The movement is called chillwave (or glo-fi). The central idea is to create dreamy tracks from the gurgles and melodies with what sounds like the last generation of analog gear before MIDI came into use. Following the examples of Neon Indian, Memory Tapes/Cassette, and Washed Out , Los Angelenos E&E bend the curve further to emulate New Order (think 587) and bring to life music that cannot hide its infectious melodies beneath layers of compressed noise.
In direct contrast to the lo-fi movement that gave us a world of four-track wonders who later lost their naivete in the land of multi-track recording, E&E are so cavalier that the most tossed-off tracks sound alien until you hear the breathy vocals of Angelica Olsen. Beneath her heavenly yet haunting singing, her bandmate Elijah Crampton (with help from Ashland Mines) makes music th at is ready for John Hughes’ films.
Enjoy “Gate” yet another summery track in the ongoing new genetic code being established by xx and jj as well as this interview with E & E’s Elijah Crampton.
E & E – Gate (right click, save as)
INTERVIEW with ELIJAH CRAMPTON of E & E
(photo by Dana Poblete, LA2DAY.com)
Aerial Noise: Elijah, is there anything specific or non-specific to your music? It all gurgles on the surface in a very cavalier manner, yet you never really overplay anything.
Elijah Crampton: I think the reason I’m able to get away with the ambiguity you mention without making it sound too intentional is firstly in part due to the fact that I am very straight-forwardly a lover of pop music; I love good melodies, catchy hooks, etc. Secondly I’ve grown up listening to alot of neo-classical and avant garde composers, which I think has allowed me to appreciate the true complexity and non-specificity of the emotions music can portray. With my love for these genres being mingled in my own music, the outcome seems inevitable. Another reason is because I don’t think I’ve ever intentionally aimed at this pop/avant hybrid; it’s just a balance that comes naturally when I compose.
AN: “Gate” sounds very lo-fi and very late 1980s (maybe somewhere between Prince and New Order but recorded on a Tascam 4-track). How much of this song came to you merely on the basis of what it sounded like? Can you reveal the central idea you have in mind when creating tracks and playing?
I think what you hear on “Gate,” is this very idea coming together in perfect harmony. On one hand, there is this simple, catchy love song, yet the instrumentation around that ellaborates this complex awareness of a subtext that’s going on. At the time Angie (bandmate Angelica Olsen) and I wrote the song (which i think is approaching its second year anniversary soon), Angie had just reached a new point in her life with her girlfriend (the subject to which she is singing). She approached me with this fragile love song and sang it over the bass line I had written. The melody fit perfectly.
In contrast to the fragility of her expression, i had been revisiting Salinas’ “My Voice Because Of You.” I was particularly interested in the final poem of that work in which the author, after so many insecure habitations of his love, finally speaks with astonishing power and clarity; it was this power that i wanted to express instrumentally through the fragile honesty of Angie’s text. It’s a perfect example, in my opinion, of a parallax view being represented simultaneously.
AN: That powerful hook is indelible. Do you think that the right hook can make a song endlessly enjoyable? Also what artists are you listening to now?
EC: I definitely agree that it’s a song’s hook that gives it it’s memorability and lasting power. Of course, when we talk about “lasting power,” there are other factors that help. But for the most part, “Since feeling’s first,” it’s the hook that does that.
As far as groups that I listen to, Peter Garland and Mariah Carey will always be playing in my iPod. I’ve recently been revisiting John Adams’ seventies piano works, as well as his more orchestral “Century Rolls” which has an ultimately amazing piano part. And, of course, I’m also a big fan of The-Dream.
AN: You have an 8 song CD out on DeathbombArc now, are their future plans for more singles, more releases? How does E&E go over with your bandmates in Luna is Honey? Could you see yourself doing both at the same time on tour?
EC: So far the response to the Deathbomb release has astonished me. Honestly, I never expected anyone other than my immediate family to hear this record!
I have started recording a new album. Most of the music is composed, it’s now really just a matter of organizing the poems/lyrics and vocal melodies. I’m always trying to find new singers to work with; it’s something i really love about composition. I’ve been working with Kimi, who has not had much of a career in music but is known largely for her artistic contributions to GODDOLLARS.
As far as working with Luna, I’ve limited my role in the band to only being a recording artist; I no longer play live with them, but you might still catch me at a show. You probably won’t see me on tour for quite a while; I dislike road trips.
AN: Finally, you will likely be lumped in with the growing genre of glow-fi or chillwave – how do you feel about this? On one hand you are in great company (Neon Indian, Toro y Moi, etc) while on the other the habit of categorization often leads to making artists like you feel constrained or limited (despite the fact that you
already work within technological limitations).
EC: Being lumped with other bands or a specific genre is such a catch. On the positive side, you’re exposed to a wider audience, because most people like what they understand, and genres make things easy to understand. On the negative side, I’m recognized for only one aspect of my music-making. Where some artists might get bullied into sticking to the genre they were lumped with, I don’t see this happening to me. I know that in order to keep making music I consider to be good, there must be honesty in expression. Moreover, I’m a constantly changing individual- always trying new ideas, exploring new ways. I don’t see myself sticking to the same thing for a long period of time.