[Interview] Eliot Lipp Opens Up On His New Album, The Pretty Lights Family and His Musical Inspirations
Eliot Lipp is a rising star hailing from the electronic music epicenter of Brooklyn, New York. This Pretty Lights Music protege is blazing his own path with a sound and style all his own. Eliot already has a substantial and vastly diverse musical catalogue that has established him as one of electronic music brightest talents. With his newest album, Watch The Shadows, Eliot has embarked on a new chapter of his career, bound to solidify his standing as one of the most exciting names in dance music. Eliot took some time in between touring and producing to answer a few of our questions about his new album as well as what it’s like coming up with the entire Pretty Lights family.
Sensible Reason: Your album Watch The Shadows is your newest addition to an already long list of impressive releases. How has your approach to production evolved over your career?
Eliot Lipp: The equipment has changed a lot during my time as a musician, both what’s been available and what I’ve had access to, but I’ve found that has very little to do with what makes a good song. The biggest change in my approach has come from playing live and seeing people dance to my music. I guess that has given it a different sort of purpose. I love making funk tracks and electro for the club, but on my albums I still squeeze in some trippy headphone beats to chill to.
SR: Watch The Shadows feels like you produced it in a time machine. Can you tell me about how you were able to intertwine inspiration from the past and future on this project?
EL: It’s important to me that I pay respect to the pioneers of electronic music and synth music, so there’s always some throwback shit on my records. A lot of times I’m inspired by what old school producers came up with given their limited technology. This pushes me to learn all my gear & software inside and out so I can do the same in my own era.
SR: You have some very talented collaborators on Watch The Shadows including Nick Bockrath (Cage The Elephant), who lends some gorgeous guitar instrumentation to “Future Forest” and “Aint No Guarantee,” as well as the smooth duo Cherub who stamp their trademark swagger on the album’s first official single “The Western.” What was it like working with these artists? Also what type of qualities do you look for in collaborator?
EL: Working with Nick is awesome. He’s a master of his instrument, and he also has amazing taste, a rare combo. Cherub are also great to work with and even more fun to party with. All my collabs come about from just hanging out with other musicians I’m friends with – it’s why they never sound forced or too contrived.
SR: Watch The Shadows seems to ebb and flow with a daring sense of contrast. Bouncing between groovy tracks like “Temporary Residence” and heavier tunes like “Fresh,” yet the entire album clearly has an identity and motif. Can you tell me how you were able to blend so many different musical styles into one cohesive vision?
EL: Thanks for saying it’s cohesive. I was hoping it didn’t sound too much like a compilation by genre hopping so much. The common denominator on Watch the Shadows is probably all the orchestral sounds, strings and piano that make up a lot of the melody in every song. I have a pretty distinctive sound for synths too, but sampling lots of classical has recently given my sound a new character.
SR: There is a strong hip-hop influence in Watch The Shadows. Who are some of your favorite hip-hop artists past and present? Also, who are some hip-hop artists you are interested in working with, if any?
EL: I like Alchemist, 40, Run The Jewels Twilight Tone, Chance, Outkast…There’s also some guys in Tacoma WA, Ugly Frank & Genn that I’m very stoked on at the moment.
SR: Who is one artist who had a strong influence on you when you first started producing music?
EL: DJ Quik. He has such a smooth, playeristic sound, and he’s a total studio nerd like me he, loves analogue synths. He blends soul and funk with techno all the time in a unique way. I’ve always been of fan of his and always will be. Oh and Quincy Jones too. As a kid I got way into G-funk music, and that’s what I was making when I started out, so it’s just stuck with me over the years.
SR: You are gearing up to hit the road with the Pretty Lights Music crew on a huge upcoming tour. Can you tell me what it’s like when you are on the road touring with the other Pretty Lights artists? Who is the prankster on tour?
EL: The tour was a huge success! It was great to meet so many fans. Every night after the set the whole crew would congregate at the merch table to sign autographs and chill with everyone, my favorite part of the night. Michal Menert was probably the biggest prankster and partier; he is hard to keep up with.
SR: You will also be supporting Bassnectar and Pretty Lights during their Basslights run. Can you tell me what it’s like being a part of what is quickly becoming one of the dopest events in all of electronic music?
EL: I played a Basslights afterparty once in Miami, and I can definitely say it’s an insane event. Both of those guys have done a lot for me over the years, and I have so much love for them.
SR: Brooklyn is making a name for itself as one of the hotbeds for innovative electronic music. Can you tell me what it’s been like watching the electronic music community grow in the town you’re based in? Also, what is it like playing a set in Brooklyn compared to other cities?
EL: There are so many dope bands and musicians in Brooklyn it’s sometimes a challenge just to decide what show to go to on a given night. That being said, the crowds there still get down, people there love to dance, and they love live music. The over-saturation hasn’t seemed to have much of an effect from what I can tell.
SR: Finally, what’s one new track that you absolutely cannot stop listening to right now?
EL: A track from last year called “Feels Good” by Just A Gent vs Saturn; it’s just s cool song. There’s strings, piano, a pretty melody, and also super compressed laser synths, snare rolls. I love it.