Soul delving with Shallou: producer talks production of ‘Souls’ EP, translating musical vision to live performance [Interview]

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Soul delving with Shallou: producer talks production of ‘Souls’ EP, translating musical vision to live performance [Interview]Screen Shot 2018 04 29 At 11.17.42 AM

The expression goes that the eyes “are the windows to the soul,” but when it comes to Shallou, Souls is the “window” to sonic narrativization.

Released in April 2018, Souls set out to translate the cyclical intimacies and distances of a relationship into song. A delve further into a distinctive style of electronic sound comprised of indie, dream-pop, and ambient house constructions, Souls duly emerged as a refined conceptual project that showcased Shallou’s deftness in melding elements of different genres, and related a romantically centered story without total reliance on lyrical expression.

The romantic nature of the seven-track EP’s narrative focus is apparent in individual song titles like “You and Me,” “…Lost,” and “Lie,” but for some of the tracks on the EP like “Sigh” and “…Lost,” the titles provide the only concrete words found in relation to the given song, leaving technical elements like BPM tempo and instrumental tone to do the expressive work that lyrics typically perform. “You and Me,” Kasbo and Cody Lovaas feature, “Find,” “Vignette,”  “Lie,” and “Skin” by contrast offer listeners lyrically concrete developments in the at times tenuous relationship between the fictional lovers.

The production of an EP can parallel the course of a relationship in that the artist too might drift from and return to the project in the same way that one of the hypothetical lovers on Souls strays from the other, only to flutter back in time. Curious about Shallou’s in-studio approach to crafting Souls, Dancing Astronaut caught up with the producer to talk Souls’ track by track conception, and how Shallou’s musical vision translates to his live performances as the LA talent prepares for a slew of headlining fall tour dates.

Listeners can catch Shallou at Breakaway Music Festival on August 26. Learn more about the festival, here.

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Dancing Astronaut: Can you talk a little bit about your vision for your most recent EP, Souls?

Shallou: Souls was a pivotal project for me because I wanted to flesh out some of the visual and sonic ideas from the All Becomes Okay EP. Music-wise, these songs have more traditional song forms, some pop-appeal, while keeping the ambient instrumental aspects that helped me reach an audience in the first place. Visually, the artwork continues to build out this world the little character in the corner is exploring. I wanted to blend my favorite things about indie, dream-pop, ambient and dance into something that felt different in the electronic space, but something unique that doesn’t overly focus on drops. I wanted to create my own beautiful sound without limiting it to the edm world. Electronic music shaped me as a producer, but I have a deep love for folk and indie rock as well which I showcased in the Souls Sessions that just came out on Youtube. 

The idea of ‘Souls’ came from this idea of collaboration and exploring the intimacy of a relationship with the help of other artists and singers. Each song has its own story of love blooming or caught in flux, some lyrics expressing concrete emotions (“Lie”;”You and Me”) and some more ethereal concepts (“Vignette”, “Sigh”). “Souls” expresses the intense moments of intimacy and distance that come with every long-term relationship. With All Becomes Okay, I was inspired by the concept of the cycle of life (hence the Soul delving with Shallou: producer talks production of ‘Souls’ EP, translating musical vision to live performance [Interview]1f30eSoul delving with Shallou: producer talks production of ‘Souls’ EP, translating musical vision to live performance [Interview]1f311Soul delving with Shallou: producer talks production of ‘Souls’ EP, translating musical vision to live performance [Interview]1f331 all over my social media) but with Souls I was inspired by the concept of the cycle of a relationship.

Dancing Astronaut: Being that the EP tells a sonic story of two lovers who both gravitate towards one another and experience disconnects, I’m really interested to hear how you approached the EP’s production. Did you sequentially craft this story song by song, tailoring each individual song to the sonic narrative? Or did you produce these songs in a more random order, later finding a way to make them dovetail to tell this story? I’m curious about the extent to which the concept influenced the order in which you produced the EP’s 7 tracks.

Shallou: The EP story kind of just came together that way. I feel like everyone’s writing instinct is to speak about their love and relationships, so the songs with features came together first. I was then able to piece together a story from those singles and tracks that were written by just me specifically for the EP (i.e. Vignette, Sigh, Lost). I think the best way to craft a story is to just start with your instinct and see where it takes you creatively. Its much easier to make things for a story that happens naturally then to try and make a story from scratch. I sequenced the songs by key as well. Sigh was an intro I had been sitting on for a long time and I used that key and certain ideas from it to create the instrumental for “Find” w/Kasbo. Same with Vignette. “Lost” functioned as a sort of instrumental intro to “Lie” because they shared keys as well. 

Dancing Astronaut: Can you also talk a little about how your production of this EP differed (in any way) from your debut EP, All Becomes Okay, released back in 2017?

Shallou: The production on this EP has higher BPM counts, and thus a little more energy. For example, “Vignette” is 120 and “You and Me” is 113 which are my highest tempos yet. I think overall this EP is a little bit dancier and more vocal heavy. I think its easier for people to relate to tracks with vocals on them, evidenced by the recent explosion of producer-singer/rapper collabs across all genres. I really enjoy aspects of that trend and I wanted each track to have a perfect marriage of vocal + instrumental, some by throwing some of my own vocals chopped up in there so they feel like truly “our” songs.

Dancing Astronaut: You’ve clearly carved out a niche for yourself in ambient house circles, and there’s an inimitable indie influence that’s perceptible in your productions. You recently toured alongside Big Gigantic and played some of your very first headlining shows. What’s been most important to you when it comes to playing these headlining dates—do you have a specific vision for your live shows in terms of the ambience or production involved in these show dates?

Shallou: I have to admit I was a little intimidated going out with Big Gigantic. I had never seen them before and everyone had told me their set went very hard. My music is admittedly pretty chill across the board. I took that as inspiration to make a live-hybrid set. I added a drummer and amped up some of my slower songs to try and grab the audience more. I was really surprised by the crowd’s positive reaction; they were really there to have a good time and dance. I think thats the point of going to see a show; you want to feel excited and involved and I’ve kept that as a major element of my performance ever since. I’m excited to show this next tour how I’ve grown as a performer. I’m still singing live, playing keys and performing all my own music, but focusing on creating “moments” for the audience Theres moments for the ambient fans and dance fans alike. For production, we’re looking to make it as unique as possible, and try to bring the world from my artwork to life for people who have been following me since the beginning. Telling a story is a very important thing for me.

Sirius XM debuts ‘Chilled Live’ performance series with Shallou and Riah

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LA-based shallou has been tapped to give the first-ever Sirius XM “Chilled Live” performance for Sirius’s SXM Chill channel. Shallou and Riah recently stopped by the Sirius NYC studio to perform their song “Lie.” The video series seems to take inspiration from other successful radio station features, like BBC Radio 1‘s “Live Lounge” or Triple J’s “Like A Version,” which are all great avenues for exposing up-and-coming talents.

With SXM Chill being the first radio outlet to play Shallou, the “Chilled Live” session marks another first for the budding talent. Earlier this year, he sold out his solo headline tour and also earned his first billboard in Times Square. The release of his sophomore Souls EP and the announcement of a debut world tour show the makings of a special artist indeed, deserving of the selective opportunity to perform in the debut edition of Sirius XM’s newest video venture.

SiriusXM is also providing a free listen link for fans here

Breakaway Music Festival announces two feverous lineups for Columbus & Grand Rapids

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Prime Social Group is back with their biggest unveil to date. Now boasting nine festivals under the Breakaway, Prime, Haunted Fest, and #Fest brands, PSG’s elevating the supreme curation the brand’s been exploring at the intersection of hip-hop and electronic music. This year, Breakaway Music Festival serves as an outright testament to the booking that’s taking the industry by storm.

The festival will return to Grand Rapids’ Belknap Park on August 24 & 25 and Columbus’ Mapfre Stadium on August 24–26, expanding into a three-day festival installment for the first time ever.

Columbus’ Breakaway Music Festival Columbus welcomes the Grammy-nominated DJ and producer Kaskade, live electronic innovators ODESZA, the modern 4/4 master Chris Lake, OWSLA’s own bass champion Ekali, Phantoms, Kayzo, and more. Columbus will also invite some of contemporary music’s most in-demand acts including pop maverick Halsey, Khalid, and Quinn XCII.

Breakaway Music Festival Grand Rapids will also host ODESZA, as well as Borgeous, NGHTMRE, Migos, and many, many more.

As PSG’s booking outreach continues, Breakaway Music Festival will only continue to serve as an emblem of the brand’s coveted understanding of its young audience.

Photo Credit: Tyler Church

Chill EDM Playlist Update: Shallou, Dinka, Lane 8, and Kaskade

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To celebrate all of the chill music being released, EDM Sauce has officially updated their Chill EDM playlists thanks to the help of SiriusXM Chill and Ben Harvey’s #Chillworthy additions. In this week’s new chill music, we’ve added Kaskade’s “Nobody Like You” Sun Soaked Mix, Shallou and Riah’s “Lie,” Dinka and Sons of Maria’s “Campfire

The post Chill EDM Playlist Update: Shallou, Dinka, Lane 8, and Kaskade appeared first on EDM Sauce.

Shallou’s ‘Souls’ EP is a must listen that renders the producer one to watch [Stream]

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Downtempo, dreamlike tones and Shallou’s gossamer vocals epitomize harmonious sound on Souls, the seven-track EP that the indie electronic artist previewed with the release of singles “Find,”—featuring Kasbo and Cody Lovaas — and “Vignette,” that led up to its release.

At once emotive and affective, the production sources its poignancy from its ambient melodies, rich synth work, and soulful vocals, elements that collaboratively make for an easy listening experience, while further underscoring Shallou as a producer who will continue to be one to watch with each successive release. Duly refreshing and possessive of a confessional serenity that is distinctly and stylistically Shallou, Souls is an immersive and intimate production that further invites listeners into Shallou’s sonic sphere.

Petit Biscuit – Problems ft Lido (Shallou Remix)

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Los Angeles producer Shallou continues his steady stream of releases with a lighthearted rendition of Petit Biscuit and Lido‘s “Problems.”

Just days after releasing the final single from his forthcoming EP, Shallou’s take on “Problems” hit the airwaves. In his remix, the producer toys with the vocals for a more playful take on the original. He maintains the initial melody, incorporating bouncing, glitchy elements for a spirited rendition of the song. While Shallou carefully preserves the authenticity of the original tune, he’s added his own peppy step to it.

April looks to be huge for the producer, as his seven-track Souls EP comes out April 27.

Shallou – Vignette

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Shallou has released one final single titled “Vignette” off of his forthcoming seven-track EP, Souls, before its full release. The emotive single features vocals by the producer himself, and takes the listener on a sonic journey through lush chords paired with his smooth vocals.

The full EP is set to be released on April 27, and fans have already been exposed to “Lie” and “Find.” The indie electronic artist is also known for his environmental activism, so it’s unsurprising that his accompanying music video features beautiful scenery from flower filled fields, mountains, and lakes.

Kasbo, Shallou, and Cody Lovaas effect midtempo bliss on new single, ‘Find’

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Kasbo

Kasbo convenes with house producer Shallou and singer-songwriter, Cody Lovaas on “Find,” an ambient, fluid production in which listeners can luxuriate. The track’s midtempo, chill pop packaging sets ethereal melodic waves into motion, the single’s melody temperately ebbing and flowing in a manner that is the epitome of sonic tranquility.

The production is a seamless amalgamation of Kasbo’s evocative, euphonic approach, and Shallou’s equally mellifluous style. Lovaas’ vocals sit serenely suspended over “Find’s” silk background beat, making for a polished final product that sources its success from it equanimity.

NMF Roundup: Fox Stevenson drops funky original, Manila Killa teams up with Nevve, and more

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Festival

The most important day of every week: New Music Friday. As each week brings a succession of new music from some of electronic music’s biggest artists, here’s a selection of tracks that shouldn’t be missed.


Fox Stevenson‘s long-awaited Metanoia debut brings forth a playful set of big room bounce sounds to the table on “Bulgogi.”

Panda Eyes & Chime amalgamate future bass overtones with heady dub inspired bass lines on their newest track “White Magic.”

Wooli steps outside the constructs of Delta Heavy and Dirty Audio‘s original production in favor of an atmospheric, vocally grounded future bass ballad.

Shallou’s newest sees the tropical house producer synthesize his bubbly synth tones with Riah’s infectious vocals.

As tech house continues to break into mainstream western dance culture, Brett Gould is placing himself on the forefront of the genre with his biting new track, “Drum Machine.”

Roisto‘s new track, “All Yours,” uses a heightened Axtone platform to showcase saccharine deep house-influenced melodies and a soulful vocal line from PowerDress.

Nevve‘s distorted vocals serve as ear candy for a patterned drum breakdown on Manila Killa‘s newest track “Everyday, Everyday.”

Unlike Pluto‘s emotive ballad “Fade All My Life” is an emotive step into teenage angst through the lens of mainstream electronic music, the result is likely to save a few teenagers from sleepless, thought-racing nights.

Budakid continues to magnify his presence through the release of the progressive masterpiece, “Memories.”

Sneijder‘s rework of Jackob Roenald’s “Shades” is further proof that the tech trance producer is ready to elevate himself further into the worldwide dance music sphere.

Ray Volpe has finally released an original that he’s been playing out for nearly a year, “Walk Away.”

BAYNK Releases Synth-Driven Summer Jam ‘Come Home’ [Stream]

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New Zealand producer BAYNK recently released a laid-back, summery jam that features vocals (and was also co-produced) by Chicago-based Shallou. “Come Home” alternates nostalgic lyrics between bubbly synthed-out trills and pulsing, rhythmic vocals. The track is BAYNK’s first release since May’s “Someone,” which he created during an Apple Music project — four local New Zealand artists were challenged to write and record songs in a single week. This is also his first collaboration with Shallou, who released an EP entitled All Becomes Okay in May of this year. Stream “Come Home” above, and get lost in its ambient, sunny nostalgia.