it would be relatively easy to say that vancouver-bred producer and DJ nathan shaw’s sound is the distillation of his bc roots. windswept with dreamy atmospheres and skittering scattered beats, grounded in rugged percussion – such a description wouldn’t be wrong, but for the producer, best known by his stage name ekali, it would be underwhelmingly oversimplified.
one month ago, i packed up my entire life (and by that i mean i packed up 9 pairs of shoes, 7 pieces of outerwear, basically no clothing, and nothing else of use to me other than both my laptops, great job emma), hopped on a plane, and relocated to berlin, germany. it was scary. nothing anyone told me, and certainly nothing i told myself, prepared me in any way for the past four weeks. i’ve always published on littlecity in the name of full disclosure, so for better or for worse, here are some things i’ve learned about berlin.
a little over seven years ago, i sat in the backseat of my parents’ car, listening to “wide open spaces” by the dixie chicks on repeat, and crying as they drove me from my native toronto to montreal for university. i had spent the previous night having what i would later describe as enlightened moments with my best friends and my high school boyfriend — we had watched the sunrise from the top of the playground at my elementary school. the whole memory has a kind of a rose coloured glow. at the time, i didn’t think it was possible for anything to ever mean more to me than those moments with those friends. when i finally arrived in montreal, i cried for two days straight.
my first couple years here were spent at concordia, and i took on a life that involved frosh week, thirsty thursdays, beerfest, and st patrick’s day, the epitome of a university student. i loved every minute of it. but it wasn’t until i became immersed in the local music scene that i started to really understand montreal, and it wasn’t long before i felt like montreal understood me. i started going out to shows and concerts and having what i would later describe as enlightened moments on the dancefloor.
i read a feature about singer/songwriter tinashe kachingwe in dazed the other week. she’s a self made girl — started from the bottom, or whatever that horrendous expression is that drake did not make up but that people attribute to him — and the article talks a lot about her roots, and her rise to fame. when she made that hard as nails video for “boss” from her debut mixtape in case we die, she, her father and her manager filmed and edited and produced the entire thing. a lot has changed for tinashe in a short while: she’s really blown up, but it seems she’s taking it all in stride. that’s what it means to start from the bottom.
what does haze sound like? it might sound like a foggy bassline coloured purple with reverb. it might sound like an acid-trip ambience. it might sound like a smokey synth or a trippy, futurist vocal. but it’s more than likely that it sounds like the bass-filled R&B soaked production from new jersey mystery man, hazy.