Text: Alec Coiro
The musical history of dance music that I find most persuasive has it that so far as the 70s went, funk and disco formed a dichotomy: deep bass-inflected soul was on the funk side, and sequencing and orchestration were on the disco side. Given this binary, one would suppose that modern electronic dance music, with its machine-generated beats and digital emulations, would tend toward the disco end of things. And to large extent, I think most electronic artists have disco in their archeology, so I found Eliot Lipp’s affinity for Funk to be a particular testimony to his soul. Further testimony can be found in the annotations to his tracks, which carefully outline where they music came from in every sense. However, the best testimony is surely the music itself, which is rich, varied, always funky if not always in an overt way, and certainly more than capable of speaking for itself.
As a connoisseur of the road, Lipp has been all over, but we caught up with him in Austin, TX which he currently calls home.
I like the Soundcloud annotations to you’ve made for your tracks. They show the personal level of care you put into the tracks. I also like the way they’re all hashtagged “Funk.” Your tracks are clearly highly funky, but it got my wondering what exactly that means and how you see yourself fitting into the pantheon of funk?
The boundaries for what constitutes funk seem less restrictive than most electronic music sub-genres. I miss the days when a record store just had a big section called ‘Techno’ or ‘Electronica’ and anything with a drum machine on it went there.
How did the remix with Emancipator come to pass?
I’ve been friends with Doug (Emancipator) for a few years. When I finished the original version of Not Quite Awake I sent it right to him telling him I thought it sounded like an Emancipator track. He liked it and really wanted to make a remix. I love how much further the violins go on the remix.
I notice RZA mentioned as one of your foundational inspirations, and I wonder if you’ve ever worked with MCs in the past, or have an interest in doing so in the future?
I’ve worked with a few MC’s here & there, currently I’m wrapping up a track I started with Jay Fresh. I mention RZA sometimes as an influence, not because I think my music sounds like his but because I’m inspired by his approach to producing. Sometimes I’ll have two samples that aren’t necessarily in the same key or even in tune with each other but they work together. I don’t like restricting myself too much when I’m writing. Some producers like to use templates or other tools when they work but I like a clean slate every time I start a new song.
Can you tell us a little about your additional endeavors, things like Dark Party and Lipp Service, as well as any others we should know about?
Dark Party is a project featuring myself and Chicago producer Leo 123. We used a lot of samplers and outboard gear for these songs. The vibe was somewhere between boom-bap beats and Electro.
Lipp Service is a live band featuring Alex B playing bass and Lane Shaw on drums. We’ve done a handful of festivals and shows but never released anything under that name.
Galaxy Toobin’ is another side project featuring myself and house producer Willie Burns (aka DJ Speculator). It’s mostly ambient noodling on old keyboards over 808 beats. We put out a couple records with Dutch label Clone years ago.
All this can be found here btw: https://eliotlipp.bandcamp.com/music
You seem to have a healthy (or perhaps unhealthy) touring work ethic for an electronic musician. Can you tell us about your touring experience and what your shows are like?
I love to travel so touring is one of my favorite things about my job as a musician. Lately one of my favorite ways to perform is playing vinyl in a dive bar or small club. I like the intimacy and I like playing long sets and covering a lot of styles of dance music.
My live performances involve one or more analog synthesizers and midi controllers, playing all my own music and usually remixing stuff on the fly.
You’re an impressively prolific artist. What did you set out to do on Skywave that you think sets it apart from your other work?
It was important to me that each track could stand alone on this album. I didn’t want any intros, interludes, etc. I also wanted to make some tracks that were in my tempo “sweet spot”. I noticed in my vinyl sets there are some specific tempos I gravitate towards, where I’d start dancing too.