Best of bands 2015: Ekali

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      “This guy’s in Said the Whale?” says everyone who has listened to Ekali’s evocative, Burial-esque tracks, then learned he also goes by the name Nathan Shaw and plays bass for the local indie darlings. It’s true, and this Red Bull Music Academy alum’s remixes and collabs are numerous and impressive. Sure, technically he only has one wholly original song to his name, “Unfaith”, but that one got sampled on Drake’s If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late. Perhaps you’ve heard of it? Probably. It’s the best-selling album released this year. Naturally, Shaw thought someone was fucking with him when he woke up one morning to a clearance request from the 6 God, but he knew it was true when the album dropped a week later, complete with “Preach”, which features his handiwork. Not resting on that rather remarkable validation, he has an EP planned for the new year, along with a world tour—an actual world tour and not his girl’s tour.

      Best local release other than yours:Chapel Sound Compilation Vol. 1. It’s so diverse and there are many different people involved. It’s a really way cool way of showcasing talent from all over Vancouver. Also, it includes music from my friend GARY, who passed away maybe four months ago now. So they’re releasing his music postmortem, which I think is a really, really beautiful thing.”

      The year’s best gig: “James Blake at Sasquatch Festival [on May 24]. He was pitch-perfect. It was just a magical performance and the sound was incredible. At that particular moment, at that particular stage, it was just perfect. His charisma when performing sort of reminds me of Joni Mitchell in a lot of ways, and I’m a huge Joni Mitchell fan.”

      Best album ever: “That’s a loaded-ass question, but I’d have to go with Fleet Foxes, Helplessness Blues. I like everything about it. The harmonies are timeless, and the songwriting is incredible. I like to put it on when I’m hungover or stressed, which is pretty frequently, I guess you could say.”

      Francesco Aquilini’s paying—Where’s dinner? Blue Water Cafe [1095 Hamilton Street]. It’s really expensive and I love seafood. I really wanna try it, but nobody has ever offered to take me out there. I have no problem with him spending that Canucks money on me for a night.”

      In the spirit of Carly Rae Jepsen’s “I Really Like You”, who do you really, really like? “Rook Milo. He’s got that island-boy swag going on. I can’t explain what that is, it’s just a thing. Musically, he’s really consistent and he’s got a sick style. He’s not trying to be anything, he’s just doing his own thing.”

      You won Lotto Max. Where’s your club opening up? “The BoatHouse Restaurant on Kits Beach [1305 Arbutus Street]. I’d like to transform it into a waterfront nightclub. It’s on a beach, it’s pretty sick. I was thinking I’d make it really tropical. It will be called Aesthetic and feature tropical foliage in abundance, as well as birds of prey freely flying about.”

      Follow Michael Mann on Twitter @mmann.

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