Eli & Fur are a pair of artists packed with personality and style. They first gained widespread appeal when their hit track 'You're So High' quickly climbed it's way to the top three on Hype Machine and the pair of producers never looked back. Now, years later, they're showing all signs of promise as they usher in the next era of dance music with their distinct brand of steady rhythms and lush motifs.
The word seems to be out on Eli and Fur as they were recently named #9 on DJ Mag's DJs to Watch in 2016 and were featured on Beatport's Artist to Watch as well. Garnering support from Pete Tong on BBC Radio certainly is never a bad thing and they've locked in releases on noteworthy labels like Defected and Anjunadeep among others.
Boston was graced with the presence of Eli and Fur on a quiet Wednesday night. Believe me, it was not so quiet after these two got behind the decks at Bijou Nightclub in downtown. Before the start of the show, I got a chance to sit down and chat with the lovely ladies. Always depicted as boisterous and cheery, I was very excited to meet them in person.
Why don’t you tell me about your first American tour? How was it?
Eli: We went back to the UK for a bit and are back again. The first tour itself was amazing. We didn’t get our visas for three months, then we finally sorted it. It was touch and go, and it was a nightmare early on. We hadn’t played in the US yet and once we got over, it was amazing. The first city was Seattle - big, loads of people. Massive venue. Quite different from all other shows we played. Especially when it’s your first time over there. It’s good to sell out.
Sounds like struggle early on, but always nice when it all comes together. What are some of your most memorable experiences here?
E: There has been so many good nights. I mean it was cool playing in San Diego because I had never been. I liked Flash in Washington. As a club, cool space … I like when it’s slightly different, the clubs..they have that touch.
F: A really great club was Audio, in San Francisco. Also, Do Not Sit On the Furniture in Miami, our first time in Miami and the smallest one we played.
E: There are also so many great festivals here.
What do you think about the comparison between the music scene in the UK versus here in the states?
E: I love both. I feel here, everyone’s into their music and they're educated and they’re more open to new genres. The festivals move from genre to genre. Nights in the UK are way more specific - more militant.
F: Good and bad points to that. It’s different. I’ve had a great experience coming here.
Why, Eli and Fur?
E: I am Eliza and she is, Jennifer. They are our nicknames. We had spent a while on thinking up a cool name and went with our nicknames. The reason she's, Fur, was because people said furry, and we spelled it that way.
How long have you known each other?
E: Since we were 16. We were at different schools before, and we had loads of musical friends in common. It didn’t start with music after school, it was when we moved in with each other and started playing at friends' parties for fun. We were just two mates living in London, both being into music.
F: Once you start it, you love it, it takes you. It seems farfetched to be DJs...We have a long road ahead and want to keep doing it.
Speaking about diverse styles, you’ve worked with mainstream/electronic producers and deep house legends? In which direction do you feel your music is developing?
F: I think it’s always developing, we both sing on tracks. Our sound will progress with time and how we change.
E: At the start we didn’t know, and the more you learn and spend time, you pace it out. I think that darker Deep House is our passion. It depends on the track, and what happens with the music. Find your way and not go too commercial. It’s so funny how it happens. We’re not fussy about the rules. I don’t like how when you’re doing well people say you’re selling out, but if the music is good, then no.
There are loads of talented young artists, but it's become increasingly more difficult to catch a break. What’s important in becoming successful?
E: Hold on to the music, it’s got to be what you believe in. With more time spent, we know what we want. We’re staying true to melodic music rooted in the underground with the potential to cross over. It’s got to reach a lot of people, inspire them, make them happy and want to dance. It's got to be great dance music.
The music scene seems to always be evolving. Why won’t we just be satisfied?
E: I always feel like every time it’s the next thing, next thing, next thing. There’s not a lot of moments of reflection.
You’re a duo, how do you deal with conflict?
F: We’ve spent so much time together. We bounce off each other. If one of us is not feeling the best, the other one can pick it up. It works.
E: With music we don’t have a lot of conflict. I don’t think we have fights, more of discussions. Never ever, “I want this…” Always, “What do you think?” You have to, listen to each other, take each other’s ideas. It works well. No massive fall out - it would’ve happened by now.
As artists who sing vocals on your own tracks, what is the production process like?
E: Really, it depends on the way we make it, and it changes. We can start with just a lyric of something that has inspired us. It changes all the time. We can build around a vocal and some chords.
F: Sometimes it gets difficult, it’s not vocal based but rather lyrics as language, it’s a battle and you need to play it against other big dance tracks.
E: I think sometimes we have that desire to use a song and it doesn't have those soulful (it’s darker) voices. So we play around with sounds.
The dark motif is highlighted in your productions, but there also seems to be a bright side.
E: Yes, not too dreary. We want it to be uplifting - need to balance the darkness.
I have read that Tale Of Us are a big influence.
E: Love them. We look up to a lot of people.
As two women working in the music industry, do you see challenges where there shouldn’t be any?
E: There are so many professions where being a woman can be challenging, but I don’t really feel that we have found it as much the challenge. There’s two ways of looking at (1) make sure you prove yourself more (2) there are fewer women, it’s a positive in a way. Although, since we are girls, there may be a few people that won't like us as much, maybe. You never know because you are your music or you are just girls.
People don't seem to question guys in the industry.
E: That is true, but that’s because there are fewer women. There are tons of professions where this happens... we try not to get too bogged down by 'there should be more women'. The question is being asked, because there are fewer women, that’s just a fact. Hopefully, that will change more.
Do you consider yourself DJ’s or producers?
F: Both. It works together - we started off with songwriting, so that’s something we want to continue to do for ourselves and other people. We love all kinds of music. Sometimes we write something that isn’t right for us and thats all part of the creative process.
As two young ladies who enjoy a night out, any wild shenanigans you can share?
E: We love to party. We go out and play. The job of DJing is to be with the crowd and to have fun, we don’t play and leave. We’ll play and stay.
F: We like to go to clubs to have fun, stay out. I can’t think specifically, but we’ve had a lot of fun different nights.
E: No one sleeps in Ibiza, in London they close 2 or 3, out there it’s all night (so many options). Say yes to anything.
You get to do something you enjoy and get compensated, that’s hard to reach.
E: It feels like work if we haven’t slept 48 hours and we have to compose a long e-mail and we can’t think. That’s a time when it’s hard.
F: I’m terrified of flying as well, it wasn't a long flight here, but so bumpy. I was clawing my way trying to see out, there were no windows. The air hostess was so sweet. We were trying to be nice back while terrified.
How’s the Boston cold air?
E: Refreshing. Hits you in the face. It’s really cold, but I couldn’t breathe, GET ME INSIDE. It’s been funny going from Mexico to New York, to LA. Real mess of suitcase, bikinis, and warm sweaters.
These women make a big statement wherever they go by doing what they do best, just being their fun and exuberant selves. Though the crowd was thin in Boston due to it being a Wednesday night, that didn't stop Eli and Fur from shredding the place apart with their dark and melodic Deep House selections. It was probably the best example of two girls playing not just in the name of girl power, but for the simple fact of having a fun and playful night out.
They're starting off their new year by performing at the Winter Social in the UK on February 6th. Eli & Fur will be amongst legends such as Steve Lawler, Maya Jane Cole, and Guy Gerber to name a few!