Artist Spotlight: Eli Brown
Eli Brown: an artist of real distinction in the house world
Having emerged from the shadows of Bristol’s fabled drum and bass scene, Eli Brown has rapidly established himself as an artist of real distinction in the house world, with his singularly sinister, twisted records having made an immediate impact. Repopulate Mars, ViVA Music, Toolroom and more have all recognised Brown’s raw, sometimes caustic talent: if you’re looking for dance music with character, you’re in the right place.
If you’re looking for dance music with character, you’re in the right place.
Having moved with enviable ease between these two distinct musical scenes, Eli Brown’s talent in merging the weighty Bristolian bass lines of his D&B past with the classic vocal hooks and caustic synth melodies of house music has been a runaway success, with his unique take on club music already finding its place as
a dancefloor staple.
With such an assured house catalogue already under his belt its easy to forget that Brown is a newcomer to the scene, having only made his debut in December 2016 with Can You Feel It / Acid Test on Skream’s Of Unsound Mind imprint – an artist who knows more than most the challenges of switching between genres.
Time for a chat!
How was your Miami Music week?
Very hectic but very fun! I played Fabric in London on the Friday night, went straight from the club to the airport to Miami. When I landed I played a great little rooftop party with some really cool guys such as Jesse Perez and Franky Rizardo. On the Sunday I was lucky enough to play the Repopulate Mars event, which was definitely one of the standout shows of the week. The venue was great, an outdoor spot in the middle of the Wynwood art district and the line up was huge, Lee Foss, Detlef, Camelphat, Latmun Solardo just to name a few.
As you mentioned, you played at Repopulate Mars with some fantastic names on that line-up. How did that event turn out for you?
Yeah, the party was dope as I mentioned above. Other than playing my set, what I really enjoyed was hanging out with the guys from the label, catching up with some of the guys I’ve known for a while. And meeting new friends. That’s the beauty of Miami: it’s not often you get so many people in the same place which makes it a great opportunity to catch up.
And after that straight home to continue your musical journey?
Yeah, I’ve got a really busy schedule at the moment with gigs, remixes and writing new material so I try and limit my time away as much as possible.
Your sound is very uplifting and powerful. You come from a world of Drum and Bass. Feels like you kept the hard punches in your current style?
What I’ve always loved about drum and bass is the energy that it creates on the dancefloor. When I started writing house music I really wanted to try and create something slightly different by combining some of these darker / moodier elements that I would normally use in drum and bass in order to bring that energy to my tracks.
Why the switch? And do you still play Drum and Bass once in a while?
It wasn’t really a conscious decision, to be honest, whilst I still like and play drum and bass I’m always trying to be creative and explore other genres of music. I’d always been really into house and techno, from going to Bugged out in Liverpool when I was a student and seeing the likes of Dave Clarke, Green Velvet and Jeff Mills, so I thought I would try something different, make some tunes to see what came out?! My first few tracks started getting picked up by some of the big DJs and it really inspired me to divert my energy, working on some more and see what would happen. I’m really in love with the house scene right now, there’s so much great music I’m continually feeling inspired as I’m discovering new music, artists & producers all the time.
You’ve come a long way. Was has the path in front of you to offer? What are your dreaming about music-wise?
I guess I have come quite a long way in the last 18 months which I’m super grateful for but I only feel like I’m just scratching the surface. I’m working really hard in the studio, trying to find new sounds and inspirations in order to push myself creatively. I really hope that music continues to gain support and people like what I’m trying to do.
I guess I have come quite a long way in the last 18 months which I’m super grateful for but I only feel like I’m just scratching the surface.
What is one thing that would make your musical career more successful?
Hard to say one thing that would make my career more successful as I think in this day and age you need a lot of things to happen in order to be successful. I attribute my relative success to a bit of talent, a lot of hard work and a bit of luck so I’d probably pick more talent!
What about your childhood was unique and most contributed to the adult/artist you’ve become?
I think a few things have shaped me musically, my Dad was, and still is very interested in music, mainly Motown and northern soul. But he did buy me the Chemical Brothers first album when I was a kid which definitely influenced me. Also, growing up in Bristol as a kid Jungle and rave music was a massive part of the city. My friends older brothers and sisters used to pass cassettes down to us with live recordings of DJ sets from all these massive raves that were going on during the 90’s. It was these that made me really fall in love with electronic music and also made me save my hard earned money from paper rounds to buy my first set of belt drive turntables in order to learn to DJ.
Why do you think music chose you?
Who knows! It’s one of those things, I never played an instrument as a kid but always loved music but I never expected to make a career out of it. I feel super blessed that I’m doing something I love, seeing new places, meeting new people every week.
Do you feel there was a “breakthrough” point after which suddenly things changed for the better and brought you to where you are now? If so, what was it and why do you think it happened?
Not really, this project has been growing pretty organically since it began. Tracks like Got the Power and Tech This Out definitely made people take notice. Since then I’ve been trying to keep a steady string of releases and remixes coming out, almost every month, which has resulted in my profile increasing over quite a short period of time.
What skills/personal attributes are most important to be successful?
As I mentioned previously I think in order to be successful in music you need a mixture of talent, hard work and a bit of luck as it’s not easy to break through. Going to clubs meeting DJs and networking also helps massively as generally, in my experience, if people can put a face to the name they are more likely to listen to your stuff.
What exciting news do you have in the works for the coming months?
I’ve got a new remix forthcoming on Repopulate Mars for Elrow and Amnesia Residents Caal and Baum. I’ve also just finished a remix for Tchami & Malaa as well as a new EP lined up on Repopulate Mars so keep your eyes and ears to the ground for those. In terms of shows, festival season is not far off and I’m excited to play Hideout in Croatia and Reading & Leeds in the UK along with making my debut in Ibiza at a couple of very special places.
If you weren’t making music what would you be doing with your life?
Circus tightrope walker.
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