British Electronic artist Elderbrook brought his upbeat, summery sounds to Santa Barbara’s SOhO restaurant and music club last Wednesday, Feb. 14. His Valentine’s Day show was his “second time here in the big ‘SB’” after he came over a year ago on tour to support Hayden James.
“What I like to think I do a bit differently is that I don’t set myself any limitations with different genres,” Elderbrook said. “I try and just write whatever I feel like writing rather than trying to write within a specific genre.”
He’s about a third of the way through a 21 day tour. Elderbrook (real name Alexander Kotz) recently released his double-EP Talking in 2017 and is proud of the sounds that are on it.
His favorite track off the EP is “Talking,” the reason the song is the album’s namesake.
Elderbrook explained why he loves the song, “the lyrics are cool, and that it starts off with the emotional chords at the beginning and then it builds up more than the other tracks…It’s something that I’d definitely listen to.”
While he didn’t give a demo of his favorite karaoke bar song — “Locked Up” by Akon — during his interview, Elderbrook gave some insight into how he feels performing his songs live versus working on them in the studio.
“I like the creativity of being in the studio and making new stuff. But then I love the energy on being onstage live, it’s a really amazing feeling to be up playing music that you wrote in front of loads of people,” Elderbrook said. “Lot more nerve wracking at first, but the more I’ve done it the more comfortable I’ve gotten onstage.”
He wishes that he wrote “Household Goods” by Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs. It’s one of the songs that influenced him from the very beginning to make the kind of music he makes now.
“Whenever I start writing a song, I never start with the intention of writing a particular song. I don’t know where’s it going to be going next,” Elderbrook said about the future of his music.
Not sticking to any one genre or definite sound is what Elderbrook seems to be about for the time being — focusing less on making a brand for himself and rather just doing “what sounds good.”
The concertgoers at SohO Wednesday night were excited to hear what sounded good to Elderbrook. People milled around the brick-walled dance area during opener IHF’s set, dancing and talking with a laidback but enthusiastic energy. IHF (Imagined Herbal Flows), an electronic producer from Washington D.C., whipped out some drumsticks and amused the crowd with pulsing beats. His music was nothing out of the ordinary but was fun to listen to nonetheless.
At 10:45, Elderbrook casually walked onstage and opened with “Woman.” The electrified audience went wild, banging on the stage in time with Elderbrook’s beats. After “Woman” came “First Time,” a song whose most prevalent sound was high-pitched crooning like Hozier, only housier.
Elderbrook’s soulful and charged voice rolled out over the wide-eyed, tipsy, and hypnotized audience that ranged from girls in their late teens to white-haired men with canes. As he performed, Elderbrook appeared almost in a trance – his eyes slowly rolled back in his head, his dance moves were a mix of going up on tiptoes and robotic hip swivels, and Cha Cha dance steps.
Up next was “Feels Like A Sunday,” the final track on Talking, a song which features funky gospel vocals. The energy kicked up a notch with “Difficult to Love,” when Elderbrook finally brought out a white towel to dry the sweat off his brow.
Towards the end of his set, Elderbrook performed a ten minute mix of his Grammy-nominated single “Cola.” While he didn’t play for very long (since he hasn’t released much music yet), the synth crescendos and bursts of bass fully enraptured the crowd. As Elderbrook played his song “Closer,” people in the front “rows” partnered up with the strangers near them and danced it out.
The concert closed with “How Many Times.” As Elderbrook left the stage, he and his fans were left breathless.