'It’s being able to tap into something that a lot of people don’t.' A playlist by producer eahwee

eahwee image, he is wearing a shirt and big scarf in his living room, holding a briefcase

London producer and beatmaker eahwee joins the video call, dressed in a green knitted sweatshirt and clear-framed glasses.

We're pleased to meet him, e-meet him and G-meet him, since eahwee's crunchy, heavily textured production of Hip Hop and beyond has been on the Offie Mag radar for sometime now. Soiltude, his EP from 2021 that was released on Astral Black Records, brought the likes of Lee Scott and Melanin 9 into a world that Eahwee had built himself, one far removed from the 'very boring' universe of lo-fi beats.

On Life Force, a new project released in April 2023, he travels far away again, this time with less companions, letting his warped samples and track-to-track transitions take the wheel even more. eahwee's music, whether it has vocals from rappers, audio cut from games, films or YouTube videos - or just released as instrumentals - has refined narratives. Short stories sometimes less than a minute in length.

As a producer who has the art of beatmaking down, we had to get him to curate our own (Don't call it lo-fi) BEATS playlist and ask him a thing or two about his new project, how he got started in music and, eventually, biscuits.


Introduce yourself in your own words…

My name is eahwee (pronounced eh-weh), or ‘err-wee’ as some people like to call me. I don’t fuss about that. I’m a producer and beatmaker from London, but was actually born in Portugal and that’s where my name comes from. In Afro-Portuguese culture, there’s an expression that, for example, if someone falls over or you hear a dope beat or something, you might say ‘Oh damn!’ In Afro-Portuguese culture, you would say ‘Ewé!'

When did you start making music?

I started making music when I was 15 years old. One of my cousins came over from Ireland for the Easter holidays and basically, his cousin had a laptop that had Fruity Loops on it and I got to play around on it.

I made a beat that I thought was the best beat ever but it probably wasn’t. We got excited like, I’m gonna be Dr Dre, you be Eminem, innit. So I go home and tell my mum that I want to make music. And you know that stereotypical thing, you tell that to an African parent and they’re like ‘no, you’re gonna be an engineer, you’re gonna be a mechanic,’ and I was like no, I don’t wanna do that anymore.

In terms of getting access to my own equipment, I had to wait until college. I got kicked out of school early. I was one of them bad kids, innit. But when I got to college they had this music course and it was in the Swiss Beats era. Everyone was using heavy synths and that. I wasn’t even sampling then. I didn’t start sampling until I got kicked out of college.

Do you think the phrases ‘beats’ and ‘beat making’ can be condescending to the art form of production?

Nah I don’t think so, no. It’s part of the culture, it’s always been there. I don’t think it undersells it.

I don’t call myself a Hip Hop beatmaker or a Lo-Fi beatmaker or whatever, I just call myself a beatmaker. I can make House or I can make stuff that is closer to contemporary modern-day music like my recent album.

I don’t make beats for rappers. I make beats just for making beats. I release instrumental albums, that’s my thing. Dilla taught us that. It’s a bonus for me to get people on it, like Lee Scott or M9. Even the album with Kashmere. I don’t make beats just to chase rappers around or to sell them, I’m not into that.

How do you make a narrative in your music, because doing that without using words is a real skill?

It’s about being able to tap into something that a lot of people don’t, and that’s feelings. Beatmakers and rappers, a lot of them are regurgitating as opposed to making something new from the heart. It’s about recreating feelings similar to the first time you heard a Ras G project or an Ohbliv tape, not trying to copy it. Those are two different things.

The new project Life Force, it flies by. You don’t know where one track ends and another begins, almost like a live beat set. Was that intentional and what else was the aim of the tape?

Ha, you clocked it. That’s exactly what I do. I’m used to listening to mixes, I don’t if you know about Gods Connect channel on YouTube? On these mixes, they upload you’ve got like Knxwledge, and Samiyam. Those mixes were on a different level to the people that were doing like chill and study, lo-fi stuff - no disrespect to them but I find that very boring.

This tape was trying to recreate that feeling of listening to a mix where it’s like, one track to another, you’re like ‘what’s that? It’s another one now,’ but the mix doesn’t even throw you off, more so it draws you back in. Other than that, Life Force is me tapping into 808 culture and also just me trying to tap into a different frequency to my previous releases without losing my character. 


Your music often includes UK references, with the Wiley sample on the track that leads the playlist being a good example. Is referencing UK culture something that you actively try to do?

Yeah. When I first started I didn’t see a lot of people in the UK doing it. A lot of people doing it were from America in terms of artists and the audience so, in terms of having to stand out, I felt like I had to let them know where I’m from. I want to integrate our culture, our slang into the music so they can hear it. 

It was only really when I started to work with Jon Phonics and Astral Black Records that more people from the UK started to tap in and I came across other beatmakers. But now, we’ve got a load of people making these types of music and also, incorporating the UK freestyles and culture into it. It’s pretty cool.

Who was the first artist you felt you had to add to this playlist you’ve made us, then?

Ruffian Kick. He’s one of the dopest beatmakers that I know, and he’s a close friend of mine. Me and him teach each other stuff all the time. Little tricks on the MPC or whatever, push each other musically. I’ve always wanted people to hear him more, so I had to get him in there.

 You’ve also got other members for Rare God, the collective I’m apart of. Wander was actually was doing the whole UK grime flips and remixes for years, before it caught on with a lot of people. [KMY.]’s someone I’ve known for like six years now, (I’ve) been making beats alongside him in this industry. And dannnyfreeman, the track I’ve got on the list We’ll Be Alright, I’ve had that on repeat for ages now so I had to put it on there.

And finally, anything else you want to add? 

We’ve got this new radio show on Balamii called Audio Arcade. It’s a really cool concept, it’s bringing the beats alog with video gaming. That’s with the homies from Rare God. We’ll just chill, play video games, make a few beats here and there. 

Radio’s been good for us because we’re tuned into all sorts of culture. We’ve got this thing where we do tiers, like ranking biscuits. Jammy Dodgers and whatnot. I should have been there for the last time because they put Royal Dansk in the Top Tier as opposed to God Tier.

How many times do we go to Grandma’s house, reach for the tin, and they’re gone? If you know about Dragonball Z, you know there’s Ultra Instinct form with Goku, you can’t even touch him. Royal Dansk are Ultra Instinct biscuits.


eahwee's latest project Life Force is out now via Astral Black Records. 

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