin Timberlake – Futuresex/Lovesounds
Aaliyah – Aaliyah
Is there anything you’d like to add before we wrap this up? Words on the mix?
Thank you Future Classics for having me! The mix is meant to be a romantic journey. Listen to it with a loved one, or during your vday pre game, or to reflect. Remember that you can’t be happy without the tough times.
Leave us with your ideal date night seeing as how it’s all valentines today.
A walk along the pier in Brighton, England with my girl. We see a great show, eat great food, go home, watch Adventure Time episodes we’ve already seen about ten times, make love, smoke, order pizza. Follow it up with a lazy sleep-in, and then I’ll cook breakfast in bed for the two of us.
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