Elusive L.A. Artist Elohim Lifts the Veil on Her New Album
That stranger at three ‘o’clock raised his eyebrows in a peculiar way, and, come to think of it, everyone around is glaring at you with judgmental eyes. As soon as you leave the building, they’ll all surely be snickering and volleying scathing insults, with all the gusto of a YouTube comments section war zone. One, two, three, count one, two, three. Deep breaths. If you’ve ever felt anything like this, there’s an artist that you should check out. Mysterious L.A. art pop singer, songwriter, and producer Elohim made waves with her 2016 single, “Xanax” and her new self-titled album has songs with such titles as “Panic Attacks” and “Insecure.” The new record is both dark and bright, at once dreamy and immediate, with dynamic, playful production, and a one-of-a-kind voice.
Purists claim that the only proper way to appreciate art is to consider it free of any contextual associations — hardly an attainable idea. Our experience of music is inextricably tied to the names and faces that come with it. Of course, one could hide one’s face and record under an elusive, cryptic moniker. This is exactly what Elohim does. She performs wearing a mask, or masked with sunglasses as she did at her Coachella 2018 performances, though she is always peeking coyly through the shield of her hair, and even conducts phone interviews using text-to-speech software. In light of this last habit, Entertainment Voice decided to spare her the trouble, and opted for an email interview. Elohim shed light on her persona, her inspiration, and her new songs.
Your name “Elohim” is the Hebrew word for “God.” Why did you choose to record under this moniker, and what does it mean to you?
To me Elohim represents strength confidence and fearlessness. Elohim feels like another world, one full of love and light and kindness. I chose the name elohim because it brought peace and comfort to me while challenging me to push boundaries and face fears.
Your new album cover features multiple partial images of your face and body seen through broken glass. Is this supposed to represent the many pieces of you? Tell us the story behind the artwork.
Something very special about the artwork that I haven’t had a chance to speak about yet is that 99 percent of it was done in camera. There were a few touch ups here and there but the concept was all in camera. It took a while to get that perfect shot but the process was really incredibly freeing. My creative director and the genius behind a lot of my artwork is Chase O’Black. We work together everyday and push each other to go the extra mile no matter how much sleep we lose.
In your song, “The Wave,” you sing, “In the worst case, if it all falls to bits / Maybe I’ll stumble on something special / That I wouldn’t have, if I hadn’t taken the chance.” How important do you think serendipity is?
I think serendipity is almost the primary meaning of life. It is the magic within the chaos that doesn’t make sense. It gives you that indescribable feeling of pure bliss.
What inspired the title “Fuck Your Money?” And how do you see yourself reacting if your new album should end up making a ton of money?
I grew up with hardly any money. I would cry every other day and my mom would say to me ” we are rich with love.” That phrase never hit me until later in my life. when I realized the value of love. The pricelessness of true unconditional beautiful love. One day I was driving and passed by where I grew up and just started singing, ” I got love, fuck your money” and wrote the entire song right there in my car. Should my music career make me money, I will value and cherish it while keeping my morals and love in tact. It is very important for me to always set a positive example where love, honesty, passion and kindness are at the core of it.
Your video for “Fuck Your Money” depicts you in an asylum, of sorts. What is the inspiration and story behind the video?
The beauty of making art is how multidimensional it all is. This video is me trapped within myself. It is what it feels like to be trapped in your own mind spiraling with other’s opinions and thoughts getting to you, and then you break free through your love. Love wins!
Your song “Panic Attacks” tells a story of love-induced anxiety. How much, and in what way, has anxiety influenced your music? Also, do you think anxiety, or even any type of neurosis, generally makes for better music?
I do not wish anxiety on anyone. It is very serious and horrible. Yes I do think anxiety inspired me to write what I have written but in order to do so I had to spend years in a very dark place. There is nothing cool or glamorous about it. There is this weird trend of wanting to be artsy and damaged to be in the vein of a Kurt Cobain. I don’t think anyone truly wants to know what he went through mentally. I think a lot of the time, incredible art comes from these places because they are unapologetically real and when you truly feel these feelings you can’t hide them. I am lucky I have music so I can channel my hurt into art. Others don’t have that, which is one of the reasons why I make music. For those humans who don’t know how to express what they are living through. I want to be the voice and friend they’ve always needed. I am not sure anxiety and mania makes for better music but it definitely makes for some real music.
How do your new songs translate to a live setting and what can fans expect at your upcoming concerts?
They translate beautifully and uniquely. I create somewhat new versions and renditions of the songs to make them exciting and a one of a kind experience. I love creating a full start to finish world with live shows. From the minute you walk into the venue. my shows are all about making friends, letting go and being able to be you. I encourage people to say “hi” to one another, be there for each other, dance, and be free. It is an immersive audio and visual experience that is tough to put into words.