Albums are like stories. There is a beginning, middle and end to each piece of work. Composed of several full-length albums, this track list charts the work of an eclectic range of artists.
Watching Jimi Hendrix bring an electric guitar to life drew Shakota into the beautiful chaos of rock ‘n’ roll. “The first ever song I performed to a live audience was ‘Little Wing‘ [by Jimi Hendrix]. I got up onto that stage, sang, played the solo and then walked out. I was gassed.”
Despite being an avid listener of music and picking up the guitar from a young age, Shakota never considered it as a career option. When COVID-19 struck in his last year of school, the sudden pause of life elicited in him the strong need to pursue his inner musical aspirations. Following the move to London in 2020, Shakota released his first EP, Notes 2 Self, followed by a string of singles—with plans to release his debut album this year, Shakota’s artistic journey has only just begun.
For FF Mixtape #186, Shakota shared with us his favorite albums from the past and present.
Do you have a guitarist that you are inspired by as a musician?
Jimi Hendrix. His chord progressions, melodies and licks are so intricate. On top of all of that, he is able to sing effortlessly over them. When I first started playing the guitar, his songs were the first ones I wanted to master. Best of all time!
As an emerging artist, what challenges have you faced when it comes to creating and promoting your own music?
I think the main challenge with being an emerging artist is the fact that you have to do it all. I take the role of manager, promoter, and producer. When it comes to creating my sound, it is my sole responsibility in constructing it. That is the hardest part. But, I think there’s also an advantage to having creative control.
Skateboarding culture is historically ingrained into the music scene and it has been incorporated into your music video for Too Fast. What does it mean to you as an artist?
Skateboarding is my downtime. To be honest, it’s my only other interest apart from music. I wanted to incorporate skating into the visual of Too Fast because I wanted to show my normal routine. I have been skating since I was a kid, so it’s sick to see the rise in popularity and its effect on fashion and culture in recent years. Would love to film a full skate part at some point.
You have included some of The Beatles’ records in your mixtape such as ‘Abbey Road’ and ‘Revolver’. What is your relationship to their music?
I have been listening to The Beatles since I was young—they were one of the first artists that sparked my love for music. My fascination with their music is their ability to create complex harmonies and melodies, and experiment with new sounds. I think the fact that they are still popular today reveals how revolutionary they were.
As a self-taught musician, do you have an album on this playlist that you are inspired by in terms of production?
One of the main albums that have inspired me, production wise, has to be ‘Lonerism’ by Tame Impala. Any album by Tame Impala is constantly inspiring me as a producer. Kevin Parker is able to layer so many elements without any dissonance or collision, which is insane. He creates amazing soundscapes with a mix of live instruments and synths. Of course, when it comes to talking about Tame Impala, I can’t forget the iconic drums which are so recognizable.
A lot of recent releases have been included on your tracklist. What was your favorite release of 2022 and why?
Gemini Rights by Steve Lacy. Already one of my main inspirations, this album is just so addictive to listen to. I love the jazz chord progressions, bass lines, and personal lyrics. Stand-out tracks have to be ‘Buttons’, ‘Helmet’ and the Bossa Nova-inspired track ‘Mercury’—I think it’s great that he’s bringing Bossa nova to the mainstream audience.
Why have you chosen to compose your playlist of full albums rather than a mix of tracks?
I prefer to listen to albums rather than individual tracks most of the time, there aren’t many artists that I only like one song from.
Finally, how did you select the tracks for this mixtape?
For this mixtape, I wanted to put all the songs that I’m listening to on repeat at the moment.
Shakota is a multi-instrumentalist, producer and singer-songwriter based in London. His debut EP Notes 2 Self came out in 2020 with a subsequent string of singles from Too Fast to White Jeans; whilst in the process of creating his debut album charting into the psychedelic genre of rock that is set to come out this year.
You can follow Shakota to keep updated with new releases, events and performances.
Interview and Text: Isabelle Moulding