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Elias Erium [Interview]

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Following on from the success of 'Transcend', Elias Erium returns to Phenomena with 'Fragmented'. Released last month amidst much praise, 'Transcend' found Phenomena label boss Elias Erium collaborating with fellow Canadian and Steyoyoke artist Monarke. The Montreal based duo combined their extensive forces for an astral excursion of the highest order, in turn earning support from Adriatique, Nick Warren and Nicole Moudaber. Now, reverting to his solo ways, Elias returns to Phenomena with a two-track showcase entitled 'Fragmented'. We had a chance to catch up with the Canadian artist for an interview leading up to the release. Enjoy!

Hello Elias, thanks for joining us. We haven’t talked to you in a few years, how’s your year been so far? And what are your plans for the coming week?

Things have been rather exciting this year since I launched Elias Erium at the beginning of the year. Lots of positive feedback and still more to come music and gig wise!

When we last spoke to you, you were still releasing music as Solid Stone but have now adopted the Elias Erium moniker for your productions going forward, tell us about that, why was it time to move on and create something new?

I think the Solid Stone sound has gone through quite a few changes and iterations over the times as I was still searching for what was true to me and once I found it I saw it fitting to grow it through a new concept: Elias Erium

You took a bit of a hiatus from releasing music as well, just a bit over two years, was this primarily because of the pandemic? and what were you up to over that time?

The decision to stop Solid Stone was actually made shortly before the pandemic and I took this opportunity to simply produce music, fine tune my sound and get ready when things start opening up again.

How would say your new moniker differs from Solid Stone?

This has always been hard for me to put it to words I guess you could say the sound has ''matured'' however you had to hear to know.

Now that things have normalized in nightlife again what have you noticed at events in Montreal? Is there a greater sense of appreciation? Or newfound enthusiasm perhaps? 

It's crazy to think that clubs had just reopened in March of this year! Thankfully the scene picked up rather quickly and was back in force in no time. I've also noticed quite the change the crowd as the younger generation comes in which adds a different dynamic.

Let’s talk about DJing for a moment, it’s a unique discipline at the border between presenting great music and creating something new with it, between composition and improvisation to an extent. How would you describe your approach to it?

To me the concept of building a good set is similar to composing music. Let's say each track you play in a set represents a specific sound, synth, drums etc in a track. Each sound needs to fit correctly with one another by timing it correctly and selecting the right one all to create the vibe of the track. In that sense Djing is just that but on a bigger scale.

What were your main creative challenges when starting out as a DJ and how have they changed over time?

At the beginning was finding out what people like to dance to rather than simply showcasing the tracks you want. Honing the skill of making people dance is what I work towards with every set.

Can you tell me a bit about how your work as a DJ has influenced your view of music, your way of listening to tracks and perhaps also, your work as a producer?

Playing in front of a crowd adds a different perspective that you might lack in the studio and it definitely helped me discovered over the years what works and what doesn't and refine my own taste in my music. When listening to music I tried to focus more on how it could fit with other tracks rather than how it sounds on its own.

You have a new EP ‘Fragmented’ out this week on your Phenomena imprint. Tell us a bit about the EP and how it showcases your current sound.

Yes! Excited about this one! The title track of the EP showcases the more melodic side will keeping some minimal grooves while Connected focused on drive, groove and as mentioned in the track, energy!

Let’s now talk about production for a moment, where does the impulse to create something come from for you? What role do often-quoted sources of inspiration like dreams, other forms of art, personal relationships, politics etc play?

I think everything in life is inspiring in some way and often times doesn't really manifests it's self in an obvious way but it definitely plays a role in creativity

Looking closer at your ‘Fragmented’ EP, walk us through the production process on one of the tracks, whichever you prefer, and if applicable was there anything in particular which inspired that track or the EP?

The title track of the EP was a surprisingly smooth creative process. I had melody in mind that just popped in and it was simply easy to expand on the idea and everything came about naturally after that. Connected however took a couple of reworks for me to get it to where I was fully satisfied which just shows once again you must never give up!

For you to get started on a track do there need to be concrete ideas – or what some have called ‘visualizations’ of the finished work? What does the balance between planning and chance look like for you?

I can't say that I plan anything at all while starting a project since 99% of the time it never ends up the way I originally intended. Something originally smooth and melodic could end up dark and trippy.

Do you have certain rituals to get you into the right mindset for creating? What role do certain foods or stimulants like coffee, lighting, scents or exercise play in the process?

I am mostly creative in the morning after a nice long sleep and I can fully concentrate on the ideas that come to mind. I also make sure that nothing else is on my mind and that I can focus.

Especially in the digital age, the writing and production process tends towards the infinite, I think. What marks the end of the process for you? How do you know when a track is done?

For me a track Is never really done or finished and there isn't any percentage of completion I can attribute to the creative process. I simply give up on trying to make it sound “perfect” while keeping it up to my standards as much as possible.

What is the task you enjoy the most when producing and what would you prefer someone else to do?

I think working on the mixdown is my pick. It is so important and could really turn something good into something great. I do like however to do everything from A to Z to be able to get full control of the end result.

What would be a musical extravagance for your studio you would pay for, if you were very wealthy?

I would definitely love to splurge on a meticulously crafted high end treated acoustic room for the studio so that no detail is lost.

Apart from music, what makes you happiest?

Taking the time to enjoy the moment and appreciate what I have and am grateful for.

What does the remainder of 2022 and onwards into 2023 hold for you? Anything you can share with us?

Yes! I will returning to Stereo Bar in Montreal on Saturday October 29th for the Halloween weekend playing along side Afterlife artist Soel and will keep on pushing forward into 2023 with new releases and shows planned for the next year!

'Fragmented' is out now via Phenomena: https://bit.ly/3U5spEL

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