On an unending tour schedule, crossing genres like a madman, and continuing to learn and grow as an artist, Eliot Lipp is doing it all. He jokes that he's been on tour for the past twelve years, but if you look at his performance history, he really has been on the move for that long. He has lived all over the country and worked with artists across the spectrum in the music world and he's still going non-stop.
While there doesn't appear to be any slowing down in Lipp's future, we were able to catch up with him at his recent show in New York with the Pretty Lights Music Keepin' It Crew Tour for a little bit. Michal Menert, SuperVision, and Paul Basic were among the other headliners on this tour and according to Lipp, they've been having one hell of a time. Read the interview below to see what Lipp had to say on everything from troubles on the road to talking about his upcoming album.
EARMILK: So you've got your new album Watch The Shadows coming out on October 14th. How was making that album? And what can we expect from it?
Eliot Lipp: There was so much that happened during the making of that album. I guess I really got into classical music, you know some strings and orchestral sounds. So there's that lingering in the layers. I replaced a lot of the samples with live recorded bands and some stuff that I recorded live myself. I usually sampled all of the sounds that weren't synths. This one has a lot more live drums, guitar, synths, and vocals
Stylistically, it's still up the same alley. There's a bit of hip-hop, electro, nu-disco, indie, it's all over the place. I'm trying to work on that. I try to get more cohesive with my genres, but it's hard because I love so many different styles. It's still all me though. They are all made using the same sort of ingredients.
EM: We recently saw a single that you dropped where you collabed with Cherub. What was it like working with those guys?
EL: It was very good. I've known them for a long time, you know we've been friends for a long time. So we were showing each other some tracks one day, I was showing them some stuff I was halfway finished with when that particular song popped up. Once they started writing some parts to it, I heard the vocals, I finished it up, and it came together pretty quickly. I love how it turned out. It is rare that I feature a song with vocals throughout the whole track.
EM: So you're still going to be on tour when the album comes out, are you going to do anything special to celebrate the release?
EL: I haven't decided yet. I think we're going to be playing in Birmingham, Alabama that night, so that's going to be the album release party. Maybe I'll just play the whole album or something, or as much of it as I can get away with.
EM: Pretty Lights Music and all of the artists on that roster have been a huge part of the movement to incorporate more live instruments and authentic sounds into electronic music. What do you think about those efforts?
EL: I guess there's this polarizing thing happening between the scenes of underground dance music and platforms like Resident Advisor, some of the big labels, and parties in New York and in the other big cities. There's a big gap between that and the Colorado scene. I think I would like to see more cross-pollination between the more sophisticated music because that sort of stuff pays tribute to the history of electronic music, whereas a lot of the brand new hype club music doesn't.
I just want to see more intermingling. Not that one is pretentious and the other is just about fun and partying, but I think the two dance music scenes can work together. I think I want to see more tribute paid to the history of dance music, sometimes it gets lost in a lot of these new genres that pop up, and they'll end up being a flavor of the month rather than long-lasting styles.
EM: For sure. How did you get on with Pretty Lights Music?
EL: I met Derek, Pretty Lights, about seven or eight years ago just doing shows and touring. We ran into each other a lot in Colorado. We did a few shows in the south and in San Francisco together when he was still coming up. He told me about his label probably about two years before I gave him a record. It took me forever to make a record for him, but I got really stoked when he told me he was starting a label. You know especially since he gives everything away for free.
EM: How it the tour going so far?
EL: Great! There's been a few sold-out shows. The crowds have been great and there's been a lot of really good energy.
EM: Did I see on Facebook that you guys were having bus issues?
EL: Everyday! Every single day! From the generator breaking to getting a flat tire. I almost knew this was going to happen. When we first started out, we were calling it the 'Struggle Bus', that was the nickname. And just a few days in I started to think that we were manifesting this by calling it that. So now we call it the 'Victory Bus' because I think that if we put that good energy out, the bus will start to pull itself together (laughs).
EM: You've worked with a lot of very well respected artists in electronic music and you've lived in a lot of cities. When you were younger, is this what you had pictured for yourself?
EL: No. Not at all. When I was younger, I didn't think about traveling because I didn't know how important it was going to be to me because I hadn't done it yet. When I was 15 or 16 years old, my brother took me on a trip to San Francisco, my dad took me on a trip to Chicago, and I just started traveling more. I wasn't even focused on music at that point. I was painting a lot around that time, graffiti, and a lot of other stuff. But I knew I wanted to do something creative and I knew I wanted to travel everywhere.
So yeah, I guess at an early age that I started envisioning something along these lines. But it wasn't until I had dabbled in music that I saw that being an option. I've almost been touring for twelve years straight. I love it.
EM: Correct me if I'm wrong. You call Brooklyn your home now, right?
EL: Well, actually I did up until about January. And I've been back a lot, I'm still bouncing back and forth between the Northwest and Brooklyn, but just as of recently.
EM: How would you describe your progression in music, from the time you started to now?
EL: That's a good question. I've learned a lot. I've learned things like music theory in more recent years. For a long time, I just didn't pay any attention to that sort of stuff at all which can work if you're only making hip-hop beats. You can ignore all of the rules about theory and what not.
I've started getting a lot more melodic with my stuff, kind of thinking more musically about everything. I started taking piano lessons. Here in New York, I even did a course at Dubspot, the mixing and mastering class that they have. So I've been trying to continue learning since I started out. But stylistically, I've gone from making just hip-hop beats to more dance music stuff. I'm always wondering what a techno song would sound like in a hip-hop tempo or vice versa.
EM: What do you have lined up for after this tour?
EL: I don't know if I'm allowed to announce this stuff yet or not. But Paul Basic, SuperVision, and I are all playing on Halloween in Denver together. And then I've got some stuff lined up for New Year's and more.
EM: You've been at this a while. Are there still moments that wow you or shock you?
EL: All the time! Even tonight, I was getting super nervous thinking about the set. I still get butterflies. The first show of the tour I got really nervous, but it all works out because once you get on stage, you can turn it into a good usable energy.
Lipp's newest album Watch The Shadows is dropping on October 14th. I think it's safe to say that we should expect great things out of this project, so make sure to get your hands on it when it drops. And if you haven't caught the guys on the Keepin' It Crew Tour yet, catch them while you still can!