SOCAN and Pop Montréal co-presented their “Cooking Beats” workshop on Sept. 25, 2020, with special guest, Montréal’s iconic beatmaker, Shash’u. This free workshop, hosted by SOCAN A&R Representative Widney Bonfils, was presented online for the first time. The event was two-fold. First, Widney and Shash’u talked about the origin of the artist’s passion for beat-making, and then they switched to the more technical side his specific creative process.
Shash’u’s cousins, multi-talented artists in their own rights, introduced him to hip-hop culture and music, including pioneers like Ice Cube, Snoop Dogg, and A Tribe Called Quest, to name but a few. Hip-hop became a passion for him because the culture was an outlet where he could develop his talent for drawing, dancing, and beat-making. Those three creative branches are solidly anchored in Shash’u’s artistic universe. Where dance is concerned, competition is at the heart of his development, and he actually thinks that’s what’s missing in Québec’s beat-making scene.
As he puts it, “Competition breeds innovation. If the boys in New York, back in the day, kept to themselves, we wouldn’t have the hip-hop we know today. Similarly, the East Coast/West Coast rivalry played a key role in the evolution of hip-hop.” He stresses how crucial it is to have a space for healthy competition and meetings for the younger generation of beatmakers, to help stimulate creativity and allow for the sharing of knowledge.
Shash’u also shared some of the technical tips and tricks of his compositions, as well as some advice for pitching for a potential collaboration. “Besides the obvious e-mails and meetings,” he said, “I’ll often send the artist a file of sounds and beats that I think they’ll like. That lets them hear the full spectrum of styles and sounds I have to offer.”
Last year, it was Foxtrott who shared her music creation techniques and processes during this interactive workshop. The previous one, in 2017, hosted Montréal-based duo Banx & Ranx, who also shared their music-production knowledge and tips. Attendees of the 2020 Cooking Beats workshop walked away with new production techniques, and also had the opportunity to witness crucial values for social as well as musical well-being; respect, open-mindedness, and the collaborative spirit.