Interview with Elephante
I recently got to hang out with Elephante, an artist who came out hot onto the electronic music scene releasing some Top 10 hits on the radio and gaining over 220 million streams in only two years. After catching his set at the Made In America Festival, we sat down to chat and it was clear to me that not only is he a talented musician and producer, but there’s much more to him than meets the eye! He gave me the scoop on his music, how he got to where he is now, where he wants to be in the future and all the info on his new single, Diamond Days, which was released on September 12th! He also recently announced the tour dates for his Diamond Days Tour (get tickets here!)
Coming up, Elephante will be headlining Monster Energy’s ‘Up & Up College Festival’ Series, which will be taking place in the Fall (October and November 2019.) Learn more here: Up & Up College Festival
Elephante is also headlining his own WYNN Residency in Las Vegas this year, performing at Lollapalooza, ULTRA, and many other major music festivals! We’re going to be keeping our eye on this guy!
Independent Philly: So, your set was awesome. I mean, the crowd was going crazy… they loved you!
Elephanté: The energy was insane.
Independent Philly: Yeah, it really was, that was wild! I have to tell you too, the lighting and visuals for your set are really incredible
Elephanté: Thank you! Yeah, my man over there, Jacob, he does all the visuals.
Independent Philly: Where are you from?
Elephanté I grew up in Michigan. Ann Arbor, but I’ve been living in LA for the last eight years.
Independent Philly: Oh cool, where in LA?
Elephanté: East Side.
Independent Philly: Nice, do you like it?
Elephanté: I love LA. I asked my friend who’s from LA, I was like, “At what point can I start like repping and say that I’m a Californian… he told me I’m already there.” I changed my ID, I got my California driver’s license. So…
Independent Philly: That’s a big deal. Going to the DMV is a HUGE pain! So when did you get into all of this and really start playing music?
Elephanté: I grew up playing music. I was classically trained in piano, but I was in bands and played guitar and sang in high school. And I started making dance music in like 2011/2012. It was sort of like I kind of just started on a whim and it was just for fun. One thing led to another and I fell in love with it. And then, one thing led to another and here I am.
Independent Philly: How old are you?
Elephanté: I’m 29.
Independent Philly: Me too! ‘89?
Independent Philly: Me too, when’s your birthday?
Independent Philly: Nice! December.
Elephanté: You got a couple more um, a little more time than me…
Independent Philly: Until 30? Haha, how do you feel about 30? Because it’s freaking me out.
Elephanté: A little scary. I was really motivated this year because I wanted to accomplish as much as I could so I can feel good about what I’ve done. Yeah, I just wanted to feel good about turning 30 and be like, “Oh, I’ve done enough with my life to feel good…”
Independent Philly: Because after 30 we’re basically corpses …
Elephanté: Yeah. Basically, basically. You look great for being dead. You’re moving so well without your cane.
Independent Philly: Oh thank you! I know, well I parked my power wheelchair back by the press tent…
Haha. Who were your favorite artists growing up?
Elephanté: I was a big alternative indie-rock kind of guy. I loved the Chili Peppers.
Independent Philly: Oh I died a little when you started playing the Chili Peppers during your set.
Elephanté: Yea I mean, “By The Way” was like one of my favorite albums. My idol growing up was John Mayer. Yeah. And then I loved Jimi Hendrix… Eric Clapton.
Independent Philly: Love me some Jimi!
[ I quickly flash the signature tattooed on my forearm that reads "Jimi Hendrix" and he subsequently pulls up his sleeve to show me the words “Bold As Love” tattooed to the inside of his bicep... ]
Independent Philly: Bold As Love?! Stop! Wow that’s the best thing ever.
Elephanté: Yep, that’s my favorite Hendrix album.
Independent Philly: Me too. That’s amazing…
[ Naturally we stop the interview to take a quick picture of our matching Jimi Hendrix tattoos... ]
Elephanté: And so I wanted to be in a band growing up and then I got into the indie and electronic kind of stuff…. Passion Kid and Mike Snow… and started from there. From there, I got into dance music. I heard like Avicii and Skrillex. Like, I heard Scary Monsters and my fucking head exploded. Yeah, I couldn’t. I was like, What? What the fuck is going on? How is this? Like, how… what is this sound? How did you make it and why does it like still? Why is it so like…
Independent Philly: Were you playing at all yet back then?
Elephanté: No. No, I was I was just a fan. And then I graduated college and I got a job. For a while I was at the job, I hated it. And was like spending all my free time learning how to produce. And then one day, I was like, you know, fuck it. I’m never gonna forgive myself if I don’t give it a shot. So I quit and started doing it full time. And in retrospect, it was like, fucking insane…
Independent Philly: You graduated from Harvard, right? I mean, Harvard… that’s a huge accomplishment.
Elephanté: Yeah. Yeah, and I think part of me felt like I needed to do something with that. And I felt guilty about wanting to make music, but that was all I wanted to do. So it took me a while. It was a process of kind of coming to terms with that and being like, ‘You know what, look. You’re obsessed with this, you’ve gotta give it a shot.’ And then yeah, I was very fortunate. I was like, ‘Oh you know, like, a couple of months, I’ll be fucking huge.’ And you know, I mean spoiler alert, I was not huge! But I think you need that irrational confidence in yourself, almost to the point of arrogance, where you know the odds are stacked against you.
You know, like, the fucking music industry is impossible. But you’re gonna be like, ‘No, I’m going to be the guy that makes it.’ Even though there’s no rational reason for you to think that. You know, there were some tough times and it was like getting thrown into the fire. I was lucky that things started happening for me like a year and a half later, which was really fast as these things go…
Independent Philly: And have you always been an independent artist?
Elephanté: Yeah. I’m doing a couple singles with labels but I’ve always done things independently. So yeah, the last two last EPs were all independent. So, the next one will be independent as well.
Independent Philly: Nice. So you graduated from school and started a career in music. How did you parents feel about that?
Elephanté: They were…. My mom was really supportive, because she knew how much I hated my job. I was a consultant. So she knew how desperately hateful I was of it. And so she was like, “Look, you gotta do what you gotta do.” My dad’s more of a traditionalist, and he was still telling me to go back to med school. But then after a few years, once I hadn’t asked him for any money, I wasn’t living under a bridge and I had like a career going, they’re like, “ Oh okay, maybe this thing will work out…”
And now… now they’re like, so down, they’re so excited about it. They just came out to Lollapalooza. And it was… you know, I think their heads exploded. You know, they’re like, “First of all, why are there so many people here? Are they all here for you?” Haha. “No…”
But there are like… how many people are there? Like I don’t know, 20,000? So they were… yea…
Independent Philly: That’s really cute! So… you have a new release coming out!
Elephanté: Yep. It’s out September 12th. It’s called “Diamond Days.” It’s a new single and I’m singing on it, which I’m really excited about. It’s the first single where I’m doing lead vocals and it’s kind of a throwback to all the stuff that I loved growing up. So I’m really excited for everyone to hear it. And then I’m doing a tour on the West Coast starting in November.
Independent Philly: Very cool! But um… What about the bEAST Coast?!
Haha. Okay. Well I did hear you singing up there on stage and I didn’t expect that from you. I mean, you’re a great singer!
Elephanté: Thank you. Yeah, I mean, that was the thing I grew up doing. And it’s such a different style doing the singer/songwriter John Mayer shit, I didn’t think that it fit with dance music. Now that I’ve been doing it for a while and I’ve been sort of figuring it out, I’ve been working on it and now I am finally in a place where I feel like I know what I’m doing and know how to sing on a dance track. So it just felt like it was time and I’m finally really happy with how it sounds.
For me, it’s always about the song. If someone else can sing it better than I can, then I want them to. Like, I’ve written the lyrics for most of the songs that I’ve put out, but I’ve just had someone else sing them because I thought that they could do it better. I’m finally at a place where like, ‘Diamond Days‘ is a song where I was like, “I don’t want… but I also don’t think anyone else could sing this how I want it to be sung.” So…
Independent Philly: That’s really exciting!
Independent Philly: Awesome, I can’t wait to hear it.
Elephanté: Thank you. Yeah, I’m excited… September 12th!!!
Keep up with Elephante here:Instagram
Photos and Interview by Jen Strogatz:
— Elephante Tour Dates 2019 —
9/6 – Las Vegas, NV – EBC Nightswim
9/27 – Las Vegas, NV – EBC Nightswim
10/19 – Laurel, MD – Clubhouse Festival
11/1 – San Luis Obispo, CA – Fremont Theater
11/2 – Santa Cruz, CA – The Catalyst
11/8 – Los Angeles – The Fonda Theatre
11/9 – San Francisco – Warfield Theatre
11/15 – Seattle, WA – The Showbox
11/16 – Portland, OR – Rosalind Theater
11/20 – Fort Collins, CO – Aggie Theater
11/21 – Boulder, CO – Fox Theatre
11/22 – Denver, CO – Summit
11/23 – Phoenix, AZ – Aura
12/27-12/28 – Dallas, TX – Lights All Night
For tickets click here!
… I’m thinking he should come to the East Coast too, what about you guys?! Leave a comment below and let us know so we can get him over this way !!!
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