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Eliot Lipp on flexible touring and plans for Watch the Shadows

by Ryan Snyder

As unlikely as the millennial confluence of hip-hop and electronic dance music might have seemed 20 years ago, their relationship had been certified in smaller circles long before Kanye tapped Hudson Mohawke for beats on Yeezus. As an art school undergrad, producer Eliot Lipp cut his teeth over 10 years ago breaking off beats for the Bay Area’s abundant hip-hop soil, but soon found his talents lied in making highly adaptable dance music. The core elements of hip-hop never left him though, but it carved out an ever more prominent place when he joined Pretty Lights Music — arguably the most prominent purveyor of the mashed-up scenes — two years ago, a niche that gets dug a little deeper when he joins up on a tour with Cali indie rap legends the Grouch and Eligh this week.

Y!W: Given your early connections to the Bay Area, is there history with Grouch and Eligh there?

EL: I actually went to a lot of Grouch and Eligh shows when I was in art school in San  Francisco. I was making hip-hop beats at the time. I had some friends that were in their circles, but I never ran into them.

Y!W: Eligh has been on the sober path for a few years now. Is joining up with a tour like this going to be a new experience for you?

EL: I don’t think so, but I didn’t even know that about him. I haven’t met those guys yet. That said, you’d be surprised how many people in the industry are sober, especially when you tour that much. You really can’t f— up. You can’t be missing flights and missing shows, and keep a consistent schedule and keep getting booked. The managers and the booking agents are getting way more f—ed up than we are. That’s what people don’t realize, man. These days it’s the suits behind the scenes that are the real rock stars. They’re making more money than we are, too.

Y!W: And that’s not to assume your tours are some freak show…

EL: Ha, I know. It’s part of the scene, but I’ve been on all types of tours. I’ve been on some that are like the f—ing Motley Crue tour bus, where it’s like a frat house on wheels. Then there are others like when I toured with Ana Sia and I decided to eat the same diet as her. She eats a raw diet — pretty much all raw, vegan food. I said, “Alright, I’ll do it,” and it was awesome. It was a like a cleanse. I’d wake up and she would be doing yoga every day. It was such a peaceful way to tour.

Y!W: I gather there will be some material from your next record Watch the Shadows at your stop here on Saturday. There has been a lot of conflicting information about it, so is anything concrete?

EL: There were rumors about it, but the record’s not even done and we haven’t set a release date for it. I tend to spend a lot of time on each song, I’m kind of a perfectionist, I guess. Especially in club music, people make stuff that’s pretty disposable, stuff that’s only supposed to last a few weeks. I just want to create music I feel good about. But there are a lot of different styles that I’m sampling from. There’s a lot of funk, but I’m also really into classical lately, so there’s lots of strings. Some of the melodies are a little darker and more mysterious. The title track kind of set the tone for the whole album for me. It is kind of a departure from the last record. I think it’s still very soulful though.

Y!W: I hear you’re toying with the idea of presenting the new album with a live band once it’s complete.

EL: I go back and forth. Sometimes I’ll tour with a drummer and a guitar player — this tour I’m doing with Grouch and Eligh, I’ll just be by myself — and by the time fall comes around, I’ll be touring nationwide with a live band. Drummer and guitar, with me on synths and MIDI controller, that’s my favorite setup, but I try different arrangements. When I do solo stuff as a DJ set its seamless, but when we’re playing with a band there are stops and starts. I think of it as more of a rock show.

LIPP: ‘There were rumors about it’

Y!W: Did that advent coincide with your track “I Wnted 2 Be A Rock-N-Roll Str”? As in, you wanted to be a rock ‘n’ roll star?

EL: Oh, I put that one out a couple of years ago. I love playing that one when I’ve been on tour for too long. It’s a song a guy wrote to his girl. He’s talking about how he hit the road to make some money so he could come home to make it work. I picture his girl sweating him because he’s always so broke, because all musicians are for the most part. I just love those lyrics because he’s laying it down to her. It hit close to home for me, so I decided to sample that. It’s one of those songs that has a lot of meaning behind it, so when I play it live I get real into it.

Y!W: You’ve shown an affinity for sampling styles that some people might turn their noses up at, but present it in such a way that it’s given fresh ears. Is there a sense of victory in making people reconsider styles they might have otherwise dismissed?

EL: Oh, definitely. I’m all about that. I’ll sample Indian music, Chinese music, classical and jazz, because EDM can sometimes be superficial. A lot of it is squelchy noise, and sometimes it just isn’t a very musical genre. I understand its function in the proper setting, like if you’re at a festival and everyone is super hyped and just wants to hear some banging electro track. That’s awesome, but I want to put another layer of depth to it, so you can listen to it in the club, listen to it in the car so it’s a soundtrack to your everyday life and not just something you play on Saturday night.

Eliot Lipp will support the Grouch and Eligh of the Living Legends Saturday night at Greene Street Club. !

SoMo comes to Greene Street Club

TUESDAY MARCH 25 AT THE GREENE STREET CLUB

SoMo // Doors open at 8 p.m. Tickets: $20 advance / $25 day-of All Ages // progressiveshows.com

Joseph Somers-Morales, aka SoMo, is a pop vocalist from Denison, Texas. He performed at a very young age but spent most of his childhood away from music until his early twenties, when he received a piano from his mother. He recorded a cover of Chris Brown’s “Crawl” and, in November 2009, uploaded the clip to YouTube. Its popularity encouraged him to continue uploading covers, including a medley of songs from Drake’s Take Care released the same day as the album. On September 11, 2012 — his birthday — he released My Life, a mixtape featuring some of his first originals written with Cody Tarpley. The following year, he signed to Universal Republic and prepared his first proper album for a projected 2014 release date !

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