Honest expression isn’t easy.
Creating directly from the soul is a herculean task. As a creative you have to draw from the deepest, rawest places and then on top that find a way to present it to the world. Doing all that and then standing by it is even harder for some. Eahwee is one artist who has no problem with either creative conundrum. Hailing from London,UK this producer has been steadily crafting a sound all his own. Combining samples, internal rhythm and carefully cultivating his own funk, eahwee is an individual to the truest extend. With the release of ‘Black Man Is Gawd, Vol.1’ earlier this year we took the chance to catch up with eahwee for our last issue of 2018.
So the first off lets talk ‘The Black Man Is Gawd, Vol.1’ What was this album about for you?
The album was basically about me expressing that a lot of the music that we listen to comes from black culture. It’s even in the way people dress and dance. All that comes from the music. It was just me just expressing myself and just explaining that this force is the creator, the essence of the music and the culture. That’s what it's about.
Do you see it just as a cultural thing or is it a more direct reference to it?
All of it.
So you think so it’s all bundled up together?
It’s all of that, yeah. It’s all of that. It’s mostly spiritual as well as that. I felt like a lot these Lo-Fi producers are just looping Bill Evans’ tracks, you get me? Then they’re just putting a little one, two beat over it and that’s it. My thing’s about progression, you get me? The music, I feel, has always been about progression. I feel like these people are trying to gentrify the music. So that's what ‘Black Man Is Gawd’ is about. It's about letting you know that, ‘you know what? There's a certain music that black people are making that has not been recognised in the Lo-Fi culture.’ That's what it's really about.
What was the process of creating this album? From a production standpoint, did you come into it with any ideas in mind or did it very much flow out from the concept or vice versa?
Well, unlike majority of my projects where I'm just following a certain feel, ‘Black Man Is God’ developed over time. I made two or three tracks in January and the next month I made another few tracks and it just started becoming its own thing. It wasn't even intentional. When I had probably about eight tracks I realised this was going to be a tape. I wanted it to be 20 tracks, but the feeling just went away.
The album feels like a complete journey from end to end. Was this always the plan or did it just sort of flow out? What was the process there?
Well, the process started with my first LissenUp set. So I had a little thing where it has ODB saying the ‘I’m the Osiris’ line that's on that Wu-Tang album. It started from that. With a lot of all my tracks, I’m using the Osiris line and then next minute, I change it to the ‘it's the God’ line (from Ghostface). So it just started from those two things going into that subject and then each track has some type of godly element to it. So that's when it just all started coming together.
So you released this one through Sunday Dinner records. How did you link up with them?
Well, that started through the BIG HOMIE K-Nite. Make sure you write that Big Homie with capital letters ha. But anyway he did that. He’s been talking with them for years. Since LissenUp days he's been talking to them. Basically, they wanted to do something with him, but he said, 'Look, I'm not ready right now. But I got a homie called Eahwee. Check him out.’ They messaged me straightaway. They were like, if you need anything, get at us. From there, they just kept messaging me and one day, they’re just like, you're going to be part of the team. I was like, why not? Let’s go! They said, how long do you reckon it’s going to take till you put out the first project? I said, give me two months. That was it. Two months. I just gave them the tape and that was it.
So you talked a little bit there like about K-Nite but who else would you say your musical influences are?
I’m going to take it away from Hip-Hop for now. I'm going to start with Zouk or Kizomba music. I'm not sure if you know about them styles of music, but I was literally raised on that growing up as a child. I'm Afro-Portuguese and we grew up on that music. It was always Afro, early Afro-pop-type beats. So I grew up around that synth-based, 80’s, Afro-beat type stuff. It was very interesting stuff. I also heard my Uncle listen to Wu-Tang and Mobb Deep and whatnot, that also influenced my music. I’d say today, my biggest influences in terms of the Beat scene and Beat culture is definitely cats like Knxwledge, Ohbliv, Tuamie and then the OGs like Pete Rock, Madlib and those cats.
Do you think that having that unique musical lineage, through the ‘80s African pop music, has given your music a different edge? If so, how do you think it manifests within your production?
That's a very tricky question because I'm just starting to understand it’s influence myself. When I was first making music, my grandma passed away. When she passed I didn't go to her funeral. So I just kept saying, you know what? I'm not going to go. I'm going to just stay here because I don't want to remember her like that. So basically, the music was helping me to get the grieving process. And as time went on my mum would listen to certain music around me or I’ll just remember certain tracks in my head and then I'll be like, this music is basically what I'm making now. But it just sounds different, but it’s more in the Hip-Hop element. Do you know what I’m saying?
Yeah I feel you.
But it’s more than that. Obviously, that's Afro beats and whatnot. I don't entirely make that, but I do try to mimic some sounds and some drum patterns and stuff like that. So for example, Reggae has a certain drum style and I play with that because they do things like polyrhythms with the music and I do that a lot. I didn't know I was doing polyrhythms till I came across videos about it to be honest. So I didn't know what the hell I was doing. I just knew that it felt good. Now, I'm at a point where I'm starting to understand the background.
So you're starting to connect the dots?
Who do you think is really killing it coming up now?
You know what? I’m only going to speak for today. I can’t speak for yesterday but I'm going to say right now, Budgie. I’m hooked onto his new tape that ‘Holy Ghost Zone’. That tape is killing me right now. It's emotional, bruv. It’s just on one and it’s one of them that makes you think about your own music. This Budgie album is where I've always wanted my music to go. I think I hit that spot with ‘Healing’ definitely but I want to keep hitting those emotions. I'm want to hit people with soul music.
It’s very cool that that you can only talk on what you are loving today. What you love musically does change daily so it’s the only way to answer that.
And that can be all styles of music, not just Hip-Hop or whatever.
That’s how musicians should be though.
Yeah I agree.
As a musician, you should be like that. Like you should be focused on what's going on right now, at this very second. What’s that doing it for you right now? Because that might not do it for you tomorrow. So that's why I'm saying today. You can't speak about tomorrow and yesterday, man.
So in terms of actually making music, how do you approach it?
Normally I grab a record to start with. It could be a vinyl or something on YouTube because I do YouTube dig. I'll find a track and there'll be this big, bubbly feeling in my chest. Once I feel that, I know that’s the track. It has to connect with me before I even think of sampling it. I have to connect to the sample. If I'm not connected to the sample spiritually, then I don't want to mess with it. So that's the beginning of it. Then as soon as I find a song, I usually just want to jump on it straight away. That's my thing. I find a sample and then I just put it in Ableton or the SP, depending what I'm using on that day. Whatever my mood is on. Then I just start chopping the sample and then from there, I'll play the drums around the sample. I never do drums and then sample first because I think it takes away the feeling, personally. So I like to follow the sample.
When you feel that connection will that be a specific part of the song or the overall vibe? What triggers that feeling?
It can be anything. Just it's random. It can be in the beginning, middle, end. It can be a bridge. It can be anything. There's no words to the way it is. It’s just once you feel it, you feel it and that’s it.
How do you personally deal with the dreaded beat block?
I don't get beat block. Like I said, for me, it's all about feelings. I don't have beat block. I have feeling blocks. I can make a beat any day. That's not a problem. It's about whether I am actually making music I can feel. I want to make true expressional music. I want to express myself through this music. It's never about just making a beat because I can. I’m past that phase. I don't care about that stuff anymore.
So I got hip to you through your sets on Loudhouse. Since then I’ve had the pleasure of sharing bill with you. What are you thinking when you're getting sets together?
Again, feelings. It all comes down to that. That's all it is. It all goes on feelings, man. When I'm picking up my set list or whatever, it's about what part of me do I want to express tonight? Do I want to give them that head nod bumping shit or do I want to give them a spiritual vibe? Etc. Sometimes one works and the other won’t. So it’s about that and just knowing my music and knowing that this music is honest music. You get what I'm saying?
Yeah, I feel you.
If you see me do a set, I might start off a bit like I don't know what I'm doing then all of a sudden I’ll catch myself and just zone out. That’s what happens at the end. I just zone out and you can’t explain what happens from there. Like I said, it’s so spiritual, man, for real.
What's your favourite part of playing live?
Yes, just letting people know that there's more to life than what they think they know. Just leaving them with a different experience. I like the funny fact that every set I do, when I finish, people literally will just stay silent and just be stunned for a good five or ten seconds. Because they’re just like, ‘What did we just experience?’ I have to remind them I’m done haha. You know like the Ras G moment? When Ras G is done and everyone was just like, what's going on? And then he’s like, bye ha. It’s the same thing. That's basically what I like to see. I love seeing that I gave people a message and an experience at the same time.
So much of this music lives online but the live scene is really developing now. Do you think it's necessary? What’s your take on the beats live scene?
Well, the way I look at it, as long as you're giving the people honest music it’s good. It depends. Like I said, it's about what part of yourself do you want to offer to people? Like we mentioned, Tuamie, he's going to always come and get with that Boom Bap head nod shit. Knxwledge, you never know. Ras G, again, remember when you met him and he said he didn’t know what to do that night?
He wasn't sure what to give the people. This music, it's not about whether people are ready for live beat sets and whatnot. It's just about you being an artist and sharing with people your experience. That's all it is. It’s giving them something to look back on. That's all it is.
How do you think growing up in London affected your music?
That's a very deep question. Finally got me stunned haha. Living in London for me was different. I grew up very differently to most people. I was that guy that will hang out with hood n*****s, but at the same time, I would hang out with nerds. I was that guy. So I was always in between two worlds. So I don’t know. I've just always been myself. I don't think that London ever defined me. I feel like I defined that personally. I stand on my own.
I guess in a way, it’s a place where you could have two sides because there are so many different people and so much going on. How do you think the London Beat Scene is different?
The London Beat Scene is different because not everyone wants to get together. Not everyone supports each other. There's always that one guy that just wants to be the top guy. I get that all the time. ‘Well, you’re the guy’. ‘You’re the guy.’ I don't care. On my kid’s lives, I do not care. There's guys that I talk to that I think are dope, but they don't take themselves serious. They’re just worrying about what other people are thinking about them rather than just doing it for themselves. Until people really offer their identity to the people and not be afraid to be themselves, this scene is not going to work. I feel like when you look at the Beat Scene in the US, everybody has their own identity. Everyone stands out. Ohbliv stands out. You know what he's about. Tuamie stands out. You know what he’s about. Knxwledge, you know what he’s about. Ras G, you know what he’s about. Stln Drms, you know what he’s about. So on. Who in the UK do we know? Who’s that person? What makes that music relevant to me? We don't get that a lot. I think people are just trying to be imitate rather than innovate.
Do you think there's a certain paranoia about it?
Where do you think that paranoia or disunity comes from?
From just not being yourself. You’re just trying to be something else, man. You’re not being honest. They're just trying to fit in with this crowd or that crowd. It's not honest music. People know, bruv. When you hear it, you can hear whether the music’s honest. We know whether someone's trying to be themselves or whether they're trying to be someone else. You just know and I think that's what it is.
What is coming next for eahwee? What can we look forward to?
I'm going to give you that Raw-Fi bruv. Raw-Fi is what I'm on. Just spiritual Lo-Fi music. Just shit like that.
Raw-Fi, I love it!
I've got that from the homie kame. He’s an Eastern European beat maker and this guy is different, bruv. He’s honest.
Are you working on a new album or EP?
Yes, I’m working on a new EP. I don't want to work on an album until someone actually pays me. I'm sorry that’s how it’s going to be. Pay me up front, then I'll give you a beat album. People always complain that I got no long tape, but there’s not gonna be a long tape till someone pays me. That’s it. I’ve got kids. I'm not going to give you a long tape for nothing and then not make much of it. Do you know what I mean? I’m also looking to work with maybe a rapper or a singer next year. Expand myself and just let everybody know who I am. I definitely want to do more pop-up events around the UK too. Paid or free, whatever, as long as you pay for the travel and food I don't mind haha.
Feel that. Thanks for chatting with us man!
No problem man. I just wanna S/O the big bro K-Nite 13, Keemy, Astro Mega, Ruffiankick, the whole of Sunday Dinner records, L.A.B collective & the Loudhouse yg’s, and finally, most importantly, thank you to my ancestors.
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