Elephante is returning to New Orleans with his Diamond Days and Club Nights tour. Don’t miss the show at Republic NOLA on February 1st. Get tickets here.
How many Harvard graduates go on to be a top music producer with fans all around the world? Well, Elephante did just that.
After working a corporate economics job after college, Tim Wu knew he had to address the “elephant” in the room. He was unhappy in his current job and wanted desperately to break away to become part of the music industry.
Fast-forward a few years and the producer has now released his second EP, which reached #1 on the iTunes dance charts. He’s touring around the globe with his music, and all while maintaining a Las Vegas residency among some of the biggest names in house music.
River Beats New Orleans asked Elephante about the emotion behind house music and what it takes to come to peace with your work as an artist in the public eye.
Check out the River Beats Interview below.
Welcome back to New Orleans! We last saw you headlining the Metro last winter. What has changed in your music and your career since your New Orleans fans last saw you?
“Since then I’ve started this totally new live show. I’m playing guitar and singing live now, and the production is on a whole new level. There’s a whole new set of visuals, really the whole live show has taken a level up. I wanted to kind of bring it back to my roots and give fans something a little more unique.”
Absolutely! So what can fans look forward to on the Diamond Days and Club Nights tour?
“There’s this whole new live aspect to the show. I’ve been finding new ways to play old songs that people love. This is the first time that it’s really felt like my unique vision from top to bottom. So it’s been really exciting. Whenever you’re doing something totally new it can be a bit scary. You wonder if people are even going to care. But it’s been so creatively gratifying and fulfilling, and I’m really excited to bring it to New Orleans.”
So can we guess then that we have a new album coming soon?
“Ya! I’m working on it now and have a bunch of music done, but you know these things always take longer than you think they do. But new music is on the way. The tour has been so inspiring that it’s changed a lot of what I thought I wanted to do with the album. Touring and making music always sort of bounce off each other and reflect on each other like that. ”
So you graduated from Harvard University but changed paths when you started music. What was it about the dance music sphere that drew you in so much that it encouraged you to quit a “stable job” to be part of it?
“There’s just this magic in electronic music! You can really make any sound that’s ever existed. I remember first listening to Skrillex thinking ‘what is this noise?’ It was so fresh that it felt like the whole universe had opened up. So it’s the music but then also just how amazing the fans are. So it started with the music, but then the culture also. It was such an exciting time in music – almost like the Wild West – where anything went. That kind of freedom and how exciting it was – that’s what really got me to dive in headfirst.”
What is it about house music specifically that you think elicits such a strong emotional response from listeners?
“I fell in love with that West Coast sounding house music right off that bat. And the songs that resonated with me the most weren’t necessarily the ones that were the most ‘banging.’ It was the ones that really told a story and had more of an emotional arc. It was the ones that had that storytelling aspect of music that I loved growing up.”
What advice do you have for young creators or business people who are looking to quit their job to create their own business and work for themselves?
“I think the biggest thing is that you just have to make the leap. It’s going to be scary. There’s no blueprint for having success. The love of what you do really has to sustain you. Like if you wanted to be a lawyer, there are very specific steps that you take. But when you’re starting a business or being creative there’s no plan for that. You just kind of have to figure out your own way. And if you try to copy what other people have done it’s bound to fail. Just know that it’s going to be hard, and no one’s going to be able to give you answers but yourself. Just love what you’re doing and know that no one actually knows what they’re doing.”
I found this quote when researching about your latest EP “Glass Maison.”
‘It’s about coming to peace with the fact that it all might never be finished, and that’s okay. It’s about realizing that our Glass Mansion isn’t the answer to all our problems, and it’s about the journey of finding grace and happiness in a half-built home.’
So my question is – as a creator – and one who’s largely in the public eye – how do you do this?? How do you find happiness within your work without getting bogged down by both external and internal judgments and perfectionism?
“It’s something I struggle with every day. Being at peace with yourself and having the self-worth to not judge yourself based on the numbers or the size of your show or what celebrities you know. But to me, it always comes back to the love of what you do. The thing I try to remind myself is I’m very fortunate to have fans that are affected by my music – and that’s what it’s all about.
All the other trappings of fame and success are very fleeting. I do this because I love it. And I’m the luckiest person in the world that I can to make music and have it mean something to people.”
Featured image via Elephante