Artist Spotlight: Elaquent
Guelph/Toronto beat wiz Elaquent is on a steady climb into the minds of music enthusiasts around the globe. Taking a break from a busy tour schedule, the skilled beat smith hung with us for quite an awesome chat.
OCDJ - Why beats?
EQ - hmm, I mean, I could get into a number of philosophical reasons why I make beats....but the biggest or main reason..is that its fun. as a kid who grew up on golden era hip hop, production has always been an area I was very interested in, however, I didn't have money to buy an mpc. luckily I discovered fruity loops and found a way I could create. my older brother and I often used to complain about how wack commercial hip hop was, but instead of complaining about it, why not be a part of the solution. He excelled at rhyming, I excelled at beats.
OCDJ - For someone who has no idea about music but loves food can you describe your sound to them?
EQ - lol thats a tough one...perhaps a well seasoned steak with a rich balsamic wine reduction sauce. there is a lot of quality steak out there, but I try to add a lot of subtleties to add a little bit more flavor to the typical boom bap sound, whether its my usage of samples or synths, while still maintaining an element of rawness...hence the rareness of the steak. but really, its all in the eyes of the beholder. perhaps to someone else, my sound is a multi flavored ice cream, or dill pickle chips lol, there is a number of analogies. I would say anything delicious with layers to it.
"I feel like vinyl immortalizes you, one day somebody might find my 12" vinyl 80 years from now and get curious"
OCDJ - Whats your biggest personal breakthrough in your music making/performance career to date that you can remember?
EQ - hmm, releasing my Scenic Route album on vinyl (first one) was a very big deal to me, it always ranked very highly on my personal bucket list. I feel like vinyl immortalizes you, one day somebody might find my 12" vinyl 80 years from now and get curious. To me, an artist who releases music on vinyl in this digital/mp3 age has an aura of legitimacy to them. on the performance side, touring europe for the first time was big. Being able to share music, embrace and interact with people who don't speak the same language or live in a completely different culture is humbling.
OCDJ - Do you have another passion? Something you enjoy doing when you're not feeling musically creative.
EQ - Outside of music, I'm notoriously known to be a big sports fan of NBA and NFL, which is no surprise to everybody who follows me on twitter lol (@elaquent). I would say that my second love is collecting martial arts movies. maybe it was the early influence that Wutang had on me as a kid, but I've always been super interested in martial arts movies, and I have a big collection with over 500 films ranging from Shaw Brothers classics from the 60s and 70s, Jackie Chan/Sammo Hung cop movies of the 80s, wired Yuen Woo Ping stuff from the 90s, and so forth. I've spent a fortune on them over the years.
OCDJ - Without making your Toronto/Guelph fans to upset, have you found a place/town/city through your musical travels that you envision yourself living in? Can you tell us why?
EQ - In a perfect world, I would live in a number of different cities for like 4 months at a time. Would love to spend like 4 months in Paris, London, New York, Los Angeles. As far as one single place, i'd lean towards Los Angeles. It is just a really good creative hotbed with no shortage of people to see and things to do. I guess there's a reason that so many artists try to move to LA to find success, and having been there 5 or 6 times, its very easy to see why. there are lots of different events happening on a regular basis, lots of different artists to collaborate with in person, good weather, palm trees and so forth. traffic sucks there though.
OCDJ - What would be your dream collaboration?
EQ - Always wanted to work with Common. one day I hope it will happen.
"Use the velocity when hitting the pads. the swing settings will never match the feel"
OCDJ - Can you share any drum programming or other production tips for a budding beatmaker?
EQ - I guess it depends what type of beatmaker you want to be. I always like to tell folks that the best way to get that soulful groove in your drums is to listen to some jazz music, and to turn off the quantize switch. Use the velocity when hitting the pads. the swing settings will never match the feel. trust your ears and don't rely on just the waveforms and your meters. But ultimately, do what feels right!
OCDJ - How do you prepare yourself mentally before hitting the stage? Do you have a ritual or is just go with the flow?
EQ - I just go with the flow. I try not to over-prepare...depending on the vibe of the crowd, I tend to call many audibles and change direction often. I have a general idea of what I want to play, but if the crowd wants to dance, I may have to inject some faster grooves to keep people happy. It all depends. ultimately I have to trust that I got booked to play for a reason, so I just go with the flow and trust that whatever I play, in whichever order I play things are for the best. Plus, its a lot more fun to play when you haven't already committed to the next song. How do I call an audible and switch from this super fast song to a much slower song that I've never mixed before? all of my favorite shows were the ones where I threw the playbook out the window and just feed off the crowd.
OCDJ - Any last words? Shout outs?
EQ - I could list shoutouts all day lol..but nobody got time for that. I'll say shouts out to Off Centre for the interview, shouts out to my family for supporting me, Gill Breathing, and everybody who has ever supported my music or seen me play live. got lots of new music coming soon, including an album on HW&W. stay tuned :)