It feels like Los Angeles-based synth-pop artist Elohim has tunneled her way through our brains, searching our inner thoughts and churning them out into irresistibly dance-worthy tracks. Throughout her self-titled EP, she oscillates between vibrant sounds and dream-like trip-hop beats as her floating, hypnotic vocals build out scenes we're all a little too familiar with. On "She Talks Too Much," Elohim introduces the unfortunately familiar trope of the cringe-worthy loud party girl, while the creeping dread of social anxiety takes center stage on "Xanax."
You'll be hard-pressed to find a photograph of Elohim that isn't a soft-focused, almost hallucinatory image. As an anonymous musician, she's shrouded in mystery, and it's an experience the singer finds liberating. Going incognito offers the obvious buffer zone toward maintaining mystique—but with it also comes room to process emotions. For Elohim, that manifested in utilizing her anxiety as inspiration for her EP. Although the name Elohim itself is synonymous for God in the Hebrew Bible, the singer has co-opted the word, infusing it with a fluidity that morphs to whatever she needs it to be. Just like how higher powers take whatever abilities we ascribe to them, the word Elohim has become a symbol for growth.
How did you go about choosing your performance name? I know it has biblical meaning, how does spirituality tie into your life?
I like to take a spiritual approach in life as often as I can. There's a beauty within spirituality that can help you feel calm, peaceful, and whole. It's almost an art, really. I heard the word Elohim while creating this project, and the sound of it was breathtakingly beautiful. Elohim has developed it's own personal meaning to me over the last year. It is strength, passion, individuality, and love. My goal here is spreading light and love. I was raised in a very spiritual atmosphere. Love was always the household religion, and I think it's a spectacular way to live.
What do you find appealing about being a relatively elusive, anonymous musician?
It is very freeing. I feel so personally connected to the friends I've made through my music. I love that the focus is on my art instead of the simple distractions we are so used to. I also feel that it is important to remember that the medium is not necessarily the message, the message is the message. Our generation has become so distracted by today's transparency that we lose the enchantment that so many experienced with artists like Prince and David Bowie. Elohim allows me to be my own person and spirit without any boundaries.
What excites you most about your forthcoming tour?
Sharing my show with the rest of the country and Canada is the most exciting part of touring. It's my first opportunity to perform my full set for so many nights. I'm also really happy to explore some beautiful cities and get to spend a bit of time in them.
How do visuals work into your stage performance?
Visual content plays a huge role in my live show. My creative team and I designed everything with the intent of creating an interactive atmosphere, we wanted people to feel more than just the music. There is a LED wall that floats behind me, narrating my words and sounds. I want to take people on a fantastical, weird, experimental journey. I want to give all your sensations a buzz.
Your track "Xanax" is about social anxiety. How do you feel toward the rise of transparency about the chronic condition via popular humor accounts like @SoSadToday?
In a way, it's nice that people make lighthearted of something so intense. Anxiety can be very isolating. For me, it is helpful when the people around me make me feel normal and don't act like my face is turning purple and I look like an alien because I am having a panic attack. It's important to me to let other humans know that they are not alone. The anxious feelings are normal! Life is scary and overstimulating and incredibly wonderful at the same time, so of course it is bound to give you anxiety. It's a unique experience for every individual, and that is pretty cool in itself. If we remind ourselves to live in the moment, accept what you cannot control, and let go there are endless opportunities for inner peace. You never know, life might just be a dream anyway.
How was working with Casey Veggies?
Working with Casey was really fun. Collaborating with rappers is really inspiring. They have such a different way of working. The work flow feels constant, free, and fresh. I love new experiences, especially ones that are musically exciting. During those sessions, I was focused on the tracks and hooks, which was fun for me.
How does hip-hop inspire you? Who stands out for you in the genre and why?
I love the confident, bad-ass nature of hip hop, and I think that inspires me the most. I love the way it makes me feel and the way they twist and connect words. I love the bass and beats. Drake, Young Thug—I mean Jeffrey—Chance. I admire innovative artists who try new things, do what they want to do, and who are true to their art.
In your interview with Wonderland Mag you mention that you find poetry to be particularly inspiring. Why is that? Which poets and genres inspire you most?
There is something about the structure—or lack thereof—in poetry that I find inspiring. It is another area of art that is very much open to interpretation, and it's something I find extremely helpful as a songwriter. Whether it be the subtle genius of Shel Silverstein or bizarre nature of Allen Ginsberg, there is something to take from everyone. My parents used to read me "The Raven" by Edgar Allen Poe a lot as a child. [The line] "Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary..." [is] stunning.
What was the biggest inspiration behind your EP?
This EP was heavily influenced by the feeling of anxiety. I had a lot inside that I needed to get out and hadn't ever had the proper chance to do so before this and what a huge blessing it was. Once it was all out, I had to narrow everything down which is why it looks and feels like an album. The interludes are just as important as the first song.
How did you approach writing this EP? Was it deeply planned or is it based off what you were feeling in the moment?
I can honestly only write what I am feeling. If I'm not feeling it, I'll work on production instead. I generally always have some sort of emotion running through my veins, but there are times where I'd rather just flush out some musical thoughts and create weird sounds. Those sounds usually end up sparking some lyrical melodies, but if they don't I'll just keep making noise.
Elohim is currently touring North America. Check out a complete list of dates on her website.