Sisters n Bredren,
SwitchFlip proudly introduces Elegant Animals to your eardrums. The Philadelphia born and based duo released their 7-song EP Spectrum Nocturnal in late February 2012. After being in SwitchFlip Media’s office rotation heavily through March, our head honcho D-How caught up with the group. After interviewing Jules & Brandon (whom share love for same types of music and upbringing in the Philadelphia area) we are dedicated to supporting their “come up”. These cats have a bright future ahead of them as they continue to craft their unique blend of sounds. Check out the full interview & download their debut EP Spectrum Nocturnal at the link below…your ears will thank you.
(Click above to hear and download Elegant Animals’ EP Spectrum Nocturnal…it’s Free)
SFM: Who is the Band or “Outfit” and what is up w/ the name?
EA: The band is composed of myself (Jules Kazys) on lead vocals/production and Brandon Shockley on guitar. The name came from a Pablo Naruda poem that was written in Spanish. The word “Animales Elegantes” jumped out and just decided to go with Elegant Animals. We like it for now….
SFM: Where are you from? Please give us your nicknames (at least). In addition to the place you represent, age range, etc.
EA: We are both from philly born and raised. The two of us have gone to school together since grade school and started playing music together in high school. We’re now in our mid 20s and still reside in the Illadel.
SFM: Who does the production and engineering? What entails a live show?
EA: Joe Reinhart from The Headroom Studios in Philly was the engineer on the album. We did a lot of arrangements on our own with our equipment and all that. I’d say we were about 70% done with the album and then took into into the studio with Joe to flush things out, record vocals and guitar, and add some little touches. He was a huge help in the recording process. He has an ear and musical knowledge that neither of us have and he was a major factor in creating the quality of the sound.
SFM: So you’re Reppin’ Philly…how is it for you and how do you rep the City of Brotherly Love?
EA: Philly is the shit. We both love it here and it really has a great music scene in its own right. When we first started sending out the EP to blogs and stuff like that we would always mention we were from Philly, which we thought might have caught people’s eye or something, not really thinking about it too consciously. We also wanted to give ourselves a bit of an identity since there really aren’t any pictures of us online or anything. But we both love it here and wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.
SFM: What about Tours & Deals?
EA: We would love to tour, its most bands’ dream to travel around and play, but want to hone in the live sound a bit more before we get ahead of ourselves…this is a growing process. Can’t say much on any deals right now, but I think we are pretty comfortable where we are at the moment in that we have total 100% creative control of everything we do.
SFM: You sound gorgeous on wax, but I don’t want to be scurred to book you some Hollywood LA shows. Do you love studio versus live? how do you want to come across at a live show?
EA: I think playing live and putting things together in the studio are two very different things. Being in the studio is great and being able to flush out creative ideas and experiment is what I love about the studio. We definitely love making music that people can listen to closely and get intimate with. There are definitely things that you can do in the studio that you can’t quite do (or as easily do) live as well. But the same things go with playing live, in that you have to really think about the energy of the songs. I think there are some really great performers who can stand in front of a computer and make the live show an amazing experience in terms of energy. To this day I think that Flying Lotus was one of the best live shows I have ever seen and it was just him, his computer and his equipment. I walked out and remember feeling like I had just seen Jimi Hendrix or something it was dope. But I think the only way we can really get that together is with more human elements, so I think the live show will be somewhat different than the record. It wont just be the two of us with a computer and guitar, lets put it that way.
SFM: What is Elegant Animals’ agenda?
EA: Make peoples’ big toe shoot up in their shoe when they hear the music. That is the only agenda.
SFM: Whoa, dopetastic answer! Now, the Soul, Funk, R&B, Indie Techno, Jazz, Hip-Hop, Trip-Hop, vibe is strong.. Prince is strong all the way through. How do you see yourself as unique besides the apparent “blend” as people say….?
EA: I think being called a blend of all of those things is great. We really take it as a compliment. Going into the project I don’t really think we had a real “sound” in mind. But I think what we were trying to do is blend the elements of r&b/soul and electronic music and just see where it went. I think hip-hop influences are definitely there as well, but we aren’t really ever consciously thinking about what kind of “genre” we might fit into.
SFM: What do you think about SwitchFlip Media and D-How (the H.N.I.C.) so far? You know we are good n damn well authentic. But don’t show us JUST hometown love…
EA: You guys are obviously on your game and trying to star ahead of the curve with the content on the website. Can’t deny that fo sho. Always good to connect with Philly folk who have good taste in music, like yourself!
SFM: When can we look forward for a full length release and what do we have to do to help you explode?
EA: We’re working on the full length now and are getting the next thing together. Not quite sure when that will definitely be finished but I think our focus now is continuing promoting the EP and honing in the live show. We just need people to keep spreading the word if they like the EP. Post it on twitter, facebook, blogs, burn a cd for a friend whatever! Much luv to all those who have done these things already.
SFM: Band Rule #4080: Don’t Cheesebag Out. If you sell out too early, people are gonna think you are bad R&B. Learn all of your instruments (digital included) better
EA: Point taken
SFM: How do your parents feel about your “bullshit” (as East Coast Parents Do)?
EA: Haha I think they’re cool with it. We played it for them and they really did like it. Make jams your ‘Rents can get down to and it will be all good. Haha but no artist should worry what anyone else thinks about thier music. Just do what makes you feel good.
SFM: Vocal Heroes? The Singer first, then the Band next…
EA: No doubt D’Angelo. Been getting into Bruce Springsteen a lot more as well. Artists like Panda Bear (from Animal Collective) have had a big influence vocally as well in terms of harmony. I Don’t even know where to start with bands and other artists but lets just say this record would never have happened if it weren’t for Radiohead, J Dilla, Flying Lotus, TV on the Radio, D’Angelo, Fela Kuti, Shabaazz Palaces, The Talking Heads and Hendrix.
SFM: Are you open to collaborations?
EA: Most definitely. I think vibin’ off of other people’s ideas and creative energy bring the sound in totally different directions that never would have happened if it was just the two of us. Those lookin’ to collab, get at us.
SFM: What would you like SwitchFlip readers n Fans/Fam to know most about your Band and your Mission?
EA: I think that what we want people to know is that our music is us being totally honest. We make the music that we want to make, not thinking at all about how people will like it or perceive it. We are blessed that so many people like the music that we have made but were never looking to follow a trend or a scene. We draw from a lot of different influences and we are constantly looking for inspiration from other genres and artists. Want to thank everyone who has supported us and the EP as well. Having people you don’t even know telling you they like the music is great and encourages you to keep doing what were doing and follow our own creative light.
SFM: What is your current label situation and what do you want it to be
EA: I think this is something that is becoming more and more ambiguous in the music industry. I think having 100% creative control over our music and image is really important to us and I think the stigma is that if an artists joins a label, they loose a little bit of that creative freedom. We haven’t really worried about signing a deal or joining a label at this point really and just want things to unfold as they will and worry first and foremost about the music. DIY in music, especially with social media and websites like bandcamp and soundcloud really has empowered artists to make a name for themselves and do their own marketing and that sort of thing.
SFM: How is social media working for you versus just touring?
EA: Social media has pretty much been our be all and end all. Sending out the link via twitter has been the main way bloggers and sites have picked up the EP and spread the word and we are continuing to do that. We weren’t twitter addicts until about 2 months ago, but now I think we truly understand the power of the tweet. Social media also gives folks a chance to connect directly to us. There is no PR rep or media company running our twitter account of course so everything we tweet is really us. I love that about social media in that it gives fans a real glimpse into the lives of artists and gives artists an honest way to connect with the fan base. We are pretty new to the twitter thing but so far is has been an incredible tool.
SFM: Are you ready for success/failure either way it turns out for you?
EA: To be honest, we have always made the music for ourselves first, so that will never change. If were making recordings for ourselves and no else ever hears them again, so be it. Any kind of success is really just a pleasant surprise.
SFM: Okay, it’s Last Call (final question): Give the world a final shout out…
EA: I guess we just want people to know that we are working hard to follow whatever muse finds us, and to just let things go as they will. We really appreciate all the fans who have supported us and our music and it really means a lot to us. We want to make art that we enjoy first and foremost and if other people like it too, then that’s great.
Contact Elegant Animals via Twitter. Download their debut EP Spectrum Nocturnal at the link here by clicking below.