Shash’U Interview: Power Funk and Time Machines

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In part I, we were taken back to Shash’U’s youth and his fascination and desire to observe and explore music. As he got older, he experimented with various mediums and styles. In the present however, he is focused on applying all his learnings to express his musical evolution.

Let’s add some colour to the portrait.

Colour

Through his evolution as an artist, Shash’U became involved with several movements. One of it was krumping and the street dance scene. Bust a Move and Just Dance are just a few places where his tracks became choreographed anthems.

However, Montreal had other plans. Enter the Piu Piu movement — a style that combines urban elements alongside groovy rhythms and samples of electro synths and science fiction-like sounds (hence the Piu Piu – onomatopoeia for laser guns firing). Shash’U was developing independently as an artist and eventually got introduced into the movement alongside other talented Montreal beat makers such as High Klassiffied or Kaytranada.

This scene introduced him to other venues such as Picnik Electronik, Igloofest, Boiler Room and even the Francofolies festival.

Shash’U has always been about creating his own sound to express individual style. His partner in crime? The software on his laptop.

Creative freedom.

Shash’U : “I have something called “the time machine.” I manipulated a sequence of plugins so that whatever sound I feed into it comes out sounding like the past. Think ’80s, VHS. Without noticing it, I was actually doing vaporwave.”

The sound evolved into Power Funk – the artist’s own genre.

Shash’U on Power Funk: “That feeling, that moment of truth — like let’s say an 80’s movie, say Commando or The Karate Kid where the hero has to make that big decision, that climax, that’s the nucleus of Power Funk mixed with video games and all my past experiences especially the chill b-boy mentality. Soundwise, it’s exactly how the words define it – powerful funk music”

“It’s more like me working on my style. It’s sorta like martial arts. PWRFNK is like my Praying Mantis. But there’s also either styles work on like the Tiger Style. If I want to be good at that, I need to practice. So it’s always about continuously developing style.”

Skip to 2014, Power Funk is starting to make waves, and Fool’s Gold wants to surf. The NYC based label with Montreal roots is always on the lookout for interesting, unique and fashionable sounds. The funky former b-boy beat maker from the 514 adds a lot of flavour to the pot.

This collaboration brought to the table the production of PWRFNK the first season in the Power Funk series (scheduled for release on 3/31). Before all that though, we are graced with both a preview/trailer and a pilot (if we are to stay consistent to the analogy) through the release of the EP Thru Da Night. The five track package is a tease of things to come.

Shash’U on each song

1. Don’t Fight It – “Just Do It B-boy mentality”

2. Thru Da Night – “Power Rangers. What would a [reimagined] theme to Power Rangers sound like?”

3. One More Ride – “It’s like a roller coaster ride that you want to ride again”

4. LOL XOX – “It’s like a theme to Degrassi High, a translation of youth today. Almost like a satire of the emoji culture”

5. Skyline – “Like a piece of art. It’s not trap. The drum pattern is actually an influence from Tangerine Dream and an album they did in Poland way back in the late ’70s”

Going Visual

On the video of Thru Da Night: “We wanted to show a different perspective of somebody’s world. Think the unexpected. You see a priest walking into the motel with a girl and you think you know what’s going on but then you see they spend the whole night dancing. And you were not expecting that. However it’s left to interpretation as it can signify many things. Also the girl in the video is actually Mimo LaFunk – the singer”

Future Directions

On PWRFNK and future plans: “It all comes in sequences. Right now I’m focused on putting together all the various influences and sounds I have experimented with into a single package. It’s about applying what you’ve learned.”

Nuances

After about an hour of conversation, I thought it appropriate to take my departure but before leaving, I was curious about things more horizontal, not directly linked to his current project. Here is some Shashu’U wisdom.

On Art Basel with Fool’s Gold crew:
“It was really cool and crazy. Met OG Maco. Danny Brown and the whole Fool’s Gold crew are just really cool.”

On importance of drugs in music:
“If it’s part of people’s lives then it’s important in general. It’s not a given for better music. “

On having a muse:
“Mostly inspired by life [as it comes] in motions.”

On the Montreal artists and Beat Makers scene:
“It’s great, it will keep growing. We should commune more together. It would allow for us to grow quicker.”

Some rapid-fire questions:

1. Biggest influence
“[J] Dilla”

2. Favorite Artist
“Travi$ Scott”

3. Up and coming recommendations (artists)
“Foxtrott”

4. Food
“Pizza (vice)”

5. Nighttime spot
“the Studio”

6. Daytime spot
“the Studio”

7. Best place in Montreal
“Rose Bowl (bowling alley) – actually a great getaway”

8. Sport
“Soccer”

9. Music Trend of the Future
“Power Funk”

10. Recommended read
“Adbuster Magazines, Jab Jab Jab Right Hook”

11. Quote
“On se cheque au next level!”

Closing thought

On his career: “It’s a team effort.”

That closing thought really stayed with me. It was uttered naturally without any hesitation. He spent half a lifetime working on his passion and yet he felt his team was a big part of his success. My final thoughts on Shash’U – in another life he would be a humble engineer. But he is a true artist, happy to observe and understand his craft, enamored with the creative process.

Shash’U released Thru Da Night EP on January 31 at Le Belmont. Read Part I of our interview HERE.

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