Eliot Lipp on his ‘Watch the Shadows EP’ and the PLM Keepin’ it Crew Tour
Set for October 14th, Eliot Lipp’s new album Watch the Stars will be released on the Pretty Lights Music label. The album is a fusion of funk meeting vocal experiments and collaborations with artists like up-and-coming Cherub and Supervision. Coinciding with the funktastic release, Lipp co-headlines the Keepin’ It Crew tour alongside fellow PLM members, Michael Menert, Supervision, and Paul Basic. Performances include stops in cities all along the east coast and the Midwest. After an amazing and somewhat unexpected weekend, we had the chance to talk with the electronic music pioneer about his most recent projects.
So tell us. While we loved your collab with Cherub, “The Western,” after listening to the entirety of your new album, Watch The Shadows, we’re wondering which track was your favorite to work on as the artist?
Eliot Lipp: Let’s see. Well – “Ain’t No Guarantee” was fun because I got to work with my friend Dell. She was a gospel singer growing up, and she’s been in a few punk bands and all kinds of bands now. But she’s got such a great voice. So I had the sample in the song of someone singing “Ain’t No Guarantee,” and I decided to replace it with her voice because a) I didn’t want to use the sample and get sued; but also just because I wanted to work with more live vocalists and stuff. Just like with the Cherub collab, I just wanted to work with more musicians. So yeah, I had my friend come into the studio and she sang a whole bunch of stuff. We ended up keeping that one little sample of her singing, “Ain’t No Guarantee.” I just had fun remaking all the parts – all the piano, the live drums. On there, I had my friends play. I went to different studios and recorded different instruments and stuff to make that song. It was kind of an adventure. It was fun.
What other types of influences and inspiration did you take while creating your almost hour-long album?
EL: I get a lot of influence from my peers, and friends of mine like HeRobust, and Sir CharLes, Flosstrodamus, and all the rest of the guys on Pretty Lights Music too, you know? There’s Supervision, Michael Menert, and Pretty Lights of course. Those have all been big influences to me. But I went through a phase where I’ve been listening to a ton of classical music.
How recently are we talking?
EL: Just like in the past year and a half. I started taking piano classes and learning music theory and listening to classical. That’s a real neat thing for me, to just touch base with the elements and foundations of this stuff.
Is there a particular message you want your fans to take away from listening to your new work?
EL: I think because a lot of my music is instrumental, a big part of it is about the universal language. But going beyond that, I’m always crossing genres – like combining hip-hop with techno, or classical with electro. Just taking all these samples, and instruments, and combining it with EDM. I just like how it shows that genres aren’t as different as we think they are.
Totally! But now let’s talk about the Keepin’ It Crew tour. As a representative of Californians who love PLM, I’m wondering why the tour doesn’t reach out west this fall?
EL: Well - it was just easier to route it the way we did it. To do the east coast, Midwest, and the South. But we also left out Colorado. There was a lot of stuff that got left out. We are planning on adding a lot more shows early next year though. We’re definitely going to be doing more shows with the crew like this.
Definitely happy to hear that. Now we’re wondering, since the beginning of the tour on September 23rd, have there been any shows that have particularly stuck out to you?
EL: Well we’ve had a few shows sell out, and that’s been pretty cool. But one of my favorites was a couple nights ago in Philly. There was a power outage and the club wasn’t able to get the stereo system going for the show, but we decided to bring all the vans in. We gave away some merch and hung out and talked to everyone. There was this guy there though and he was like ‘we should just go party at my house, I have a basement and a sound system and everything there.’ So we go to this party, and me and Michael play this two-hour set.
That sounds awesome.
EL: It was so much fun! It was one of the most fun sets we’ve had on the tour, for sure. There was never a point where we had given up, you know? Like that wasn’t an option. Even when a show does get cancelled like it did on Saturday, we’re always looking for other options. We’re all already deep in the city with all our gear, so we might as well get something to happen. Unfortunately we don’t have any acoustic way to do the show, so we couldn’t do it on the street. [laughs]
And how was your NYC show this past Friday?
EL: That one was great. It was really awesome. We got to see some of our friends that were playing at the Madison Square Garden show. Like Dom from Big G. But yea, it was great to play in New York. I lived in New York for eight years, so I feel like it’s kind of like my hometown in a way. It was a super cool crowd. Great energy - even though we played pretty late.
Any cities you’re particularly excited to perform at?
EL: Yea, I think the Austin one is going to be pretty awesome. I always have something going on in Austin. And New Orleans. I’m really stoked for New Orleans too. It will be fun to go down there. I haven’t been down there in awhile. Ashville will be a good show too, I hear. There are certain cities we know we have a lot of fans in.
So assuming you guys are all pretty close now, what kind of backstage shenanigans goes on while touring with the crew?
EL: [laughs] Well during the show, there’s a lot of moments when one of us at a time is on stage, so the rest of us are like side-stage and we just like to goof off and try to f*** with the person who’s left on stage. We’ve all known each other for a while, and now that we’ve all been on the same bus for the past two weeks, it’s starting to get weird.
Weird in a good way though!
So I know you’ve been touring and producing music for over 10 years. You’ve gone a long way to get to where you’re at now. You’re on the PLM label. You’re still on the rise… do you remember your first time performing? And if you do, what was it like? How does that Eliot Lipp compare to the Eliot Lipp we watch on stage today?
EL: Well, I was in bands all through out high school, so it was never off for me to go up on stage. I was in plays, I had bands, so I had a lot of experience trying to do shows in that sense. But the first time I played as Eliot Lipp was at a warehouse party on the south side of Chicago. My friends had this huge loft and they had this party with all these DJs and stuff, right? And I was scared to death. For some reason I got really really nervous right before my set. It’s weird though. I still get it. I never got over it. Butterflies, you know? But it’s a good thing. I’ve found a way to turn it kind of into a good energy where I can hype myself up while I’m playing. But yea, I definitely still get nervous. But anyways, it was kind of a legendary party. Derek Plaslaiko played and Curt from Flosstradamus was there. Just all these people that were there that went on to do amazing things. It was a neat moment that all of us shared. They did have a few parties at this spot though, it was definitely the scene for awhile. But yea, I remember that first show. I think about it a lot.
Don’t forget to check out Lipp’s new album set to be released on October 14th as well as catch the rest of the PLM crew when they stop by in a city near you! Click the flyer below to buy tickets!