Miami, Florida is one of the biggest epicenters of culture in the United States. It's known for some of the world's best music, food, and art festivals. I discovered Paperwater, a Miami-based live/production duo comprised of Daygee Kwia and Eddy Samy, last year through their remix of Gavin Turek and Tokimonsta's song "Surrender." Originally formed as a DJ act, the group took form as a multi-faceted and multi-genre oriented production house, leading a team of talented creatives under their wing.
I sat down with the duo Paperwater to discuss the underground music and culture scene in Miami, the creation of their DIY creative agency, how they expand the experience of traditional DJ sets, fighting through self doubt, and much more. Read the full interview below.
How did you guys originally meet?
Eddy: I met Daygee in the 10th grade at football tryouts when he took my position. I obviously didn't like him after that (laughs) but we ended up becoming friends over time through music. He introduced me to making beats and he gave me rides home from school so we eventually ended up becoming best friends but split up when we went to different colleges.
Daygee: Yep, exactly what he said.
Describe your sound.
Daygee: It's electronic music mixed with hip-hop and R&B. We try not to restrict ourselves to one genre.
You guys make bootlegs and remixes. Where do you find new music that you want to remix?
E: I'm really a big music fan so I'll go on a Youtube page and let it play while I'm doing laundry, taking a shower, etc. So if I listen and something hits me, I make note of it, download it, and work on it. It's a form of therapy for me. It's the first thing I do when I open up my laptop every morning. Even if it's a small thing like fixing a kick in a song, it's therapeutic to me, and it makes me feel like I'm starting my day the right way.
What type of music, movies, and TV were you guys exposed to that helped develop your sound?
E: Musically, a lot of our influences are the same. We both like Kanye, Pharrell, Daft Punk, Justice, etc.
D: We also love Indie stuff like Tame Impala and Toro Y Moi.
D: When we produce, we have movies on mute so we produce like we're scoring a film.
What movies have you "scored" to?
E: Everything Kubrick.
D: Kill Bill Vol. 2.
All the bloody stuff - That's dope. Let's talk about your every day life. You guys are based in Miami, which is a beautiful place for so many reasons. How does the local music scene fit into the culture of Miami?
D: Miami's local music scene is really starting to grow but since its still developing we can see what's missing and help fill the void. It's amazing that we can throw events that go hand in hand with our music. It really helps bring a new scene to the city.
Tell me more about your events.
E: We work with a bunch of DJs and producers under our collective called Wet Paper. We also work with singer-songwriters, photographers, and graphic designers. We feed off of each other's creativity. We're able to bounce ideas around and get feedback on all our projects so that helps us all drive our creative energy up.
You spoke about Miami already but where do you see open space for yourselves within the entire music industry?
D: Entire Experiences. We want everything we do to be connected. That includes content creation, flyers, events, and everything else.
E: It's all about the experience. We want people to come to one of our shows and immerse themselves in an entire experience.
In essence, you guys are operating like a creative agency.
D: Yeah, I think a lot of artists are doing that now. I was reading an article about The Weeknd. He's building a creative tribe around him so everything is done in-house.
How do you balance working on your live set, producing, networking with artists and producers, etc.?
E: It's really hard
D: Yeah, it's very draining. I'm tired all the time. Our team is growing so once we have everyone in place, things will get a lot easier and allow us to focus more on the music. Getting a strong team in place is one of our big goals for the summer.
Do you think lack of time is the biggest struggle for independent artists?
D: Yeah. That and self-doubt because a lot of times you work very hard and you don't see the results right away.
E: Or the funds. (laughs)
D: It's extremely hard trying to balance a full time job and a music career. You need someone to invest in you and have a team or else it's extremely hard. I get why people give up. I feel very lucky that people who really believe what we're doing are gravitating towards us.
What's your creative process and workflow as a duo?
D: We're still figuring that out.
E: Yeah. (Laughs). It kind of works both ways. So, D will be playing something and I'll walk by and hear something I like. I'll ask him to send it to me. Then I'll work on an entire idea for an hour or three months.
D: There are definitely tracks that can take like a month to make and there's also tracks that take 10 or 20 minutes to make. It really all depends on the song and vibe. We try to make things more efficient all the time but it doesn't always work that way.
What's on the horizon for you guys this year?
E: We're currently developing our live set and plan to release a lot of production.
D: Also we want to use our events as case studies for making better music that can move people.
It's almost like a stand-up comedian testing out material in the smaller clubs before they do an HBO or Netflix special.
D: Exactly. It's a weird process but it works.
What does success look like for you guys?
D: The freedom to create.
E: That's a good question. In 2017, success is us killing all of our shows, putting out really dope music, and more people finding out about the Paperwater project.
D: Also building Half/Full creative to a point where people at Half/Full creative could transition from having a job to working with the agency full time. In the future, I want to expand past music. I would love to have the freedom to work on any type of project with anybody like Childish Gambino does. He does a perfect job of merging. Everything he does seems like its all part of one brand, whether it's his album, TV show, producing, writing, comedy, etc. I think our crew could be like that.
Who are some artists that you guys are listening to right now?
E: There's DJ Skinniez in South Africa. I think that dude's really cool. I like Robots Can't Dance from Ireland. Honestly, I'm excited to see where Kaytranada takes his career. I'm excited to see how he evolves from this step. I feel the same about Flume.
The guys from Paperwater are currently releasing a new song once a week for an entire year. Check out their European tour dates and their #52Weeks Playlist below!