Zero Mile Presents

Elderbrook

With White Cliffs, BAILE

The Masquerade - Purgatory

Wednesday, October 3
7:00 doors / 8:00 show
All Ages
  • Price$17-$20
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Elderbrook

A morning’s work can change everything. On a sunny day in February 2017, Elderbrook headed to Brixton to collaborate with CamelPhat on some ideas. Sat on the floor (“There were no chairs, which pissed me off,” he laughs with mock indignation), he listened to an otherwise finished instrumental. Channelling the percussive energy of O.T. Genasis’s meme-tastic ‘CoCo’ and The Kinks’ cherry cola-referencing classic ‘Lola’, he hastily wrote some lyrics and recorded his vocal.And that was a wrap. After months of bleak weather in the capital, a burst of sunshine was too much to resist.The result was a “cool little club record” called ‘Cola’. “On paper it doesn’t sound like it should work,” admits Elderbrook some fifteen months later. “It’s a techno beat with me whispering about Coca-Cola over the top. It sounds a very odd conceptual art piece, but it all worked out.”The first sign that it was indeed working came when CamelPhat texted Elderbrook to say that the track had been signed by Defected Records. Subsequently released in June, ‘Cola’ was catapulted from the underground and into charts all over the world. It emerged as a surprise contender for the 2018 Grammy Award for Best Dance Recording, and its success resulted in Elderbrook and CamelPhat earning an Ivor Novello nomination for Best Contemporary Song.The track’s success boosted but also eclipsed the release of Elderbrook’s second EP ‘Talking’ that was released later in the summer. Electronica, hip-hop, gospel and pop: in keeping with his open-minded approach to songwriting and production, it was all of those things all at once without ever being limited by genre considerations.“It’s been weird for me not to release stuff since,” states the musician, real name Alexander Kotz, who aims to write a song a day. “It’s been ages because ‘Cola’ happened and kept happening. But now it’s all about me.”Throughout, Elderbrook continued to explore new ideas, often with fresh collaborators. Connecting with Empire of the Sun’s Nick Littlemore during a trip to Los Angeles yielded a striking track in the shape of ‘Sleepwalking’ that was further developed with addition production from Toddla T and mixing courtesy of David Wrench (The xx, Sampha).In keeping with Elderbrook’s impossible-to -pi geonhole approach, ‘Sleepwalking’ is an engaging mix of the sweet and the sinister. Its insistent tribal rhythm provides an enticing groove, while his almost whispered lyrics evoke images of a world in the wake of an environmental catastrophe. The verses are contrasted by an uplifting hook built to soundtrack the summer, while the production continues to progressively add fresh elements all the way through to the song’s denouement.“When I write, I have a music video in my head and this song inspired dark scenes of the world coming to an end,” says Elderbrook. “It’s about how the world has changed through human influence, but in the end we’re insignificant because the world will win. It’s almost apocalyptic.”A second taster of Elderbrook’s evolution will come with the follow-up single ‘Capricorn’. A narrative about a couple’s relationship that’s strained by a women’s obsession with star signs, it takes a playful satirical stab at astrology.“She’ll read the paper and say, ‘We’re in trouble today because I’m a Capricorn and you’re a whatever.’ This keeps on happening, so he decides he’s going to get a job so he can write all this stuff and quite sinisterly regain control. I think people can identify with the guy who’s just thinking it’s utter nonsense, but maybe others will identify with her instead.” The lyrics are backed with a production which evokes the style of Metronomy, but it’s the insistent female vocal loop that immediately lays foundation within your memory. It sounds like a classic sample contextualised for 2018, but it’s an original performance by Anita Blay of London’s electro-soul duo Antony & Cleopatra. Elderbrook wrote the song with Nicky Night Time, who had a huge club hit in his homeland of Australia with ‘Everybody Together’.Elderbrook believes that the positivity of the new songs will add an invigorating energy to his live shows. Not that he’s struggling in that field by any stretch of the imagination. In the last year he’s sold-out gigs across the globe, stretching from XOYO and The Oval Space in London through to Baby’s All Right in NYC and The Roxy in LA.His North American touring adventures take him back to his roots in an indie band who were inspired by Arctic Monkeys, Kings of Leon and The Strokes. “The only time anyone was looking at the stage was when there was a TV above us showing the boxing. When I first picked up the guitar, the end goal was to be on a tour bus in America. I wanted to get fucked up on the tour bus, but we had a lot of flights instead and you can’t really do that on a place. You’ll get kicked off. So it didn’t really live up to expectations.”Indie gave way to country-folk, which morphed into something more unique when he started to experiment with recording and production. A move to Bath to study music and the nearby scene in Bristol accelerated his interest in electronica. Suddenly using all of his influences as touchstones, he adopted the Elderbrook alias (the name came from a Reggie Watts skit that made fun of the stereotypical English accent) and posted some new music to his modest following at SoundCloud.“I was thinking nothing would happen, but checked one day and it suddenly had 10,000 plays.” Shares of the track continued to snowball, which resulted in interest from his future label Black Butter Records. “I left university, got a publishing deal and tried to become a pop star.”That plan “had its ups and downs,” he admits and he learned to simply “go with it and enjoy the music you’re making.” Early releases such as ‘Could’ and its parent EP ‘Simmer Down’ sparked comparisons with the likes of James Blake before he struck out on his own with his independent label Mine Records. He subsequently signed to Parlophone in December 2017.Elderbrook commenced this year by being named in MTV UK’s Brand New for 2018 list. He’s set to return to the States repeatedly throughout the year with a tour as support to Bonobo and Rüfüs Du Sol, festivals including Life is Beautiful and Bumbershoot, and his biggest American headline shows to date in September. Back home in the UK, his summer festival schedule features sets at Reading, Leeds and Standon Calling.That morning’s work is still paying dividends.

White Cliffs

BAILE