Interview: Eliot Lipp
“You’d be surprised how much one person can do for a scene, for a whole community.”
Producer Eliot Lipp has been pumping out instrumental hip hop and electro music, from Brooklyn to LA, since the early 2000s. Highly respected in the electronic music universe, Lipp will join El Ten Eleven in support at their show at Nietzsche’s on Tuesday (Sept 10). We had the chance to talk to Lipp this week about some of his upcoming album, how he creates his music, and some of his favorite artists.
Artvoice: I started listening to your music when you put out The Days, which was in 2006. How has your music evolved since then?
Eliot Lipp: When I was doing The Days I was still trying to make a transition from producing instrumental hip hop and making beats for MCs to just electronic music in general, as well as dance music. I’ve never picked any one specific genre; I like electro, house, dubstep, and techno, and so many different styles. Through the progression of my sound, I’ve always just stuck with the core, which is sampling. It keeps me grounded trying to work that way. No matter what style I’m trying to produce I always come back to looping old records.
AV: I just listened to “Damn,” which is very trappy, very glitchy. What other trends do you see emerging in dance music right now?
EL: I like how house music is getting a lot of play. It’s more accessible. It’s always been around and it’s always been big in the underground, but groups coming out of the UK like Disclosure are starting to spread out over here. I’m stoked on that because I’ve always really liked house music. A lot of the tracks on this new album that I’m wrapping up right now have some moments in them that are house-y. I like trap too but what I think is going to be more interesting is seeing the coming together of club, trap, and straight up hip hop. Like Flosstradamus is in the studio right now working with Top 40 rappers. I think it’s going to be cool to see what comes from these club producers that do trap crossing over with actual MCs.
AV: What made you try your hand at more of a trap type of sound on “Damn”? Were you just testing the waters?
EL: Yeah, that’s why I put it up on my Soundcloud and I didn’t do an official release. I did it to see if I could make a banger. It’s not the kind of music I want to be known for, it was more of an experiment. My next album is more funk and electro. The singles I’ve been throwing down on Soundcloud don’t really represent the moves I’ve been making on my next record at all.
AV: Do you have a title for the next album yet?
EL: Yeah, it’s called Watch The Shadows.
AV: That sounds a little darker to me.
EL: Yeah, it’s a little mysterious, a little darker. There are 11 tracks on it. It’s funk but there are a lot of dance songs. It’s got some good vibes but it’s also got some melancholy undertones here and there.
AV: What are your favorite tools to make music with?
EL: I love analogue synths, vintage synthesizers. I’ve been collecting those for a long time and I use them on just about every song. There is a lot of software I’m starting to use more and I’m starting to discover new tricks.
AV: What is the relationship then between your use of analogue synths and your use of sampling?
EL: Well that’s a good question. Sometimes I’ll have some loops going and I’ll think “OK this bassline will sound cool,” so I’ll just throw down a bassline really quickly and rough, and then I’ll come up with some synth lines. But once I record them into my computer I usually treat them the same way I treat a sample. It still gets chopped up and re-sequenced. It’s a combination. I treat my synth parts like samples. I like messing with the pitch and textures, that’s a whole other part of it for me that creates the mood of the song.
AV: Well that really lends some insight into the Days record for me.
EL: Yeah. The Days was definitely more lo-fi because I just didn’t have the tools. When I made it, I had an MPC and a couple of keyboards. I think sometimes when you have these limits it forces you to be more creative.
AV: You’ve made music in several different cities; LA, Brooklyn, Chicago. How do you their music scenes compare?
EL: The big cities have a different thing going on. These major cities are tapped in more to a global sort of music scene. Then you have electronic meccas like Denver, where electronic music is so huge and there are these giant festivals like Red Rock. You’d be surprised how much one person can do for a scene, for a whole community. For instance in Charlotte there is a producer named Mindelixir and he decided to start throwing these events called Bass Church and it grew and grew and grew exponentially and it got to a point where he didn’t even have control. I think a lot of times it can be just one producer who has one sound that can say “hey this is the sound of our city, of our scene.” It’s exciting to see that happen. It happens with crews too, where a whole crew will hold down a genre for a city.
AV: Where is your home base right now?
EL: Brooklyn, I’ve been in New York for several years now.
AV: I went to Output a couple weeks ago and the sound was probably the best I’ve ever heard.
EL: I love Output. The soundsystem is a Funktion-One, which are always top notch soundsystems, but it’s also the room. It’s a very nicely tuned room. I live a few blocks from that club so I go there a lot. I got to play there with Pretty Lights just a few weeks ago and it was incredible. I love hearing techno on there, some really hi definition shit. You really get the vibe of the room and the system.