PHOTOS BY: SHAHANAH SHIVJI & KIRSTEN ROY
Dimemond Mentality had the pleasure of sitting down to interview and photograph Swisslizz, a young aspiring producer/song writer/ artist currently residing in Vancouver BC, alongside fellow team member, ShahAbdul. ShahAbdul is as well a young, aspiring producer, as well as a sound engineer, and mixer. He has mixed most of Swisslizz's music that has been produced in the last 2 years, and now, they've decided to start a new chapter, a new brand, 2506.
Both ShahAbdul and Swisslizz, attended and completed the Audio Engineering and Production program at Pacific Audio-Visual Institute in Vancouver BC. That is infact, how they both met each other, and coincidently, both had the same passion and the same dream: to create music.
Although both ShahAbdul and Swisslizz are not Vancouver natives, as they are both born and raised in Nigeria, West Africa, they both came to Vancouver with the same mentality and goals in their early 20's. Each of them both studying academia here, Abdul with having a degree in Computer Science, and working on a certification for Business Management, and Swisslizz working on a certification in Sociology, they are both still driven to make music a priority in their life.
After a subsequent amount of experiencing creating music in Vancouver thus far, creating an identity in the Vancouver nightlife and also marketing themselves more professionally with high-quality music videos, they have decided to start a new beginning, a new brand, "2506".
"2506" represents many things to both Swisslizz and ShahAbdul. Like every creative, with the driven mentality to always put passion into their work, they've experienced trials and tribulations of finding the consistency in what it takes to not just be another artist, attempting to do music. They've taken the time to understand the "product mentality", and production in quality, and personal representation is what really sets you apart from others. So what does "2506" mean? The numerical representation simply represents their apartment number in their building.
Most of their music as a team, are produced in raw beats within their apartment, and then taken to the studio, to mix and finish at higher, presentable quality. They found that their true process has always been within their living space, and it's important for listeners and fans to understand the concept. As artists and creatives, the true story of pieces of work heavily relies in the space where the process takes place; the re-iteration of sounds, the writing of lyrics, and most of all the team work which relies within the team Swisslizz and ShahAbdul have built, 2506. Both of these young men emphasize that their music isn't a classified sound, or in other words, stereotypical. Their musical vibrations simply reflect "party music". Their music represents how they live their life, when they are surrounded with positive people, either working with other artists, and also when surrounded by their friends, they always have positive, fun moments.
However, getting to the idea of "2506" as a product, an identity, and a story, was not easy for both Swisslizz and ShahAbdul.
One of the toughest criticisms Swisslizz was given in the past about music which he created, is that some listeners found it "typical".
By adding patience, and understanding that constructive criticism is always a factor of being an artist, Swisslizz did not become hurt nor distracted by certain listeners opinions, but became more aware. As he shared this particular moment and story with the DM team, he mentioned he actually went back to listen to the music he produced at the time, and reflected on what the opinions of others meant. He took the time to react maturely about this art and craft, and really put himself in his listeners shoes.
ShahAbdul has found certain hurdles to jump over as well, when creating a name for yourself in such a competitive industry. As he admits that he came to Canada, particularly Vancouver to not only pursue more academic opportunities, but to "accomplish the [musical] dream". He truly believes that growth is exponential, if the artist understands the process. The process includes many levels of growth including successful moments, reflective moments, and moments where you have to be honest about your identity in a competitive musical field in Vancouver.
ShahAbdul admits to still being in the process of building his identity in music, and in Vancouver as a creative artist. He fully accepts the patience and persistence of the process. As most listeners of good music produced today, they are only well aware of the artists voice they hear through the speakers or see in music videos. But rarely, do listeners, consumers and the general public, really do not know that in order for these artists to produce high-quality music, in both sound and aesthetic, the sound engineer, mixers and song writers are what truly adds the quality to what they hear at the end of the day.
As much as Swisslizz and ShahAbdul were able to discuss the obstacles of what it means to be fully committed to the music industry, they also shared some of their memorable moments; moments they will always remember, in all senses.
Swisslizz remembers when he was the opening artist for rapper Meek Mill in Vancouver. When he finished his set, and came off the stage, he remembers the positive energy that people had grown for him as an individual, and as an artist. The reaction of the crowd is a memory Swisslizz reflects to, and knows that is a feeling that he wants to feel for every piece of music he creates.
Dimemond Mentality was also able to sit in on ShahAbdul in his crafting environment, the studio where they mix their music, Blue Light Studios. Having being able to observe and appreciate what ShahAbdul can do to make music sound at the highest quality, shows and proves his ability to not only create, but to treat each element on a track with the absolute aesthetic. From the high-hats, to synthesizing, and perfecting the vocals, he demonstrates his growth, and his potential to not only grow within the 2506 foundation, but to further network with other artists, to bring them to highest quality of presentability as well! The craft makers behind the curtains, do not get enough recognition, and ShahAbdul is able to give a great reason why consumers, listeners and other talents should.
So what's in store in the near future for both Swisslizz and ShahAbdul?
Simple. To continue building their foundation of 2506, as both a brand, and a team which produces quality, positive sounds and music.
Dimemond Mentality was drawn to both Swisslizz and ShahAbdul as both individuals, and as a team of young dream chasers because of their pride and dedication to their craft, ability, and process. Anyone can call themselves a "singer" or an "artist" in the musical world today, but to be a able to prove your potential, not only in front of an audience, but to be able show their raw process behind doors is a rare aspect that people get to observe, witness and appreciate. DM truly believes that 2506 is on the right pathway, as they continue to carve their pathway of not only making their name(s) a staple in Vancouver BC, but also being humble about who they are as artists, and how they are not afraid to be patient, and honest about their craft and artistry.
The greatest artists are not afraid to stand out.
THE DREAM: Do not be afraid to dream. However, stay consistent and be honest. Be the best. Never be afraid to not only say you want the success, but the riches as well. "Music is apart of me; it is my happiness".
FOCUS: Commit to your craft. When you find your passion, you are determined to stay away from the '9-5' lifestyle. Put in the time to take your craft to the highest level.
REFLECT: Always reflect on how far you've come. Understand your progress.