#004 | WHO THE F*CK IS: EKALI?
Nathan Shaw, better known as Ekali, is a Canadian DJ and producer, born on September 22, 1991, in Vancouver. In the fourth grade, he started playing the cello and in the meantime, he tried his hand at double bass. None of these adventures lasted long, however, as he dropped out of school at the age of… 15 years old. At the age of 19, he met members of the indie rock band Said The Whale, of which he was a member until 2016, at one of the houses. Nathan played bass, recorded background vocals and used keyboards from time to time. In 2011, the band won the Juno Award in the “New Group Of The Year” category.
He got his first contact with electronic music thanks to his sister, who was (and probably still is) a fan of Aphex Twin, and the first producer he discovered was Burial – a UK-based representative of dubstep-ambient music, whose activity dates back to 2005. Ekali began producing bass music as a member of Said The Whale, and in 2014 he was admitted to the RedBull Music Academy, which allowed him to spend two weeks in Tokyo honing his production skills under the supervision of Just Blaze – a hip-hop Grammy-nominated producer responsible for beats for such celebrities as Jay-Z, Busta Rhymes, Eminem and Redman. Asked what experience it was for him, he answered:
“It was super surreal. I never expected to get into the Academy at all. I just got an e-mail, probably never felt more excited in my life..”
Immediately after his return from Asia, Nathan released his first (official) solo track, Unfaith. Samples from this production were used in Drake’s two tracks from If You’re Reading This Is Too Late – Wednesday Night Interlude and Preach. PARTYNEXTDOOR is responsible for the production of both track, and the Canadian still has no idea how it happened. In an interview for Sidewalk Talk (click) he said that the producer had to find his track on SoundCloud and download it as a rip-off version.
During the first years of his solo career, Ekali has released several collaborations with aywy., which many mainstream trap listeners may associate with this one:
The producers released Another Girl, Your Love and Contempt together. In the course of time, Nathan released some great remixes/edits for the leading representatives of the bass scene. Starting with a remix to What So Not’s Gemini in 2015, through a remix of Threatz by Danzel Curry w/ graves (which hits 6 million views on SoundCloud), to future bass remix of Flux Pavilion’s I Can’t Stop. In 2016 Ekali also added his vibe to Mind (Jack U), Weight In Gold (Gallant) and Meet In The Middle (Ta-ku).
He became a member of the OWSLA label thanks to his homie named Drew, also known as Team EZY, who showed some of his tracks to Skrillex. Sonny was very excited about his skills and wrote him a private Twitter message about the meeting. Due to the fact that no one in their right mind would pass such a proposition indifferently, Ekali flew to LA and after a whole day spent together in the studio became a member of OWSLA. Shortly after signing the contract Babylon with Danzel Curry saw the light of day, which got such a remix, you should know:
Already in 2016 Ekali had the pleasure to perform during two American festival giants – HARD Summer and Coachella. Full live sets of each event are available on his SoundCloud:
Ekali @ Coachella 2016 – here
Ekali @ HARD Summer 2016 – here
A year later he released a collaboration with KRANE entitled Akira and created Awakening Mix Series, which to this day has had seven episodes and over 4.5 million views. At the end of 2017 he set off on the Babylon Tour, where he was accompanied by Medasin, Josh Pan, Y2K and Judge. In the period from October to December he played over 40 headlining concerts.
2018 started with a trip to Holy Ship and a collab with ZHU entitled Blame, which was officially remixed by NGHTMRE. The same year he released his debut EP Crystal Eyes, consisting of six productions, including collaborations with Slumberjack, Medasin and K.Fly. On August 19th he confessed publicly that he was a bisexual person (respect for not hiding who You are) and his live set from Coachella landed on the… PornHub and it’s called “CANADIAN DJ EKALI DOING EVERYONE IN A SURPRISE BASS ORGY AT THE DO-LAB“.
Yes I’m bisexual. Stop leaving hateful gay rhetoric on my content. Thank you.
— Ekali 🥀 (@EkaliMusic) August 19, 2018
In the last eight months, he released three productions – Jundo (YOOKiE), R U I N (1788-L) and Runaway ft. Reo Cragun. This calendar year he has already performed at EDC Las Vegas, German New Horizons Festival, Beyond Wonderland, Electric Forest and Belgian Pukkelpop. In the near future, he will play at the Lost Lands Music Festival, go on a Fall US Tour and will accompany ILLENIUM during the tour promoting his latest album Ascend.
Finally, Ekali will soon publish his debut album, which will include his unreleased collaboration with ILLENIUM. At the moment we don’t know any more details about it. For all the ladies – Nathan is currently in a happy relationship with DJ Sam Blacky.
Our fav track? Of course collab with Falcons entitled I Won’t Lie ft. Vaness Elisha:
001 | PEEKABOO – here
002 | Kompany – here
003 | HEKLER – here
005 | 15.09.2019