Jun 13, 2008

Know: DJ Elijah

[A word of caution: This is an EPIC post. I sometimes feel that that word is thrown around too lightly; "epic banger", "epic sound", "epic ass on that chicka", etc... Well in this case it holds true to the word, before 1337 speak went mainstream. So please everyone grab your ankles and enjoy some hardcore D&B bliss from my good friend Elijah.]

Maybe you're asking yourself... "who the hell is Elijah, and why the fuck did his new mixtape fly under my radar?" Well if you remember earlier last month when I interviewed quirky electro-pop outfit Get Stop Ticket, you'll know that Elijah is the alias of renowned graphic artist, musician, dj, and Presedential nominee, Elliot Mayo.


So I ask Elijah, in standard interview practice: "How did you get started?"

Elijah: I started DJing when I was like 15 or 16. I bought a couple crappy
turntables and started buying Beastie Boys records and stuff like
that. I started collecting House, Techno and Trance records. I wasn't
very good at mixing all these tunes together, but that didn't stop me
from making loads of tapes for my friends.

Eventually I started going to raves and parties in Michigan. I met a
few promoters and started playing shows here and there. When I first
started DJing I was playing Trance. Straight up late-90's style,
hands-in-the-air, big room stuff. I don't play much of that anymore
but it still holds a special place in my DJ heart.

I started traveling back and forth between Florida and Michigan
for school and I was exposed to an entirely different scene down
south. Its really crazy to me how different the music can be depending
on what region you're in. In Florida, I developed a love for
Breakbeats and Drum &

Something clicked for me with Drum & Bass. It was aggressive yet
funky. There is something special about that tempo. It can go anywhere
from terrifying and angry to soulful and jazzy. So I spent a lot of
time exploring and playing D&B.


So I played out a bit in Michigan and a few spots in the Midwest.
Usually playing D&B but always trying to mix it up a bit with other
genres. I joined up with Lime Green Shirt (lgsproductions.com) and
helped throw parties in West Michigan.

I moved to New York City a little over a year ago and started producing
my own stuff. It's big and scary and I don't really know what I'm
doing, but its fun.

bitchen: What drew you to NYC? You obviously have more options in a big city (with regards to meeting contacts and doing gigs), but any reason for NYC? I guess "where else" right?

Elijah: Well I had some friends out here and its a great place to be for music and art which is my passion. I probably couldn't make the music I am making anywhere else. The city is a big inspiration.

bitchen: I hear that, no knock on Grand Rapids, but there just wasn't much going on out there, in comparison at least. While being so enthralled in techno and electronica for so much of your life, what kind of bands and artists have influenced you the most?

Elijah: My influences are kind of all over the place. Musically, I guess I'm mostly influenced by artists I've been listening to since I started DJing. Electronica artists like Daft Punk, Underworld, DJ Shadow, Orbital, The Prodigy... and lately a lot of rock and experimental stuff like Animal Collective, Dntel, Arcade Fire, Thom Yorke...

bitchen: Where's the Chemical Brothers love?

Elijah: Actually I just returned to the first three Chem Bros albums. They are
so DOPE. Exit Planet Dust, Dig Your Own Hole and Surrender. Oh man. I
think after Surrender they started heading in a dancier clubbier
direction, which is all fine and good, but I love their older more
psychedelic electronica stuff.

bitchen: Who have you collaborated with before?

Elijah: My main collaborators at the moment are the members of my band, Get Stop Ticket. GST has kind of become my pop music outlet, while the Elijah stuff is much darker and experimental. I'm also working on an Electro band project with DJ Aegis. We've been swapping beats and melodies and it should be a blast once we have something finished. And I've been doing some remix work. I did a remix for PdL's upcoming album, and just finished a remix for Curklin, this crazy German metal band.

Mp3: PdL - Happiness (Elijah remix)

bitchen: How did those remixes come about? Do you like delving outside the electronic genre when working a remix? Would you consider doing more work in the rock/alt/indie scene? Perhaps something from someone along the lines of an Arcade Fire, a Wolf Parade, or even Radiohead/Thom Yorke? (btw did you submit a Nude remix from In Rainbows?)

Elijah: Well I met PdL in NYC and we DJ'd a couple times together. We decided to trade remixes, and he's actually working on one for Get Stop Ticket. Remixing is something I definitely want to get into more. I have a few projects I'm about to start. And yeah I did start a remix of Radiohead's 'Nude' but I haven't finished it... and the original is so amazing... I'd probably just ruin it.


bitchen: How do you work so well between genres? What do you look for in a song whether its D&B, electronica, minimal/experimental, dance/disco,
euro, etc?"

Elijah: There was a point when I was going to parties and DJing when I realized that genre was holding everyone back. Everything is so segregated. You have DJs that only play disco-house or DJs that only play minimal-techno or darkstep D&B. And isn't that bullshit? No one listens to just one genre of music, so why would you only play out one style? Some electronic music artists work with a few different genres, but feel they need an alias for each style. It makes no sense to me. I work with lots of different music and its all me. Its all Elijah.

Maybe thats just me being ADD. I get bored after listening to any one
sub-genre for more than an hour. But I figure if I'm bored behind the
decks, everyone else must be dying. So I try to keep things

bitchen:That's so true. While most DJ sets are definitely setting permitted (ie, you cant always get away with playing afrobeat, minimal, 8bit, or
experiental on a saturday night with dancing hipsters up your yang, that might be best left to dirty electro, electroclash, new rave, etc), but you cant put your blinders on when it comes to music in general. Those that are closed-minded end up making stale beats and dont evolve. That philosophy can also be taken into so many other realms than just DJing.

Elijah: I think its a balance between catering to the crowd and trying to educate them. Like you want everyone to have an awesome time and dance or whatever but you also need to blow a few minds if at all possible. So trying to play something that is unexpected or something that the crowd probably hasn't heard is risky but can be rewarding when its done right.

I was playing at a club in Kalamazoo one time and I was playing hard D&B and everyone was into it. But about 45 minutes into my set I was like, 'I know what these people need! And it's not Drum & Bass, its 311! So I dropped 'Down' by 311 and... well... it didn't go over so well. But I regret nothing!

When selecting tunes, I just listen for things thing reach out and
grab my attention. When I played trance, I would listen to records and
buy the ones that gave me shivers. I buy drum & bass that makes me
jump up and down. I just look for some sort of reaction.

bitchen: what's been giving you a reaction as of late? Any particular artist
that you have on repeat or have really had those shivers jumps and

Elijah: Lately I've been digging on the new Portishead, old Radiohead, Elliott
Smith, High Places, MGMT, Lykke Li, Stars, the new Ratatat, Kleerup,
new Sigur Ros, the Scarlett Johansson album, Hercules and Love Affair,
Fuck Buttons and yeah... lots of stuff...


bitchen: Are you coming out with an album of any kind?

Elijah: I am brainstorming ideas for an album. I obsess over how to present music in a collection. Thats basically all DJing is... compiling and
presenting. So now that I'm working with my own stuff, the pressure is
on. But I have a few ideas.

bitchen: I'd like extend a huge 'Thank You' to Elijah for that incredibly insightful view into his world of DJ'ing, producing, and all around general shenanigans. I'll be keeping you all posted here for more from Elijah in the future. In the meantime, here are a few of his own productions and a a couple mixtapes as well.

[btw, all art featured on this post were courtesy of Elijah]


Mp3: Elijah - Cute Lemonade

Mp3: Elijah - Apples & Stars

Mp3: Elijah - Murmur

Mp3: Elijah - Kickit (mixtape) [direct link] [tracklist]

Mp3: Elijah - Mush Machine (mixtape) [in case you missed it before, it's truly astounding]


1 bitches:

Anonymous said...

That Elijah dude is a douchebag. I mean, could you have possibly plugged your band any more, dude?

JK. I now think that Elijah dude is dreamy. He also kind of really knows his music, yeah?

All right. All right.