Eliot Lipp on using a vintage synth live to rough up the edges of finely tuned digital crispness
Producing music since high school, Eliot Lipp found his own voice in hip-hop beats and instrumentals. One of the most recent additions to the Pretty Lights Music roster, Lipp has been notably prolific in cranking out new tracks and mixes. In advance of his three-night Colorado run, which kicks off tonight at the Fox Theatre, we caught up with Lipp, who lives in Brooklyn these days but was born in Colorado, and talked to him about his new album, his forthcoming remixes EP and how he uses a vintage synthesizer in his live set up to add a rough-around-the-edges quality to the finely tuned digital crispness.
Westword: Are you mid-tour right now on a few stops?
Eliot Lipp: Yes. We just pulled into Cleveland, and we played Detroit last night.
How was that?
It was really fun! I really dig Emancipator's music, so it's nice to open for him, but it's pretty chilly out right now. We are still diggin' it.
Is he touring with Ilya Goldberg?
Those are always fun shows. Congratulations on getting on that bill.
I am pretty excited to be touring with him right now. We are only doing five stops together, but they are all in a row. We started in Grand Rapids, then Detroit, Cleveland, Pittsburgh and Syracuse.
What do you got going on after those shows?
Then I head back to Brooklyn, and then I head out to Colorado.
Do you have any stops lined up for the summer, or are you waiting for the festival stops to come rolling in?
Right now, I am just working on festivals, but as we roll into spring, I'll probably do a couple of short rounds.
Are you working on a new album right now?
I am in the middle of it right now. I am getting some vocalists for this one, which is brand new and something that I've never done; and I'm trying some new things out. I've got a bunch of new songs to go through and see what really fits with the album this time around. It's in the early stage, so I am not sure how it's going to turn out right yet.
Is this one going to be released under the Pretty Lights Music imprint, like Shark Wolf Rabbit Snake?
I think it is, but, like I said, it's pretty early.
What kind of vocalists are you working with?
I don't want to spoil anything yet, but mostly singers, and I've got a few MCs on it, too. I'm looking at bands and collaborating with bands that I dig and friends that are in the music scene that I like. One thing that is coming up is the remixes EP. I have eight remixes, and that's coming out real soon.
Are those your personal remixes, or remixes from Shark Wolf Rabbit Snake?
Yeah, it's all tracks from that album.
Care to drop any of the artists that will be featured on it?
We got Two Fresh, Mindelixir, Knight Riderz, Stratus, Freddy Todd and a couple other guys. It's going to be a really good one.
Sounds like a banger. Let's switch gears a little bit and talk about your live production verses your studio pieces. When you played the release party for Shark Wolf Rabbit Snake, you had a Moog synthesizer on stage with you, which is way different than what a lot of producers are using these days in their live shows. When you are going into your live set, what are you looking to incorporate in a set?
I play some lead lines and bass lines, and I kind of create some sounds and sound effects. For me, it's nice to have some analog gear on stage because I feel like it adds a layer to the live set that is lacking from a lot of modern music these days. They are so tuned and sharp and perfect, and that's awesome and good, but for me I like it to have that rough around the edges quality. It adds that sound that I can't get from Ableton. It's that much more of a live instrument, rather than that finely tuned digital crispness. It's the same as having a guitar up there.
Do you play any other instruments?
Not really. Keyboards are definitely my specialty, but the guitar stuff on my albums, I record those, but I am not a guitar player by any means. Mostly the drums are samplers and drum machines. That's what I really specialize in.
How did you get into that kind of production?
Well, I started making hip-hop beats when I was in high school with some friends, and we'd write some lyrics, and we were into rapping, so we needed beats to accompany them. It was kind of natural. Then we started looping breaks and just trying to create instrumentals. That's really the reason I got started.
Did you start out laying down your own lyrics?
Yeah, a little bit. Mostly it was my friends, and I really started laying down the beats. Then I did a few records with my rapping, and it was pretty fun, but I really just found what I was looking for in instrumentals and beats.