Wearhaus Featured Artist: The ElephanteFebruary 8, 2014
Tim Wu, also known as the DJ/Producer Elephante, describes himself as “a kid making weird noises in his room.” On the contrary, Elephante is an up and coming progressive house DJ/producer from LA making rounds on Hype Machine and other top EDM media outlets for his many remixes including Clean Bandit’s “Rather Be”, Calvin Harris’s “Summer”, and Katy Perry’s “Dark Horse”. We got a chance to chat with him about his musical influences, remix process, and advice to aspiring DJs.
Follow him on Facebook here: (he’s official, blue check mark and all!)
Talk with him on Twitter
LISTEN TO HIS WEIRD NOISES HERE
Patty: Why the name “Elephante?”
Tim: It’s a reference to the phrase “elephant in the room”. I used to work a desk job, and the elephant was that I was really unhappy and hated it even though it was a really good job, and all I wanted to do was make music. So the name was about “becoming the elephante”, and just embracing what I always wanted to do but was too scared to.
Also, elephants are dope – they stomp around and make cool noises and stuff.
P: How do you choose which songs to remix?
T: A lot of it is just loving a song, but also hearing something in my head that I can add or change about the song to make it more unique and take it to a different place. And then I do the remixes my mom tells me to.
P: Do you get sick of songs after spending so much time with them?
T: 100%. I hate every single song I make by the time I’m done… listening to the same riff 1213842 times in a row will do that to you.
P: What’s your remix process like, starting from how you choose a song to the end product?
T: It usually starts with listening to the original and figuring out what parts of it I want to keep, usually just the vocal but sometimes a melody riff or chord progression. Then I usually work on piano or guitar and build out what I want the meat of the remix to sound like. Then it’s just a ton of time building out sounds and drums and trying to add cool sounding stuff. Then I bang my head on my computer until I go insane, and then I stop.
P: How has being a classically trained pianist influenced your work?
T: Learning piano and guitar when I was younger is probably why I make mostly melodic tracks. I usually think about those and what the harmonies are before I even think about drums or anything else. I also think I have a piano somewhere in pretty much every track.
P: What’s it like having such positive feedback from fans? (And so many fans)
T: It’s crazy. I’m just a kid making weird noises in his room, and it’s an honor to have anyone listen to my music with how much good stuff is out there, let alone having everyone give such love.
P: Side note, how does it feel to be official on facebook?
T: Also, amazing. Like waking up on Christmas with a new bike, or going to Coachella and finding out Daft Punk is making a surprise appearance (wait that didn’t happen).
P: Who are your favorite DJ’s/songs?
T: It changes pretty often, but right now I’m really excited by Tchami and Seven Lions (Don’t Leave is absolutely brilliant). Zedd and Madeon probably have the biggest influence on my sound… also Kaskade 4EVA, he was the guy who made me want to start making electronic music.
P: If you could collaborate with one artist, who would it be?
T: If I had a time machine, probably John Mayer circa 2007… Continuum is the best album of all time (only sort of kidding). Right now, non-EDM I’d say Bon Iver, in-EDM again prob Seven Lions, so I can learn everything he does and steal it all. I kinda cheated on this question.
P: What made you pursue DJing in college?
T: I actually didn’t start until after I graduated. I was a singer-songwriter and in bands and whatnot in college – I started making EDM because I was traveling a lot for my job and just started messing around on my laptop.
P: How do you feel going to Harvard affected your career choice?
T: Made my parents like 10x more pissed. Actually though, mostly just showed me the life I didn’t want, and that all the money/opportunities in the world would be pointless if I wasn’t happy.
P: What advice do you have for aspiring DJs?
T: Concentrate 10x as much on your music as promotion. Imagine some 13-year old in a basement inventing dubtrapdeepstep, and ask yourself if you’re working as hard as he is. Meet everyone you can. And most importantly, don’t be a dickhead, no one likes dickheads.
P: When did you decide that pursuing your current career path was worth it?
T: I quit my job around a year ago, it was when I realized I didn’t have enough time to make the music I wanted to make, and that I was going to jump off a bridge if I didn’t man up and do it.
P: What are your thoughts on ghost producing?
T: I understand why it’s done, but as someone who spends a ton of time working on music, it kinda makes me sad. I’ve been asked a few times to do it, but I’ve never been offered enough money (the price is a million dollars. for a million i’ll give you the best fucking ghost produced track you’ve ever seen).
P: Are you as excited about your remixes as your fans are? Or do you avoid listening to them all together?
T: I have a complicated relationship with my remixes. Goes back and forth between hating them and being like eh this is okay. I try not to listen to them really, all I hear is the spots I fucked up.
P: Do you ever go back to listening to the original songs?
T: Not really, by no fault of the song, but usually because I’ve listened to it a million times while working on it.
P: Favorite food?
T: Fried chicken.
P: Weirdest fan encounter?
T: Someone recognized me in a bathroom at a football game. I was with my friend who didn’t really believe that I was serious about being a musician, so that one felt pretty good.
P: Favorite city to visit/tour/perform in?
T: NYC is always a blast, but I can’t take more than a couple days at a time because it’s so nuts there.
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