We sit down for an exclusive interview with NYC’s Bambi
There’s no denying that males and females alike have an instant attraction to Eva Shaw, better known in the EDM scene as Bambi. Whether it’s because of her stunning good looks (she is an international model after all), her shy yet fun personality, or her talent as a DJ, Bambi has quickly established herself in the electronic dance music community. Originally playing at many premier clubs in NYC such as Provocateur and LAVO, over the past year, Bambi has earned a residency at clubs across the US, including HQ, Marquee, Day & Night, Maison, and more recently at Hakkasan, the Las Vegas hotspot expected to open this spring. Known for her hard electro-house sets that you can’t help but dance to, Bambi has gained the support of not only fans, but also of big names in the industry such as Afrojack, David Guetta, and Avicii. I was lucky enough to sit down with the Dutch-Canadian Bambi over the second weekend of Ultra Music Festival 15, the day after she played on the UMF Brazil stage. Check out the interview and her set from the festival below.
TBM: So, obviously Ultra yesterday, how did it go?
Bambi: It was of the most ridiculous things I’ve ever done.
TBM: That was your first festival right?
Bambi: Yeah, I mean I’ve done outdoor shows but nothing like Ultra.
TMB: The crowd was insane, I came over to your set when I got in and it was already packed!
Bambi: It was weird, I opened the stage (UMF Brazil) right, and when I got there like 15 minutes before, there were only a couple people. I was like, “Shit!”. And then within two minutes, it was completely full. I was pretty nervous, but it was really good.
TBM: Great first experience?
Bambi: Yeah, yesterday was one of the best days ever.
TBM: Do you think you’re going to do more festivals? Anything planned?
Bambi: Yeah. There are a couple ones coming up, I’m not going to say which, but yeah.
TBM: So we definitely get to see some more Bambi during festival season, that’s great. The vibe is different at festivals, how does it compare to playing at something like a NYC club?
Bambi: It’s way different mixing wise and there’s a lot more echo since the acoustics are way different. When you’re in a club it’s super easy. It just takes a little bit of getting used to (at a festival) and the sets are only like an hour which makes it a bit hard.
TBM: So we’re meeting here (the Fontainebleau) since you just finished shooting an ad with tons of other DJs (Hardwell, Nervo, Tiesto, etc.) for Hakkasan, where you’ll be a resident DJ. When are you set to first play there?
Bambi: I just spoke with the guy who books the DJs and he said, “We’re going to book you for a big weekend”. I think they know when it’s opening but they don’t want to tell anyone…it’s likely to be April/May. I’m guessing I’ll play in May, but we’ll see.
TBM: Anything coming up in NYC for all your fans there?
Bambi: I’m playing HQ (in Atlantic City, NJ) April 12th and Marquee NY on April 27th.
TBM: So on a different note, is it true your ex-boyfriend taught you and got you into DJing?
Bambi: Yeah, he did. He didn’t really teach me. It was more that I was around it a lot. I just started watching and doing a little bit of it and then people were like, “Oh, you’re actually pretty good at it”, so we started DJing together.
TBM: So is DJing something you think someone can pick up on their own then? I feel like a lot of people don’t understand, especially with all the talk about just “pushing the button”, that there is a skill to it and more to it than just that.
Bambi: I think you can learn the basics at home, but even once you master everything on your own, once you get into a club it’s really hard. Like it’s not for me now, but it definitely was for a while. You have to keep doing it. Also every club is different – every club sounds different and the crowds different. Like, I can play the same club one month and the next month, the crowd may take it differently, especially when you’re first starting. When you’re first starting, nobody knows anything about you so you’re figuring it out while they’re figuring you out.
TBM: How is it different now that you have a loyal, growing following?
Bambi: Now, people know who I am and are coming to see me, so it doesn’t matter what I’m playing since they know my style. I still do a lot of opening and closing for a lot of the guys I just did the (Hakkasan) shoot with. You start getting to know what each other’s style are though. For example, if I’m opening for Tiesto, I know what he’s going to do, so over the hours I try to lead it to a good open for him, while keeping my own style.
TBM: That’s good though that you keep your own style but keep in mind who’s next. I feel like I’ve gone to a lot of shows where the person opening is playing something so wildly different or all hits and either no one is dancing or they end up disappointed once the next act goes on.
Bambi: Yeah, it’s difficult though, especially when you’re opening…I play a little harder. My personal thing is I think you can play hard if it’s packed before the headliner as long as you’re not playing their music obviously or hits. Because I’ve found sometimes, like if I’m playing with Avicii or something, we have such different styles, so I can really do my own thing and it won’t compete. People get excited and still want to see him and it not like they aren’t going to see him just because I played well.
TBM: Has doing all these openings helped you for festivals you think, since people sometimes get annoyed hearing the same thing over and over at a stage?
Bambi: The thing is festivals are different; they’re like your own thing. No one is opening for anybody; it’s just a list of DJs. I mean I heard newer DJs yesterday and they’re like, “Oh shit, wait are you going to play this song because I’m going right after you and I don’t want to play it” and then right before they go on they’re like, “Yeah, I want to play that”, “No, I want to play it” and changing it up.
TBM: So it seems like the community of DJs is pretty close then if stuff like this is going on backstage, no?
Bambi: Yeah, a lot of them are friends so you know one another well enough and talk about who is going to play what. Like when I played with Afrojack I was like, “Hey, can I play Cannonball” when it first came out cause I really liked it, and he was like, “Yeah, no problem”.
TBM: Wow seems like everyone gets along so well, no competitiveness?
Bambi: No, it’s definitely competitive. (Laughs).
TBM: Well there definitely appears to be some cliques though and networks of mentoring. So another question for you then is, as a female, are there any women DJs who have mentored you along the way since it’s such a male dominated industry?
Bambi: I have to say all my mentors have been male DJs…There are definitely good female DJs who are really talented, but they just sound so different and aren’t the same style as what I play.
I don’t really see a difference though (in whether my mentors are male or female), it’s kind of like if you’re doing a good job that’s what matters. For me, I look up to more of the ones who were DJs first, since that’s what I am. I look at what they did, and I mean some of these guys have been playing so long, like David Guetta, so if they want to be, they can be best. They will just destroy and they can pull songs out of nowhere and you’ll be like “WHAT IS THIS?!”.
TBM: I don’t think with the whole growing popularity of EDM that younger generations realize or appreciate the DJs that have been around forever.
Bambi: Yeah, I mean, a lot of the younger DJs are producers first, which is great, but it’s just a different art. Just because you make an awesome song or you are a really good producer, doesn’t mean you’re a good DJ. Even if you can mix well, you can learn to mix, you can learn to produce or do whatever, and if you’re musical, you can get both. But not everyone is meant to perform.
TBM: Do you think the modeling has helped with that since you’re used to being in front of people?
Bambi: When I was modeling that was more about meeting people and being in a social environment, although I’m still kind of shy. I did a lot of acting and theater, and I think being on stage for me has always been scary but is something I’m used to.
TBM: Do you still get nervous?
Bambi: I get so nervous every time. I don’t think I ever really get over it – I just do it.
TBM: Do you have any pre-show rituals?
Bambi: I usually meet up with my friends and get food or drinks before. You don’t always have time and sometimes it’s so late and I’m so tired, so I just try to rush it in 30 min before I play.
TBM: As a fellow female, do you have any advice for girls who want to enter the EDM scene since there is such an overwhelming male presence in the industry?
Bambi: We were actually talking about this yesterday, there are a lot of girl fans who love the music but don’t necessarily want to be involved, I don’t really know why. I can’t really explain it. But in general, it’s a very aggressive group. It’s been hard and is still hard for me sometimes. Talking about female DJs, a lot of girls will be like “I really want to be a DJ” or “It’ll be cool” – I don’t think they realize though that I was a major tomboy and grew up with guys and I’ve always done things that guys do, so its different. A lot of girls didn’t grow up like that so it could be uncomfortable. It’s still a little bit weird, for instance I just did this photo-shoot with so many guy DJs with me in the middle of them. It’s cool but sometimes its just obvious or awkward being the only girl.
TBM: So maybe it takes a certain type of personality or someone who can really hold their own among the guys?
Bambi: Yeah, exactly.
TBM: Now to a really off-topic question since you are from Canada and I am a huge hockey fan – New York Rangers or Toronto Maple Leafs?
Bambi’s Manager: Oh god, that’s the age-old question.
TBM: I promise I won’t hold your answer against you even though I’m a diehard Rangers fan.
Bambi: Ok so let me explain something to you about Canadians and hockey, it’s kind of like, being from Toronto you have to be a Maple Leafs fan. It’s in your blood. It has to do with the city, Torontonians are very proud of their team, so I’ll always be a Maple Leafs fan. I’ve made a lot of friends with Rangers through friends and obviously live in New York and have spent time at games. I’m rooting on my friends and the city cause I love New York. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with rooting for them both, although, if they play against each other, it may be a little difficult.
TBM: To conclude, when you do get spare time, what do you like to do outside of the entertainment industry?
Bambi: I’ve been learning production, which I guess is not really outside of it. Music’s pretty much my whole life right now, I don’t really do anything else ever. I mean, what I would like to do if I had time? I like going to concerts, I like rock, and I like sports so I like going to sporting events like basketball. I like trying new things. I have trouble sitting around, if I have nothing to do I freak out. The only thing I don’t do that everyone else does is watch TV and movies. I have a TV and I don’t think I’ve turned it on in over a year.
Myself and TheBeatMill would like to thank Bambi for taking the time out of her busy schedule for this interview. I wish her the best in the future and know for a fact that we’re going to see a lot more of her in months to come!