With his debut album 'Dreamwaves' released this week, we speak to ELWD about his craft and influences
By Emma Louise Milton on April 9th 2015
Only once in a blue moon does something get dispensed into my virtual mailbox that gets me agitated, in a restless to share with mankind sense.
The guys at Bad Taste Records noted for championing those artists who dabble in the Hip Hop/Electronic scene predominantly, have snapped up someone pretty pivotal here. What ELWD has generated is an impelling succession of sultry electronic sounds combined with melodic lo-fi r & b and broken hip hop.
It could be the balanced between the decipherable samples and the curious crackling of vinyl or the general analogue ambiance that really enthuses me. Regardless, ELWD has achieved a faultless body of work in the form of this debut thirteen-track mixtape and here are a few words on the new release from the man himself.
What is your artistic background and what's determined your choice of process and medium?
I’ve always been captivated by music since I can remember really. I studied classical guitar at a young age, and self taught myself keys, drums, the basics. Just the passion for creativity, how it’s formed and the process. It’s always been creativity over everything.
What do you think the role of the artist is today and what responsibility do they have in society?
The role of the artist is to make people think differently, if you’re not challenging someone’s thoughts and ideas, with whatever you bring to the table, you’re pretty much wasting your time. Which is easier said than done, but it’s important to aim for that. We are responsible as a collective and individually to make society better at the end of the day, if my art makes someone think differently in any way, then it’s been worth it.
Why is art important for everyone?
Art is important because it’s something we all feel. We give all our efforts to the art at that very moment of creation to reveal our feelings and thoughts, which is very important. However if its production is just for self gain, fame and fortune, then it’s not important.
Do you read about art, philosophy, or critical theory? If so, which authors inspire you?
I tend to keep a few books in rotation at once; I’ve just got done with John Coltrane’s (chasin’ the trane), 33 1/3’s classics series on DJ Shadow’s Endtroducing is one I’ve picked back up lately. I also like short stories, Authors such as bukowski and Ryūnosuke Akutagawa’s Rashomon. RZA’s Tao of Wu is a great philosophical book I go to when in need.
Are you involved in other creative activities?
I’ve always enjoyed painting, the freedom of it, it’s different to creating music really, but I haven’t done it in a while, a good friend and fellow artist recently inspired me to get back into it. It’s something I’m thinking about again.
Talk us through the creative process when you sit down to make an ELWD track?
I have to collect inspiration first, bottle it up. Whether that’s from a film I watched recently, a track I’ve heard, old or new, the weather, whatever. I can’t really narrow it down, it just happens when it happens. If I’m in a sampling mood, I’ll go down to my local record shop, find a couple of 45’s or 12”’s and take them home and listen. The first step is always to listen. After that it’s pretty much anything goes. I’m trying harder to not over think the process so much these days, just do it and be done with it. As long as I keep it raw, pure and true, then I’m generally happy with how it turns out.
J Dilla, Madlib & John Coltrane are listed as your musical influences and we can definitely hear that. Can you tell us about how they inform and inspire your work?
Their work ethic mainly, their effortless greatness. It takes years to get to their level of artistry, something I hope I can reach one day. They always kept it real and true. There is nothing more important than that. If you keep those two principles at the forefront of anything, you’ll be good.
Are there any plans to work with MC's or collab with other artists in the future or do you intend to keep your music instrumental?
I’m always down to collaborate with like minded artists definitely. And that means in any form of art not just the music. But right now I’m still working on new solo stuff for the summer.
Which labels and artists do you recommend us to listen to?
As far as new stuff goes, Stones Throw artist Knxwledge is killing it right now and has been doing for a while. Older stuff, I’ve been really into Lonnie Liston Smiths and Ahmed Jamals discographies lately. George Duke as well. There’s so much great music out there from the past, I’m just trying to take in as much as I can day by day.