Self-Portrait: Eluize

Australian-native Eluize‘s entry into music came at a very early age. Citing her mother’s love for piano, and her audiophile father – who also played synths in bands – as an influence, it’s easy to see where her fascination with music production stemmed from. Sonically, her productions are melodic and haunting, at times floating through beautiful soundscapes and at others diving into the murky depths of acid, consistently underpinned by her serene dreamlike vocals.

In 2016 she set up her own label, Night Tide, a platform for collaboration between sonic and visual artists, which also acts as an outlet for her own productions. This collaborative approach she peddles through the label, translates into her project with fellow producer Gratts, under the guise of Ca$hminus. The pair take inspiration from the early electronic sounds of Belgium, particularly New Beat, Italo and rave, influences that can be heard on their releases for Bordello A Parigi, Cómeme and their own Ca$hminus Music label.

Ahead of her forthcoming release on Glaswegian imprint Craigie Knowes, we get to know more about Eluize and her approach to production, alongside a mix of 100% original material, all unreleased and forthcoming.

Let’s start with an ice breaker, what’s your earliest musical memory?

My dad sitting me down in our living room at home, getting me to close my eyes and listen to the stereo picture of a band on some new speakers he’d bought. He’s quite the audiophile.

Did you have a particularly musical upbringing?

My parents encouraged me to learn music from a young age. I started lessons from around five years old I think. My dad played synths in a band when he was at university, which he unfortunately sold when I was born, and my mum loves the piano, so yeah, it’s always been a positive presence in my life.

What led you into music production?

I was training in classical and jazz but kind of burnt out with it in my late teens. I loved maths and science, and after some fumbling about attempting and dropping out of various engineering and architecture degrees, I started working on the door of a club. That’s where I fell in love with dance music and the culture. I discovered I could learn to make music in this awesome almost scientific way and that was it.

Are there any producers or artists who have inspired your production?

So many! I listened to a lot of Massive Attack and Portishead, the Orb and Orbital. I guess being a teen in the late 90s that was bound to happen. Melancholic but beautiful, grainy, analogue and haunting.

Are there any particular rituals you go through before you head into the studio? Do you come in with a destination in mind before starting a jam?

I like walking to the studio, listening to the outside sounds, looking at the sky and trees to try to clear my mind. Once I’m in I take my shoes off and pick up a session or start a new one depending on my mood. I’ve always got a bunch of half finished projects going so there’s never a shortage of things to play with. I never have a destination in mind but usually I have a ghost of an idea, often starting with a mood, melody or field recording.

Are you the type of producer to work on a track until it’s perfect, or are you more of an impulsive creator, happy with first takes and sketches?

An impulsive creator and a perfectionist unfortunately, I’m always starting new ideas but won’t let them out of my grips until they’re exactly right. I’m working on becoming more free with my output. Now that I’m faster and more confident with the mixing down stage the turnaround is quicker. I need things to sound strong and stand up well because most of the time I want to test them in my club sets asap and they need to hold their own amongst mastered tracks.

Can you talk us through how you might construct a track? How much of your material is sample based and how much is original? 

I often start with an ambient recording of a place or a moment – like birds at a particular time of day or rain at a window for example, that I’ve taken with my little Tascam DR 05, to give me a space in mind to work in. I’m also usually thinking of a mood I’m trying to express. Then basic drums, to give timing, then melodies, a chord structure of sorts or a scale that I’ll be working with for the piece, bass, pads etc, then I flesh out the drums. I use drum samples sometimes from traditional drums, sometimes other sounds I’ve collected, but my melodic content is almost exclusively written and played on hardware or soft synths.

What’s the most important bits of kit that make an Eluize track?

I use my voice a lot, and usually an SM58 to record. I have a Roland JV-2080 that I adore, a Bassbot TT-303 that I use on almost every track as a sequencer if not for acid, and a Juno 106 which has so much heart and lovely warmth. Of course the little Tascam DR 05 for field recordings. In the box, I really like the Arturia V collection of soft synths and Kontakt for traditional and orchestral sounds. I use a Native Maschine for playing in percussion rhythms, then my laptop and Ableton to pull it all together.

You also produce under the guise Ca$hminus with Gratts, how does your approach to production differ when you’re collaborating? Do you take on different roles?

Collaborating with Tristan (Gratts) is a lot of fun. It’s much faster working with him than alone, he’s a real ideas man and very decisive. For this moniker we take inspiration from New Beat and Early Rave records and he has great influences from growing up in Belgium and DJing for 20 years. I’m more the technical hand: I get all the machines working, wrangle the wild imaginings we have into reality, work my musical touch on the melodies and harmonies, plus get on the mic and say a word or two.

This mix is comprised of 100% original Eluize material. Could you tell us a bit about it? Any tracks that are particularly special to you?”

It was a real pleasure putting this together. Most tracks are edits of their longer counterparts to give a taste of the things I’m working on. There’s quite a few tracks from my forthcoming album, Confide, on Craigie Knowes which is incredibly special to me. I worked on the music for this release over quite some time, various studios and living situations and during my pregnancy with my now little boy. It’s so incredible that it’s almost here!

Tracklist
Home
She Only Counts to Eight
Say
Apart
Still
Amethystine
Distance
Be Easy
Enervation
Disconnect
Mornings
Aeolian
Losing Track
Ingénue
Illuminated
Enklave
Oceanic

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