Interview: Keeping It Earnest with… Shlohmo & Salva

Interview: Keeping It Earnest with… Shlohmo & Salva
Beatmaker beats.

Intro by Danna Takako Hawley

Our EE x Sketchbook x Hit+Run launch at CAMP in February (with Shlohmo, Salva, Kutmah) was one of them nights. When the lights came on at the end, the crowd was still hungry and hollering for more, but security wasn’t having any of it. Shlohmo took his chances to play one final track anyway; a mad annoyed security guard switched the system off after a couple minutes.

Those brief minutes got the place in an all-out frenzy despite the length – or speed – of the record. Shlohmo’s set as a whole took in the slowed-out, thick sounds that you’d expect from the 22-year-old behind 2011’s “Bad Vibes” LP and February’s stunning “Vacation” 12″. But hearing his music on a proper soundsystem made his productions come into a different light. So warm, so throwed… it’s how I imagine it’d feel to sip on syrup in the haze of Los Angeles.

It was a sight to see a wild dancefloor stop in its tracks, transfixed through the pretty RnB drawls and ethereal textures of Shlohmo’s bass slow-jams. He even dropped a hint of his (then unknown) remix of Drake and The Wkend’s “Crew Love”, which came equipped with Shloh swaying and singing/rapping along as if the club had faded away and he was kicking it in his bedroom alone. That’s as real as it gets.

Just before, the dancefloor had been completely hyped during a set from Shlohmo’s European touring partner and labelmate, Salva. The duo rep LA’s Friends of Friends but they make sense as a team for more reasons than one: equally wild in their own way, Salva brings a whole different breed of intensity from an opposite direction. Check his “Yellobone” EP (which includes a Shlohmo remix) to get a taste of how unpredictable his production style is. One of few producers that surprises us more with each record. It’s no wonder that he’s often found touring with genre thieves/swag kings Nguzunguzu.

Last month, Earmilk started out their piece about Salva: “There isn’t really a better term than ‘badass’ for producer/DJ Salva” – we’re 100% with that. All of us at EE are longstanding fans of the boutique label and club night that Salva now runs from LA, Frite Nite. Salva also has close ties with our own fam B. Bravo, as both played a big part in the San Francisco scene for years. B. Bravs even makes a cameo on “Yellobone” with “Obsession”.

KEEPING IT EARNEST WITH… SHLOHMO & SALVA

Text by Danna Takako Hawley
Photos by Teddy Fitzhugh

A couple months late (my bad), we’ve finally uploaded the chat we had with the duo around the time of their CAMP takeover. Read on to find out more about sleepy plane music and minds abroad: tour life through the eyes of New York-resident Shlohmo and Los Angeles’s Salva.

What do you enjoy most about being on the road?
Salva: Definitely meeting all the great people I’ve had long time dialogues with online, and of course making new friends. I take my greatest inspirations from meeting other artists, be it music or other forms of art or industry. There really is a truly endless amount of amazing talent right now.

Shlohmo: Being able to see every place and see the difference in people and culture is always the most exciting for me. Being able to play for a foreign crowd. You never know how people are gonna react. Each city we went to has a different musical and cultural background so it’s always exciting seeing what part of your set they’re gonna be feeling more than the last city. 

Are you able to make music on tour, or do you prefer to soak in the experience?
Salva: Personally my ideal creative environment is in my studio, or at least in a proper studio setting while abroad. I can’t work in airports or anything like that, but definitely enjoy getting into other artist’s studio spaces.

Shlohmo: I try to make music when I can on the road but it’s more pleasurable for me to be soaking in the scene in every different place. You don’t get that opportunity often so it’s nice to be able to disconnect from that process for a while. It also gets me real inspired to get back home and start making new stuff too.

What are your seminal go-to albums/tracks when you’re traveling?
Salva: I do take time to reflect on the music I’ve made while back home, so I guess I do put in time taking notes on my own stuff. Definitely like digging into full albums while I have the time to listen -chill, deep and anti-club for the most part – it’s nice to replenish the ears and the brain after nights on big banging club systems. Recently been enjoying my friend Anenon’s upcoming record which will be out in Spring, and Nicolas Jaar’s last album, and I listen to Shlohmo’s stuff quite a bit (usually not while the kid is sitting directly next to me, ha).  

Shlohmo: Drake, Burial, Grouper, Bob Dylan. Sleepy plane music.

How is your music received in different parts of the world and different parts of America?
Salva: In North America, for the most part my Canadian gigs are always great energy, and every time I hit New York it’s amazing. I get pleasantly surprised by some of the smaller cities or towns too.

Shlohmo: That’s what’s so rad for me, going to a place I’ve never been before and having a cooler show than somewhere I’ve been a million times. Like showing up in Bucharest and playing to one of the most energetic rooms on a great system where people actually know who you are. That shit is crazy. I feel like more people are turned on to that kinda shit in Europe. The states is still rad, but has some ways to go in terms of how electronic and dance music is integrated into the culture. It’s nothing like Europe. But that’s what makes Europe such a nice escape I guess. 

What’s your favourite city so far?
Salva: The Rokolectiv festival in Bucharest, Romania was one of my favorite shows I’ve ever played. All the people I’ve met there were more hip to current art and music than I was. It’s an interesting city, just walking around the city center is pretty fascinating. Otherwise Portland, Vancouver, Montreal and San Francisco are always favourite stops.

Shlohmo: Shiiiit, everywhere was so cool. I honestly have no idea. We only got to spend less than a day in every city on our last tour though, so I’m not sure how good of a tour guide I’d be anywhere. But based on the short time we spent there – Paris, Cologne, Copenhagen, London… fuck I don’t even know! Pretty much everywhere was sick. We really only had time to see the places around where we were playing or whatever hotel we were staying at, so maybe I don’t even know what’s good at all. I need to go back.

What did you enjoy most about London?
Salva: Rocking with the Earneast Endeavours boys, Kutmah and the Hit+Run crew (my LA fam also in London!)… my first show ever in London! Being in London was dope, I was staying with some friends in Brixton. My past experiences with London have been on the tourist tip so it was cool getting into some of the neighbourhoods.
 
Shlohmo: I was honestly just looking forward to seeing all the fam and friends I have out there. And mission accomplished. Got to kick it with some old friends and some new friends. It was great seein’ errrybody.

What are some records that you’ve picked up lately that you look forward to dropping?
Salva: I play a lot of my own material, and I try to rework edits and special mixes for the other artists’ music. And I try to only play music from myself, friends and colleagues – I have some new dubs from my label crews – Frite Nite and Friends of Friends artists. 

Shlohmo: Aaah, I mostly pick up records on the internet, sooo…