Featured Track: “Ankh” by SHIDÜ
First, I’d love to talk a bit about “Ankh.” I was fortunate enough to catch you guys at a show this past Saturday, and this cut really blew me away! In my opinion, this one stands out a bit in your discography. I’m picking up on a lot more blues rock (the second half of the song could have found a home on LED ZEPPELIN II!) and jam band influences on this one. What was this inspiration for this track, and how do you feel it fits in with the rest of your work?
Well, we believe this track gives a fine definition of who we are on all spectrums of instrumentation. You get a little bit of everything, from the rocky-bluesy fee,l to the jazzy chorus with the way Breeze strums his guitar, to the way Esai walks on his bass and Liano swings. I guess the inspiration mainly came from us just jamming together; that’s how most of our songs get formulated.
Somewhat on that note, for these more improv-heavy, instrumental tracks, what’s the writing process like? How does it differ from when you’re writing with a vocalist in mind?
Songs usually happen when we are just jamming and come up with a loop, then create another loop, seeing how we can transfer from one to the other. Vocals usually come last for us; when we’re working with other vocalists, it’s all about connection and how they feel jamming with us. It’s pretty cool to realize how connected we all feel to the song when we collaborate. It’s a part of us all and it’s a beautiful feeling. We don’t focus too much on lyrics, so we work with our friends to let them be their own outlet of expression.
The GIZA album that “Ankh” comes off of is interesting due in large part to its variety and diversity in terms of styles and influences. You’ve got a handful of rap tracks, “Ankh,” the pensive and vaguely dystopian “Passing Thrü,” “Woes,” which sounds like something Thundercat would release, the list goes on. I guess my question to you is, how do you see all of these tying together despite how outwardly different they may sound? What is the key thing that make them all SHIDÜ tracks?
Wow those are all unexpected ways of describing our tunes, that’s awesome *laughs*. Thundercat is the tits. (Does anyone say that anymore?) It’s all about doing everything. Liano was the one that brought producing and the idea of electronic sounds to the table when we first started. SHIDÜ actually started out as Breeze and Liano making beats anywhere they could. Check out VIZIO; it’s all jokes *laughs). But all in all, the key is the connection between us all working together, as well as individually. Breeze and Liano mainly handle the production side, Esai composes some stuff on his own and is the final piece to the puzzle. Basically, we make beats on our own, then find ways to transform them with organic instruments to create a theme.
Photo Credit: bastardjer
Since your sounds have such a wide scope, I was curious as to how you feel about genre labels. Many young bands I’ve talked to seem to dislike them, so I was wondering where you guys stand. Can you see any benefit to them, or do you find them restrictive?
The way we make music, genres make things restrictive. If you’re known for making a genre of music, that’s all you’ll be expected to do. It’s about the journey in discovering new things and the things you discover along the way, feel me b? You try new things, you learn a lot. “Sad Toys” in GIZA is Afro-Jazz influenced, “Hotel Rwanda” is envisioned by landscapes and roaming through jungles. Brazy stuff that is just outwardly influenced.
If you don’t mind me assuming, it seems to me that the variety you demonstrate is at least somewhat due in part to the incestuous (in a good way) relationship the artists of 310 Records have with each other; there is so much exciting collaboration and crossover happening, that I’d like to clarify who the official members of SHIDÜ are, and what their other side projects are on the label.
SHIDÜ is Liano, Breeze, Esai, and all of those who we connect with as family. They have a part in our family and art form. Shout out 310, and our South Bay family!!
With so much crossover, how do you determine what’s right for SHIDÜ to record as opposed to another act? Have you guys ever written something and then handed it off to another artist on the label?
No we don’t just hand things over, they have to be earned and we have to like it. We’ll never have some wack-ass bars/verses on our shit, we come with our best in the area and nothing less.
Photo Credit: bastardjer
Something that impresses me is how professional SHIDÜ’s recordings sound compared to a lot of other independent artists that are primarily SoundCloud-based. Who is your producer and where do you record?
Damn, Liano thought his drums were trash *laughs*. As far as recordings go, yeah we do it all ourselves in our studio as well as mixing and mastering stuff. Funny thing, GIZA took five attempts to record, and the last time going into it we actually mixed and mastered it at Sam Ash using their demo monitors in the production room.
With a band that makes use of organic instrumentation in addition to electronic, what’s the recording process like?
The way we go about recording is tracking each sound one at a time then layering and blending it all together on the final steps.
Do you typically record as a unit or lay down the tracks separately?
We are all one producer, everything is done together. If you have the tools to let your sound be heard, then there’s no excuse for you not to try. Steve Lacy said something like that and it’s some real shit, because we just figure work with what you already have and just love it because it’s you. Equipment don’t mean Jack-diddley-doo-dam-squiddley-squat-bada-boom-
Thank you for your time! Keep up the great work, and I can’t wait to see what you guys come up with next!
Thank you, it was a pleasure, it’s all love and nothing but it. Another album is in the works set to be released Summer 2017.
A huge thank you to SHIDÜ for letting us feature “Ankh” and ask them some questions. Follow them on Twitter here and SoundCloud here. You can follow Liano here, Breeze here, and Esai here.