Elephante Interview
All About Tim Wu

elephante
elephante

Elephante is the creative stage name of Tim Wu, one of EDMs most promising rising stars. Heralding from the States, his extensive discography of remixes and original work has racked up millions of streams on SoundCloud, garnering the bleached blonder artist thousands of fans across the world. While he was classically trained during his childhood, the 27 year old has since moved away from his musical roots playing the piano and guitar, to begin producing dance music. It’s a shift that has proved popular: under the Elephante alias, Tim Wu has remixed hugely popular tracks for major international artists such as Katy Perry, Lorde and Calvin Harris. His debut EP “I am the Elephante” was released last year, coinciding with a string of tour dates across North America. Something About spoke with Tim Wu to find out what else we can expect in the future from this up and coming artist.

Elephante Interview

Your music is heavily influenced by EDM, how did you decide on that sound?
Elephante: I don’t know if there’s really a definitive path, but I grew up playing guitar and piano and I was classically trained. Growing up I was in bands and playing open mics. So I only started making dance music five or six years ago. I love the sounds and the energy of dance music, taking the melodic and harmonic aspects of all the music I loved growing up and applying it. Using the vocabulary of dance music, trying to figure out how to make something in that. I love electronic music because you can really create an entire universe of sounds that never existed before. That was what initially attracted me. Using those interesting sounds and sort of creating emotional melodic songs that I really love. 
In London at the moment there is such a wide variety of electronic music; you can go out almost any night and there’s house or garage or bass line, everything is here.
Elephante: Totally, its a really exciting time now for electronic music and music generally.
Your songs Closer and Catching On both have over 1 million plays on SoundCloud, why do you think this has happened, what draws people to your music?
Elephante: I don’t know, that’s a good question. It still kind of boggles my mind but I’m very appreciative that people are listening to my music. If I had to hazard a guess, there’s always an interest in emotional feel good music. Anything that has a soul to it underneath, stuff that just sounds good and is something that you can dance to or groove to but theres also, you know. I try to make music that rings an emotional chord. I just try to make stuff that excites me and I’m very thankful other people seem to like it. 
Your stage name is quite an interesting choice, how did you decide on this?
Elephante: Elephante is a reference to the phrase ‘elephant in the room’.  I actually worked in a corporate job for a year and a half and while I was there the elephant in the room was that I was really unhappy and all I wanted to do was make music. So, it was about sort of embracing that, quitting my job and going forward becoming the elephante in the room.It was a good job and it paid well. I was obviously lucky to have it in the way the economy was. I knew I would never forgive myself I didn’t give myself a shot at following my dream.
elephante
elephante
Nothing to lose and a lot to gain almost.
Elephante: I didn’t realise what a long and hard road it would be but, you know, maybe that’s a good thing because if I had know everything that didn’t go my way, i’d be like theres no fucking way, don’t even try. They alway say you spend your whole like making your first album, you’re putting in everything you had. I sort of took that approach, you are putting your heart and soul into it, and you just hope people care, right? And that’s sort of the scariest part. I think the people who are successful are the ones who’d do it anyway. Regardless of whether they knew success was guaranteed. 
When was the first moment when you thought, this might turn into something, your big break so to speak?
Elephante: It’s interesting because there are sort of those moments that happen, on the one hand, moments like that happen frequently, particularly at the begging of my career and then you get really excited about something. Then a week later you realise that nothing has changed and you’re still broke. Like getting my first official remix out, it was going on Beatport and I was like, oh man I’ve made it, like I’m going to be Avicii in a couple of months. But then you do that and nothing really happens. Then you are like I guess, there’s still a way to go. I don’t know, I think one of the moments that really sticks out is when, I was playing, I was on tour and people were singing the words to one of my songs. That was a really special moment where, like after all those moments where you think that you’ve made it and then you realise you weren’t quite there yet. That was the first one where I was like, this actually might be something special and something that works. It’s strange because you obviously want to be excited and passionate about everything that happens and put your all into it, but you also have to be able to stay level. When thing you think your big break turns out to not be you just have to keep level. 
You’ve remixed for major artists like Lorde, Katy Perry and Clean Bandit, what been your favourite one to work on
Elephante: They all have their own narratives of working on it. Some of them are really easy and they just kind of flow out, just kind of poop them out and there they are and they’re good. Then theres other ones where, I’m banging my head against the wall for weeks and weeks. The Lorde one was a lot of fun to work on. One of my favourites is my remix of Smoked Filled Room by an artist called Mako. He’s a small artist but a good friend of mine, that was like one of the ones where, I just loved the original so much and respected his music, and the way it came together and just working on it, I think theres something special there. I think that’s one of the songs that really resinated with a lot of my fans. Right now I’m focusing on original music, I just released a new single a couple of weeks ago, its called Troubled. I’m working on an album, so the remixes are on a back burner a little bit right now but its something I love doing and I’ll definitely find the right song soon. It’ll always be a part of what I do.
So is the process you find a song that you enjoy and then you remix that or is it the other way round, where someone sends you a song and it’s your job remix it? 
Elephante: It varies. Sometimes there’s song that I hear and I’m like I absolutely have to remix this. There are other times where we get pitched and a team will get asked to remix something and sometimes it’s a good fit and sometimes it is like, I don’t quite know what to do with it. It is definitely on a song by song basis.
Briefly going off your own music – what are you listening to at the moment when not producing?
Elephante: I listen to a pretty eclectic mix. There’s so much good music coming out all the time, you know, I’m listening to a lot of new stuff. I listen a lot of indie rock and hip pop, less dance music than one would expect. My favourite album from last year is probably Glass Animals. It has those electronic elements but it’s also really cool indie rock. I’m always looking for new music, I don’t really listen to the same thing more than five or six times. I really enjoyed the new Seven Lions. Yeah, its kind of all over the place. Most artists I know are the same way, if they are making very specific music they’ll listen to everything. 
elephante
elephante
Looking back, what is your earliest musical memory?
Elephante: I don’t quite know if its a memory but, my mum told mea  pretty funny story that as a child or a baby I would frequently cry, as babies are know to do. But what she found was that she would put on Fantasia and just like sit me in front of the TV and whenever she did I would just quiet down and just be totally consumed by Fantasia. I didn’t really realise it but she said I would watch it on repeat as a child. I was suspect thats one of the reasons why its such an important part of who I am. 
Is there anything you have got coming up in the next few weeks or months you can tell us about? 
Elephante: Yeah, just the new single Troubled is out, we are releasing a really killer remix in the next couple of weeks and just new music. Working on an EP or album, not really sure what its going to be called or how it going to come out. I’m excited to be done with tour and put out a lot of new music. 
Where would you like to see yourself in five years time?
Elephante: Five years… On a yacht in the Caribbean sleeping on my beds of money! As a musician and in my career thus far, whats happened to me, happened in the last six months, has been pretty insane. If you’d told me where I’d be now six months ago, I be like even that’s kind of crazy. To think that far into the future is kind of, for me it is a one day at a time sort of thing. I try not to take anything for granted and of course, I’d love to have a Grammy, and have a world tour and all those sorts of things. But, for me, I get anxiety if I think about stuff like that. So mostly its taking it day by day and to make the best song I can and play the best show I can, and then hopefully everything will come together.
Interview: James Underdown 
Photographer: Oh Dag Yo