Before our world descended into chaos, Eli Hirsch (Courtship) found himself accumulating songs. They weren’t the right sound for Courtship, but they didn’t fade into the ether. Instead, they sat on his shoulders, weighing him down until he finally started putting them into the world. “It got to that point where I reached a critical mass of songs that had accumulated. They needed to start coming out before more could be made, like the river was clogged,” says Hirsch. “I need to get some of those things out so I can get the river going again.”
Eli Hurts’ debut EP, Future Accountants of America, Unite, was released in 2020, setting the tone for the project that stretches and twists between rock, alternative, and pop. Now, Hirsch is leading into a forthcoming full-length LP, that we can likely expect to hear in full sometime this summer. Hirsch’s latest single “Too Much” is a hard-hitting first look. This country-turned-pop-punk track is blatantly self-deprecating and shameless in a way that taps into universal anxieties that people face through their twenties and beyond.
The upcoming record is appropriately titled (816)-629-1297 Existential Crisis Hotline (A real number that Hirsch has created for this exact purpose). Via the hotline, Hirsch responds to fan texts about their own anxieties and existential crises, some of which provided inspiration for songs on the record and an upcoming music video. “I realized that me and everyone I know are constantly having existential crises and I feel like that’s what all the people who are listening to my music are feeling as well, especially in this time,” reflects Hirsch.
In conversing with listeners, Hirsch has come to a beautiful conclusion about the universality of our existential crises. It turns out, nearly everyone has the same sense of confusion and panic around the same dreaded purpose question: What am I supposed to do? “It’s just funny that it’s a question that plagues everyone in the same way and I think if everyone knew the way that it plagued everyone we’d realize that it wasn’t something we needed to be plagued by,” Hirsch explains. In short, it’s okay to not know what to do, especially in such uncertain times. Hirsch himself has returned from LA to his hometown Portland, Oregon and currently doesn’t know where to go next.
In the meantime he’s slowing down and taking advantage of this spare time to be introspective and look at the big picture. It’s easy to get caught up in trivial things, but when you step back and think about life and death and what it means to live, none of those things seem to matter anymore. Hirsch lost a long-time friend to cancer in March. Watching her face death without fear was a turning point for Hirsch in realizing what is really important and combatting his own existential crises.
The songs that will live on (816)-629-1297 Existential Crisis Hotline were all written sometime over the past two years. After collecting two years worth of songs, Hirsch needed a push to put them out there. “The pandemic forced me to do it,” he says. “I think I was so afraid to put them out into the world because of all kinds of stupid reasons. I was afraid people would hate it, or I wasn’t good enough. Classic dumb shit that keeps you from doing what’s real for you.”