With their eyes fixed firmly on the prize, Jennifer and Eliza better known as Eli and Fur have been spending as much time as they can working on new material for 2015. A background in songwriting eased them into producing together three years ago, although it was the DJing that came first, which led to using Ableton, and the beginnings of introducing a live aspect to their sets.
“I think we're going to start doing live shows. Because we both love performing live anyway,” Eli explains. Their own softly sung, bass-kissed, wavy techno blazes through their DJ sets, and their nods to old school house with swathes of deep, party starting, tech house is very much in the present. Last year's collaboration with Shadow Child, 'Seeing Is Believing' released on Defected marked an about turn for the duo who had previously put out material on their own NYX imprint. “I think we learnt quite a lot from working with him on that track. He's been doing it for a long time and he knows how to make tracks good for the club,” Fur goes on to say.
It's surprising to learn that the pair are self managed, although with tracks forthcoming on Anjunadeep and collaborations with M A N I K and Eton Messy in the mix, staking a claim as 'ones to watch' in 2015 is a given.
How does it work when you get together in the studio?
Fur: “Sometimes we'll start something, Eli plays guitar. It changes all the time.”
Eli: “We could come up with an idea and the lyrics.”
Fur: “I think we prefer to start with a really nice chord sequence and then put a melody on top of that, like a vocal melody, and then work from that, and I think that really works. Because sometimes you have a really great club track but it doesn't really have that sort of melodic aspect to it and it's quite hard to write on. So I think when you haven't even got a beat and you're literally just playing piano chords and then you come up with the vocal, you can build around it a lot easier, it inspires, and you can figure out how things are going to build up instrumentally, you can sort of work with the vocal a lot better.”
Eli: “If we're doing a feature, like someone sends us over a track, we'll just get really excited about it and that's totally different because that's just like writing melodies and stuff like that.”
Fur: “Every track that we looked back at had been created in a different way. Like 'You're So High', that was totally us in the studio with this other mate of ours who was engineering the session and we just all got in and started playing stuff, and so that's how that came about.”
Eli: “That was the first track that got attention online and stuff, and then the second one 'Seeing Is Believing' that was already a track that we'd done and we went back into the studio with Shadow Child and he brought his thing to it, and that really made it happen and I guess the most recent 'Feel the Fire' we got in the studio with another mate of ours and we just came up with a bassline and wrote a melody around that and just built it up from there.”
What was it like teaming up with Shadow Child?
Eli: “He's just been really really great for us, he's such a nice guy and he's so encouraging.”
Fur: “That was such a great experience from working in his studio, it's such a cool place, that was a real highlight and it has been really great for us releasing that track.”
Eli: “It was our first track that charted on Beatport.”
Fur: “It was the first track that we'd released on a proper label that wasn't our own label, releasing with Defected was cool. And then we've done the Food music tour with him, so we've been DJing around the UK with him and Kry Wolf, and there's another thing on 21st February.”
What clubs and other DJs have made a lasting impression on you?
Eli: “I'd say the gig that we went to that made a big impact, we saw KiNK and Neville Watson play at Basing House [in East London], about three years ago. We were already DJing at the time. They did this awesome live set on Ableton, they had a table out in front of the booth. I remember thinking this was so cool. They had it all laid out on this trestle table and everyone was going mental and they had all these crazy controllers and I loved the set-up.”
How does it work when you play out? Is it similar to that?
Fur: “It is similar to that. We started on CDJs and then we started to produce with Ableton, and from there it was a natural progression to start playing loops live and triggering samples, and we really like the creative aspect of it.”
What is the plan?
Fur: “I guess our plan is to be constantly releasing and hopefully an album, [that] would be amazing. I think probably early 2015 we've got a couple of releases on the horizon. That's what we want to do, we want to make albums, we want to be touring, we take it really seriously and we want to be big, basically. I think if we just keep going and we keep releasing music...”
Eli: “What's really nice about DJing and releasing music, every month or so you're building it up.”
Where does your love of old school Chicago house come from?
Eli: “It's funny because the first track that we got excited about, we were out and it was an old acid track, because obviously the house thing developed before we were even born, so it was getting into that and realising and learning about how it all came about. We were really fascinated by the Chicago sound and looked back on all those DJs, and it just sounds really timeless. And I think we take that when we're producing. I suppose it's a new wave of people who are creating that.”
What about your label, what's happening with that?
Eli: “So NYX started as a way of us just releasing stuff in the very beginning, because we didn't really know that much about sending stuff out, I think we just thought, 'Let's write these tracks and then just put them out. We started it up and then that's literally where it came from. At the moment it's laying low because the next couple of releases we've got labels that are going to take the tracks.”
Fur: “It's definitely something that we want to keep and as we get bigger, we can start to put more stuff out on it. We really want to get a constant night in London going with it. We had a launch of the label which was really fun, I think we'll start to plan something, maybe once a month because we've always wanted to run a night as well.”
Eli: “We'd like to release on other labels, and I think that's what's great about dance music, you can do that and reach another fan-base, and you can do dates with them. The next one is the Eton Messy track, it's a free download but it's a nice one to be doing and we love what they do, it's really cool. I think everything else we'll see what happens. We've got a release coming out with M A N I K on Anjunadeep called 'Far Away'.”
You seemed pretty chilled, does it help that it's the two of you, so you can bounce ideas off each other?
Eli: “Yeah, definitely! And we love to bounce around when we DJ. We played separately one weekend, Fur played in Brighton and I played in Norwich. We missed each other.”
Fur: “We had exactly the same set time, so we literally started and finished at the same time. We kind of said to each other that we don't want to do it very often, it's so much fun when it's the two of us.”
What are you looking forward to for the year ahead?
Eli: “I'm looking forward to new music, just getting more music out. I guess we've got all this stuff that we're working on and we're getting really excited about it, and it's just finishing it off really.”
Fur: “You have to work so ahead of everything, you have to be thinking six months in advance. And also the summer, that's going to be fun.”