Elephante Talks About His Harvard Beginnings in Exclusive iEDM Interview
Moonrise Festival saw a sold out (read: oversold) Sunday filled with some of the biggest and best names in EDM. While Sunday was bass dominated (the broken rail at Excision can attest to this), some of the other acts veered away from headbanging and mosh pits.
Elephante has been rising quickly through EDM ranks and has just embarked on his Animals Wanted Tour, which stopped at Moonrise. I had a chance to sit down and talk to Elephante before his Sunday set at Moonrise.
iEDM: I know you get this question a lot, but you majored in economics at Harvard and then you made the transition to DJ-ing. In previous interviews you've said that it was your passion and what you wanted to do, but what pushed you to the decision? Was there a breaking point?
Elephante: I don't know if there was a single breaking point. I grew up my entire life making music and I wanted to be a musician. But being a young Asian boy, it's not even in the realm of possibility. I was doing it a lot on the side, I spent all my free time on the weekends doing it and then I had a job and one day I knew that I couldn't do it anymore. I knew that I'd never forgive myself if I didn't give it a shot. I was so unhappy and I spent everyday leaving work early, going in late, working on music all the time. I knew I had to give it a shot.
iEDM: Props to you, that's a huge career move to make, it must have been really hard.
Elephante: Yeah, and people ask like 'oh was it scary?' I don't know it wasn't even really a choice. It was the only thing I could do, it was either this or kill myself so... I went for it. It was something I had to do.
iEDM: I feel that. It seems like it was the best choice you could've made! You made a name for yourself doing a lot of remixes, do you prefer remixing or producing originals?
Elephante: Yeah, remixes are definitely fun and I love doing them, but I grew up writing songs, so making my own music is what I really love doing. It's what I have the most passion for and I'll definitely get back to doing remixes, but it's mostly original stuff now.
iEDM: Awesome, we'll keep an ear out for that. You just started out on your Animals Wanted tour, what are you most excited for?
Elephante: The tour is amazing. I'm so excited, we're doing a bunch of festivals, I was at Ilesoniq in Montreal yesterday and doing Moonrise today and a bunch of colleges and Electric Zoo will be really sick. So, I'm super stoked.
iEDM: And you've had an unusual path to producing, is there anything you know now that you wish you knew when you started out?
Elephante: Pretty much everything. I didn't know shit starting off, and I guess that's how it is for everyone. No one really knows what they're doing when they first start and people still don't really know what they're doing. I still don't know what I'm doing sometimes. When you start off you spend a lot of time worrying about shit that doesn't matter and I was always music first, but I'm a big believer in making the music good and if the music speaks for itself, everything else will work out.
iEDM: That's a really refreshing approach, I know some people go into the industry trying to figure out what will make the most money or what will be the most popular.
Elephante: Yeah, and you know its hard because dance music changes so fast and you really have to be able to adapt and evolve with what's popular, but at the same time if you just go chasing whatever the popular sound is at the time, by the time your track comes out it's already too late. That's the challenge for artists, to find an authentic sound that people resonate with. A sound that's you and still feels fresh but isn't like everyone else's.
iEDM: You'll be playing in front of a very large crowd today, there's a lot of people here today. (Sunday was oversold).
iEDM: What are you looking forward to the most in your set today?
Elephante: I don't know, I have some new music that I've been playing and testing out, a new EP and some new tracks that I'm excited about. It's fun and scary playing new stuff for people because a lot of times they just want to hear Prison Riot for the fifteenth time - which is fine, I love it - but there's nothing like the energy of a great festival crowd. It's gonna be super exciting.