Following our premiere of Eli Sundae’s ‘Art Gallery Bruisers’ a track off their latest EP Eli Bloody Eli, we get to know those behind the musical madness.
Hi Sam! We make power-pop for horny dorks. A friend of a friend of my uncle’s emailed me yesterday to say that the record reminded him of the first Nick Lowe LP, Jesus of Cool. I started crying. I’d like to keep drawing that comparison, please.
Tell us a bit about yourself, some fun facts about Eli Sundae if you will.
Eli Sundae is just me taking a running start at a family tradition.
My grandfather was a painter. Grandpa Richard painted birds, almost exclusively. The bird paintings were everywhere in my childhood home. They’re all small, they’re all silly, and they’re also sorta sad.
My mom is a choreographer. I grew up in the audience of her dance performances, watching her move. My mom’s dances are like Grandpa Richard’s birds: they’re small, they’re silly, they’re sorta sad.
For a long time, I was under the impression that I had to make music that was Very Serious™. That’s bogus. I’m just gonna do it like Grandpa Richard and my mom. Seems like they got a good thing going. Small, silly sad. Thinking about their stuff makes me feel like making music.
The Eli Bloody Eli EP is great from start to finish, what was the main vision when you came to put the EP together?
Thanks for saying so! Making Eli Bloody Eli involved returning to the scariest spaces from my life–places I’ve felt like a fuckup and a dork (school, bedtime, fucking)–and taking inventory.
So it’s a record about the fears you face to make some room for yourself. You go back to those places, tear them down, and build a new version. One that works for you.
How did the NYC release show go?
Man, it was so fun! We played the old record, the new record, and some songs from whatever’s next. I danced my ass off, made some new friends, and totally shot my voice.
Specifically, I’d like to shout out the bands Oceanator and Hellrazor, who opened up the show. Those are two of my absolute favorite projects in NYC right now. Playing with bands that good is an incredible con, ’cause I get to see them for free, all in one place.
Tell us a bit about the cover art for the EP?
For the last record, Betcherino, we used one of Grandpa Richard’s bird drawings, to set the tone for this project. I was all set to use another Grandpa Richard bird this time around, but [guitarist and producer] Danny suggested that I should try drawing it myself.
I drew Box Man, and I felt like the picture had some Grandpa Richard vibes. Box Man is hiding from everything, but he’s just doing his best! Chilling out in some dope flip flops.
You’ve been playing quite a few great gigs – have there been any particular highlights for you?
Last month we played with the vancouver band Peach Pit, at their first-ever NYC show. God bless those fancy daddies–I shimmied with parts of my body that I didn’t even know I had.
What are the very first things you do when you come to create music?
Step 1: peel off from the group hang, and sing some ba-da-da nonsense into my phone in the bathroom.
Step 2: forget I ever did that.
Step 3: weeks later, listen back to my voice memos. Mis-hear whatever I was going for originally. Write some other shit instead.
What’s the most exciting thing you have planned between now and Christmas?
I’m gonna drive down the west coast, play the first Eli Sundae California shows, and finally find my signature scent.
Have you got any plans for an album now the EP is out the way?
We’re throwing around some songs. I think we’ll only do an LP-sized record if we have an LP-sized idea. Some of the new tracks might be growing into that.
What/who else influences/inspirations would you say play a part in the creation of your music?
Besides Grandpa Richard’s paintings and my mom’s dances, key influences include:
- “Video Killed the Radio Star”
- ASMR videos
- Fatboy Slim’s mid-00s stuff
- Shel Silverstein
- Jonathan Richman (only the dumbest songs)
- GIFs of things fitting perfectly into other things
What’s the ultimate aim for Eli Sundae?
I think Eli Sundae probably culminates in a big-ass snowball fight, but the fate of the town hangs in the balance. Like a snowball fight against the mayor.