Shagabond is a Toronto based producer is one of the cities elite influencers in the city’s music scene, they his work is wavy and lively at the same time with feel-good melodies that will warm up any rainy day. His EP will be dropping soon and our good friend Vanessa Petters got a chance to sit with him to talk Toronto pride, Sound Cloud infleunces and his upbringing as a producer.
Vanessa Petters: First things first, who are you and what do you do?
Shagabond: Hey! I’m Nich and I’m a 20-year-old musician who writes music under the name Shagabond.
VP: How did you come up with the name ‘shagabond’?
Shagabond: I wanted my artist name to be something that was fun to say, but also relatively representative of the style of music I like to write. I decided on Shagabond because I like to write music that changes directions often, like a vagabond. I decided to replace the “v” with the “sh” at the beginning to imply a sensual tone (for those that don’t know, “shagging” is slang for making love).
VP: Yes, the sensual tone is super apparent in your music it’s the shit. One of my favorites by you is an edit you did to the Henry green remix of electric feel, originally recorded by MGMT, tell me everything I need to know about the inception of this edit.
Shagabond: A good friend of mine showed me Henry Green’s cover on YouTube and suggested I make an edit of it. I decided to download it right off of YouTube and paste the mp3 into Ableton. A few hours later, I came up with something I liked and immediately posted it on SoundCloud. In the first year that it was up, it only amassed 1000 or so plays.
VP: I’m sure by now it’s done stupid numbers because that track is amazing. So what was your favorite event that you were apart of in 2017?
Shagabond: I got the chance to open for Boi-1da and Diplo at a small, but popular club in Toronto called Apt. 200. When my manager called me and told me who I was going to be playing with, I thought he was messing with me. It wasn’t until I actually got to the club and saw the massive line outside that I realized what an amazing event I’d get to be a part of.
VP: As someone who has screamed “I want you to be my baby daddy” at a Major Lazer concert, I can imagine how jaw-dropping that must have been for you. WIth that said though, you are someone that is fairly entrenched in the arts and music scene of what I consider, my second home, Toronto, how did you connect with a lot of the people that you know now?
Shagabond: I usually meet other artists at local events. Toronto’s creative scene is relatively small and friendly; it’s decently common to run into other creative people at events and strike up conversations. Also, my manager Zach Roher has introduced me to so many people in Toronto, that I now call friends.
VP: It must be nice to know that he has your back like that. Where is your favorite place to get hype in Toronto versus your favorite place to kick back in Toronto?
Shagabond: Hmm, I feel like I can get hype anywhere as long as I’m with some friends, but we usually frequent places like Apt. 200, Parts and Labour and recently this small club called Bambii’s. To relax and have a nice conversation I go to Tequila Bookworm; one of my closest friends is a bartender there.
VP: All places I’ll have to hit up sooner rather than later. So citrus shampoo, talk to us, what’s the deal with that
Shagabond: Citrus Shampoo was a song I made back in 2015 while I was in Greece, but I wasn’t able to complete it until the new year. It’s a song that I think, really encapsulates some of my earlier work and I’m glad it’s being paired with some newer, edgier production on my latest project. My EP is coming out super soon through HW&W records.
VP: HW&W records good looking out! Velvet underground, east room, those are two spaces I see recurring in your moves, why is that?
Shagabond: East Room is a super cool, multifunctional space in Toronto’s East end. I played a show there and the owners (who are two fantastic brothers) offered me a free photo shoot in their space, that’s why so many of my photos on insta are located at East Room. Velvet Underground is a smaller concert hall where I play a lot of my shows at. It attracts a super fun crowd, I always have fun playing there.
VP: Wel, nothing is worth it if you aren’t having fun so that’s nice to hear. I imagine in all of these venues alcohol has been involved once or twice or more, so aside from martini’s what else do you drink?
Shagabond: I really enjoy drinking wine, especially of the Sangiovese variety as of late. As for cocktails, I love a good Manhattan. Also, my good friend Adam at Tequila Bookworm really put me on to sour beers this year.
VP: Keep plugging Tequila Bookworm because we’re going there. On the flip side, in an interview that you did with thump you said “ When it comes down to it, I think that there are only two real types of music: music for thinking and music for dancing or movement” so at this point in your life and at this stage in the game, what do both of those types of music look like or feel like for you?
Shagabond: As SoundCloud slowly withers away, and new independent music has become less instant, I’ve been going back a few decades to visit–and revisit–some introspective gems. Lately, I’ve been wearing out Piero Umiliani’s body of work, and especially his classic score for “Il Corpo”. Dance music, on the other hand, has been moving in really cool direction lately or maybe, I’m just catching on to something that has been happening for a while now. All sorts of Techno inspired music is starting to gain a lot of traction online and I’m really happy to see Dance music becoming interesting again. Artists like Chambray out of Berlin are making simple, yet explosive Techno that can smash literally any dancefloor.
VP: Interesting, are you an introvert or are you more of an extroverted character and how does either classification lend to how you do the things that you do, musically and otherwise.
Shagabond: This sort of question is always interesting to answer because I really can’t tell. I feel like I’m both to an extent: I really enjoy being vibrantly social, but other times I find myself consumed by solitude, exploring my thoughts and feelings. Not in a negative way at all, but almost like sensory therapy.
VP: Hey, Ambivert’s are a thing too! Summarize Soundcloud in 3 words.
Shagabond: Nostalgic Scar Tissue
VP: It’s probably not the first time that you’ve heard statements somewhere along the lines of, ‘wow you’re so young and you’ve already done XYZ, how amazing, what a prodigy” how do you feel when onlookers, fans and anyone else draw these comparisons of your age to your accomplishments or your interests.
Shagabond: I’m always flattered when someone says something along those lines to me (and it definitely strokes my ego in the wrong direction), but at the same time I don’t just want to be considered good for my age, I want to be considered good because I produce beautiful things.
VP: That’s the way I would like you to be considered too, there is no age to greatness. What do you feel has been your biggest accomplishment so far?
Shagabond: Being able to collaborate with others in general. I’m sort of a control freak when it comes to writing music and I’m really proud of myself for relinquishing some control over collaborative projects.
VP: That is big for control freaks, trust me when I say I can relate. Favorite magazine, blog or website?
Shagabond: Knobs: a guitar pedal and music gadget reviewer on YouTube.
VP: Wow, that’s specific, but cool all the same. Are there particular artists, producer or creative that you feel is incredibly underrated?
Shagabond: Definitely! There is producer named RYMSSN who I met through SoundCloud. Such a unique and creative style, I wonder if he’s still making new music. Last I heard he was in design school in Asia.
VP: Yeah, don’t you hate it when genius doesn’t get its just due? Anyway, what does being a millennial mean to you?
Shagabond: Mostly being born at a particular time in history. I don’t entirely feel that people are defined by the time period they occupy, instead, I think it’s the exact opposite: time periods are defined by the people who occupy them.
VP: Probably the most profound shit I’ve heard all week. Who has done your artwork on each project you’ve released and how did you come up with the concept of each project artwork.
Shagabond: For a long time, my close friend Zach Besner was creating my artwork. He would show me the new stuff he was working on and would let me choose anything I wanted. I still love his style and all the art he let me use, but sadly he completely stopped making digital art back in 2015 to pursue woodworking and designing furniture. Lately, I’ve been working with this designer named Mister Victory based in Toronto. He helped on the Citrus Shampoo artwork which was actually conceptualized by my manager Zach and my label manager Will.
VP: Dream team! I’m not sure that you’ve heard of Darius, but if you have, I’m curious on your opinion on him and his sounds.
Shagabond: I love Darius’ music. I’ve been listening to him for quite a while actually and I admire how consistent his style is. I’m pretty sure he knows about me as well, a couple years ago he added my track “Coral Soup” to a mix he did and we follow each other on Instagram. Would love to work with him someday, I think our sonic personalities would get along well.
VP: I think so too! What about Bonobo’s project ‘The North borders’ How do you feel about that?
Shagabond: One of my all time favorite, producer curated albums. Bonobo, in general, is a massive inspiration of mine and this album in particular opened my eyes (and ears) to marrying complex songwriting with pop vocals.
VP: Incredibly complex but simple in the way nature is, that project is impressive on real levels. Biggest guilty pleasure at the moment?
Shagabond: Shooting 35mm film. I feel like I’m part of some sort of snobby cliché, but there really is something special about film photography.
VP: No need to self-deprecate, something is really special about it, that’s why you do it and that’s why we do anything we like to do. Where can everybody find you and your work on social media and on these internet streets?
Shagabond: Currently, all of my original catalogs are available on SoundCloud and YouTube, but all my latest work is available on Spotify and Apple Music. Follow me on Instagram, @shagabond_ to stay up to date with shows, releases, and my well being.
VP: Will do. Any last words before we sign out?
Shagabond: Pay attention to colors, they tell stories to those who listen to them. Thanks for having me.
VP: Thanks for creating ear pleasure.