Elijah Blond : Interview
Elijah Blond is an artist from Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada whose musical style isn't easy to describe. His music finds itself somewhere in the middle of hip-hop, pop, and R&B. The son of two musicians, Elijah's passion for music was sparked at a very young age.
His musical progression has been astounding. His discography to this point doesn't give us too much, but this is a virtue to his attempt for perfection. The talent is most definitely there; now, we're just waiting to see where he takes us with his tunes. If this is just the beginning, it's hard to imagine where Elijah will be in a few years.
We linked up over the internet to discuss his work, the music scene of Vancouver, his style, and of course, Fatburger. Check out the dialogue below and be sure to keep up with the boy as he is getting ready to drop new music:
Howie: Where are you at right now and how are you living?
Elijah: "I’m doing good, dog. In Vancouver, BC, up in Canada. I’m chilling here at the crib, coolin out. I'm making some beats today."
Howie: How is it going with quarantine up north?
Elijah: "It was crazy at first. The whole city was like empty, for real. It was pretty quick, though, to get the cases lowered; we don’t have a ton of cases out in this part of Canada. I don’t know exactly how many in Vancouver right now, but it’s not a lot. Everyone’s staying masked up. I was on a lockdown for about a month, a minute ago. We were just chilling here with the at-home studio all set up. It was nice, just being able to cook up here."
Howie: Did it help or hurt your creative process to not be able to go anywhere?
Elijah: "I think at the time, it hurt. We had just started to link up at some pretty crazy studio sessions; we had just got a bunch of the city together. We were just starting to cook up and get things moving… then COVID hit. None of that could happen anymore; nobody was going anywhere. It has hurt in the ways of sharing creativity, for sure. It made it real hard to hop on with someone and collaborate together. It helped in another sense with our set-up. Luckily for us, with the home studio, we could just spend the whole month grinding. My girl and I got the set-up here and we have just been able to lock in."
Howie: Apparently, we aren’t supposed to get live shows back for another year and some months. I assume you are missing performing right about now...
Elijah: "Yeah man, I was just starting to go off. This summer was supposed to be crazy for me; I had a bunch of shows lined up. The whole crew was supposed to go to LA and do some shit over there. We had a bunch of plans, but for shows specifically, October to around January was crazy. I was doing a bunch of shows. I think it was March when things got cut down. I love performing, going out for the city. We have a really cool music community out here, so it’s awesome to perform."
Howie: If you could perform in any venue tomorrow, where would it be?
Elijah: "Damn. I think it was my last show that I did before the lockdown... If you are in Vancouver, ah man, Fortune Sound Club is the way to go. When Drizzy Drake comes through Vancouver, he goes to Fortune. It’s a super small club, but that's where it happens, you know? My first time performing at Fortune was special. I’ve performed at a lot of places, but when I moved here I was like, “I gotta perform at Fortune for sure!”
Howie: How is the music scene in British Columbia, especially for hip-hop?
Elijah: "The music scene is starting, you know? It’s poppin. I got a lot of faith in it. The only artist making crazy waves, like on that level, is Bbno$. That guys poppin, but he’s like the only one. There’s like Manila Grey, Boslen; they are up-comers starting to pop off. As far as the music scene though, we’re so far from Toronto. Everyone claims that, you know, Toronto IS Canada. I have to tell them, "nah, we are just as far from Toronto as New York." It’s really isolated, but in itself, it is a very healthy community. There’s a lot of people helping each other. Like I said, right before COVID, we were having these crazy studio sessions. Boslen organized it; he just got all the artists, producers, and up-and-comers out of the city together. We were all just making beats and working. It’s a healthy community where people are always willing to help each other, but it’s pretty isolated with how far it is from everything. It goes unnoticed sometimes. It’s coming up soon. I got faith."
Howie: Vancouver sports fan, or sports fan in general?
Elijah: "I am a sports fan. I guess we got the Canucks. I used to be a Canucks fan when I was a kid, heavy. I watch a lot of basketball; I’m actually a Philly fan. I like football, too; I’m a fan of the Browns. I’m a sports fan, but we really just got the Canucks."
Howie: What do you think of The Bubble?
Elijah: "The whole playoff thing is crazy. I have been watching the vlogs that Matisse Thybulle is doing. Those are dope, he’s a cool kid. It’s just wild. The whole snitch line thing, it’s just entertaining for everybody."
Howie: You mentioned Drake earlier… is he really as important to Canada’s music scene as everyone thinks?
Elijah: "It’s so far away, but it’s still Canada. Toronto is almost like it’s own fucking thing. It almost feels separate to us, but to all my homies and crew, Drake is the G.O.A.T. That’s how it’s happened; he’s just always been that one Canadian. I mean, we still fuck with Canadian artists. Roy Woods is super hard. There’s a lot of Canadian artists that we ride with because of the Canada connection, there's just not that many of them. When I grew up, though, Drizzy was the greatest."
Howie: Who are your other favorite musicians and producers? Where does the inspiration come from that fuels Elijah Blond?
Elijah: "Frank Ocean is pretty obvious- I got my whole "blonde" without-the-e thing from that. Drizzy, of course. X; back when he was doing his thing, he was a huge inspiration to me. Mac Miller, too; that’s huge out here, especially in Vancouver Island. When he died, that sent ripples throughout my hometown; everyone was listening to him. I have a huge taste in music; I was raised on a lot of different things. I just try to take things from different aspects of all the music I enjoy."
Howie: Do you believe that fully-realized albums are as important as we make them out to be when evaluating the success and legacies of an artist?
Elijah: "I think so. When I think back, the albums are always what pop out to me. Sure, there's singles and features that will pop off, but it’s just not the same. It’s so important to me. I’ve never dropped an album. I have a whole project coming out, but it’s an EP. When I make an album, I want it to be a fucking album. When comparing the legacies of legends, it’s super important to me. Honestly, it’s something I’ve struggled with - trying to get the complete cohesive vision for an album. I can put out mixtapes and EPs for days, but when it’s an album, it’s like, "fuck… this has to be legit."
Howie: The EP you’re talking about releasing soon… is that Muscle Memory Vol. 1?
Elijah: "Me and projects have a rough past. I’ve just strictly been doing singles for a while. I started off in music just playing guitar; my parents were musicians. I played a little bass guitar here and there. I learned at a young age to do that stuff. I started actually rapping with my friends later on, like freestyling and shit. I eventually worked to blend the two together. Muscle Memory is a project I am going to be putting out that's purely songs I wrote for the guitar. The whole thing has been produced by me, my engineer, and my manager. That stuff is a lot more personal, different than any of the other stuff I’ve been putting out. It takes me a lot longer to feel like it’s done.
I’ve been working on it for a very long time. I’m unsure whether that will turn into an album or a mixtape, we’ll see what happens. The EP coming out soon is just like a hip-hop project; there’s gonna be a bunch of dope stuff in there. I’m trying to put this out there to get some listeners and ears on my stuff, then I can drop the album like, “now that I have your attention....”
Howie: How did your parents' taste influence yours growing up?
Elijah: "For my mom, folk was the main thing, like acoustic songs. My dad lived on Hornby Island, which is this hippie planet. If you had to pick a place in the world that you think had the most hippies and hardest hippie lifestyle... It’d be that place. I found in my time there, that there is music everywhere. My mom was playing a whole lot of Sinatra, but on the other end, she was also the one who introduced me to Eminem, Tupac, and Biggie. She had a crazy music taste, and then my step-dad was into punk.
I feel like my music taste being all over the place has helped me out a lot, because from the beginning I have wanted to be unique and different. Whether it’s my beat style or the 7 singles I’ve released over the last year and a half, you can just tell they wouldn’t be able to fit on an album together. On both my instrumentals and flows, I try to bring stuff in from multiple genres."
Howie: Do you ever see yourself getting into a groove, or do you think you’re just going to try to keep listeners on their toes?
Elijah: "I don’t know yet. I would love to get in that groove; find what works, you know? It’s what I’ve been searching for; that’s why I struggle with albums. I’ll write over a couple trap beats for an hour and then be like, "fuck, I want to write on something else right now." That’s the struggle; it just comes at different times for me. I would love to find that groove, and I think I eventually will. Really though, I’m just experimenting myself. I’m going to keep putting out what I think sounds good. Hopefully this EP I am putting out is coherent. A goal of mine is to make a complete album that’s in that groove like you were talking about. When I find what I like best, I’ll stick with that."
Howie: I know I already asked you about your past influences and stuff, but how old were you when you knew you wanted to do this professionally?
Elijah: "I've always wanted to. My dad was in a band, my mom would perform live, so it was just a normal thing for me to go to my dad's shows and watch his band perform. They’re amazingly talented. My dad is a producer and does all the shit, so it’s never not been in the back of my mind. My mom always tells me about this one time when I was three or four years old, when we had this community show. Apparently I just stormed onstage, grabbed the guitar, and started spitting nonsense into the mic. I probably knew when I was really young, but I started taking it seriously when I was 18 going on 19. I was like, "fuck it, I can do this." So since then, it’s just me been me doing it with the homies, for the homies. It’s for me. I just genuinely enjoy doing it."
Howie: What song do you recommend to first time listeners?
Elijah: "Oh man, "On Road" was a good one. I don’t know for sure. "Silk" is always going be the obvious answer, with everything that song has done for me. Apparently that’s the one everyone likes the most, so if you’re gonna listen to one, why wouldn’t it be "Silk"? I didn’t expect much out of that one; we just put it out to see what would happen. It exceeded my farthest expectations. I really like "Say Sumn" a lot; somehow I got blackballed by Spotify with that one. The algorithmic playlists, like Discover Weekly and Release Radar, were messed up, so "Say Sumn" didn’t get the same type of views as the others. For summertime, I would definitely check out "Empty" too."
Howie: It’s been a little over a year since you were recognized on the street for the first time. How has it changed since then and what was that like?
Elijah: "Hasn’t been too many times since then, but it was like, "wow..." I was in a restaurant and some waitress gave us free drinks and stuff. We were all just chillin and she came back around and said, “oh yeah, I really fuck with your music” and I was like, "What?" it's different in my hometown because I have a small hometown. I'll go back for Christmas, and people are a lot more friendly with me than they were before, you know what I mean? It hasn't changed too much though. I'm still a homebody, I don't go out too much; I really just stay here working on stuff. I go to the studio a lot, that’s for sure, but pretty much a straight up homebody in that sense. It is dope meeting people in the music industry.
I've made so much more connections with different artists in the city and different producers and stuff like that. I go to a club and just link up with people there, even shows too, so it's been super beneficial since this time last year."
Howie: How do you want to be remembered?
Elijah: "Oh man, I think I've always tried to be different; unique, more so. Yeah, I don't know yet, but we'll see what the end result is. I hope I can help people, because I know the music has helped me a lot in my life. There are a lot of different artists who have helped me through certain situations. I just want to be able to give a lot of people the gift of music and just be like, "Hey, you can do this shit, too." Even if it's just for fun and you don't do as much as you intend to accomplish, do it as long as you love doing it. Man, it's such a therapeutic thing just to be able to make music and show people that any negative in your life can be turned into a positive. It’s that feeling when you make a fire new song, no matter how sad or piped up it is, turns into a positive in the end."
Howie: Of all your visuals so far, which has been your favorite to shoot?
Elijah: "On Road" was definitely the most fun because I got to hang out the roof of that car. That was for real; we were driving on the Cambie Bridge straight into and through the middle of Vancouver. There were a bunch of cars behind us looking and we were out there for maybe an hour and a half to two hours just driving around. "Silk" was also fun to shoot; I shot that with my homie, Mitch, who's doing this next video I got coming. We went back to my hometown for that, so we went to the Comox Valley and we went up the mountains and beaches there. We just tried to capture the essence of that area. Shoutout to Mitch and Roy Hemi for doing the "On Road" video. Roy Hemi is going crazy right now, doing some dope videos."
Howie: Aside from the new video coming, what else can we expect to see from you this year?
Elijah: "I've been kind of quiet since I dropped "Empty" in March. I've been quiet because I've been working on this EP. Not a lot of people know about this, so this is kind of the introduction. I was gonna have like seven or eight songs; I've just been working on that. I got a single coming out for it; it's called "Tijuana," we're gonna be shooting that video super soon."
Howie: Throughout your time making music, which skill do you think has come the farthest?
Elijah: "My motivation, as far as really taking it seriously. I made music forever, I've been doing it, but I never took it seriously. The grind of it all. You know what I mean? I never put in the work that I felt I could be putting in, and then just in the past six months, especially since "Silk" has been doing really well recently, it gave me that extra motivation I needed. Ever since, I've just been grinding super hard. I can get things done way faster, especially in the studio. I've learned a lot about music in general, have been doing timing on my own, and learning stuff with my engineer. I think I’ve gained lots of skills, through the skill of motivation."
Howie: What is your favorite part of the process of creating a song?
Elijah: "Sometimes I’ll write this whole song and have this idea to a beat. I'll show it to my manager, my girlfriend, my engineer; I’ll ask them, "What do you think?" Sometimes they might say, “Oh, I don’t know”, but once it's tracked and it's playing back to you with the reverb, I love imagining a song in my head and then seeing the final product. When you hear that final product, that moment is priceless.
There was an interview where Jack Harlow said that making a fire song is better than sex. That feeling, though, when you make a hit, you know it's a hit, and you sit there with all the homies. You’re just sitting there like, "yeah, that’s me," I mean it is pretty selfish, in that sense being about me feeling good. I also really appreciate it when the song comes out and people message me telling me that my song helped them get through tough times. It’s just like an added benefit. Ultimately, when you're in the studio and that song is blasting on the speakers, everybody's going crazy. I always think, "Yeah, this is fire. This is why I do it."
Howie: How would you describe your fashion style?
Elijah: "I don’t go crazy with colors; I stick to a lot of black and white. I try not to be too flashy, but it does change up sometimes, though."
Howie: What brands have you been rocking with lately?
Elijah: "I just got a dope new Palace jacket, shoutout to my girl for copping that for me. Fire birthday gift. I just got this Supreme Paisley BOGO Beanie. Supreme has always been a day one for me; my first piece was Supreme. Palace has always been my favorite, though. I have been really into Gosha Rubichinskiy lately. "
Howie: Are there any other young acts from BC that we need to check out?
Elijah: "I don't know if you've already heard of Boslen, but that kid's fucking next level. He's popping off right now, really doing well for himself. He's got an album coming that's gonna blow up Vancouver in itself. They got the whole Chaos Club that's going crazy. I have a lot of friends in the city like Polo Brian. Girard is super hard, that's one of my guys. There's so much talent in this city, it's insane. The people popping off the most right now in the city are definitely Boslen and Manila Grey. He's another dope one. I feel like every time Vancouver gets spotlighted by a media page, it's always somebody that I don't even know. If they really dug deep into this city, there's so much talent here. It's fucking insane. Not just artists and producers, but film and media-type people, too. I think the whole city is about to go crazy, it’s bound to. There’s just too much talent for it to not get the attention."
Howie: So Chaos Club is a collective in Vancouver?
Elijah: "Chaos Club is a label, an independent label. Shoutout to Isaac, he’s Boslen's manager and he’s been supporting me since day one. They’re trying to bring the city together. They’re doing dope things for the city, and they’re trying to rep the city. It’s super dope to see because most acts coming out of the city don’t care too much to rep it."
Howie: What is KNWMRE?
Elijah: "That's a collective I was part of a long time ago, a little over a year ago. It was super dope at first, shoutout to all of those guys. When I first got to the city and music wasn’t going too well for me, they were incredible. I didn't really know what to do or how to get into things. They gave me a place to record, producers, beats, and hooked me up with a bunch of people. I owe all that shit to them, for sure. We had done some cool shows, but after a while I decided I wanted to put more focus on my personal artistic direction. I enjoyed everybody in the whole collective and everything, I had such good times.
In the end, I really just felt I needed to focus on my career instead of focusing on KNWMRE as the collective itself. But all respect to those guys, man. 5AM Zeri, he's another artist there. Lyrically, he’s beyond anybody I have heard in a long time. Much respect to those guys. I hope they keep doing well."
Howie: What is 2CREAM2SUGAR?
Elijah: "2CREAM2SUGAR definitely should be in here because SJ is the guy who runs 2CREAM2SUGAR. That's the guy I've always connected with and talk to about things. If anybody in the entire fucking city is trying to put the city together and build something special, I believe it's him. I did a show with him that was nuts. So, he tells us he wants do an entire art thing in a gallery. He had local artists hang all their art on the walls. He had fashion designers and models come in and style.
So, we had a runway going while I was performing, and then we had different artists go with different fashion designers and they had these routines that they were doing. He's been trying to do a bunch of crazy stuff for the city and it's always about bringing people together and making connections. He always sends me new artists to work with; he's always finding artists and shit like that. He’s always supported and believed. Shoutout again to SJ and the rest of 2CREAM2SUGAR; they’re doing big things especially for the music scene around here."
Howie: The city of Vancouver is obviously gorgeous. Have you become sort of numb to the beauty of the nature around you, constantly being in it and such?
Elijah: "I was born here in the big city and I lived here til I was four or five. When I moved to the island, I moved to a smaller town. So, the city is always still crazy to me, but I grew up in nature. We were going up snowboarding on the mountain, always fucking around just trekking, finding spots to smoke weed and take photos. Nature has always been a huge part of it, for sure, but since moving back to the city, it's been different; it kinda takes you back from it. The city itself is beautiful, but I like to go back out to the Island sometimes, just to go out and try and experience nature as much as I can. There’s so much of it.
Vancouver is such a weird, crazy place because it's one of the only places in the world you can drive to go do stuff like snowboard, bike, and hike, but you're also still in a super big city. You could go out whale-watching and shit; there's so much wildlife, it's a really cool city to live in. You’re still in a city, but you aren’t taken too far back from nature. It’s beautiful."
Howie: When I was in Victoria, BC I stumbled upon Fatburger and that shit went crazy. I don’t know if you guys got Fatburger, but wow.
Elijah: "Yeah, Fatburger is fire. Fatburger goes crazy, I second that."