You know that feeling when you’re really tired and you finally fall asleep? It’s like you’re floating on a cloud, no worries and no distinct thoughts running around in your head… that’s how New York-based band Elika sounds (well, at least to me). The ambient, playful tunes of this electronic duo has flooded the underground chill-wave scene with their original sound and beautiful art in the vast NYC music scene. If you like the sound of Depeche Mode, The Radio Dept., Starflyer 59, or other alternative bands in that field, Elika is right up your alley! So take a second to close your eyes and drift on the cloud that is Elika… you will not be disappointed. I sat down and email-interviewed Brian and Eva about their music and their lifestyle:
Pick&Pen: What first inspired you to make music?
Brian: Listening to metal in the 80’s. Big hair, big guitar, hot chicks.
Eva: Watching Jem and the Holograms (I loved the Misfits) and later, listening to the Velvet Underground.
P&P: How did Elika form?
B: We started this band in the village of Elika, Greece in 2005. We had an acoustic guitar, a shitty microphone, and a laptop.
P&P: What is the importance of the name “Elika”?
E: It is the name of the village where my father grew up and filled with memories.
P&P: How has living in New York City influenced your musical style?
B: It’s shown us a lot about what not to do. Fads come and go through this city faster than anywhere else. Lots of microscenes don’t make it out alive, usually for good reason.
P&P: What type of music would you classify yourself as?
B: We usually just write “Electronic Dreampop,” but we also do ambient, orchestral, folk, experimental, and abstract electronic.
P&P: Is there a certain place or person that you go to for inspiration? Why or why not?
B: Our new album is the result of watching Purple Rain repeatedly while surrounded by personal tragedies.
E: I am inspired by my parents selflessness, work ethic and logic.
P&P: What is your song-making process?
E: I wait for Brian to set up all the equipment and then I force myself to be creative.
P&P: For your album “Snuggle Bunnies,” each song clocks in (on average) at about 3 minutes long. While most electronic music is often lengthy, why did you choose to stick to shorter numbers?
B: I think while we were working on “Snuggle Bunnies” we had a tendency to be hyper manic — we flew through ideas and didn’t let them repeat too much, resulting in short songs. Our new album “Always The Light” is in the other direction. Most of the tracks are 4-6 minutes.
E: Length is irrelevant. If a song feels finished then it’s finished.
P&P: My favorite song so far is “Near You,” for it’s Depeche Mode-esque melody and interesting vocals! What inspired you to make this song? What is your favorite song you’ve created?
E: “Near You” is about feeling paranoid, jealous, neglected and hating yourself for even caring. Favorites: “Building Around It” (Self-Titled) and “No One Gets Lost” (Always The Light).
P&P: How did you choose the album artwork for “Snuggle Bunnies,” “Trying Got Us Nowhere,” and “Self-titled“?
E: I drew the “Snuggle Bunnies” illustration in bed with colored pencils, I liked that it was loose and not self-conscious. The “Trying Got Us Nowhere” illustration was darker with a lot of personal symbols hidden in it. “Self-Titled” is from a painting I did of myself as a child with a bomb exploding in the background.
P&P: The pictures on your website’s home page seem to flow along with your music (mystical and beautifully strange). Did you take the pictures? Why did you pick those specific pictures to correspond to the various links?
E: Our friends took some of the pics, and some are found.
B: I think “beautifully strange” will be our new genre!
P&P: What venue is your favorite to play in? See concerts in?
B: We’ve had the opportunity to play Bowery Ballroom, Music Hall of Williamsburg, and La Sala Rossa. They are all amazing spaces. I’ll see a concert anywhere except Terminal 5, that place sucks and depresses me.
E: My favorite venue was Teatro Julieta in Lima, Peru. There were old velvet seats in there and it felt like another era.
P&P: What’s next for Elika?
B: Our new record “Always The Light” comes out this fall on Saint Marie Records. It’s a mindfuck. It’s our best work yet and will feature our most elaborate packaging ever.
P&P: What’s the first album you’ve ever bought?
B: I can’t remember the first album, but the first concert I ever saw was the Pointer Sisters with my dad. They killed it that night.
E: Olivia Newton John’s “Physical.”
P&P: Where do you go to find new music?
B: Usually, I just pick stuff up from friends.
E: I wait for Brian to play me whatever he digs up.
P&P: What is one thing you can do that’s pretty unique?
B: I’m excellent at breaking up fights between teenagers.
E: I’m pretty good at forgetting people’s names.
P&P: What is your drink of choice and why?
B: Whisky. There is nothing better than whisky.
E: Diet Coke with a lemon.
P&P: If you could play with a band that’s around or not around anymore, who would you choose and why?
B: They’re still around, but they don’t really play live: Starflyer 59 during the “Everybody Makes Mistakes” era.
E: The E Street Band cause I’m a Jersey girl.
You can find pictures, audio, and video links on their website here, and if you like their albums, you can purchase them on their bandcamp! Their new album “Always The Light” will be available this fall from Saint Marie Records.