Te Ahi Top 10 | Elphee

Written by on 27 August 2021

Taking out the top spot on this week’s Te Ahi Top 10 is local DJ and producer Elphee, with his song ‘Coil Smoker’. Released on a two-track EP through Echo Train Records, ‘Coil Smoker’ is a track with an intergalactic feel.

We caught up with Elphee to chat about how the track came together, thoughts on the local Ōtautahi electronic scene and his production process.

Check out the interview below.

Hey there! Congrats on taking out the top spot on this week’s Te Ahi Top 10 with your track ‘Coil Smoker’. Can you tell me a bit more about who you are and what you do?

Hey! I’m Elphee and I’m a DJ and music producer from Christchurch. I absolutely love dance and club music and its various mutations. I’m also the co-host of Fostercare Radio on RDU 98.5 FM.

‘Coil Smoker’ was released on a two-track EP through Echo Train Records, can you tell me about how that collaboration came about?

It honestly just boiled down to me sending Ben from Echo Train some dodgy videos I filmed on my phone of tracks I was working on and he vibed with a couple of them and told me to finish them and then he signed them.

Echo Train Records have put out some amazing local electronic music, what’s it like being a part of that roster?

It is honestly pretty humbling to be included amongst the artists that have previously put out music on Echo Train. It is a well-curated roster that goes to show how much thought has gone into the label.

Who are some of your favourite local Electronic artists?

Social Sport, Ebb, Junus Orca, TOYOTA, Keanu Raves, Malware MD, Texture, Jaga, Kamandi, Ultraviolet, Mr Meaty Boy, Bomb Dylan and Paige Julia to name a few. Also big ups to the Eyes Down Sound crew!

Both the tracks on the release have an intergalactic feel to them, what was the idea you were trying to capture with the songs?

I’m quite a bit of a sci-fi nerd so I think that’s just an element I always put into my music. Maybe watched Blade Runner a few too many times as a kid. Coil Smoker, I wanted to really evoke some older rave motifs but with a fresh coat of paint – I also just love a big Reese bass! Space Lanes was inspired by the last time they let me out of the country and I went to Outlook Festival in Pula, Croatia. In fact, the track has a couple of samples of my mate at Outlook buried in there.

Tell me more about your production process? How did you go about creating Coil Smoker?

I typically just jam on some chords on the keyboard and create some sounds to start off with unless I’ve found a cool sample to build a foundation of a song around. I have a VHS tape to digital converter and I love sampling old videotapes and running the sounds through my Digitakt and messing with them. I love to dig for weird dusty samples.

I will usually add a lot of components to a track and then kind of whittle it away to its bare essentials and what I’m left with usually sounds pretty good to me. I never have a clear idea of what kind of track I want to make. I don’t like to force it.

Coil Smoker actually began life as a dubby 2-step garage tune but it kept getting moodier and moodier and I just rolled with how dark it got. People have responded really well to that track so I’m pretty happy with how it turned out.

What DAW do you use?

I started off with Ableton Live back in 2009 or so when I first started learning how to produce. After a few years using Logic Pro I’m back on Ableton Live! Both of these tracks actually began life in Logic Pro and got sampled out and finished up in Ableton Live.

What’s your favourite venue to play in Christchurch?

I love playing at Flux. Not only because of the creative use of space but it feels like such a central point to the dance music community at the moment. The crowds are always really open-minded to you playing something a little different and the staff are the absolute best.

What does the rest of 2021 have in store for you?

I have got a bunch of gigs lined up both in Ōtautahi and around the country and I am hoping to put out a few more tunes before the end of the year.  

You can check out ‘Coil Smoker’ below.

The Te Ahi Top 10 is our weekly chart as voted by YOU, our audience! Presented live every Thursday 3 – 4pm on RDU 98.5FM. 

To vote for the Te Ahi Top 10 simply download the RDUnited app and click the like icon for a track you love when it’s played on air. The tune with the most likes each week will be crowned the winner! Simple as that.

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