Banner Photo by Chase O’Black
Elohim takes secrecy to a new level. The only time you hear her voice is when she sings. She leaves her persona almost entirely up to the imagination besides her voice, using text to voice software in interviews, album covers without her in the image, and when she is, she’s always hidden behind a mask. Elohim’s live show continues the anonymity, with giant hoods, masks, and sunglasses. The only point of reference she offers is her music, and her latest release, the self-titled Elohim EP, is more than enough to get by.
So why go to such great lengths to remain concealed? The Los Angeles-based artist’s ambiguity is as refreshing just as much as it’s perplexing, but Elohim assures me that it’s done in order to be able to get that much closer to her listeners. She explains to me,
“I feel a very close, personal relationship with my listeners. My listeners have become some of my closest friends. I prefer real one-on-one connections with other humans. In a way, I feel my anonymity has actually helped with that. I love that people can discover my music first and digest that before they get to discover me. The music has to come first.”
And so it has. The ten-track EP has exploded online, due to Elohim’s adorable vocals combined with flawless production. Her beats somehow manage to encompass a childlike sophistication that’s hard to put into words. “The Bridge and the Wall” begins with what sounds like a child’s xylophone, until it explodes into a full band. The outro of “Black and Blue (Interlude)” introduces her text-to-voice software gently asking, “Do you have anxiety?” before “Xanax” addresses the painstaking reality of living with a silent illness. Elohim explores complexities of life in less than thirty minutes, and does it in a way that offers hope and support without outwardly expressing it.
This delicate contradiction continues past the record. Her latest single, “Hallucinating,” has become an idyllic paradise for escaping the present. The danceable track provides solace from facing the parts of life we’d rather avoid, while undertaking them directly in the lyrics. On top of the single, she released the Mariachi Version at the beginning of October, which sounds exactly what like the title suggests: a mariachi band rendition of the track that is endlessly addicting.
She shares the story behind the track, “‘Hallucinating’ was created once the EP was already in motion. I wanted to make an EP that felt like an album without giving away too much. The songs on there just felt right together. ‘Hallucinating’ felt like the next chapter. On the original version of ‘Hallucinating,’ I had a very talented mariachi band come in and record on the song. When we solo’d the mariachi band I was completely moved. These beautiful, heart-wrenching string arrangements and chords. The sounds were far too magical not to showcase on their own.”
Mirroring her music’s harmony between elementary innocence and painstaking reality, Elohim is the Hebrew word for God. Although she doesn’t personally take it for its religious connotation, she enjoys the new meaning she’s giving to such a historic word. Besides giving the word for God a female face, she uses the word itself to awaken her and her art. She adds, “there is so much depth to the meaning of the word Elohim, so much strength. Through creating this project and my art, the word has found it’s own unique meaning within me. To me, Elohim represents love, light and self-empowerment.”
Elohim returns to her listeners throughout the interview. She’s very conscious of the role they play in her life, and at one point she speaks directly to them. “I hope it says you are beautiful, you are loved, you are strong, you are independent, you are confident, you are in control, you are smart, you can overcome any obstacle, you are you, and that is the most special thing in the world. I hope it says we have each other and we need to love each other in this moment right now because right now is all we have. I hope it says you are not alone.” Her medium speaks volumes about usually unsung affairs, but does it in a way that cherishes and builds intense relationships, even between her and her fans.
“My meaning behind creating music is to spread love,” she adds. “To connect with individuals that long for a real connection. This world is a crazy place and can feel unsafe and lonely at times. There is a relief we get from art that is like no other, and for that exact reason, I believe music is one of the most special things in the entire world,” before adding, “I hope the [Seattle] show is electric and that I get to hug you!”
ANNA KAPLAN | Ya Hey | KXSU Music Reporter