Finals are right around the corner, but here are some great reasons to skip the half-assed study sesh you might be planning and check out Ekali…
1. Significant musical past
Starting out in the Vancouver music scene as a bassist for the band Said The Whale, Ekali’s (Nathan Shaw) band earned a JUNO Award for Breakout Group of the year. As individual efforts kept him making beats, he gained SoundCloud recognition displaying a handful of tracks with over a million streams. This ability to remix all sorts of genres is most likely what paved the way to his invitation to The Red Bull Music Academy, beating out 4,000 other applicants.
RBMA is a world traveling music series where 60 hand-selected singers, DJs, producers and other musicians collaborate to further their advancement within music. Ekali is part of the 2014 Tokyo class, where he joins other notable musicians, Flying Lotus, TNGHT, Ta-ku and even Aloe Blacc, as alumni.
2. Highly hip-hop influenced
In 2015, Ekali earned the writing credits to the songs “Preach” and “Wednesday Night Interlude” off of Drake’s album, If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late from samples of his original SoundCloud release “Unfaith”.
This hip-hop involved background seems to be a direct influence on his collection of hip-hop releases like “Threatz” by Denzel Curry (Ekali & Gravez Remix) and his newest song, “Babylon”. If you are a hip-hop or trap fan and aren’t accustomed to electronic styles, this is a good show to catch.
3. Knows how to bring a crowd
Last semester, Ekali opened up for Troyboi right here at The Blue Note and showed how he deserves to be the main act. From the moment Ekali started, a crowd of about 100 slowly expanded to about 650 as he rounded off his set. As more and more people filled in, the set became so much more involved and you could feel the energy all around, especially in the catalyst himself, Ekali.
Among the many festivals he toured this past season, I caught his set at Middlelands.
Here he is turning a crowd from nothing to a mob:
4. The Babylon Tour
The USA production involves floral stage designs to match most of his song releases and strategic light placings that give the off a modest club vibe. The Babylon Tour contains an abundance of dates in cities all around the world, and nearly all are in venues with a capacity of less than 1,000. These two factors make for an original show that is highly dependent on both the artist and the crowd. Look to see more risks taken by Ekali to match the diversified crowd.
5. Mix master
Evident in almost all of his live sets and recorded mixes, Ekali demonstrates his ear-catching ability to mix some of the calmest trance and future bass tracks into D&B and heavier trap/grime beats. This ability to jump bass genres while staying in key and keeping the beat will blow the minds of fans of all genres. He has series of awakening mixes that convey his niche of music. He also shows his vast abilities across the entire electronic spectrum displayed in several credible live mixes like Diplo & Friends and triple j, featuring all sorts of artists and genres.