Student Pocket Guide Interview with Elliot Wright


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Tell us how Eliquate came together?

Eliquate started as myself (Elliot Wright) and an Ipod in Santa Rosa
California. in 2008 I transfered to UC Santa Cruz where I met Jamie
Schnetzler, a local Santa Cruzian who produced beats. We had similar music
influences, and taste in Chinese food, so we bonded over both and began
collaborating on what would become Arch Rhythm. At the time I was working
at a head shop, and my coworker was in a band with Dan Wells and Cosmo
Stevens. When their band broke up, I was lucky enough to get Dan and Cosmo
to start jamming at shows with Jamie and I, making Eliquate a fully live
experience.

How do you think Eliquate’s sound has developed over the past few years?

When we first started we were basically playing over pre-recorded
tracks, until the fateful show at Bay Area Sound Studios when our ipod cut
out and we were forced to make up a set on the spot. It was a ton of fun,
so for a while we would play shows by basically jamming and improvising.
Eventually, as we got more popular, we realized we had to commit to a
sound  and start really writing songs. With the addition of keyboardist Justin
Mosley, we were able to capture that sound in our first e.p. “Who the Fuck
is Eliquate?” that we released shortly after Arch Rhythm. While “Arch
Rhythm” was a reflection of our love for hip hop, “WTFE?” is a reflection
of the party Jam phase we went through while we were developing our sound.
After playing together for a few more years, Mosley had to leave the band
and was replaced with Tanner Christiansen, a more loop and computer based
musician. We began to refine our song writing process and be a lot more
intentional with our music. The product of this was “A Chalkboards War
Against Erasers.” We were now writing songs as a group, and had a better
idea what it was we were trying to accomplish.
Since your lyrical message is as important as your sound, how does this affect your songwriting? Does one ever take precedence over the other,  and how do you decide what takes priority at what time?

For me the whole thing started off being about the lyrics and my first
recordings greatly reflected that. The actual music was very hollow and
was  essentially a caddy for the lyrics. When Eliquate became a band and I
started working with real musicians I was able to get a little more
creative, take more risks, and be more deliberate with the lyrics because
the songs were becoming more dynamic. The guys have been really good about
trusting me to always have their back lyrically and allow me to write
about  what I want or feel I need to write about. I wouldn’t say that one has
precedence over the other in any case. analogous to film making, the
dialogue is just as important as the cinematography to create the
comprehensive experience. Often times I will hear something the guys have
written and try to match the tone of the song with the content of the
lyrics, and vice-versa.

Tell us about the PATCHWORKS 3 EP. What was the recording process like? Any interesting stories? How does it compare to your live sound, or to A CHALKBOARD’S WAR AGAINST ERASERS?

After completing my senior seminar in college I did nothing but read
comic books because I still loved to read, but wanted nothing but the pure
joy of reading with out all the responsibility of taking it seriously.
similarly, after completing our first studio album, we were still eager to
continue writing songs but didn’t want to have to take it too seriously.
We wanted to go back to the days of closet recording sessions, and goofy one
takes that we had somewhat taken for granted over the years. We didn’t
worry too much about the fidelity of the recordings, or how complicated
the song structure was, we were just having fun. Though we liked all the songs
we put on there, with a few exceptions, we knew they would be
inappropriate to take into a professional studio. Everything we did on ACWAE was thought
about and planned, everything on Patchworks was just kind of pieced
together. We recorded in several different locations, with several
different microphones, and most of the time just kinda goofing around.

Favorite band achievement or concert memory so far?

My favorite experience so far has got to be our first show in Seattle
W.A. First of all I must explain the context, we were out on our first
tour  ever, in a bus that we had to repair every 100 ft or so, in a city we had
never been before with no show on a saturday night. Instead of just taking
the loss, we got on our cell phones and started calling random
Fraternities at University Washington, asking if they were interested in hosting a band
for the night. Most of them said no, save for this one house who seemed
rather excited by the idea. I assumed that they were just being nice, and
for the most part they were going to ignore us and play beer pong while we
did our thing in the corner. Low and Behold we arrived and we heard “Good
Times” being played out of one of the windows. The chairman head Frat guy
came out to greet us tell us were to set up. He told us he was just
checking us out online and dug what he heard, however we would have to go
on soon because the music had to be done by ten. As we set up our gear, he
rallied the house to come out side to the courtyard and watch us play.
Reluctantly they filed out, mostly freshman, some with their girlfriends,
some already drunk. As we began to sound check I could see by the look on
their faces that most of them saw this as an obligation, and didn’t really
want to be out in the cold listening to a band they have never heard
before. Non of us cared. After battling the bus and the many many hours
spent on it, dealing with the crippling feeling of failure for not having
a show, and the rewarding feeling of finally getting one in Seattle we were
ready to play the best show of our lives. As we started to get into our
first song, the “I thought you guys were going to suck” look began to wash
over the strangers faces. Then came the cell phones. My first thought was
“Great we are loosing them” as I watch a succession of audience members
turning their faces toward their phones. It wasn’t until I noticed the
crowd size double, then triple, that I realized it was just them inviting
their friends over to check out a rocking show. We had earned their trust,
and the show became a riotous occasion, as people started flooding in off
the street. Our manager Thomas got so excited he took the last of our
“merch” and tossed it into the air at the crowd, who went after it like it
was the antidote. Afterwords, and for the first time ever, we got to party
like celebrities who just lived out a childhood fantasy.

Choosing this as my favorite band moment, isn’t to say we
haven’t bigger or more rocking shows, rather what it meant to us at that
time. We had spent a long time convinced that our friends only liked us
because they knew us. Yet here we were in a place we have never been, on a
tour we had put on entirely out of ambition and elbow grease, playing to a
bunch of strangers, and rocking it. It was almost like a validation that
all of our efforts were worth it because this was how skeptical strangers
reacted to our music. It was all worth it.

What are Eliquate’s future plans? Is there anything you want readers to know that isn’t mentioned here?

Our plan now is to finish our second studio album, and be on the road
for most of the winter and spring of 2014/2015, including SXSW 2015. In
the  mean time we will be releasing a few more music videos from Patchworks,
and  ACWAE, as well as a collection of singles and collaborations with other
artists. To find out more about dates and releases you can visit our
website eliquate.com or on any of our social media outlets /eliquate