Eluize on Berlin, the power of Patreon and traversing the tempo spectrum
DJ, producer, and owner of the excellent Night Tide label, Eluize is a lover of all things melodic, be it pulsing techno, sleazy slow-jams, ambient soundscapes, or Belgian New Beat.
After many moons spent building a successful career in the night-life capital of Berlin, Eluize made a return to her hometown of Adelaide earlier this year, and is in the midst of gigs across the country - which includes an appearance at EMC’s 10th anniversary edition.
Her Australian tour includes a headline slot at Tempo Comodo on December 1st - our weekly flagship series that’s all about slower grooves for the dance floor. We’re super pumped for her ‘hybrid live’ set and ready to experience some unreleased productions she’s been crafting.
But before we get down on the slo-mo floor, let’s get a little bit more acquainted.
You spent many years living and working in Berlin. How would you say the city’s club/music scene has changed or shifted during your time there? Is it still the metropolis of choice for aspiring DJs and musicians?
The club and electronic music scene is constantly in flux and it moves with changes in the city. I guess the most noticeable shift across the last decade, aside from the sudden impact of the pandemic, has been as the city has become more of a known international centre - it’s become more expensive, more difficult to find apartments, and DIY venues have been pushed out due to re-gentrification. This all contributes to how much artists need to work and how much time they can dedicate to their art and getting weird and experimenting. It also affects how much it costs to find spaces for studios, putting on events and building communities.
I think it’s still an important hub for artists because of its rich history, the clubs and festivals it’s known for and the community who live there. Berliners really value and support the arts and the state contributes to it financially. It’s also physically in the centre of Europe, making it an amazing place to be based for touring. The lifestyle is also pretty amazing, with each Kiez offering lovely local parks, markets and spots to spend time.
When do your ideas for creating music manifest? Do you find inspiration in everyday life? Or do you need to start tinkering in the studio first for ideas to flow?
Oh, everyday life. It always starts as a feeling for me, a mood that inspires something, and I build up from there. Studio beginnings without an emotional linchpin end up in a wandering, focus-void result. I almost always have to go back to basics in these instances and think about what colour the mood is, or what texture. How do the sounds tie into that? Which ones don’t? Can they be tweaked to serve and support the essence of the piece or should they go?
Let’s talk about your ‘DPDR’ EP. In a way it perfectly encapsulates you as an artist. The first track is experimental house/electronica, the second a beautiful ambient take, and the third a mix for the club. Could you tell us a bit about the inspiration and making of the EP? And who played the orchestral and piano sections for the Locked Groove remix?
I wrote ‘DPDR’ trying to process my experience with depersonalisation-derealisation disorder. It gives you an unsettling feeling that you’re outside of your body and what is happening around you isn’t real. I found it super scary when it first started happening. I wanted to express this with grounding percussion and circuitous, disorienting melodies that swirl around you, to try and create contrasting energies…like your feet are firmly planted on the ground but you’re also free falling. The track was where I landed.
It had been in my demos folder for quite some time, when filmmaker Lily Koss selected it to use in her short ‘Nothing’. It’s a stunning choreographed dance piece through a warehouse. It’s been entered in some film festivals I think, so it’s not online right now, but keep your eyes peeled. Anyway, her wanting to use it made me want to put it out on my label, but I also wanted a version I could play in the club, hence the club cut.
Tim (Locked Groove) and I have known each other for some time, and he’d asked me for a remix on his label, so I asked him for a swap. He is an excellent and very diverse composer - he played it all! He does a lot of this sort of thing. He made me two remixes super quickly - a more Belgian dance version and this. But I couldn’t resist the classical thing. Stunning!
How do you feel, if at all, being a producer informs your DJing?
A lot, but perhaps it’s more that DJing informs my writing. I don’t know, it’s back and forth, I suppose. I really like to play as much of my own music as I can in my sets, to test it out and see reactions and figure out where and how to change it to make it connect better with people. I love to hear my productions between other music I’m loving and find nice blends, experiment with keys and especially irregular bar numbers and lengths. It’s interesting to see how that works - how far you can take things without totally throwing off the groove on the floor. Tension and release, it’s everything.
Do you ever feel like a confused DJ? Not in a negative sense - but rather because you’re into so many different genres and vibes, do you find you have to work harder to define your ‘sound’?
Haha, yes always! I guess not confused so much as doe-eyed for it all and a little chaotic. I have a couple of aliases which helps, but I think there’s always a red thread in what I play, despite it being across genres. I like very melodic things. Wistful, emotional, lovely things with bass frequencies that squeeze you in the chest on a big system. It’s about physical feeling meeting subconscious, emotional triggers. The great thing about digital DJing is I can flex and move between speeds and sounds quite easily, take the crowd where I want because I’m not tied to one, or two, bags of records.
How did your Patreon channel come about? What do you do on there and what makes it such a great platform for artists?
Patreon is a COVID baby for me. I share what I’m up to with journal type entries, and I also offer tips for producing, DJing and life in the arts. I can also offer guest list spots for my gigs and give away vinyl and little physical gifts. Just whatever I can give my supporters. I love them, as they’ve helped me so much, especially while things were really rough during the lockdowns. It was a nice way to connect, especially with the one-on-one coaching I do with other artists and fans. Really cool.
I really like getting to know the people on there. I also love knowing that I’m not just screaming into the void when I’m making and releasing stuff, that people are listening and it’s touching and moving them. It’s truly the best feeling.
You’ve recently returned home to Australia and are in the midst of DJ gigs across the country. What have you noticed about the scene since you were last here?
I feel like the local crews and sounds have really come together, supported each other and become more potent and vibrant in themselves. It’s great to see so many locals on festival line ups and headlining gigs. It’s really cool and the right way to create a strong night-life, dance music ethos and ecosystem. There is also some incredibly awesome music coming out of this country. I’m really loving being back.
What did you miss the most about your hometown of Adelaide?
The beach, salty air, dry hot summer heat, fruit that tastes like a rainbow and my family and friends.
You’re set to play Tempo Comodo at Club 77 on December 1st. Do you often get the opportunity to play slower paced sets?
I’m usually traversing the tempo spectrum. There is often a large portion of sleazy, slow jams in my sets, but that’s been getting a little less of late to be honest. Set lengths are shorter in Australia, and tempos of new music are pushing up and up. I’m fine to change speed when I’m playing, but making it work so that it’s not jarring and keeps the energy right is important. At the moment, it’s easier to drop into half time from something 135+ bpm, rather than work in a 106bpm creeper. On that note, I do still occasionally play as Ca$hminus with Gratts, and those sets are really focused around Belgian New Beat and the things we make as that project are all slower. Those sets are always a vibe.
Name one of your favourite tracks under 110bpm that can destroy a dance floor.
At the moment I love ‘No Comment’ by The Populists. I think it’s actually 111, which is a slight cheat, but I can’t go past it. A very sexy French vocalist exhaling the lyrics, a light acidic riff and a G-Funk whine that twists in towards the end.
On a G-Funk tip, check out ‘The Flow (G-Funk Mix)’ by Model 500. It has an airy piano and the grimiest beat. You can’t not move when you hear it!
And I have to mention my new remix of my 2020 track ‘EMDR’, the Tempo Comodo Modifica. I’m hoping this one’s gonna destroy, but am yet to test it. I’m saving it for a Dec 1st, 77 dance floor debut. It’s out December 9th on Night Tide.
Favourite album of 2022?
My most played album this year is Nils Frahm’s ‘Old Friends New Friends’ (released December 2021). It’s solo piano, stunning, and I listen to it in the evenings when I do my yoga to try to get my mind, bod and spirit sorted to sleep. It makes me want to practice keys and start composing more beatless, classical things. On the to-do for sure!
Eluize plays live at Tempo Comodo on Thursday December 1st. Full event info can be found HERE