Getting up close and personal with the Montreal DJ
Richard St-Aubin further known by his stage name Shash’U is a DJ/Producer from Montreal, standing out by the distinctive nature of his drums and the ubiquitous bass in his music. This orange haired eccentric being truly brings his own flavour to the DJ set and is definitely one that you’ll want to keep a close eye on.
Shash’U dropped by the Hennessy Lounge at the Mural Festival, where he uncovered more about the man behind the beats.
Here’s a track you can listen to while reading this feature story.
A look back on his younger years
For Shash’U, the art of creating started playing an important role in his life at a significantly early age.
‘‘Growing up, I was a very timid kid & very much in my own thoughts, but I was focused when I was exercising arts. ’’
Whether he was drawing, street dancing or making music, the arts became an outlet for him – a necessary means of expression.
From a musical point of view, it all started with the drums: It’s through this instrument that at the age of 9, Richard’s musical journey began. He then started exploring electronic music composition during his teenage years and at the age 21 familiarized himself with turning tables. With time, he has developed a unique genre inspired from 70’s and 80’s funk. Now on his 33rd year of life, he’s touching base with an impressive list of artists from all corners of the world like A-Track, James Disalvio, Gilles Peterson, Kaytranada and Chromeo.
Here is more about Shash’U, a man well versed in the art of the chase.
Always on the edge of creation
‘‘I cut my own hair. I do my own fade. I don’t have the time to go to the hairdresser, I want to make beats!’’
There’s a fire burning inside of him, and it’s not just because of his newly dyed orange hair.
Shash’U is definitely a man of action and takes on an approach that is inspiring to say the least. He has a lot of ideas and is willing to invest himself without measure in his daily grind in order to get where he wants to be, saying that he’s ‘‘Always in the lab. Always working on music.’’
‘‘When my spark is speaking to me, I listen. frankly I’m just a vessel, so I gotta listen. that’s how most of my ideas come to me.‘’
His creative genes talk and he tunes in. On the base of his statement, it makes sense that he limits his time outside of his creative zone: Continuously trying to create contexts where he’ll be open and ready to receiving the fruit of his craft at any given time.
The caliber of his team is at the core of his work ethic
Much more lies behind the creation of beats than one would expect. Hence, when you dedicate this much time to your art it’s important to be well surrounded.
This vision not only transcends through his representation by Fool’s Gold Records but is also at the essence of his involvement with Joy Ride Records: A Montreal label featuring roster artists such as Rymz, Loud, Karma Atchykah, David Lee and of course, himself.
‘‘You can’t do the craziest album if you don’t have the right people with who you can really work with and give yourself completely to. ’’
Adding that no matter the difference of age amidst the artists and the managers in his team at Joy Records, they all share a common sense of vitality, a rather ‘‘young spirit’’ making every project an adventure.
He’s all about pushing boundaries
He recently explored an alternative way of creating, in collaboration with Tommy Kruise and other Montreal Artists. They partook in a 4 day experience in the breathtaking RABASKA with camp de la SOCAN ,overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.
This is what he calls an ‘‘immersive experience’’ that allowed him to push the boundaries of pop music. Out of this sejour came the song A Bicyclette, a collaboration with Tommy Kruise, Fanny Bloom and Philémon Cimon.
‘‘We wanted to push what was going on right now, on the radio on the airways. It was a great experience and it’s something that I recommend to everyone. ’’
Fire vision from head to toe
‘‘Whether it was through drawing, street dancing, or making music, my teachers always taught me to find my own style.’’
Not only does he push boundaries when it comes to music, but when it comes to the art of dressing himself as well. He had a brilliance in image at the Mural Hennessy lounge with an outfit that undeniably matched his hair: Straight fire!
Wearing COOLKOALA, a Montreal brand known for being unconventional and very funky, his ensemble was an absolute perfect extension to his musical expression.
‘‘My style, is my inner voice, ‘the kid’ in me, expressing himself.‘ It’s a manifestation of my inner invisible spark. It tells me that, everything I’ve learned, everything I’ve been exposed to, can very much influence or even change people’s lives, even if I came from a “lesser” than average background. ’’
Though Shash’U grew up in what he revealed as being as less than ideal context, he did not let his circumstances define him but rather developed a sense resilience through it, making him an admirable example of a man that built himself from the ground up.
Stay tuned for more of his work, he has a third project coming up this year with his New York Label Fool’s Gold Records.