Siam2nite had the opportunity to have an exclusive interview with ShaoDow, shortly before his performance at BASH on Friday 23rd November.
What is the meaning of your name ShaoDow (pronounced Sha-ow-dough)?
I came up with the name ShaoDow when I was 17. I had tried out several other names, all of them rubbish and embarrassing. I liked the idea of calling myself Shadow but after checking on google I found like 8 other rappers by the same name so I started playing around with the word. I was in the process of planning my trip to China at the time so naturally I wanted my name to also have some sort of Shaolin influence. I'm not sure how it happened but eventually the O ended up between the a and the D. It was Shadow but with a Shaolin influence, exactly what I wanted. I love my artist name to be honest. It represents me perfectly. I just wish people would pronounce it right!!
How would you describe your music and what were your biggest influences?
I always wanted my music to be an accurate representation of myself. I'm not trying to pander to what's cool or trying to make music in order to get a number one. I'm just trying to make good music that people can enjoy and relate to. And because I'm not constrained by a record label's wishes I think I'm getting closer and closer to my goal with every song I write. I'm just influenced by my life and adventures as an independent artist. Music is my life, I travel up and down the country meeting people and introducing them to my tracks so I always have new and unique life experiences to draw on. Basically, my music sounds like it trained in Kung Fu in China and then went and got a Law Degree. Intelligent but Deadly.
What tracks should people listen to as an introduction to your music?
If you know anything about ShaoDow you'll know that I'm an multi-genre artist. I don't just stick to one type of music so to get an introduction to me you'll have to listen to more than one song.
For Hip Hop, I'd recommend 'Knock 'Em Out' or 'The British Are Coming'
For Dubstep 'Posh Boy' or 'Cockney Thug Remix'
For Rock 'R U Really Stoopid!?!'
For Grime 'BullSpit' or 'R U Stoopid!?!'
For House, definitely 'Minotaur Riddim'
At age 18 you traveled alone to China in order to learn Shaolin Kung Fu. What was your motivation?
I'm the sort of person who does what he says he's going to do. I truly believe you have to live you life and take leaps of faith once in a while. I didn't want to go through my whole life wishing and wondering what China was like, so I took the plunge and went. I can honestly say, I wouldn't have the drive and motivation for my music that I do today if I chosen to stay at home.
After you left China, you went to the university and graduated with a Law Degree, but then decided to make music. Was it an easy decision?
Not initially, it was a very scary decision. One I almost ended up going back on many times. I had no clue if I could make good money from my music, didn't know how far my career could go or what I could do off my own will and volition. I would never have imagined that I could achieve as much as I have. It probably would've made the decision easier. But hey, nothing worth doing is easy. I think the fact that I was willing to throw away an easy (by comparison) job as a lawyer for an uncertain life as a rapper shows just how passionate I am about my art.
You were unwilling to wait for the industry to discover you; instead you did it all independently, without being signed. You traveled the entire UK selling your CDs, performing and promoting yourself. It’s a remarkable achievement, what made you decide to choose that path and how did you do it?
Genuinely I'm just not a patient person when it comes to certain things. I was already out on streets selling CDs when the industry was telling me that nobody was buying music anymore, so I started doubting the credentials of the so called 'experts'.
As time went on and I learnt to do more and more by myself I realised that aside from money there wasn't much a label could actually offer me. So why bother giving away my creative freedom?
Now I've sold over 11,500 CDs independently and growing in strength every day. I'm happy being independent and plan to prove that you can achieve real success without a label.
In mid-August you released your new album “Cut the Bullspit” that features 17 tracks. What can you tell us about its creation process?
It was an accidental album I think. Originally I'd planned a single, but I'd grown tired of just releasing singles all the time. I pulled together a few more tracks and it became an EP. But as my fan base grew and more people started showing love, I felt the need to give my fans more. I kept adding tracks to the release until it naturally became an album. When I released it, it reached Number 25 in the iTunes Hip Hop Charts independently. The response to the album so far has been fantastic and has motivated me to start work on my next album for 2013.
Listen to the album 'Cut The BullSpit' on iTunes: http://tinyurl.com/cutthebull
In the beginning of this month you have been supporting act for Tech N9ne. How did you guys meet and how was it?
It was amazing. Better than I could've imagined. Tech is one of my favourite rappers, not just because of his music but also because he is direct proof of what a truly independent rapper can achieve. So that's what I'm aiming for. Plus he's a very down to earth guy, which is rare to see in artists of his calibre.
On 23rd November you will perform Live here in Bangkok, at BASH. What can Bangkok expect from that night?
Bangkok can definitely expect 210% from me (not a legitimate percentage I know!). It'll be my first performance in the country so I'll be making an impression in a major way. More than anything though you can expect good music, heavy baselines and razor sharp lyrics. If you want to want to leave the club looking like you've been swimming in your own sweat then you need to find yourself over to BASH on the 23rd. People in the UK always regret missing my performances, so there's no way I'd let it be any different for Bangkok.