Los Angeles producer Elusive is no stranger to sonic evolution, he moved through the first wave of his career with the experimental hip-hop community in the '90s , followed by the first wave of beat-centric Los Angeles producers in years after. Now entering an entirely different realm of compositional approach, jazz, electronica, and many other shades of music are finding a home within his sound. Specifically, this year finds his latest efforts winding further down the hybrid road of electronica and jazz. Roads that artists like Flying Lotus and Onra have put a lot of energy and momentum towards.
Elusive released the Textures LP with Alpha Pup Records earlier this year on vinyl and digital formats. Not even 12 months later and he's scheduled to drop Headspace, a new LP with Alpha Pup. Launching on digital formats August 5, Headspace is another standout record in Elusive's large catalog of 25+ releases. Flourishing rhythms and dynamic melodies are found all over Headspace, complemented with guest features from LA vocalist Flavia, jazz guitarist Emile Poree, and trumpeter and brother, Josh Koslow.
XLR8R is pleased to present two tracks from the Elusive's Headspace, joined by a quick Q&A about the new record.
Tell us about the Headspace LP and where that falls in line with the current albums you have with Alpha Pup Records, how did it come together in the studio and what elements really stand out to you with the record?
The main theme of this album was the expansion of my creativity as a musician, not just as a beat maker. I wanted to expand on musical ideas, as well as rhythms. My favorite moments are the more jazzy tracks. I feel like that’s where my music is going. So those are the songs that I feel will bridge over to the new music I’m making now.
Headspace features the addition of recorded trumpet, guitar, and vocals. What experiences brought these people to the album and what have they added to Headspace sonically?
All of the people who have contributed to this album are artists that I’ve worked with in the past, through some capacity. The vocalist Flavia, is from a group called Angels Dust. I had done a remix for them and loved her vocals. I asked her to be on a couple of tracks, and we vibed together really well. The guitarist Emile Poree is a jazz guitarist I’ve known since I was 17. He went to high school with my brother Josh, who also plays trumpet on the album. They were in jazz band together, and the World Stage. I’ve known him for so long that he is basically part of the family. My brother played trumpet on this album, and we’ve collaborated on music forever. I grew up playing the drums, and my brother and I went to music magnet schools. With us only being a year and a half apart in age, we are close as siblings and easily inspired by the same things. Creating music with him just comes as naturally as being brothers. Much of my work lately is influenced by jazz so I’m really looking forward to adding these more organic sounds and working with other artists to create work from the kind of music that inspired me and was introduced to me at a young age. It feels like it’s coming full circle.
The huge jazz influence is something you can hear right away with this new record. Is there any particular jazz records from the past or present that were catalysts for you in shifting towards this sonic approach?
Two records that really inspired me on this album: “Love Supreme” by John Coltrane, and “Bitches Brew” by Miles Davis. These albums are what made me think more about adding complex melodies, different chord voicings, and a wider range of time signatures to the new album. My albums are pretty conceptual or like themes. I wanted to be more expressive with this album and there isn’t any other music more expressive than jazz music to me.
Outside of the attachments that come with releasing records to the public, what does the process of creating and releasing music do for you as an artist and human being?
Ultimately, I make music for myself as a way to express how I feel. I hope that in releasing my music it will bring someone mentally to where I’m at or what I’m feeling when I make a song. But, equally as satisfying are if they perceive a song differently and it takes them somewhere else or makes them feel a certain way. For me, it means that it has reached them in some way that they can feel in tune with what I’m trying to convey.