Our friend and musician, Elbows, is coming to Philadelphia! He has a show at Boot & Saddle on June 21st, and we got a chance to chat with him during a walk through South Philadelphia. You can buy tickets HERE and listen to the EP HERE!
Ps & Qs: Introduce yourself to everyone!
Elbows: Hey, Elbows here. I'm a songwriter, vocalist, producer, and multimedia visual artist. In May I released my new EP, Corudory, and on Wednesday 6/21 im playing at Boot & Saddle here in Philadelphia. Also, you should know: I like pretzels.
Ps & Qs: What is it about elbows that you enjoy?
Elbows: The body part? Hard to say. I definitely enjoy having them. I'm grateful that my arms can bend. Elbows are strange though: they stick out, they become rough if not tended to, sometimes you bump them very gently but, despite the gentleness of the bump, it still causes a terribly shocking sensation. I have a scar on my right elbow from a near-life-altering Razor scooter accident. None of this, of course, is a metaphor for me as Elbows the artist.
Ps & Qs: I really enjoyed the cassette tape that you created for the Corduroy EP, it's interesting to think about how we listen to music today compared to the cassette tape/vinyl era. What is it about the cassette that you like?
Elbows: Cassettes are just beautiful. They're beautiful to look at, with all the different shell color options. There's also a lot of design possibilities with all the insert panels, lots of room for art, or to hide secret messages. I have this old De La Soul cassette with a comic strip inside. Right now cassettes are caught in this this middle ground between being a novelty item and actually coming back as a legitimate, desirable format, like vinyl did. Thing is, the music really does sound great on tape, and the ones we made come with a download code as well, so at least you've got options. That's the era we're in now: the era of options.
Ps & Qs: You have a show next Wednesday at Boot and Saddle, how do you get prepared to perform?
Elbows: Nothing too crazy. Watch some Seinfeld, some old Diplomats videos to get my mind right, eat some cucumbers, sit cross-legged in a room full of sixty-six candles ruminating on past failures and accomplishments. Every day stuff, you know?
Ps & Qs: What's some of your favorite things about Philadelphia?
Elbows: I love Philadelphia man, it feels like a third home to me at this point. Got a lot of family and friends in the city and right outside of it. My friends GREAT TIME who are playing at Boot & Saddle with me have a studio (shout out GREAT TIME STUDIOS) in Chester Springs, PA, so I've done a lot of music making out here.
Outside of the people, the music of Philly is probably my favorite thing. Some of my favorite music of all time came out of Philly: The Roots, Dr. Dog, Bilal, the whole soul sound of the 60s. Oh and Boyz II Men. Can't forget the Boyz.
Ps & Qs: Both your music and fashion taste seem to sorta have this similarity, there's a lot of texture and depth in both. Even the title of the EP, Corduroy, there's a sense of texture and feeling - it helps transport the listener to a nostalgic world. Is this world something you wanted the listener to feel or is it something you long for that happens to be incorporated into the music?
Elbows: Definitely, it’s both. Every song tells a story, a memory of mine. Within each one I try to create a world, like a sonic setting, to tell the story in ways that go beyond the lyrics. There’s certain sounds to me that sound like a forest, or a blimp, or the rain. The instrumentation, the samples, the mix – everything is used to help the listener travel back and actually be in that moment, that place in time. As far as fashion goes, it’s an extension of the art. It’s self expression, telling a story each day, visually. I’m trying to create a world in everything I do, and one aspect of that is dressing for the part.
Ps & Qs: Being from the Bay Area and now living in New York, what are things that you miss about home? Is New York starting to feel like home to you?
Elbows: Growing up I used to visit New York every summer to see my grandma. When I moved here eight years ago it was definitely an adjustment from the abundance of nature in The Bay, living in the woods, and being by the sea. But at this point New York is definitely home. I still get back to The Bay a decent amount, to write and record, or just visit my folks. The longer I'm away though the harder it is to go back and actually feel at home. That's turned out to be a prevalent theme in the music I'm putting out now, the disconnect of returning home and finding a different place than the one you knew.
Ps & Qs: What's next for Elbows?
Elbows: I've got a lot more stuff on the way, more music, a short film, an illustrated story book. Gonna put out another EP in the fall that'll continue to build up to the album, which is the nucleus of all these projects. This album is something I've been working on for years, but doing these short EPs in the meantime is fun, it's like telling short stories before you get the full tale.