discovering and sharing the music that moves us

Trust Us, “What U Want” is to Get to Know shxde & Ivoryghost. [exclusive interview]

Have you ever seen a song announcement on social media, and had to scroll back up to read it again, just to make sure you read it right?–to make sure that you weren’t dreaming? Well, that was us when shxde and Ivoryghost teased “What U Want” for the first time.

For us, there was a genuine moment of shock involved in that reveal– because in our case, “What U Want” is exactly what we wanted. Even better, we got to connect with both producers for a quick chat about the collaboration, what brought them together for it, and more. Read on for details.

Listen to shxde x Ivoryghost – “What U Want” on Spotify:

This is one of those songs where you will get sucked in within seconds, but will want to hang on through to the very last beat. While you listen, you’re going to get hit with glorious, melodic waves of emotion, each one more powerful than the last.

But, empowered by the music (and the chills it sent running down your neck), you’re going to persevere through to the end…

And probably hit replay.

Getting What ‘U’ Want: a chat with shxde & Ivoryghost

Ambur Masen, MendoWerks: Hi guys! Thanks for taking a minute to chat with us. Would you please introduce yourselves to our readers real quick? 

shxde: Thanks for having us! I’m shxde, and I make music for our digital dystopia. I have been obsessed with electronic music all my life, so I don’t stick to a particular genre, but rather try to incorporate everything I love from all genres and styles. I’m highly influenced by late 90s & early 2000s electronica, dub, techno, big beat, trap and try to reflect that in my production as well my visual art. 

Ivoryghost: Hi, I am Ivoryghost, I’m a producer and DJ. I love producing heavy bass music with a focus on trap. I’ve been producing for about a decade now, and I’ve done releases with labels such as RL Grime’s label ‘Sable Valley’ and Steve Aoki’s label ‘Dim Mak’.

AM: Give us some backstory on “What U Want”–how did this collaboration come to be? Given that you guys live so far away from each other, what was the actual collaborative process like? 

Ivoryghost: Honestly, the collaboration started a good couple of years ago. We’ve known each other online for a while at this point.

shxde: We first met [during] Wavestation in 2019, a two-day wave event hosted by Human Error// in Seattle. We stayed in contact after that and regularly chat about life, music and art. I did a lot of design work for Ivoryghost, doing his album art and branding for a while. It’s still some of my favorite work. We’d talked about doing a song together for a while, and there was finally an opportunity when both of us weren’t too busy with other projects.

check out some of those other projects

Ivoryghost: As for “What U Want”, shxde started it, and I’ve finished it, essentially. We definitely both wanted this tune to be a very emotional one, but also a kind of anthem at the same time. 

shxde: I sent him a demo that I thought he would like and he was into it! So, I sent over stems and we talked some more about the overall vibe. He told me that he was really excited about this melody he’d thought of while out riding his bike and when he sent me back the demo with the melody, I knew he had something special.

Ivoryghost: We’ve sat on the project for a while, without any idea for when it’d be released–as life has been turbulent, and sometimes these things get lost out of sight… until earlier this year. shxde mentioned the track again, and we figured it was time for it to see the light of day!

Shxde:  People have been asking about the song for a while now, having heard it in different mixes– and we decided it was time to release it. 

AM: What was it about the other’s music that drew you in? To ask another way, what do you admire the most about the other’s production style? Did you learn anything from each other in the process of making this new song?

Ivoryghost: I think it was around 2017 that I rolled into the wave scene online. shxde at that point was already a staple, and had done releases with outlets like YUME. I liked – and still enjoy – his taste for ethereal melodies with a dark driven bass. I’ve definitely taken inspiration from him over the years.

shxde: Ivoryghost is one of my favorite producers, he is so talented and has an amazing work ethic and us working together was only a matter of time. We plan to do another song together soon as well! I wanted to work with Koen not only because of his music, but I also love his thought process, the way we talk about music together and the way we work is very similar so it felt like a natural fit for us to collaborate. I’m always learning new things from him, he is an amazing producer. 

AM: What’s next for you both? Anything exciting coming up before year’s end? 

shxde: I finished an album that will be released by an amazing underground electronic label called Project Villain. I’ve been a fan of them for years and couldn’t be more excited. I have many more collabs on the way, as well as some singles from my album. 

Ivoryghost: Currently I’m picking up where I’ve left off earlier this year. Recently, I released two remixes on Yellow Claw’s label ‘Barong Family’ and now the tune with shxde. Coming up, I’ve got a huge track with Lizdek forthcoming on Sable Valley, very excited about this one! RL Grime has played it in Halloween XI and at Second Sky which was unreal. I can not wait for it finally to be released! As of right now, I also have a collaboration with So Sus planned for November, and I’m currently working on new branding assets that I’m super excited to show–so definitely expect those soon!

AM: And, lastly, in honor of working on being more present– as we’re barely halfway through the summer, let me close this out by asking… what is your favorite thing about this time of year? How do you guys spend your summer days? 

Ivoryghost: As someone who definitely struggles a lot with seasonal depression, I love the sunlight and warmth–and it definitely helps me be creative, so that’s probably also my favorite thing about this time of year. So, right now, I’ve been inside a lot writing new material and working out my vision for Ivoryghost. It’s always a super fun process and learning curve. Few things beat that.

shxde:  My favorite thing about summer is how much time I get to spend with my friends and loved ones. I live in Milwaukee, and the winters here are brutal and long, so we try to pack as much fun into summer as possible. Lots of grilling out, music festivals and long nights by the lake…

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