Eliot Lipp, the newest addition to the Pretty Lights Music label, has crafted us a great DJ mix here. This guy knows how to build tension and suspense and break new ground without loosing sight of quality craftmanship. His new Shark Wolf Rabbit Snake proves that in Spades. So does this exclusive DJ mix Eliot Lipp had for us. Enjoy...
“The Time is Right” Eliot Lipp
“The Sunset” Eliot Lipp
“Fly Away” Eliot Lipp
“Gettin Money” Eliot Lipp feat. Michal Menert)
“Proceed” Eliot Lipp remix
Lets talk skills. Were you born with them?
I was all self taught until recently, which I think was a mistake. I was always really antisocial about my music. I never wanted to show it to people, never asked for help. I was also under the impression that studying music theory would change the way I make music in a bad way. I honestly think acquiring skills and developing style is about putting in time and making tons of music.
Favor us with a moment in life that changed the course of, or defined, your sonic/aesthetic philosophy/position.
When I was 18 I moved to San Francisco. I met a kid from the art school I was going to the first week I was there and he showed me Aphex Twin, Autechre, Oval, Squarepusher and all kinds of crazy music I'd never heard before, all in one night. It was mind blowing at the time. He even played me some noise, like Merzbow or something. I told him I didn't like it at first but he made me listen again and told me to just imagine I was hearing a song. That night definitely changed the way I listen to music forever. Turned out the dude was kind of an asshole though and we never really hung out.
Discuss a musician or an era which has influenced you. When and how did you come upon what moved you?
I took a trip to Detroit in the early 00's and discovered techno. I started buying tons of it and digging back to the roots, and I found the ideas behind the music to be so inspiring. Carl Craig & Jeff Mills were among the most influential to me, not stylistically as much as conceptually and their approach and their desire to stay so independent. I had spent so many years trying to swag out my drum programming and humanize my music and then I found out about a movement where the music was unapologetically made by machines. I also love that the records were so functional. They were made specifically to blend into other records and to MAKE PEOPLE DANCE! I don't care whether people like techno or not but if you make electronic music and you don't respect where it came from you're a fool.
Speak about the hierarchy of skill (craftsmanship), style (your unique aesthetic) and emotive content in your work—and/or in the work of those you admire.
Skill doesn't mean shit if you don't have good ideas. There are tons of producers that just go through the motions of making new music and have plenty of “skill” but end up with super corny, generic sounding tracks. A lot of them are very successful too and I'm not mad at them at all, but it takes unique concepts and imagination to be truly innovative. It's important for producers to be innovative and keep pushing forward; electronic music is based in technology so it's got to keep searching for a new sound.
How would you describe your sound to a deaf person?
I could say it sounds like lasers and hotel lobbies; driving somewhere at night and maybe that it goes well with a plate of nachos or some chili.
What’s the secret to your success?
I don't try very hard to keep up with the flavor of the month, makes it so you never really blow-up but you never fade away either.
What was your favorite toy as a child?
Ninja Turtle action figures.
Have you ever felt “paranoia” in your life?
When I was in high school I got pulled out of class and had to meet with Tacoma Police's graffiti Detective. I was surprised at how much he knew about me and my gang. He had photos of almost every wall we hit and even some of the freight trains. He was trying to build a big case against us but they didn't know who wrote what so they couldn't charge us with anything. I was definitely paranoid when I left that day.
What’s the hardest lesson you’ve ever learned?
I walked into Amoeba records with a box of my first album that I got mastered and pressed. I went up to a lady at the customer service counter and told her I wanted to sell my CDs in the store. She said, “I've never heard of you and I doubt anyone else has either.” I realized then that I had to figure out how to get people to find out about my music and that's always been the hardest part of what I do.
Does character invent style or does your style invent character? Or is there a mysterious X factor only you are privy to?
Any art form is about copying someone else's shit. Style comes from you copying tons of other people's shit and then eventually it starts to mold into a strange combination of styles that seem unique because no one else copied THAT shit from THAT variety of artists.
There's a graffiti writer named Setup that used to have these awesome fills all over SF and NY. He once told my friend Mize to “bite the Toys.” He said all the freshest ideas came from the young kids who were naive and didn't know the rules yet.
If you were starting out now, would you do anything differently?
Definitely, in fact I would have to. I used to mail out mad demo CDs to record labels. I'm not even sure they make CD players anymore. And those labels all disappeared.
The movement from CD to MP3 is seen as a big shift in the music business. Crystal ball time, what will be/cause the next big shake up?
I stay pretty focused on making music. I'm not sure what will come next as far as the medium in which we listen to it. A lot of my friends here in Brooklyn are running vinyl-only labels that are really successful so to me it's anybody's guess. However I do think apps for iPads and smartphones could offer some pretty cool interactive ways to experience music.
What is your ideal pet and what would you want it to do in an ideal world?
I'd like a dog whose head is as big as his body with tiny little legs so he's really close to the ground.
Walk us through your various musical phases.
When I was a kid my friend had a Too Short tape. The lyrics were so nasty that we knew we'd get in trouble for bringing the tape to school so we used to memorize the songs and rap the lyrics to all the kids at recess. Then in middle school I started writing my own raps and I met another dude that rapped too. We eventually started making our own beats to rap over and that’s how I started making beats.
What life activities are made better when listening to music?
I was going for a run and listening to Eprom's new album Metahuman. It's not really high-energy music or anything but it really gets me pumped up. It's so futuristic and spaced out.
If you visualize music as your listen, what (generally) do you imagine?
Sometimes it's fun to imagine an all-animal band. Like a beaver playing keys, a bear on drums, a duck-playing guitar sort of like those animatronic bands at Disneyland but real. Or also there was one time I drank too much Robitussin® and I stared at my screen with the iTunes visualizer on for like an hour and I thought I could see the music.
If you could send advice via a fortune cookie to up-and-comers, it would read:
You won't get tired if you don't slow down.
Tell me about your most memorable night out.
Nosaj Thing came to NYC a few weeks ago and called me and said he had an extra ticket to Kraftwerk at the MoMA. Then we met up with Blonde Redhead (one of my favorite bands) before the show. The concert was really epic and at some point I realized I was standing right next to Yoko Ono.
Do you have a specific event or period in your life that is linked in your mind to a song/album?
Listening to the Top Gun soundtrack and playing Super Mario brothers with my brother "Highway to the danger zone."
Is there a band whose covers you love?
Mac Dre has some pretty good covers. A lot of the hyphy guys did for a while there. Google image search: Mac Mall's Thizziana Stoned and the Temple of Shrooms.
Which do you prefer, a smoky, low-lit club or a big stage with bright lights and colored gels?
I love a chill spot where I can play whatever I want. Big stages & lights are cool and all but then there's pressure to just play the hits.
What value do you place on environment as a creative springboard?
I've worked in some awesome studios and some real pieces of shit and it doesn't make that much difference as far as my creativity is concerned. A lot of my new record I worked on in cars and on airplanes, you never know when the ideas will start to flow. Usually when I'm at a record shop digging for samples is when I first start getting ideas for making a track.
Talk about some of your “classic” memories of touring.
One time at a festival my friend Mindelixir and I had stayed up drinking all night and at about 9 am we took over one of the stages and started freestyling over beats and playing the most ridiculous shit. We woke up all the campers and a bunch of em came over and started getting down. I was friends with the head of security so it was pretty impossible to get kicked out.
Download Lipp's Shark Wolf Rabbit Snake album via Pretty Lights here.
Remaining Spring And Summer Tour Dates:
7/12 - 7/14 Camp Bisco Festival, Mariaville, NY
7/20 Crowbar, Tampa, FL
7/21 Bardot, Miami, FL (PLM Release Party)
7/22 Club TSI, Jacksonville, FL
7/26 Cervantes, Denver, CO (PLM Release Party)
7/27 - 7/28 River Beats Festival, Bond, CO
8/9 Gnarnia Festival, Beech Mountain, NC
8/15 Barcelona, Austin, TX
8/16 Fitzgerald's, Houston, TX
8/17 Ghost Bar, Dallas, TX
9/2 Electric Zoo, New York, NY