Hollars and Dollars Exclusive Interview: ShadAugust 30, 2010
Hollars and Dollars got to catch up with Shad for this exclusive interview. Shad’s been shooting up the charts with his tracks from his latest cd “TSOL” which you should definitely pick up if you haven’t done so yet. Also, if you have not seen him perform, go check him out. He always puts on a dope show. He will be rolling into Calgary with K’Naan on September 27 at MacEwan Hall so get on it!
Let’s start with a little background information. When did you start
getting into music and who did you start out listening to?
I liked music as long as I can remember. My sister and I listened to the radio and watched Much Music all the time so we listened to everything… grew up on hip hop, alternative, pop….
When did you begin writing and producing your own music?
In undergrad. I started playing with a couple different groups and then moved into more solo stuff towards my 4th year.
What goes on in the mind of Shad during the process when making your
songs? Do you begin with a beat and work around that or do you have an
idea of rhymes that you wanna spit and work in the music that way? Or
is it dependent on each track you produce?
Yeah it’s different with each song. Sometimes a track will inspire me to write something, other times I’ll just have an idea or an experience that will make me wanna write before I have any music.
Your thoughts on “Music vs the Internet”. Obviously the internet has
it’s positive and negative effects on the music industry. But from an
artists perspective it has produced some useful avenues for getting
ones name and music out to the world in a much faster way. Have you
found this to be true compared to, say even from the time when you
first began releasing material?
I’ve only been an artist in the internet era so I can’t say definitively whether its been good or bad for my career. It’s kind of a case where I’m here so I can’t complain. Maybe I would be better if there was no internet, I also suspect I might not have a career at all if it weren’t for the internet. But I dont know for sure either way. What I can say is that I think that the internet is good for music overall. I think it creates a situation where artists can have more control over what they make and how they go about their careers and I think that leads to a healthier situation creatively. People can make music that’s more unique and personal if they want to. People can still make great, big, pop albums too. You have all these options now and I think that’s good for artists and good for audiences.
Do you think that social networks and the use of the internet has
bridged the gap between established musicians and upcoming artists?
Have you found it opens more doors for collaborations and more room
Again I cant say if there’s more or less potential for collaboration with more established artists pre-internet vs now because I never made music in that time, but collaborating overall is much easier because you don’t have to be in the same room to work together anymore. That being said, because people can send files back and forth, we rarely actually sit in the same room and bounce energy and ideas back and forth. So in the end, there’s probably more collaborating going on but some of the feel isn’t always there.
Is this how you hooked up with Smalltown Romeo for the “Boom Ha” track?
Yeah, we knew each other prior; the Smalltown guys had booked me at their club in Calgary and stuff. One day they sent me the track, I was into doing something different and fun so we sent the files back and forth and did it up like that.
You played a dope show when you were here. Did you go anywhere fun on your
stop in Calgary?
Not really unfortunately cuz we were in the middle of tour. But I was there for the Junos a couple years ago and had a good time because we had more a couple days there as opposed to tour where you’re just in and out.
What’s life like on the road for you? Any highlights from the recent
tour you would like to share?
I had my sis on the road with me this time, that was great. We live on opposite sides of the country now so getting to spend more time with her this summer was awesome. Otherwise life on the road for me is pretty chill. i watch a lot of tv in the van… otherwise its basically hotel-drive-soundcheck-show-repeat.
I love the positivity of your music and the pureness of your sound.
It’s hard to find artists who express themselves without using
explicit language in their lyrics, which leads us to a rather broad
question. What’s your opinion on the current state of Hip hop?
I get asked that question a lot. I think with hip hop growing so much and there being so many sub-genres and scenes as far as music, dance, etc that exist – not to mention all the different scenes all over the world – I don’t think you can really comment on the state of hip hop on the whole anymore. It’s just become too big of a thing with too many different sides to it. For example, over the last couple of years there’s been a big resurgence in the battle scene. I think there’s been more of a premium of lyricism in the mainstream as of late too with artists like J Cole and Jay Electronica breaking out. You have artists like Kid Cudi and Drake also that have a moodier, more melody-oriented sound. It’s really tough to sum it all up.
What’s the meaning behind the title of your new cd TSOL?
I like how it feels. sounds like an acronym for something big. Something that’s hard to put into words. That’s what its about for me. It’s about the things you cant just state plainly.
Did you have a concept or a theme in mind when creating the album?
No, i was just trying to make songs that were meaningful and positive. Trying to give the people that support me some good music.
Listening to you freestyle is so dope. It’s a skill and an art. What goes through your head while your freestyling?
Nothing! That’s why its fun. You just go and you try to entertain those people in that moment with just a beat and a flow. That’s the essence of hip hop for me.
Direction for Shad in 2010 and on?
Got a tour opening for K’Naan in Canada and then opening for K-os in the States.
Thanks for the time.
Hollar your 5′s!
First 5 things you do when you get up in the morning?
1. Go back to sleep
3. Check email
4. Check phone
Top 5 Things you need while on the road touring?
3. Laptop charger
4. Phone charger
Top 5 places to eat? (Canada or anywhere else you’ve been)
1. Roxton (Toronto)
2. Swan (Toronto)
3. Sha-lin noodle house (Vancouver)
4. John’s place (Victoria)
5. The place with the roti in Peterborough. Forgot the name.
5 things your really into right now?
1. A tv show called Eli Stone
2. A book called the Big Short
3. Kid twist battle videos
5. Trying to be better with money
5 things you can’t live without?
3. Cranberry juice
4. My sister
5. The internet (which includes music and tv… that’s probably cheating.)