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Elegie [Interview]

33 min read

Elegie embodies the passion and vision of a dedicated French-American doctorate scientist seeking an outlet for the unique, eclectic sounds in her head.

Blending her background in physics, programming, and research with the realm of electronic music, her scientific mindset permeates every track. Her compositions orchestrate ethereal journeys, inviting you to explore uncharted realms, while always grounded by a profound, resonating bassline that moves your body and soul.

Much like her music and style, Elegie defies easy classification, celebrating nonconformity. She transcends borders, performing in underground techno hubs in the USA, Brazil and Mexico, while having shared line-ups with headliners like Steve Aoki, Gareth Emery, Cristoph, and many more. Her tracks have been released on US and international labels, drawing a global audience and reaching the top 10 of melodic house & techno charts on Beatport.

Based in the vibrant, eccentric city of San Francisco, Elegie's live performances celebrate authenticity, creativity, and uniqueness, embodying her pure joy of techno and high-precision dj-ing style in every show. Evolving from her underground beginnings, Elegie now has stage presence in the biggest clubs in the city such as Audio, 1015 Folsom, and The Great Northern.

Elegie dedicates her art to her beloved English bulldog, Edgy. Eventually, she would like to use the proceeds to support bulldog rescues and charities, to celebrate her enduring bond with her late furry daughter.

This week finds Elegie releasing her remix of 'In This Shirt' by The Irrepressibles via a free download. Progressive Astronaut caught up with Elegie to learn more about the release of the remix, her background, growing up in France, DJing and much more. Enjoy.

Hi Elegie, thanks for talking to us today. How has your start to the year been so far and please tell us something interesting about your day today?

Hi guys, thank you for having me! The start of 2024 has been great so far. I’m currently solely focusing on making new music until it’s time to perform again. I already released two remixes this year: Underworld’s ''Born Slippy'' and ''In This Shirt'' by The Irrepressibles. I’m currently working on original tracks as well as recording a new set in a unique location in Northern California. This will be my first set made up almost entirely of Elegie’s exclusives, and launching a new concept at the same time. Stay tuned!

And today, Sunday, was a very productive day. I played around with the Evolver by Dave Smith and had some serious fun designing percussion and original sounds for one of my new tracks.

Looking back on 2023 what gigs of yours have stood out and why?

It was definitely my main stage opening gig at 1015 Folsom San Francisco for Gareth Emery back in January 2023. I challenged myself to put together a “techno trance” set to fit the headliner audience without losing my style identity. I was a bit nervous at first, as I didn’t know what to expect. The room was packed to the roof and definitely ready to party, so I knew I couldn’t disappoint! The team managing the animations went totally wild during my set and between the amazing sound, the incredible visuals and the crowd screaming and dancing, it was an experience to remember and cherish forever! I also got my first gift from a fan that night - looking at it on my desk as we speak!

What’s a piece of music (not your own) from 2023 that had the biggest impact on you, and what makes it outstanding for you?

There were a lot of great tracks released in 2023 but if I may, I’d like to pick one from 2022: “The Sound of Space” by Enrico Sangiuliano. The name of this track actually says it all: to me, it’s the ultimate representation of what an amazing sound and top notch production are. I look up to producers like Enrico to benchmark my own work. And until I get there, there won’t be any rest for me!

What was the music genre you discovered first before you turned to electronic music, and what made you continue with the latter?

For me, it was the alternative/indie rock bands like Depeche Mode, Joy Division, Placebo, and Radiohead. Coincidentally, most of these bands are from the UK, and I have a profound respect for their music scene across all genres.

It’s hard to remember how I transitioned to techno (I still listen to indie rock and all other types of music), but there’s no need to choose, since electronic music production enables you to integrate traditional instruments like the guitar - which you will find in some of my tracks. So it’s not like the two genres are completely separate from each other, and Depeche Mode or New Order are actually great examples of this.

Take us through a typical day when you’re not traveling, what does a day in your life look like?

My typical day is actually a workday, as I don’t think there is any other way to make it in this world - I’m a strong believer in hard work! Since I’m also a data scientist and I’ve been based in California for the last 4 years, mostly working with Europe, I tend to start my days very early (at 6 am), and finish work early/mid afternoon. At this point, I take a short break to reset my brain and then start on either producing, practicing an instrument, or DJing. So my typical schedule is like a Fatboy Slim song: “Eat, Sleep, Rave, Repeat” but instead of raving, I’m hustling non stop!

Talk to us about growing up in the USA and discovering electronic music, how did it impact your path to becoming a DJ and producer? And who were some American artists you were inspired by early on.

Although I consider New York City to be my home, I actually grew up in France, so early on I was exposed to Daft Punk, Justice, David Guetta, Modjo, Bob Sinclar, Stardust, Laurent Garnier… French house music really shaped the electronic scene back then, and most of these artists remain massively acclaimed to this day.

I didn’t really think about becoming a producer/DJ until quite late in life. For a long time it was just a hobby, a creative outlet outside of work - but it became such an obsession over time, a borderline addiction, and it really took my whole life by storm and turned into my main priority. Nothing has been more rewarding than finishing a track and sharing my “diary entry” as Rick Rubin would say, or performing in front of an audience who would then share how much I inspired them to follow their dreams. It’s hard to beat this feeling.

You have a background in physics, programming, and research which you blend with your work as a producer, please tell us about that.

My scientific background has helped me a lot with maintaining resilience and the self-disciplined, structured mindset. Having completed a PhD, I have a strong appreciation that everything takes time, and especially quality work and recognition is not something that happens overnight. Dedicating time to your craft is critical, and persisting no matter the difficulty. Very few people really appreciate or even realize how much it takes behind the scenes - but you have to keep going and ignore the noise to some extent.

On the technical side, I have originally trained in physics, so if you want to discuss sound waves, harmonics, and resonance for hours, you’ll have my full attention. I can get really nerdy with this stuff as I want to understand all the theory behind it, though it might sometimes slow me down and get in the way of creativity and having fun. I have to watch myself with this.

You have a new free download available for your remix of ‘In This Shirt’ by Les Irrepressibles, tell us about the remix, what sort of vibe you were going for on it and how it showcases your current sound.

“In this Shirt” is one of my favorite songs of all time, so I decided to make it a tribute to my English bulldog Edgy, who suddenly passed away two years ago. It was completely heartbreaking… The lyrics are about heartache and loss, so they resonated really deeply with me. I used some specific vocals and leveraged parts of the original melody to create my own story. And of course I also aimed to produce a techno version - otherwise, it wouldn’t have been an Elegie track. This time my approach was different though: I started by creating a long intro to build the tension, arranged two significant breaks to progressively introduce the vocals supported by arps. I added a melody with an epic tone and for the last drop, I came back full-power with a groovy bassline and all main elements of the track for the grand finale!

Overall, my music’s vibe is more deep and hypnotic, conveying profound emotions while driving through solid basslines. I’m definitely more on the underground part of the electronic music spectrum, and intend to stay there for the time being.

Let our readers inside your studio for a moment, what is your current setup and what studio tools were featured in the writing of your ‘In This Shirt’ remix?

I use a Mac Studio, Logic Pro as a DAW, Barefoot Footprint speakers, SSL 12 soundcard, one analog/digital synthesizer, two digital synthesizers, one drum machine, one midi keyboard and a whole bunch of plugins.

However, to arrange this particular track, I only used Access Virus and Vital to design the sound, and Nexus and Omnisphere presets helped me layer my content.

Of note, the original bpm of this track was something around 160 so making it work at 126 bpm was a whole challenge by itself. But this is living proof that the possibilities in music production, combined with all the tools which are currently available, are infinite. You just have to experiment and most importantly never give up - especially when a track is so close to your heart.

You’ve had quite a lot of high profile gigs over the years, playing alongside Cristoph, Gareth Emery and Steve Aoki, amongst others, so please tell us your approach to DJing, and what your philosophy is to programing a set.

My overall philosophy on DJing is delivering a unique performance and sound. I spend a lot of time looking for new tracks, discovering hidden gems and less well known artists, and editing the tracks which are more popular to make them “my own”.

I will admit that my taste is pretty eclectic. This has translated quite a bit in my performances, when I would switch techno genres quite easily during my set while maintaining a solid story line. When programming a set I always try to map out the roads to the unexpected. In order to keep the possibilities original, you can always expect to hear a lot of my studio work on my sets. Nowadays there are only a few tracks from other artists that I will play without any changes, usually they are my own remixes or mashups.

Where do you source the majority of music for your sets? Is it primarily from producer friends or promo mailouts at this point?

It’s a combination of promo mailouts, hints from producer friends, and music sites. But as I mentioned, I find myself editing tracks more and more to make the audience experience something they already know in a new way.

How much prep do you put into the sets you play, or are they spontaneous for the most part?

I always come very prepared for my gigs. I like studying the headliners, audience, and location to make sure I can deliver the best performance possible. This doesn’t mean that I don't adapt and improvise as needed, but showing up without preparation is just not my personality. I also put as much effort into an opening gig versus one I would be headlining. It might be a bit crazy but a performance should always be at the best level regardless if you play for one person or a packed room. I take all these opportunities very seriously and I’m very grateful to all the event promoters who have given me a chance so far.

If you could set up an event with a line-up of five artists of your choice, who would you book and what set times would you ascribe to the artists?

Here is my dream event, in this exact order giving each artist a 2-hour set:

10pm-12am: Kraftwerk

12am-2am: The Chemical Brothers

2am-4am: Fideles

4am-6am: Enrico Sangiuliano

6am-8am: Freedom Fighters

Quite an eclectic choice but I would love to see how that would play out!

Current top five tracks in your sets?

Here’s a few tracks I really like playing:

The Dualz - Vision

Un:said, The Yard Woman - Nobody

Ruback, Adam Sellouck - Deeper

Freedom Fighters - Beyond Belief

19:26 - Consequence

If you are not DJing, producing or socializing at clubs, where do we find you? And doing what ?

For my dream to keep going I have no choice but the cave aka my studio… I do enjoy regular exercise, but when I’m done with work, I rest a bit and get right back at it!

If you were not a DJ/Producer what do you think you’d be doing with your life? (Something not music related.)

I already have a solid career in data science, but if I were to go back in time and not make or play music, I would most likely become an animal rights lawyer. There has been too much abuse and not enough action to improve animal welfare; I would take on that fight in an attempt to become their voice and make things better.

What’s something we do not know about you?

While I do pretty well in a social environment, I’m fundamentally an introvert. I like being by myself most of the time, studying or learning something new.

I also really love to dance at festivals, it almost puts me in a trance! So if you were looking for me in a club, if I’m not in the booth, I will be on the dancefloor enjoying myself with friends.

What are some of your favourite TV series? Both all time and recently, what have you been enjoying lately?

I haven’t really watched any TV for a while, but I particularly enjoyed Stranger Things two years ago and you will find sounds inspired by the show in my “Born Slippy” remix!

Apart from music, what makes you happiest?

English bulldogs and animals in general. I feel like I have this deep, spiritual connection with them. I hope to eventually use the proceeds from my music to support charities and other types of animal rescue work.

What does the remainder of 2024 hold for you?

If I only knew what the future is made of! But jokes aside, as I mentioned I have more original music coming up as well as a set recorded in a pretty cool location. Stay tuned for this one!

Elgie's remix of 'In This Shirt' by The Irrepressibles is available now via her Soundcloud: https://tinyurl.com/ydwv9pms

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