Project + Interview
We had the pleasure of chatting with shagabond about his latest single “Kodaks.”
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Splice: First of all, congratulations on releasing “Kodaks,” how does it feel that it’s out there now?
Shagabond: Thanks so much I really appreciate it. It feels really relieving to finally put something out and see what listeners have to say about it, so far it has been received well. I still have a lot more music to release soon with my debut E.P on the way, I’m excited to see how it will all come together. Hopefully my team and I will have something to share for it soon.
S: Could you tell us a little bit more about yourself, how did you get your start in music?
SB: I got my start playing violin when I was around 6 years old. I didn’t play violin for more than two years when I started getting interested in playing guitar. When I reached middle school, I started playing guitar in a local band comprised of my closest friends. We wrote all original music and played several local shows; at the time playing the smallest of gigs was the most rewarding experience. It wasn’t until midway through high school when I started delving into music production. The band started to fall apart around the same time because we all started getting into different genres of music, but I still wanted to express myself musically. I transitioned into making all my music on my computer and here I am today. All my band mates and I are still the closest of friends and we talk all the time. I feel blessed to have a friend group so heavily involved with music, it definitely made experimenting more enjoyable since my friends actually understood what I was going for.
S: There is such an interesting sonic palette going on in “Kodaks.” Could you walk through some of the sonic decisions you had to make?
SB: Kodaks is an interesting project from a sonic perspective. I wanted to make something catchy—something that would be a good first single back but nothing too monotonous—that still had my signature sounds involved. The hardest decision I had to make was around layering instruments without interfering too heavily with Noah’s vocal performance. It became difficult because the main synth stab and the horns during the first chorus were in constant competition with the vocal. Eventually, after some side chaining and EQ adjustments, I felt confident the mix sounded clear and hopefully you guys think so too. 🙂
S: The kick drum and bass seem to work so well together, what was the process behind layering the two instruments?
SB: From a mixing perspective, all I did was bus the kick and bass together (which isn’t featured in the project since the plugins on that bus aren’t native to Ableton) and add a little side chain work on the bass, but honestly, it’s the way the song was written fundamentally that makes the kick and bass sound so glued together. As a friend described it, all the individual tracks sounds like they’re playing double-dutch jump rope with each other. He couldn’t have given me a better compliment since that was exactly what I was going for; giving each individual track a place and time to shine on top of each other.
S: What was it like working with vocalist, Noah? Did you work with her remotely or in-person?
SB: Noah is awesome to work with. His father and my aunt just recently got engaged so he literally is family to me. When him and I work together in the studio, I feel as if everything just clicks. For Kodaks in particular, he flew up to Toronto where we recorded most of the vocals at Alex’s studio (alexonweed) over this one beat, but when Alex and I finished comping the vocals, I decided I needed too make a new beat around his vocals. Once I felt like I had something that worked better, I flew down to L.A to finish the track at Noah’s home studio. It was a really great experience altogether.
S: Lastly, any tips for any aspiring producers out there?
SB: All I can say is, try not to get too heavily influenced by your peers. In my opinion, electronic music has no audible boundaries and I think it’s important that we explore as much as possible. In other words, be yourself, because if you try too hard to sound like someone else, you’ll be stunting your growth as a creator. Thanks for having me!
Listen to “Kodaks” on SoundCloud.
At 19, Shagabond has become a staple in Toronto’s underground music scene. He is recognized for his energetic live sets as well as his mellow yet complex studio productions. His latest collaboration with Noah, one of LA’s hottest up and coming vocalists, showcases his ability to tailor his production around a vocal feature. Shagabond’s highly anticipated first project is set to drop this fall.