Callie Reiff and Friends Open up About the Journey to Shadow Dancing

November 15, 2016 -

Ashlyn Fulton

You knew it was coming. With the strides Callie Reiff has made in just over a year of being introduced to the big leagues of New York City, she now comes to us with her debut EP, Shadow Dancing. This 17-year-old producer/DJ has an amazing track record that even some big name DJ's can't claim. Let's just highlight some of her accomplishments so far:

- She has released singles on Nest HQ, Fool's Gold Records, and Audiophile XXL
- She has opened for Madeon, Feed Me, Flux Pavilion, Anna Lunoe & more (too many to list!)
- She has played alongside Skrillex and Mija
- She is the youngest DJ to grace Output and Verboten's decks

..and she still manages to be a teenager in New York City!

We spoke to Callie and those involved in the making of her EP - KANDYLil Texas, JSTJR ad Havok Roth - to find out what went down behind the scenes of Shadow Dancing - out now on Fool's Gold Records.

Callie talks Shadow Dancing EP

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Just a little over a year ago is when you began to show up on our radar, and now you’ve released an entire EP. To what do you owe such rapid success?
I wouldn't necessarily call it rapid success. A little over a year ago, I would practice DJing every day on vinyl records and mess around with Ableton for hours. I wanted to make sure I felt comfortable with my technical skills before DJing shows and showcasing my tracks to the public. Honestly, it's been a crazy ride, and I'm so excited for what's to come with the feedback I have received so far! Baby steps 🙂
What’s something you’ve learned about yourself on this journey?
I've learned that there aren't enough hours in a day! Haha! In all seriousness, though, producing has taught me that there's no rule book or correct way to do it. The best way to approach a song whether it be producing or just listening is to keep an open mind and keep pushing the limit.
What would you say has been your biggest area of improvement from 1 year ago to today?
I would definitely say my biggest area of improvement has been my skill level as a producer. I'm still learning every day, but if you compare my knowledge one year ago to what I know today, it feels really great to take a second and realize how much you can improve if you practice, practice, practice!
What are your parents’ thoughts on all of your success? What about your friends?
My parents have always supported me, which I am very appreciative of. No matter what I do, they always stick by me and believe in me. My friends are so fun to be around! We don't really talk about my success that much. We talk about boys and stuff. I mean I'm 17!
Being 17, how do you balance work and school life?
I've always found a way to balance it. If I have a deadline in school, I get it done. If I have a deadline for one of my songs or remixes, I get it done!
Shadow Dancing and Jawbreaker were the first 2 singles to be released off of the EP. How are they a good representation of the EP as a whole?
Jawbreaker was created during the early stages of learning how to produce, while Shadow Dancing was created for an EP. With the EP, I felt like I needed one track that represents my style and one that goes well into my DJ sets.
The name and idea of Shadow Dancing was inspired by shadow boxing so I wanted to use another boxing term and came up with Jawbreaker. It's also pretty funny that KANDY collaborated with me on Jawbreaker, so I felt it was a good choice because it's a candy and a boxing term!
What were some influences that went into the making of the EP?
With Jawbreaker I leaned on some of my older house tunes for inspiration. Shadow Dancing just came together from jamming out on Ableton, and I came up with the first drop right away. Once I finished that part, it was easy to build out the whole track.
How do you feel about producing tracks on your own versus collabs?
It's always fun to collaborate with other artists, but you do need to click when producing and style-wise. I try to be selective with who I collaborate with because it needs to come about naturally and usually does so from just first becoming friends. When working on my own tunes, it can take sometimes a couple sessions to create an idea or I can come up with something in 2 hours. It's all about my mood and overall energy when producing!
 What’s the process like to choose who remixes your tracks?
Typically I'm just a fan of an artist and their music beforehand. With Shadow Dancing, I've been eyeing Havok Roth for a while, and knew he is killing the trap game. We started talking on twitter, and it just clicked in my brain that I had to have him remix Shadow Dancing! JSTJR and Lil Texas also did an amazing job remixing Shadow Dancing.
Now, is it time to relax a little or are you onto the next project?
After the EP was finished up, I took a week to just listen to a lot of music and get new creative ideas. I think it's important to take some time because you can't rush creativity! Art is art.


Callie and KANDY talk Jawbreaker

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Describe Jawbreaker in one word.

Callie: Energetic

KANDY: Tasteful

What’s the story of how you came together for this?

Callie: Since the beginning of my career, I've been a fan of KANDY and his music. His manager, Matt, would be at shows I would do at Webster Hall and we came up with the idea that KANDY and I should try collaborating. I came up with 2 demos, sent them to KANDY, and thus, Jawbreaker was born!

KANDY: When i was living in New York, Callie & I had always been around the same people at the same night clubs. We were both hustling super hard with music so we thought it would be great to make a tune together!
What was one unusual thing that happened in the process of producing it?

Callie: While KANDY is on FL studios, I use Ableton. It's usually more comfortable collab-ing with other producers who use your software because then you can work on Splice. Since we both work super fast though, I'm very happy with the outcome!

KANDY: I think how quickly we finished the record! Callie had sent over a dope idea & i was stoked to get to work on it! I think we finished it that same week!
You’re both from New York. What kind of influence did that have on the track?
Callie: A lot of my earlier productions are house based, but since deep house became so popular and exploded, it's been hard to sound original with it. While working with KANDY, we both came up with a way to produce a house tune that stands out from the others.
KANDY: The bass scene over in New York is thriving right now & i think that definitely had an influence on the track!
Callie is no stranger to Fool’s Gold records. KANDY, how does it feel to have a track out now on the Brooklyn-based label?

It's an honor to have a release on Fools Gold! I've attended Fools Gold events for years & to watch it come full circle is such a great feeling.

What do you hope comes out of this release?

Callie: There's always room for improvement! I'm hoping everyone enjoys this tune and is excited for my future productions.

KANDY:  Personally, I just want as many people to hear it as possible in hopes that they get the same feeling we got while creating it!


Lil Texas talks remixing Shadow Dancing

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Describe this remix in 3 words.

Bass Club Rhythms

What was the creative process behind this remix?

I wanted to flip the tune into a different style so immediately slowed the whole thing down to 132. I love jersey club, booty house, etc so I thought it would be a cool challenge to flip a 160 joint into that club music range. Everything sort of flowed after that the bass sounds from the original track added some nice melody on top of my round sub kicks. Callie gave me some direction to during the writing process which also spiced it up. Thanks, girl.

One of your influences, JSTJR, also remixed Shadow Dancing. How do you think the two versions will compare?

Oh man, I don't even know. BUT what I do know is bro rocks some badass cut off t-shirts and that I fuck with that heavy.


JSTJR talks remixing Shadow Dancing

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Describe this remix in 3 words.

Hard as fuck

What was the creative process like?

I spent a lot of time trying different styles and tempos. Landed on the final version on an airplane after lots of experimentation.

In what way do you think your musical style works with the original track?

I tried making something way different than the original. The sounds and samples of the original version inspired the heavy riddim-style drop. Threw in some of my own flavor, of course.


Havok Roth talks remixing Shadow Dancing

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Describe this remix in 3 words 

This shit fire

What was the creative process like?

The ideas for this remix came together pretty quickly. once I heard the vocal of the original i knew i wanted to make it deeper and darker and build the rest of the remix around that one idea. so it was finished in about 4 days.

In what way do you think your musical style works with the original track?

I think Callie's style and mine are both very high energy.. so when you combine fuel and fire you get an explosion the size of this remix.


Stream Shadow Dancing below and purchase it here.

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