Music aside, Eric Sharp is a true creative with many strings to his bow — and someone who most definitely epitomises all that’s great and good about the contemporary US scene. An artist whose sound is generally based around house and tech house pastures, his latest sees him take a somewhat unusual voyage. A killer vocal collaboration with Cassandra, it was actually recorded over Zoom at the height of lockdown. Very 2021, eh?
As anyone who follows the exploits of Eric Sharp on social media will tell you, this US-based DJ/producer is nothing if not a man of many talents.
Anyway, without further ado, here’s what happened when we caught up with the main man recently over email.
Thank you, Eric!
Connect with Eric Sharp on Facebook and Instagram.
How are you, what’s good and bad in your world right now?
All in all, I’m doing well thanks! A lot of aspects of my personal journey are very good right now. I’ve been writing and producing a ton of music, and have also been enrolled in the Deep Cuts school of music marketing, which has given me an excellent tool kit to better promote my releases.
The music scene re-emerging has been a breath of fresh air. I missed dancing so much! Gyms in Los Angeles have reopened, so I’ve been able to exercise regularly beyond just nature hikes and home exercises. I’m eating a lot of farm-fresh organic vegetables from the farmer’s market too, which helps me feel great. Today my moustache twirled perfectly as well.
As for what’s bad in my world, a lot of global events are quite upsetting. While I am lucky to live in a place with a good vaccination rate and limited mitigation measures, COVID is still causing so much suffering worldwide. Many people want to get vaccinated, but don’t have access to it. In many places, there are ICU beds at capacity. Vaccine hesitancy here in the US from misinformation is rampant.
I’m also very concerned about climate change and do everything I can in my own lifestyle to reduce my carbon footprint. This includes eating a vegan diet, wearing eco-friendly clothing, recycling, reusing, and composting.
Finally, I’m very concerned with what’s just taken place in Afghanistan. Like many US interventions, it was short-sighted and poorly executed. I get overwhelmed by these things at times but do my best to stay positive, think of the potential of people to do good, and have an impact on the people whose lives I touch.
How was lockdown, where did you spend it and how?
Lockdown was really hard on my mental health. Nearly all of my favourite parts of my life evaporated in a week’s time – gigs, social engagements, workouts, and studio sessions to name a few. I thought it would just be a quick shutdown to get things under control, but boy was I wrong there. I feel that this is the first time in our generation we’ve had a collective challenge of this scale.
I thought it would be a quick shutdown to get things under control, but boy was I wrong there.
While I questioned if I should stay in LA because the city completely shut down, I wound up deciding to stick around, as it is my home. I did some inner work to deal with the anxiety and depression I was feeling. I took stock of where my music career is at and where I could improve, which led to my decision to learn more about marketing. I was able to do some writing, especially as restrictions eased and I could get into studios again. I hiked in nature and walked in my neighbourhood. I watched a lot of Netflix and HBO Max haha. I basically did what I could to weather the storm and prepare myself for when it would pass.
Tell us about your journey into music and the clubs, labels, DJs and experiences that made you into the artist you are?
I love this question! I was turned on to house music by a raver in my high school named Lumpy, who gave me an M-Gee mixtape. (I’m from the Boston area, and M-Gee was a beloved local.) I loved it and started tuning in to that sound.
House music made me want to move, and I started going to raves and clubs as soon as I could. I would run around with a crew and we would breakdance and house dance all night. No matter what difficulties were going on in my life, I felt a release on the dance floor where I could just forget all of my troubles and be in the moment. This is the core of why I do what I do – to create that uplifting experience for others. As a dancer first, that informs all of the decisions I make as a DJ.
If a track moves me, I’ll download it and play it. Some of the early artists and labels that inspired me were Green Velvet/Cajmere’s Relief and Cajual, Derrick Carter’s Classic Music Company, Switch’s Dubsided Records, and Roy Davis Jr. I’ve been lucky to meet all of these artists, and have DJ’ed with Curtis and Roy on multiple occasions.
My club residencies have had a big role in my development as well, starting at The Endup and Temple in San Francisco, and currently Sound Nightclub in LA. I am always inspired by moving a crowd. As I’ve matured, I’ve been drawn to more subtle dance music that crosses genre boundaries. I’d say my biggest current influences are Kidnap, Bob Moses, Rufus du Sol, and Flight Facilities.
What made you want to collab on Body on my Body? When did you have the idea?
Body On My Body started with a beat I’d messed around with alongside my buddy Thomas Garcia in a brief jam session in 2019. I liked the groove so I revisited it, adding a lot of melody and harmony. It felt like it needed a vocal after that so I waited for the right opportunity to finish it.
How different is your sound and how differently do you work with others?
There are so many people making and releasing music now that it’s hard for anyone to say that their sound is unique. I have a certain ear for melody and harmony, informed by growing up playing trumpet and guitar respectively. I also have a knack for editing and arranging. My least favourite aspect of production is drum programming, so usually when I collaborate with other producers I will let them, nerd, out on that while I write instrumental components. I love the magic in the room when different creative minds come together! I try not to be too attached to the outcome and just let things flow. Usually, I can find common ground in most writing sessions, even if our sounds don’t seem to make sense together at the beginning.
How did you decide who to work with and why? Why was Cassandra right?
I heard an unreleased collaboration that Cassandra sang on, and I loved it right away. Her voice is so smooth! I asked for an introduction and she was really cool about doing something together. I also liked that a lot of her music has a positive message.
How did you work, online or in person? What impact does that have on the music itself?
This songwriting session was done completely digitally via Zoom. I think it had a huge impact on the song itself, as we focused on the frustrations of social distancing. Also, the vocal performance took some back and forth to get right. Usually, I like to be in the room with a singer so we can work together to nail the emotion, but the distance meant we couldn’t do so in real-time. Cassie was super accommodating though, and we got them to a place where we were both happy.
About the vocals, who wrote them, how important is their content, or is it more about the sounds they bring?
Cassandra and I wrote the lyrics and vocal melody together. The content is definitely important. We were expressing how much it sucks to be experiencing most of life through our phones, and how badly we yearned for human closeness. Body On My Body is about craving a packed hot dance floor, something I think a lot of us have experienced all too often lately.
What’s next, what else are you working on?
I’ve got a grip of new music that I’ve completed that I will be rolling out this year! After this release, I’ve got a collaboration with Doe P’aoro called Like Water that I’m really proud of, followed by The Gift with my longtime collaborator Zhao, and then Scream & Shout with a UK artist named Laurent John. Drum & Bass heads might know him from his work with Dr Meaker.
After that, I have some really great tracks that I can’t disclose the details of yet, but that I’m incredibly excited to finish and get out into the world. Beyond releases, I’m ramping up live shows and working towards being able to tour. I’ve visited Europe a few times, and have been thrilled to play a couple of ADE shows. I hope to do a proper run of performances there across the EU in the near future!