Eluize talks tech and delves into her 5 favourite studio items
A self-confessed Moonlighter at heart, Australian born, Berlin based live act, DJ, producer and vocalist Eluize is one of those creative forces who somehow manages to defy the art of the possible.
Deeply dedicated to her craft, she not only juggles the demands of being a Mum but also finds enough hours in the day to spend time writing, creating, curating and delivering a full spectrum of Electronic music. Not to mention teaching and mentoring Music Tech to students on her Patreon, alongside fronting a regular series of features for Beatportal.
Renowned for her sonic leanings which take in spacious dub aesthetics evolving through to rave inspired euphoria, she equally balances intense acidic workouts with a healthy dose of blissful ambient pop, much to our delight. After starting her own imprints Night Tide and Bermuda Series back in 2016, cross continental platforms that stand for beauty inspired sonics for the dance floor. She started to gain traction amongst the global community with contributions from the likes of Melbourne’s Albrecht La’Brooy, Belfast’s R.Kitt, and Scandinavia’s Josefine Hellström and Ena Cosovic.
When her charming debut album “Confide” surfaced on Craigie Knowes back in 2019, she struck a chord that fully resonated with us, embracing a magical flow between dance floor hypnotics and warm melodies that set you adrift with a smile. As the pandemic took hold in 2020, Eluize started a coaching initiative supporting Womxn and Non-binarypeople in electronic music production, performance and label management, alongside a weekly video series for Beatport Link. Not one for resting on her laurels, she released her follow up LP “Gone”, capturing the full-spectrum of her song-writing mastery, composition and production in all its shimmering brilliance. Where her take on shaping synthesis, drum-programming, mixing and original vocals rise to the fore: taking you by the hand into a rich vista of colour and broody soundscapes.
As we now emerge from the other side of the last couple of years in somewhat unsettling times, she has chosen to move herself out of Berlin and back to the warmer climes of her native Australia for a much needed breather. Which, has thankfully given us time to get in touch and have a chat about her background, creative processes and love for all things studio related.
So, where did your obsession with playing, creating and making music start?
“I feel like I was maybe born this way … my mum put me in music lessons when I was about 5 and I continued studying classical until I finished high school. My dad loved synthesisers, electronics and audio and was always tinkering and obsessing about our home stereo. Apparently he had quite a synth collection in uni because he was in a band, but he had to sell them when I came along – devastating haha! So yeah, a perfect storm I suppose. I took a bit of a break from music studies in early university, and then fell into electronic music and night life culture through clubbing in my early 20s, did a course in production and started dj’ing myself and haven’t looked back.”
Who were your biggest influences back then?
“It’s been all over the place, but I suppose my electronic music is quite influenced by my formative years in the late 90s early 00s, listening to groups like Portishead, Massive Attack, Orbital, The Orb, Chemical Brothers, The Prodigy etc. I was working in surf, ski and skate shops throughout this time too, and the snowboarding vids had a lot of really lush “chill out” soundtracks that I heard on repeat, cruisey beats, lovely pads and ethereal vocals from time to time Zero 7, AIR, Lamb, Jakatta, Thievery Corporation, Röyksopp, a smattering of Bjork … This was between dalliances with 90s Hip Hop, RnB, Punk, Grunge and a whole lot of Beastie Boys …”
How would you describe your approach to making music?
“Therapy based. I make what I feel like needs releasing from my mind and body, or what I’m thinking about. I try to express moods and emotions, because I want people to feel and connect with them. Usually I have an idea of the “topic” before I start, I might do a little sketch or drawing or think about what colour or texture it is or write a poem, just so I have something to go back to for reference if I lose the thread.”
Does being a vocalist shape your direction differently to others?
“I think so, potentially, because I usually try to weave my voice in somehow. I had a piece of advice once (thanks Ian), that if I couldn’t afford synthesisers or hardware, one thing that would put an unmistakeable stamp on my works would be to use my voice. I was shy at first but I’ve really leant into it now and I love it. Even if it’s not a featured part in the track, I usually use it as a pad or some percussion, sneak it in there, it’s become almost a challenge to use it every time.
I also often write a song first, like think of a melody and words, then build a track around it. In the end, I usually cut out most of the vocal so I’m left with sample type snips and key words to make it more club friendly, but that song beginning really secures me in where I want to go with the piece. I guess too, my vocal range might dictate a little what key I put things in.”
Magic vs Accident – where does one start and the other end?
“It’s not the same thing? I think it’s all very entwined and one can’t exist without the other. I find too much intent or direction makes the magic harder to come by, better to be in a relaxed flow state and clean and edit later.”
Tell us about your first studio set up: what equipment did you get started with?
“It was a very simplistic “in the box” set up. I started in Protools then Logic and eventually landed in Ableton. I find it’s the place I finish tracks the easiest, I had an Mbox sound card (from my protools beginnings) a set of borrowed studio monitors and a MacBook Pro.”
And how has it evolved since?
“It’s constantly evolved and evolving. I swing back and forth between hardware and soft synths and FX. I can really hear different phases and obsessions I’ve had in different periods with different instruments and work flows, as I’ve moved from place to place and studio to studio. Recently, I’ve been trying to make music that’s easier to translate into a live set, less complicated and on a set couple of synths and a drum machine so there’s less pressure on the computer… but it’s hard, I change my mind a lot and I love going on discovery sojourns exploring machines, reading manuals and making noise.
The one thing that remains the same is my voice, mostly I use an SM58 to record now. I used to use a condenser mic but found I don’t really lean to that really crystal clear vocal recording anymore. Still, with pedals and FX experimentation, it gets twisted in new ways each season.
Some of my fave synths, that are in the Berlin studio now that I’ve had to part ways with temporarily are a (classic) Juno 106, a Roland JV2080 that a friend advised me to buy on a whim. This thing has some super sounds in it – very 90s, things like pan flutes and rave stabs. I also have a Moog Grandmother I was just getting accustomed to and some other bits and bobs.
Rest assured, I managed to jam a lot of hardware into my allocated weight allowance in my suitcase coming down here. So my set up currently is a Cyclone Analogic Bassbot (I’m gonna gush about this treasure below), an MFB Tanzbär II drum machine that I was lusting after for years and finally got my hands on in December. A Waldorf Blofeld which I’ve been trying to learn more about wavetable synthesis on. I have an Arturia Beatstep Pro which I love for sequencing, the hands on approach works well for me. For FX, I have some Roland and Line 6 pedals, but I feel like I want to explore and get a bit more wild here….
In the box I use a lot of Arturia soft synths from the V collection, I love their sound. Soundtoys plugins are super amazing FX, I have a few tape emulators and that’s about it. The rest is mostly native Ableton, Ohm and an Ableton Push 2 – I use it a lot in my live show.”
Do you have a “go to” piece of equipment that you favour?
“I’m OBSESSED with my Cyclone Analogic Bassbot. It was a piece my old boss Peter gave me for a Christmas bonus (WHAT A LEGEND!), and I’ve learned it inside and out. I love its sound, I love the sequencer, which I use often to run other instruments these days, I love how it feels – kinda light and almost like a junky toy – but then it has such a glorious personality. I think it’s key that I have learned it in so much detail, I think you can only get the best out of an instrument once you really get to know it and how it works, so you can play fluidly and stay in flow rather than stopping to pull out the manual to remember how to save a patch or whatever. The Tanzbär II from MFB is my latest acquisition and will be my new romance.”
Are there any new toys you want to acquire at the moment?
“I may or may not have just ordered a Moog Werkstatt-01 to play with while I’m down here – (shout out to Maks at Turnlab in Antwerp for accommodating my cross continental hardware posting whims). This one comes as a kit you build yourself which I’m excited about! I’m also expecting an Arturia Microfreak which looks absolutely insane, definitely a lot of tutorials are going to be needed to learn it.”
What item do you regret selling the most?
“I’m a bit of a hoarder when it comes to synths so haven’t really sold anything much….. I probably should.”
Without further ado, talk us through your 5 current favourite studio items…
1. Cyclone Analogic Bassbot
“So the bassbot is first since it’s been my main rant today!
In Relinquish I used quite a simple pattern, but I could tweak it throughout which I think gives a lot in terms of tension build and release. I like that once you’ve got the pattern going, you can pitch it up or down or add glides and accents on the machine, as well as contorting the sound with it’s resonance frequencies and decay etc etc …
2. Juno 106
“Here’s an example of using the bot sequencing, in Enervation it ran the Juno 106 for the bleepy lines, and then I could record an evolving run of that too. The midi would occasionally drop out or double up due to things being not completely digital which gives it a more human appeal.”
I used to use the Juno for bass in basically every track until I forced myself to go on a bit of a hiatus from it, you can hear it swelling in all its gritty glory here on Rest (Refrain), from memory I think almost all of this was written with the Juno.”
3. Roland JV-2080
“On Amethystine, those glistening pads are from Roland JV-2080, I love how they twinkle and add a sort of crystalline ambience…
EMDR showcases purely Ableton native FX, synths and bits off of Max 4 Live:
If you’re curious what the inside of my session looks like or would like to have the sounds I built. You can download the full session, dig through, play with it (and even send me a remix if you like).“
4. Korg Volca FM
“DPDR is one of my first forays into FM synthesis, I have a little Korg Volca FM which I load other patches into using the free DEXED plugin. This is cool if you haven’t checked it, because you can get all the sounds from the classic Yamaha DX7 all into this lil machine.
You can also of course play it in the box. All the lead lines here are from that:
As I mentioned I use my voice in a lot of different ways. On Obsolescence I went heavy on the the Line 6 M9 stomp box Modeler, for lots of reverse delay, colour and verb, possibly some pitch doubling through a Roland Boss VE-20 … The vocal take was done in one experimenting session and I needed to grab everything for the track from there, because I couldn’t remember what I did (what was that about magic v accident?).”
5. Roland BOSS RE-20
“While we’re talking about pedals, I picked up a secondhand Roland BOSS RE-20 Space Echo years ago, which is totally wild and virtually impossible to control and I LOVE it. I use it to add colour to outboard gear…. You can hear it best and most clearly in my track Talk in Technicolour in the breakdown from 3:03, it’s the what’s twisting the lead there and it makes me hold my breath every time.
And finally, what have you got planned for the year ahead:
“This year I’m in Australia regrouping after a couple of pretty emotionally challenging years trying to regulate my nervous system a bit and focusing up.
I’m building a new studio and going to be doing a lot of writing, I’ve got a couple of club 12” in the works and I’m sketching out plans for my next album.
My live club and festival show is ready and I’ve got a hoard of awesome music ready for gigs, so I’m looking forward to a year getting to know my motherland again and playing shows around Aus. I’ve also set my sights on doing more live streams once the studio is built, dj and live sets, maybe some ambient and evolving experimental things, let’s see…
I’m always interested to hear what people would like to listen to from me. So as always, I’ll be chatting through everything I do, with video journals, sharing WIPS, giving away tickets, remix parts and sample libraries and physical and treats in the mail, and calling and writing direct to my friends on:
So, if anyone would like to know what I’m up to or collaborate, that’s the place to check and find me…”