Breakaway Daily Interview with Artist Eleri
Eleri embraces contrast on her gorgeously lush full-length debut, Love Cyanidation where she delivers a plaintive tale of unrequited love. She remains entrenched in the classical training she received in her youth while also forging into the electronic expanse mined by mavericks such as Imogen Heap, Nine Inch Nails, Björk, and deadmau5. As a result, the Los Angeles-based singer, songwriter, and producer conjures up a seductive sound that is unequivocally her own.
Growing up in a small town just north of Chicago, Eleri immersed herself in music, taking guitar, voice, and piano lessons and frequenting Berklee College of Music summer programs. Once she moved to the City of Angels and transformed her apartment into The Canopy Studios, Love Cyanidation started to come to life with Eleri producing, engineering, and playing every instrument herself. That title encapsulates the story at its heart.
“In gold cyanidation, you have to use poison to extract this beautiful metal—gold,” she explains. “In life, our greatest pains are necessary to find our greatest pleasures, wisdom, and love. The album is about love and relationships. I replaced ‘gold’ with ‘love’ to represent that process of pain and pleasure in finding happiness.”
Eleri just released the official music video for “I Need the Chase” from her upcoming album Love Cyanidation due out on February 3, 2015. The music video was shot by award winning director, Ilgar Ozturk.
“Ilgar did an awesome job of conveying the essence of the song with the concept he created. In “I Need The Chase,” I essentially want this guy to read my mind, and I’m sending him mixed messages. That’s why Ilgar chose to have me moving through such a variety of settings, so as to create a sense of confusion. The camera chasing me throughout the video gives the idea that I am really in control, which is what I want in the song. By the end of it, there is the beautiful backdrop of downtown Los Angeles, where I finally feel freedom and I pretty much just don’t give a fuck anymore about this guy,” says Eleri.
In early 2014, Eleri unveiled “Play Me.” It is a track blending her breathy delivery with a vaudevillian synth bounce that exudes a sexually charged kinetic spark. Chris Corner of IAMX (Gary Numan, Imogen Heap) directed the sultry music video for the song.
“I had written so many songs about my first real relationship,” she shares. “At some point you’ve got to let go and move on, which leaves you with a bittersweet feeling.”
Your upcoming album “Love Cyanidation,” was completely given birth to in your apartment. That’s amazing! How are you able to do it all – write, sing, produce, and play all the instruments for the entire record?
Thank you! I have been studying music since the age of 11, and I have been very blessed to have such enthusiastic support from my parents to pursue music as a career. I started learning about music theory in junior high, and for several years I was taking three private lessons a week studying classical guitar, piano, and voice. My guitar teacher, Steve Suvada, really encouraged me as a songwriter, and he introduced me to Digital Performer. That’s what turned me onto production, and I got a really good education in audio engineering at the Conservatory of Recording Arts and Sciences.
After interning at a couple of music studios in Los Angeles, I was pretty prepared to set up my own studio space and record my album. It was actually quite challenging because partway through recording the record, I developed some pretty bad tendinitis in both arms from doing so much. I definitely tested my physical limits, but since then, I’ve been using voice command software to operate my computer, which has helped me continue to do what I do.
What made you gravitate towards being an electronic/pop artist or would you describe your music differently?
I guess my music is fairly difficult to describe, but there is definitely an alternative flavor to it as well as electronic/pop. It all comes down to my influences. My older sister was actually quite a big influence on me musically, even if she didn’t intend to be. She is 13 years older than me, so I definitely looked up to her growing up. She turned me onto Tori Amos, Fiona Apple, Frou Frou, Enya, Bjork, and 90’s Eurodance music. I also loved artists like Evanescence, and I started getting into IAMX, Nine Inch Nails, BT, and Imogen Heap when I went to audio school.
How did the song “I Need the Chase” come about?
I met a guy at a club that blew me off on a date, so I was pissed and that was my inspiration for the song. Kind of embarrassing but it’s true. Maybe that’s why it has a bit of a club feel?
“I Need the Chase” and “Play Me” are both really incredible and catchy songs. I could really see them, or I should say hear them, in a movie or TV show. Is that something you would like to happen? Would you like your music on a soundtrack?
Absolutely! I would love for that to happen. Any way that people can listen to and enjoy my music is awesome. I guess this is a shout-out to all the music supervisors out there to hit me up on the contact form of my website!
Did you have a vision in mind of how you wanted the videos to look when it came to “I Need the Chase” and “Play Me?” They are both really powerful and sexy songs and I think that is equally matched with the videos.
Again, thank you for the compliment! Both directors Chris Corner (IAMX) and Ilgar Ozturk came up with really great concepts for the videos. Honestly, I didn’t really contribute that much to either concept. I think I told Chris that I want to use a gold guitar, and he totally turned that into having a gold painted statue-man and built an entire story around it, which was awesome. I was taking some burlesque classes at the time, so I worked with Jaime Rutt of Hells Belles Burlesque to learn the dance that Chris incorprated into the end of the video. For “I Need the Chase”, I introduced Ilgar to the location I wanted to use, and the rest was his idea.
How long did the videos take to shoot and where did you film them?
“Play Me” took roughly two 12-hour days of filming. “I Need the Chase” was shot from 4PM to 4AM in one day. Both videos were shot in different warehouses in downtown Los Angeles. “Play Me” was filmed at Studios 60, and “I Need the Chase” was shot at KorovaDTLA.
What is the hardest part about shooting a music video?
The preparation! Getting everything organized – wardrobe, concept, finding the right cast and crew, location scouting, scheduling, etc. It all has to be done on time and everybody has to be on the same page. The day of the shoot is the easy part!
Who are some artists you are really digging right now?
Phantogram is pretty cool. Love their sound. Ellie Goulding, Sam Smith, Sia, deadmau5, Imogen Heap… love them all.
What are some upcoming events that fans can expect in the coming months?
I’ll be playing December 20-21 at the Los Angeles Veteran & Family Stand Down at the LA Convention Center. There’s a possibility I’ll be playing there December 22 as well. My release show is still up in the air, but if you go to my website at elerimusic.com and click “join mailing list” at the top right corner, you’ll get all the updates on any upcoming shows near you.
Ultimately, Eleri’s search for love within the music will prove inspirational for anyone embarking on this journey with her. “I’d love for people to feel like they’re not alone when listening to my music,” she leaves off. “I want to shine light on that beauty and love we all have in ourselves.”
Find more of Eleri: