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Exclusive Premiere: See American Producer Kashaka’s Vibrant Video For ‘Shabbas Gospel’

The clip has been directed by Patricia Gloum

David Britto Feb 17, 2021

American producer Eli Evnen aka Kashaka. Photo: Melissa Tesillo

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After returning back home from a trip to the Middle East in 2016, American producer Eli Evnen aka Kashaka strung together a choir-like number that included chords and organ sounds as well as a melody that reminded him of what he heard at the synagogue while growing up. He says, “I labeled it as ‘rough demo’ back then.” Now, that demo has turned into his latest single, “Shabbas Gospel.”

In this interview with Rolling Stone India, Evnen talks about how the song came to be, director Patricia Gloum explains what it was like putting the vibrant accompanying music video – produced by BRAWHAUS  – together, which can be viewed exclusively below and more. Read excerpts:

What kind of headspace were you in as an artist when “Shabbas Gospel” was made and what can you tell me about it?

Evnen: Despite coming off a life-affirming trip and feeling focused on building a studio and DJing, I remember feeling a lot of social anxiety, lack of confidence, and imposter syndrome during that time. There were moments that I overcame those feelings and other times where it crept up again. Those moments of self-doubt, but also moments of confidence and redemption, were swirling around in my head when I made this song.

The music video is really well made. What can you tell me about the experience you had of making it?

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Evnen: I can’t take much of the credit, it was a real collaborative effort. The video started with Patricia and I brainstorming on a concept. I gave her the arc of the song and how I was feeling when I made it and she was able to visualize it in a really creative, symbolic way. Other than the scenes shot at [venue] Everyday Afrique, we were basically trespassing at every location.

There were definitely some challenges — the drone batteries kept dying, and everything took way longer than we thought it would. It’s all been a lesson in patience and tenacity.

From a director’s point of view, what was your vision for the entire video? Also, talk to me about the execution of it.

Gloum: When Eli came to me asking if I wanted to direct this video for him, I was experiencing very similar feelings to the vision he was having so I was excited to explore that deep inner research for me. This track is about the interpersonal experiences with self-awareness, navigating confidence in what you do, and having to climb mountains to get the love you desire. There’s an excitement to feeling other people’s attention and their energies, wondering whether to dive into the chaos headfirst or retreat away from it all in the realms of stillness and reflection.

With Eli, we assembled a beautiful palette of talented New York-based artists. If it wasn’t for the heart and passion that each and every one of these individuals poured into this project, it would not have had the flavor and authenticity that it has now. Even three years later, I had to see this creation come to fruition and finally put it out there to be shared with the world.

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Looking ahead to 2021, what else do you have in store?

Evnen: I’m really excited about this year. As a producer I have new music coming out with Topaz Jones — we’ve been working on stuff for his album for years and it’s finally ready and is a really incredible album — so I’m looking forward to that coming out.

In 2020 I ran almost all of my production sessions remotely from my apartment due to COVID-19 and actually started to enjoy it. I’ll continue to do that because it allows you to work with people anywhere in the world.

Outside of producing for other people, I’m planning on more Kashaka collaborations and releases this year. There are so many songs in the vault that need to see the light of day. Additionally, I’m working on a full-length album to release under my real name, which I’m really excited about.

Watch the video for “Shabbas Gospel” below:

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