Finding success in the US market as an underground artist isn’t always a straight-forward task, just ask Eli & Fur. However, in true Thelma and Louise fashion, the London duo have done exactly that.
Rewinding things back to 2015, this friendship which first started at a performing arts school just outside the English capital at the tender age of 16 really began to blossom. Recorded only with a Go Pro, Eli & Fur embarked upon a 13-date US tour documenting every single detail of their American adventure. The end result? A candid music video for the hugely popular ‘California Love’.
Fast-forwarding things to the present and their love and passion for the States is still as strong as ever in their latest work, ‘Night Blooming Jasmine’. An EP inspired by their trips to Los Angeles, Eli explained “whenever you go, you meet some very strange people but it’s always very wacky and everyone’s just a bit different.” Similar to Ibiza in a sense…
An island very close to their heart, Ibiza is a place where Eli & Fur have experienced plenty of success and created many memories over the years. Of course, their main port to call has been Saturday afternoons at the prestigious open-air structure of Ushuaïa for leading daytime party, ANTS.
Continuing to rise through the proverbial ranks in 2018, the talented female double-act have already appeared at Hï Ibiza alongside Black Coffee and spent a great deal of time touring the US.
With performances at MK’s Area 10 Pool Party, ANTS and Black Coffee still to come, we caught up with Eli & Fur and discussed opening proceedings at Hi Ibiza last month, the increasing usage of phones at events and their latest EP release, ‘Night Blooming Jasmine’.
First of all, you both originally met each at a performing arts school just outside London – quite the creative environment in retrospect. How do you feel your creative experiences here helped shape your creativity within the world of electronic music?
Eli – At school Fur was studying art and I was studying music but it wasn’t until after school that it all came together. We were best mates living and working in London, going out loads and having fun. We were listening to a lot of music together too and I feel that’s what mostly shaped it. We started DJing together, It was fun and very natural. It felt more freeing and easier to be creative together than our time at school.
Describe your chemistry whilst in the booth together… how does it compare to your synergy in the studio together?
Fur – I think it is very similar, obviously we both get on really well which helps. We both give each other energy and bounce off each other big time.
E – It also helps when you’ve got that fresh take on things if you get stuck, and it is the same when we’re in the studio too. Everyone always asks when we’re behind the decks: “What do you say?”, and we ask each other “what do you think of this?”, or “shall we play this?”
How important do you think your feedback is to each other whilst producing or performing together?
E – You have to have that, we are not exactly the same. We don’t like exactly the same things.
F – We always agree on everything in the end. It brings diversity. That is one of the most amazing things about being in a duo, we definitely use that to our advantage. We learn from each other all the time, we push each other and on the road, we support each other lots too.
You opened proceedings in the Club room for HOUSEKEEPING at Hï Ibiza last month. What are the biggest challenges you’ve encountered whilst performing as the first act of the night?
F – I feel like it is always harder being the opening act of the night actually. You have to build it slowly, you’re not just going on after someone else who has set the tone. It’s a challenge.
What do you feel are the biggest rewards of opening up the night?
F – I guess you’re building something for the entire night, it’s the first chapter of the night.
E – You hope to create a vibe that will last throughout the night. It’s also nice as you can take a few more risks too, test out new tunes.
Hï Ibiza has unquestionably made a massive impact on the island since being opened last season. What is your favourite aspect of this state-of-the-art venue and why?
F – I just love all of the different areas. I love the DJ section in the bathroom, the tipis are great too. You can do a million things in one night.
E – It also offers a great social aspect too. It’s nice to go and lose yourself on the dance floor and you can also go out and catch up with your mates outside too. It’s nice, it gives you that extra added aspect to a night out.
A lot of people’s pre-perceptions of the club were a little jaded due to the closure of Space and the increasing EDM/VIP culture. Whilst there is a big VIP focus here, the club’s music policy remains quite varied, with EDM and Tech House not the only options on the bill. How do you think Hï Ibiza’s musical booking policy is helping shape the overall Ibiza musical landscape?
E – I think when you’ve got a lot of people coming over to Ibiza to go clubbing, this place, because it used to be Space, will always have that draw. People who have never been will always be curious to see what it has become in the form of Hï and how things have changed. I think that is an opportunity to stay true to what Ibiza is all about and I think that is exactly what they are doing and that is great. The music has been great.
Speaking of prestigious clubs, you will also play at Ushuaïa for ANTS in August. Tell us about some of your favourite memories here…
F – We’ve been going to ANTS a long time and we always have the best time. Some of my favourite memories include Maya Jane Coles going back-to-back with Heidi, that was awesome. It’s always fun, the music and lineups are always great. Its amazing to be a part of.
E – There was one specific set last year where my brother came out for one of our performances. It’s nice to have mates and family there and share the experience, it’s an energetic party and you can really feel the excitement when you play there.
Talking of daytime gigs, you’re festival season is stacked this year, we hear you even have a US tour lined up. Where else can we catch you this summer?
F – SW4, Creamfields, Bestival, Tomorrowland…
Are you excited to play Tomorrowland?
E – Yeah… we played Tomorrowland last year and it was amazing, but it poured with rain. That made it quite the spectacle when we were there. We are also playing Nocturnal Wonderland which is in California, everything is decorated neon. The line-up is amazing and the production looks really interesting. It’s definitely one that I am excited about.
What names for you stand out that you’ll probably be hanging around to see after your set?
E – There are so many names that stand out. If I was to name a few… Josh Butler, I love his music. Lee Foss is always really fun. Cristoph too!
One thing you see a lot of at festivals, especially daytime events is the use of phones. From the crowd, from artists and more. This is something strongly frowned upon in places like Berlin. What are your thoughts on the usage of phones at events?
F – For me, it’s a bit annoying but It’s going to happen. It doesn’t really bother me as much as I see it bother other people. It has become an obsession but at the end of the day you’re there to enjoy yourself so do what you want.
E – From a DJ perspective however, you have to think that if everyone is doing it, you see these videos blow up of DJs playing, especially on Instagram, it’s like a hyped video and in many circumstances these days, that is how a lot of people discover you. I’d be more annoyed if I was in the crowd trying to have a really good time and someone constantly recorded videos throughout.
A lot of this is fuelled by the explosion of social media over the past decade or so. What aspects of social media do you feel have benefitted your careers the most?
F – It’s been important for sure.
E – You should be more creative in the ways that you find artists and music though. It is nice to go into a record store and buy something that you wouldn’t normally necessarily buy or someone you’ve never heard of. Always follow them up and don’t just use social media because then, you’ve got a fresh take on it, you don’t get wrapped up in it. So although it is great, it is important to step back from it and go down a different route in order to define what you want.
Your ‘Night Blooming Jasmine’ EP just dropped on Anjunadeep last month. This was written about one of your favourite cities, Los Angeles. What do you love the most about LA and why?
E – The main thing I love about it is it’s a place where a lot of people go to be successful in the arts, it is quite a dreamy place.
Similar to Ibiza in a sense…
E – Yes, there are definitely some similarities. There’s that famous quote… “If you turn the world over on its side, everyone loose will end up in LA.” You’ve always got that kind of crowd over there and I like that.
What were your personal highlights during your time there?
F – I guess it’s quite fun in the sense that we don’t know many people there, so we have to go out and make friends. I really like that. It’s nice to meet new people. You will walk into a room and meet five people in the space of five minutes whereas in London, everything is so fast-paced and is the complete opposite.
How do you feel you captured the essence of this magical city in your latest EP release? What kind of production went into the creation of it?
E – Things are definitely more song-based as opposed to dance floor driven tracks and I think we’ve achieved that well. The vocals and lyrics are more at the forefront of the tracks, a lot of them are based on things we have experienced, just being on the road, we wanted to put our experiences into songs and create something a little bit different. That was one of the main inspirations.
Finally, when you are working on a track, how do you know when you have finished it? Sometimes, artists feel they have to keep adding elements to it…
F – It is a tricky one. You can definitely overwork things and I think you need to be aware of that. If you get to a point where you are listening to it and you are happy with it, I feel like you should always, in your mind, be able to go back to the time where you first happy with what you had done and not get carried away by adding more parts. A few final tweaks are fine but as soon as you really start changing a track, you lose the magic in it.
E – It can take such a drastic turn when you do too much and can even end up being three different tracks in itself. Whenever we save stuff, we always save it like 1A, 1B, 1C etc. We will do it every time we save it so you can go back to like an hour before so you can see how it has progressed.
Eli & Fur play at ANTS, Ushuaïa on 4th August (in Association with BBC Radio 1, to be recorded for the Essential Mix) and at Black Coffee, Hï Ibiza on 25th August. Eli & Fur ‘Night Blooming Jasmine’ EP is available now on Anjunadeep. You can purchase the EP here.
Eli & Fur and Anjunadeep present: ’Night Blooming Jasmine’ Video (Directed & Produced by Klement Brahaj www.klementbrahaj.com). You can watch it below:
You can listen to Eli & Fur’s ‘Night Blooming Jasmine’ EP on SoundCloud here.
Photo Credit By: Franck Bohbot