Been keeping taps on Elaquent since I got my hands on his 2016 Worst Case Scenario. The Canadian producer is one of the most consistent names in the boom-bap scene and for the 15 years he's been active he has released 12 albums and a dozen of EPs and singles, all at the forefront of instrumental hip hop music. He has also worked with names like Oddisee, A l l i e, Go Yama, and Chester Watson who is one of my fav rappers ever since we featured him back in 2020.
Every time I feel like I need a more grounded beat that really makes my head bop I know I can always count on his music. Beyond worthy on the legacy of his fellow countryman J Dilla. I was really stoked when he confirmed the interview and the mix. Bump this loudly and I hope you like the next lines and learn something new about the Canadian beat-maker.
Hey Sona! Lets kick-off with the most random fact about yourself not many people actually know?
Hmm, probably that I’ve never had a coffee before. That usually catches folks off guard.
How would you describe the mix you created for us in a sentence?
Stay up to date.
Just hip hop stuff I’m fucking with right now, with a couple of my joints thrown in for good measure. Laidback vibes to more dirty boom-bap across the board.
Your Juicy the Emissary / BoomBaptist joint record Komfort Food came out in February. How did you guys link up?
I’ve known Boombaptist for like 15 years, always been a good friend of mine. I got hip to Juicy through House Shoes a couple years back and been a big fan of his since. Not sure how juicy and Boombaptist met, but we’ve all been on each other’s radar for a while.
I was surprised to see that the tracks are not collabs, but rather individual work. How did you guys decide to bundle them together, that's not something one sees very often. Very cool tho!
It was all BoomBaptist’s idea. I had a number of Dilla flips over the years and the idea made sense to just have 3 guys with different interpretations. We all have different styles so it made for a better project in my opinion.
You've been releasing records since 2008. What was the beat scene like back then and how different it is with the recent years' explosion of the so-called lofi/chillhop sound?
I think the terms everyone used back then was “post-dilla”, “off kilter” and “wonky”? Lol... experimental instrumental hip hop was the big thing and certainly anything new and different in the community was an exciting time. To be honest, I don’t think it’s much different at all in terms of the sound...contrary to popular belief, lo-fidelity existed before 2018, and the sound considered chillhop has been around forever as well, but with technology, accessibility has never been higher/barriers of entry have never been lower, and now with Spotify, there is an easy platform to monetize. I’m not a fan of the genre rebranding, but the actual music itself I’ve never had an issue with. Kids making sample-based music is always dope.
You've mentioned in an interview you don't believe in giving up on a beat. Does that still apply and when do you decide its time to go back and give it one more shot?
Still applies. If I make a shitty beat or just am not inspired, I hit save and will revisit it at a later date when I am. I might revisit the joint while searching for another beat and come across it by mistake lol.
What's your setup look like? Do you mind sharing it, maybe snap a quick photo and do a quick walk-through so to say?
I’ve got a shot on my IG. But my setup is simple...laptop, some midi controllers, maschine+, fl studio and hella action figures.
I discovered your music thanks to your 2016 full-length release Worst Case Scenario. That track with fellow Canadian artist A l l i e is superb, to say the least. How much input does typically a vocalist have on the tracks/beats especially when they're part of your release?
Carte Blanche. I’m pretty picky with who I work with, but part of that pickiness involves trust. I’ve never had to direct A l l I e to do anything or ask for a second take, we just have a great sonic connection. I’m certainly open to suggestions and feedback, and I encourage artists to give me any ideas, those are always up for consideration, but it’s rare that I’m on a completely different page with the majority of the artists I’ve worked with.
You've worked with a few big labels including Mellow Music Group. In a world where artists are progressively becoming more and more independent, what do you think a label should actually bring on the table?
Beyond financial resources, the biggest thing I look for is the vision and the reach to expand my horizons, so to speak. A lot of labels talk the talk, but not every one have the sort of vision to do so, since there are more resources for independent artists than ever before. Shouts out to Mello Music Group, I had a great time working with them.
What's your dream as an artist?
Just to make a comfortable living, travel the world, make beats, collect more action figures and be in a position to put on new artists I believe in.
Lots of up-and-coming beatmakers are looking up to you. What's the one piece of advice you would give someone just starting now?
Be patient and remember you have only one opportunity at a first impression. I try to urge newcomers not to do their first official release until they are really ready to and to remember that not everyone will blow up overnight. And to have fun, that’s why we do it.
What's the hardest thing you ever had to sacrifice in the name of music?
There are some good friendships/relationships that I lost out on chasing the dream. I don’t wanna say I regret it, since it’s part of what lead me to this point, but I wish I could’ve kept tabs with a few folks for sure.
You're in the studio, you got a week to release a full-length record with a singer which you can summon immediately (dear or alive). Who would that be?
Amy Winehouse easy. Would love to work with her if she was still with us.
What's next for Elaquent?
Lots of ideas, just trying to find the time to do them all, but got some singles dropping, an album I’m finishing and another 3 projects I have planned out. Needless to say, I’m keeping busy.
You recently dropped a single with PLYGRND - a beat featuring Seb Zillner. Did you guys work remote or met in person and what was the inspiration behind the track?
All remote. He’s in Southern California, I’m in Canada, and the pandemic couldn’t possibly allow us to work in person...thank god for the internet. We’ve worked once or twice in the past, and I have been anxious to do it again. Had a beat I started but didn’t finish, and he came thru and breathed new life into it. Dreamy shit.