As the year comes to a close, London’s Alexander Kotz tops the list of artists who continue to prove their worth by cementing a unique sound and a distinctive voice in today’s oversaturated electronic music scene. Kotz, more popularly known as Elderbrook, had a meteoric ascension into popularity after his breakout collaboration with CamelPhat, “Cola,” scored both of the artists a Grammy nomination. The producer is taking this newfound popularity in stride and capitalizing on it with a new four-track EP titled Old Friend. The EP proves that Kotz is a far cry from a one-hit wonder, with each track seemingly strong enough to be its own standalone hit.
Kotz spoke with DA about Old Friend, and revealed that the EP shows his more electronic, upbeat side. “I wanted to release these songs as a body of work to show where I’ve been musically over the last year since the success of ‘Cola,’ ahead of next year when I plan to release my album.” While he did not divulge more details on his forthcoming album, he did give insight into how he measures his own success and how that relates to his future bodies of work. Kotz notes that although “Cola” scored him a Grammy nomination, his measurement of his own future success is going to be based on whether he releases music that he loves.
The EP contains four tracks, and each has its own distinctive flair. Title track “Old Friend,” which the producer cited as his proudest creation of the EP, has an eerily similar effect on the listener as the infectious “Cola.” With its enthralling vocals paired with an upbeat synth progression, it is seemingly impossible to not replay the song over and over again. Kotz has figured out the formula to create catchy releases, and “Old Friend” has the capacity to take over the radio airwaves like past hit releases. Another track of note is “Capricorn,” with its groovy backdrop set against vocal chants that keep the track moving.
Old Friend undoubtedly has the ability to appeal to everyone from techno fans to pop fans, which is consistent with the producer’s own description of his musical style. He comments that, “because I love all genres of music; country, electronic, indie rock to name a few – I like to think that my music takes a little bit from each. Obviously the sounds I make are predominantly electronic, but the vocals and vocal melodies are definitely more down the indie route.” Old Friend is a big end to an important year for Kotz, and the EP is out now via Big Beat Records.
Your recent collaboration with Camelphat scored a Grammy nomination. Is this now a bar that you are aspiring for with new releases and perhaps a release on this EP? Or are you happy using that momentum to continue to build?
The collaboration with Camelphat did better than I could ever have expected, and I’d be lying if I said I wouldn’t want that kind of success again in the future. However, since the release of “Cola,” I found myself considering where my music was going to end up as a result. After a while, though, I realized that when putting music out there again, all that matters is releasing music that I truly love. Music that represents where I am as an artist right now. As long as I love the music, reaching certain heights or comparing myself to anything or anyone else seems irrelevant.
Do you have a favorite track off of the EP?
I love them all, but I’m really proud of “Old Friend.” It’s different to what I’ve done in the past and that’s exciting! “Bird Song” is another one I love. It was amazing to work with TEED on that one because I’m a big fan and have been for years. For us to have written a song together definitely means a lot to me personally.
This year was your first tour of the US. What did you think?
It was amazing. When I was younger I always pictured where my music career would take me. I had always imagined myself in the US, touring and driving across the country. To think that I’ve now done that is surreal, and I can’t wait to get back out there again.
How would you characterize your musical style?
This is a difficult one for me because I love all genres of music; country, electronic, indie rock to name a few. I like to think that my music takes a little bit from each. Obviously the sounds I make are predominantly electronic, but the vocals and vocal melodies are definitely more down the indie route.
What were some of your influences for this EP?
I’ve always been really influenced by people like Bonobo, Hot Chip, Jungle, music like that. With this EP I definitely wanted to show my more electronic side. However, I’ve spent a lot of time in the last year finding new sounds that I’ll be exploring next year with my album.
Photo credit: Fiona Garden