It’s amazing to see how time flies. This time last year over here at The Dankles we were just beginning to reach out to see if artists would be up to give us a few minutes of their time. Now almost a year later we have brought you countless features spanning from well known producers to those names that you just might not have heard quite yet. Last week we brought you an exclusive sit down with moombahton maestro ETC!ETC!, but to get this week rolling we are finally sharing the words we got to have with the talented Eliot Lipp. 2012 was a big year for Lipp, having put out his latest LP Shark Wolf Rabbit Snake and joining up with the Pretty Lights Music crew in the same fell swoop he has really been hard at work. Take a few minutes to get to know Eliot Lipp and see what he has up his sleeves for 2013.
The Dankles: We’d like to start it off nice and casual: can you briefly introduce yourself for those unknowing readers out there?
Eliot Lipp: I’m Eliot Lipp. I live in Brooklyn, NY. I make electro, funk, and hip-hop beats. I just put a record out on Pretty Lights Music last year, Shark Wolf Rabbit Snake. I’m actually getting ready to release a bunch of remixes from that album soon. And this is the interview I’m doing you for guys, The Dankles.
TD: Like you just said, we saw your first release on Pretty Light Music earlier in 2012. How has the experience with PLM been?
EL: It has been great, I really like the entire line up of artists on the label and it was a good home for the record. Definitely a different style for me; but still sampling and all that. Guess it was something more up-tempo to make, while the album does have its chill parts too.
TD: What have been a few great highlights from your past year?
EL. Since I put out Shark Wolf Rabbit Snake, I have been playing a lot to promote it. I love playing all those new songs, definitely been hitting the road quiet a bit. We had this show down in Flagstaff, AZ that really went off, the Kaleidoscope Kamp Out. Minnesota, EOTO, Tipper, it was a great weekend. I wasn’t even expecting it to be so awesome but that was one my favorites.
I really liked the small community vibe, everyone played well, and the music really hit. Definitely one of the better moments of 2012.
TD: We have a new year on our hands. What are your plans for 2013?
EL: Been in the studio a lot the last week. I want to make another album. In a few weeks, I will be getting to work on that in Brooklyn. I’m touring w/ Emancipator a little bit at the end of January. Then in CO I’m also doing a mini tour with Samples, which I’m looking forward to. Really just trying to get grinding in the studio and get another record together.
TD: I know you come from the West Coast originally. Have you picked up on some different vibes in New York?
EL: It’s a little different, yeah, but I have been out here for like 6 years now. Back out in LA I was really inspired by the beat scene and I still dig that stuff. But moving out here has gotten me into a lot of other styles for sure, like club and house. Brooklyn has a lot of big producers coming out of it lately; I’ve been stoked on a lot of the trap shit. I like so many styles, it’s always changing; NY is a constant inspiration for me. It’s always a little rough around the edges, just a little grimier here. It’s a part of almost any music scene in NY there are people that want to keep it a little gritty, so I have been experimenting with some shit that’s a little more rough, you know?
TD: Do you have any collaborations in the works that you can tell us about?
EL: There’s this band down in Philly called Nico’s Gun; I have done a bunch of work with their guitarist Nick before on tracks and stuff. I’m working towards starting to make tunes with the rest of the band. The vocalist, Barney, was on a song called “Wonderland” I put out back in October and he’s a dope singer. I’m going to be collaborating with them more, I don’t know if we’ll make a whole EP but it’s fun to produce with a band. You make music with different perspective on its production than when you’re doing it solo.
Aside from that, I usually do have some other stuff going on. I was in a group Dark Party, made a song with Mux Mool recently. I have worked on some stuff with Michal Menert, too, but like I said I don’t want to lose focus on my main project. So I’m really focusing in on the Eliot Lipp thing.
TD: We know you love to sample many different things, but when you produce, are you aiming for to certain style or sound?
EL: It’s so hard for me because I like so many types of music. I love making house beats and hip-hop, just a lot of sampling in general. Once I start stacking samples, bass lines from one place, horns from another, I don’t know what it’s going to wind up sounding like. That’s when I kind of let the beat decide, you may be going for one vibe when all of a sudden you realize maybe it’d be better as DnB or hip-hop beat. I like to get a collage of samples going then decide from there what style the track will turn out as. It’s never something I can decide before the song is produced, I like to find those happy accidents and roll with them. It’s the best way for me to create, I also feel like it leaves a little more room for imagination.
TD: Who are a few people/artists that truly influence you now? What about when you first started producing? Who do you foresee your influences being in a few years?
EL: Well I really like Alchemist, Blockhead: producers like that. Emancipator, Menert, any artist using samples, you know? I really appreciate that and like to see what other people do with their samples. But I’ve also been listening that Kendrick Lamar record, Killer Mike’s album, that new Big Boi, there was just a lot of big hip-hop in 2012.
A lot of people I just heard about this year like Comma, Lakim, all the new trap dudes, Take’s project Sweatson Klank really got my ears too. It’s cool to hear hip-hop producers make dance music and step outside their own box. I love Flosstradamus, they mixed Shark Wolf Rabbit Snake because I really was diggin’ their sound. Also like Brenmar, Clicks n Whistles, Alex Young, and DJ Sliink. You know Djemba Djemba too, that dudes fuckin’ sick, definitely one of my favorite producers that popped up this year.
TD: When you sit down to crush out a track, what are you usually strapped with in the studio (equipment or must-have items)? What about up on stage?
EL: Lately I have been really into mixing. I have bunch of tracks I was working on last year, so I have just been pulling them up and trying to mix those. I use Decapitator and Alloy, which have been super helfupful in making everything sound really sharp. One of my favorites is this keyboard made in the late 90s, it just has a real quality sound. A lot of fun, so many variables and parameters you can tweak to add to your sound. And I always have at least one analog synth for bass lines and things of that sort. Been working with Livid for a few years now and I have this custom controller I made with them called the RGB Slim, got a cool sparkly purple version of it. It’s just really quality controller that’s made specifically to use with Ableton, Live. I tour with an analog synth, so I usually have a keyboard up there too.
TD: Did the Eliot Lipp edition change the controller at all?
EL: Naw, same controller, mine comes with my logo in fancy sparkly silver paint on it [laughs] but all the functions are still the same. I’m actually giving one of those away through a remix contest via Beatport right now. Submissions are in already but it was for a song called “Mountain” from Shark Wolf Rabbit Snake. I’m glad we’re growing that song, it’s one of the different tracks on the album. And one I don’t have a remix for at that. I have a bunch of good remixes ready to release but I needed that one more. It’s cool to have this contest and be able to pick the best one. Definitely a lot of feedback. Tons of tracks came in, I haven’t even listened to them all yet, but I’m working through them. It’ll be hard to pick a winner for sure. Probably around the first week of February when we release the winner and all that we will release the other remixes. The winner gets a free controller along with his or her own release on Pretty Lights Music. Which is a pretty big deal. Pretty badass.
TD: Always a little curious what producers like to bump when they aren’t spinning a set. Who are a few producers you might toss on to get things a little rowdy when you’re with friends?
EL: Definitely Emancipator. I like Nosaj Thing a lot, too. There’s a lot of indie rock I have been listening to too like that new Tame Impala CD. Their new album has a really cool sound. Some of the nu disco type stuff. Besides that a ton of jazz: Bobby Hutcherson, McCoy Tyner, lots of old 70s jazz records. Any good jazz piano players you know, I love all those dudes.
TD: Has this expansion of your music over the past year(s) given you any special experiences you wouldn’t have previously been able to partake in?
EL: Man, yeah! One thing that actually happened a few weeks ago; I was playing in Bend, Oregon. Way out in the middle of nowhere in Oregon at this rave and the cops come shut it down mid set so I was a little bummed. But Z-Trip was there playing too and I was all bummed about my set. Then he pops up, gives me props on my set, and wants to talk about my music!? Like holy shit, I have been a fan of his for so long, I remember back in college I used to listen to one of his first mash-up mixes all the time. That kind of stuff is surreal. When you get on a line-up, get to meet, or even collaborate with people you look up to. Every time that shit happens I’m excited, it’s one thing you never get used to.
TD: Any last words for the fans out there?
EL: Just to look out for those remixes and tour dates coming up. A thanks to you guys too for doing this with me.