Eva Shaw has proven once again why she’s one of the most innovative artists as she introduces “Hype-Hop” with the drop of ‘HYPE HOP 001’ EP. Working together with Wouter Janssen of Showtek, she launched the new genre through her platform Mad Fatti with standout singles “40 Bands” & “BOP”.
Eva Shaw broke through the dance music scene with Billboard Dance #1 charting remixes for Rihanna, Fifth Harmony, and David Guetta. After her successful stint producing big room, she has been working on crafting a new sub-genre she refers to as “Hype-Hop”, blending house music and hip-hop together. After her EP, the multi-genre producer, DJ, and songwriter dropped a couple of music videos which she also directed herself.
Check out our exclusive interview with Eva Shaw below.
1. Hello Eva, how are you? We are glad to have you here.
Hi! Thank you for having me !
2. After guiding indie artists through your platform Mad Fatti, in partnership with Wouter Janssen of Showtek, you recently developed a new genre ‘Hype Hop’ blending your favorite genres, house and hip hop together. Can you tell us more about the story behind the project and how it came together?
Mad Fatti is mainly a hip-hop based label and production house. I created it in order to release the music I wanted to without having to ask labels if they like it or not (laughs). I was working with so many rappers and discovering so much talent that I figured, why not create a platform and a crew of artists I produce for and work with often. I really believe in building crews and families in music. Wouter is someone I’ve worked with for a couple of years. I signed one of my early tracks (Space Jungle) to his label Skink back in 2014 and I’ve written and produced a bunch of Showtek records as well. Wouter loves a range of music too, and since he has experience with labels, we decided to do Mad Fatti together. I obviously love dance music and Hip-Hop, and G House is one of my favourite sub genres of EDM. “Hype Hop” is what I call this sub-sub-genre of G House because it’s a little different. It’s more lyric and rap based but still with that bass-driven, electronic beat. I find that a lot of tracks that mix EDM with rap usually don’t focus as much on lyrics. I really wanted to make sure the lyric portion was just as strong as the beat.
3. “HYPE HOP 001” was the first of the recurring EP series you dropped in the genre with the standout single ‘40 Bands’ giving the listeners a taste of the robust new sound. Can you dive into the production itself? What was your creative process like in the studio?
I’ve known I wanted to do G-House style releases for a while now, and it just dawned on me that I should remix my own hip-hop records. I had all the vocals already from my original versions and the tracks are all signed to my own label so it just made sense. I also felt it might bridge the gap between my EDM fans and Hip-Hop fans. The Hype Hop series will be both original tracks and remixes of my hip-hop records. The tracks I picked to remix are some of my favourites, but also ones that have a BPM that can work well in G-House format. I started off just making sure the rap flows fit well on the 4 on the floor rhythm & did a little side chaining on the vocal as well to give it a bounce. The main thing for me with this style of music is getting a good bass melody. If the beat is good and the vocals are fire, you’re off to a good start. Since these are remixes I used some sounds from the original versions , like in BOP there’s that omnisphere lead sound. Actually in all 4 of them I kept some sounds from the original and just did a new beat and added some extra synths.
4. How would you describe the sound of ‘Hype Hop’ to those who are unfamiliar?
I would describe it as a lyric-focused sub genre of G-House. It has a bass/house style beat mixed with rap. And it’s dirty AF!
5. Can you tell us more about your early days starting to produce music and how did you get involved in the music industry?
I started DJing and producing at the same time. When I first learned how to mix, I was playing mainly tech house, house and techno… some progressive and electro house. I started by copying other producer’s music that I played. Producers like Chocolate Puma, Stefano Noferini, Mark Knight , Joris Voorn, Eric Prydz.. I never actually signed any of those early productions because they weren’t really good (I also never tried to) , but it did teach me a lot. I really loved Deadmau5 as well, and I thought it was dope he’s from Toronto and I just really loved his sound quality and originality. I went to see Thomas Gold in Toronto one time and he was playing this crazy mashup set. I hadn’t really heard anyone playing mashups like that yet. I think that inspired me to get more into harder, big room music. I wasn’t a DJ or anything at this point, I was just a kid having fun. Then I moved to New York to go to school- I wanted to be an actor. I didn’t really consider that I could make a living in music – I thought it was just a hobby. As I met more people in NYC, they started finding out that I was actually a pretty good DJ. A friend had introduced me to a club promoter who gave me a chance, which sort of ignited the whole thing. Every day I was working on music in my tiny apartment. I was modeling during the day and making beats at night. I used to send stuff back and forth with Max Vangeli a lot. He was one of the first producers who gave me great advice and was super supportive. Early in my career, I had also connected with Adam K in Toronto who I really looked up to technically. We didn’t release any tracks together but I learned so much from him, watching him in the studio. I just kept working and learning in between doing DJ sets and modeling to make money. I used that money to buy all of my equipment. I had a full DJ set up with Pioneer CDJs and nexus 900 mixer & genelec speakers. On the other side of my apartment I had my desktop computer, keyboard and dynaudio speakers. This was like a 350 sq foot studio apartment in Manhattan. My “DJ booth” was basically on my bed and my production space was at the foot of my bed. I stayed up all night working on music and DJing for myself. I was totally obsessed with it and it didn’t matter how hard it was going to be, I could feel it was the right direction for me. I made a ton of bootlegs and I think that originality in my sets really got my fan base growing because I was different. I kept booking gigs to the point where I had residency offers in Vegas and Atlantic City. It definitely happened very fast, all things considered. I started off at Hakkasan opening for the bigger DJs like Calvin Harris and Tiesto, and then I had my own headlining night. Calvin Harris had DMed me asking basically who are you and why have I never heard of you. I sent him some of my productions and he ended up signing one of them. He was playing “Chariza” & “Get Down” a lot in his Dj sets and so was Tiesto, and actually a lot of DJs really supported my tracks. From there I kept sending music to Spinnin Records who I think really helped get my name out there as well. When I started making money DJing , I was so excited that I could really pursue it as a living.
6. What was the biggest struggle that you’ve encountered in your career so far?
There are a few struggles I’ve encountered. Balancing being an artist and producer, running my own label and being so involved in my own videos and projects takes up a lot of time. Especially when I’m touring, having that balance can be difficult. Being a producer and an artist at the same time is also hard because not having a voice I think makes it harder for people to connect with you on a personal level. Making that fan connection without singing makes it more of a challenge to show your personality. Also being a producer and liking a wide range of music can make it hard too because you want to do everything. I want to produce for other people but I also want to work on my artist career so having time for both is tough. Being a female artist in general can be hard too because people tend to judge women more harshly so I think you have to develop a pretty thick skin. I personally don’t really fit in a box either or can be compared to another artist. In some ways that can make it more difficult because people like to categorize things. It’s already not as common for females to be producing and DJing (compared to males), and that combined with me doing multiple genres and generally doing things differently can make it a challenge. The other thing is the fact that the EDM world is a community & fans of dance music like the genre as a whole. They like participating in the culture of dance music and don’t usually like only one DJ/producer- they like a bunch of DJs. For us, this is super cool in a lot of ways, but it can also make it harder to become a real stand-alone artist. We saw such a massive boom in DJ popularity in North America when I first got into the game. The popularity of celebrity and influencer DJs also started rising and I started to realize that in order to have a long term career I really needed to step back from shows and focus on the productions and solidifying my originality as a well-rounded artist. I never would want to be just part of a trend. I look at my career as long and building. I think there are popularity trends in all genres and that’s why it’s important to focus on building a solid foundation and really be yourself in everything you do.
7. Where do you see your sound going after this?
I love all music and I will continue to produce and write all genres for other people. For myself, I love performing EDM and HipHop , so I see myself releasing tracks that are either hip-hop or G-House based. I love EDM trap as well, and my fans know I love the hard shit so I could see dropping a few big room meets rap bangers as well. I want to push boundaries in both EDM and hip-hop and I like to mash up genres so I definitely see myself doing more of that.
8. What more would you like to accomplish as an artist and producer?
My next main goal would be to produce for a mainstream artist like Drake. I like producing for other people because it can be more fun in some ways because you don’t have to think about any other aspect of the release. The artist handles the rest of the release and you get to just watch how it goes. I don’t think at this point I could only be in the background though, as I love performing so much and being an artist. I really look up to someone like Mike Dean who has been around the block and just keeps killing shit.
9. What are your goals for 2022? Can you give us any hints or clues about your upcoming productions and collaborations?
My debut album “SOLO” will be dropping by early December of this year. I have the next Hype Hop EP coming out at the end of December/ early Jan 2022 as well. I have a really dope track with Bijou that I’m excited about that will be a single on that project. Looking forward to collaborating with some more G-House artists and more rappers. I’m going to focus on building Mad Fatti as well as securing a production opportunity with a big mainstream hip-hop artist like Drake, Megan The Stallion or Cardi. I’m also planning on experimenting more with my vocals and singing more on my tracks, plus developing more of my music video concepts and tour.
10. What’s been a special moment you’ve had in your career as a producer or DJ?
Definitely signing my first record to Calvin Harris’ label was huge for me. The first of anything is always exciting. Playing at my first music festival (Ultra) in front of 80k people is still stuck in my head as one of the most special moments of my career. I also remember one night for New Years Eve I was billed to DJ with Tiesto. I had never met him yet but obviously looked up to him a lot. He came into the club and I was playing this crazy remix of one of his fave tracks. He came straight to the DJ booth and asked me “WHAT IS THIS REMIX?!” . He loved my set so much we ended up going back to back and I played til 9am the next morning. That was a wild set, I think it went 10-11 hours! There was a lot of jagger involved and I definitely have daylight photos of me pouring champagne on the crowd. Another moment that sticks out to me was with Avicii. I was supposed to DJ after him one night and I was so incredibly nervous. It was at Lavo in New York and all of the club owners were there. I ended up playing until 8am or so and it was such a wild party everyone stayed and just kept going. I ended up getting booked in Vegas at Marquee after that and landed a residency there. Those nights you really kill it when it matters most sticks in your mind. I DJed with Tim a few times and really miss those days (RIP <3) .
As a producer I have a few moments as well. Hearing Tiesto playing my first song on his podcast was huge. Getting asked to do a remix for Rihanna was so exciting as she is an idol of mine. I was freaking out when her label emailed me back saying she loved it, and then when it hit #1 on the Billboard dance chart I was obviously thrilled. I did a remix for Ludacris a couple of years ago as well. I grew up listening to him, and when he called me on my cell and asked me to go in the studio together you can imagine how that felt. Those moments when you meet your idols and get to work with them are so mind-boggling. I had that feeling in the studio with Sean Paul and Shaggy as well. Wyclef Jean was another big one I was in the studio with. He told me he “only trusts women’s opinions” and I think having that reassurance after so many years of being overlooked and judged really gave me a lot of confidence. I still can’t believe sometimes that I’m a musician and I can actually create with these legends. The biggest artists are generally the most kind and open-minded.
11. What do you do in your free time that makes you happy?
I haven’t had much free time lately because I’m always working on music, but I always make sure I’m physically active. I’ve played sports my whole life. I love basketball, football (soccer) and track. I hike a lot and I love the beach and being outdoors. It’s really crucial as a producer to make sure you get enough outdoor time and sunlight because it’s easy to forget when you’re enthralled in work. Sometimes when I need a break from the screen I paint or write lyrics/poems. I’m really into food and wine as well- traveling has really opened up so many interests for me. When I’m on tour I always try to check out some local restaurants and art galleries. I’m a big art fan – I like surrealism a lot and I’m also getting into the crypto world and NFTs. I have created a few already and am planning a new drop soon! I am designing clothing – I did a collab with G Star RAW a couple of years ago and now just sold out of my own skimask design. My line is called VEHEM (www.vehem.online) and I’m about to re-launch a few more for sale in mid-October. I am interested in so many things, and am always open to exploring and creating.
12. This is all for now, thank you for being here and answering our questions. If we forgot to ask you something and you want to share with our audience please write it down here.
First of all thanks for having me, it was a great interview. I just want to say to check out my debut album dropping early December, and go follow me on my socials – @evashaw and my youtube evashawofficial for all the updates on everything I’m doing!
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Image Credit: Eva Shaw (for EDMNomad)