Welcome to 6th edition of the Music Is My Sanctuary weekly interviews.
As a reflection of the Music Is My Sanctuary philosophy, the artists I invite cover a wide range of styles. Just in the first 5 episodes so far we’ve covered Spiritual Jazz, House music, Yacht Rock, New Age, Experimental Electronic and today: Instrumental Hip-Hop / Beatmaking.
Veteran producer Elaquent is someone whose music I’ve loved for the past 10 years and whose artistic choices and work ethic I’ve always respected a lot. After having released 15 projects / albums he’s a great example of an artist sticking to his vision, his signature sound… not chasing trends, clicks or plays. He lets his music do the talking.
He’s been a good friend for a number of years and even though I’m a DJ and he’s a beatmaker I’ve always seen our careers as evolving on parallel lines. So I’m always proud when I see he’s playing shows around the world!
We touched on subjects like :
– As an artist, what is fair to expect from your die hard fans in terms of support. (Streaming VS Buying)
– The pressure on artists in the era of streaming and increasingly short attention span
– The popularity of Lo-Fi Beats playlists and channels on platforms like Youtube and Spotify
– The crazy news of the week that Myspace lost 17 years of music
– The fact that he’s been essentially using the same tools to make music since he started as a kid.
But most of all we talked about his journey and love of the craft.
Elaquent has seen music through two prisms. On one hand, the producer born Sona Elango has witnessed its power as a connective tissue that brings people in a city––a culture––together. Unifying. On the other, he understands just how deeply isolated one must be to find new corners of his own psyche. A native of Guelph, Ontario, Elaquent grew up without access to the infrastructure that’s readily available in a major city, and had little direction in terms of learning how to craft beats, or to play live. That forced him to learn by trial and error––but it also freed him from the cynical types of networking that gobbles up the time of creative people in coastal cities. And when he finally emerged with his own sound, Elaquent got to work establishing just the kind of scene he had been missing in his formative years.
Elaquent has spent this decade forging a style all his own, internalizing the sounds of great producers like J Dilla and DJ Premier, but glitching and altering them to the point
where his voice became inimitable. With a sprawling catalog that includes dozens of projects and countless remixes, Elaquent has become one of beat music’s most compelling figures––despite living thousands of miles from its Los Angeles epicenter. As Noisey once pointed out, he’s been pivotal in emphasizing the varied influences of beat music;– pushing the genre into new, previously unthinkable spaces and helping to establish a vibrant beat music scene in Toronto.
His new Mello Music Group album, Blessing in Disguise, distills those years of boots-on-the-ground relationship building and solitary refinement of his craft into one gleaming masterwork. Elaquent’s work breathes life into digital sounds, but it also filters physical experiences through the grime and existential muck of the internet. With careful planning and a unique attunement to the outside world, Elaquent gets his records to tell stories in ways that few instrumental albums can. As for the story his latest record tells, Elaquent notes that life’s hardships are often the most valuable experiences one can have: “There’s always something positive to pull from any bad situation,” he says. With Blessing in Disguise, Elaquent continues his reign as one of the beat scene’s greatest innovators.