In Conversation with Eli & Fur
With their recently released ‘Night Blooming Jasmine’ EP picking up rave reviews and a summer jam-packed with dates including South West Four in London over the Bank Holiday weekend 25th-26th August and playing around the globe; Data Transmission caught up with London duo Eli & Fur.
Your latest EP ‘Night Blooming Jasmine’ is out now on Anjunadeep, how did the EP come about?
Fur: We really wanted to do something a little more song based. We have a huge passion for songwriting and live elements in music, Eli plays the guitar, I love to create slightly more laid back drum grooves and we both sing. Focusing a little more on these elements is important to us, so this EP has been a really natural step. Then we have the remix package where we have a bunch of producers involved that we love, so we play those versions of the tracks when we DJ. So we get a perfect combination of the two. We have spent the last few years leaning towards the club, with our tracks like Hold Me Down and Around You, which we loved making, but with this EP we wanted to show our other side of the project and open up a little more.
Some of the songs have an after-hours feel to them, the soundtrack to you walking home after a party…
Eli: Yeah it’s so nice that you see it that way, as we wanted to put those moments into tracks that weren’t necessarily built for a club environment. In the last few years, we have definitely had the dancefloor in mind when we’ve been in the studio. There is this whole other world when it comes to DJing and touring, let’s say coming home from a party at 7 am and the sun is coming up or being on a beach at sunset. All these moments can be so inspiring. For the past few years the need to put these experiences to music has really built up, it feels like it’s been a long time coming. To be able to sit down in the studio and really write about things that have affected us on a deeper level. That’s what we wanted to achieve with these songs and we hope people can listen to them in different situations, driving, walking home at 7 am and feel that emotion.
When you were writing the EP did you have an idea of how you wanted the tracks to be heard?
Fur: We didn’t go into making the music with any specific idea. It was more just what came naturally for us. Of course, as we said before they are inspired very much by the moments they were written, so for anyone to be inspired by that or moved by the music is always important to us. Whether it be in a club or just chilling at home.
What was it like working with Anjunadeep for this release?
Fur: Anjunadeep have really supported us from the very start of the project. They reached out to us after we put out our first EP ‘Illusions’ which was super exciting for us. It’s sort of gone full circle now in a way so to be able to put out a full EP with them has been really great. Anjuna have a great fan base who are dedicated and amazing and the nights they have been putting on recently with the open air concept have been really incredible. It’s nice to keep that relationship going and I think it suits the EP well.
You’ve also got your own label ‘NYX Music’, how has that helped you?
Eli: We are taking things very slowly with it but we are excited about the future. It’s been a great outlet for our music and awesome to have creative control. We love getting demos sent through, when we’re on the road on tour it’s a great time to listen to tunes people send over. We’re hoping to put out some new music from other artists and also ourselves but we’re being careful not to rush anything. We brainstorm ideas all the time so when we have something we are really happy with it’s going to be exciting to make that a reality.
You are playing Tomorrowland tomorrow, are you excited for that?
Eli: Yes cannot wait! We played last year and we loved it. The production is amazing, so much effort is put into it and on such a huge scale. Mind blowing, we’re so excited to be going back.
When you are playing a big show like that do you prepare differently or do you go through your normal routine?
Fur: I think the thing that dictates how we plan for a set is usually more the amount of time our set is, 2 or 3 hours, an hour and a half, it always varies. You have all this music you want to play but you also have to make sure it flows and works with the vibe at the time. How the crowd feels as one at the exact moment you start to play is extremely unpredictable. I feel actually it’s almost harder in a daytime setting. With a dark club, late, it’s easier to understand for us anyway whereas daytime at a festival where you have a diverse range of acts and therefore people it’s more of a challenge, but we like that.
How do you strike the work-life balance, especially when you’re touring a lot?
They both laugh and take a second to compose themselves before Eli responds:
Yeah it’s really hard, most of your income comes from touring now and it’s also important for us to reach as many people as possible, but then you also have to make music and be creative so as soon as you get back home you want to be in the studio. We both miss being creative when on the road so sometimes it can be a real challenge to make sure your life is balanced. We love what we do and feel very lucky to be doing it, it’s something we are both passionate about and ourselves and the people we love do understand those compromises, but of course, you get homesick and miss out on things. It’s good to know when to say no and be aware of your priorities as well as making time to be creative.
What is your take on mental health within the electronic music industry?
Fur: So what we would say, from our point of view and I’m sure all other DJs in the industry, we know how lucky we are to be in this position and we wouldn’t change it for the world, however, there are challenges. It’s made both of us really happy that finally the discussion on mental health is getting talked about more. It’s hard to envision but when you have been travelling for days, you have had no sleep and then you read for example a nasty comment online, something as small as that can really affect you, you start questioning yourself, overthinking things, it’s easy for self-doubt to crop up when you aren’t in a routine.
We have noticed a difference recently online though, haters being called out, people being more aware of it. There’s always going to be negative opinions which of course people are entitled to but when someone takes time out of their day to write a nice comment, say they like your music or enjoyed a set, those conscious positive actions mean a lot to us. I would just say to anyone who’s going to hate online, you have no idea what someone is going through in their personal and work life, what their struggles are, what they have given up or how hard they have worked to be where they are now, or how you are going to affect them with your words. So if you don’t have anything nice to say then I guess say nothing.
What have been your experiences of being a woman within the industry?
Eli: We have definitely had bad experiences throughout our journey, but that’s not to say that men haven’t faced those same challenges. Historically there have been fewer women in the industry because things haven’t always been equal so it is important to keep addressing and talking about these issues. That’s the only way change can happen. People need to be aware and active when making sure opportunities are balanced.
As there are more men in the industry they definitely need to take responsibility when it comes to supporting and shouting about female talent, and they definitely are, the more we talk about it the more we see things changing. We aren’t there yet, lineups are still not equally balanced whatsoever but hopefully, the more we all support each other the future will be more positive. Being able to do an interview with you where you ask us about this, you are consciously bringing up the issue so straight away that’s a positive.
Eli & Fur are back in the UK for South West Four over the Bank Holiday Weekend 25th – 26th August, as well as a number of dates over in Ibiza. ‘Night Blooming Jasmine’ is out now on vinyl and digital via Anjunadeep, which we highly recommend!
You can buy the EP here