For a man who has toured all over the world, usually hitting venues and festivals with just a laptop, a MIDI controller and an analog keyboard, electronic music artist Eliot Lipp says he has a place in his heart for the city of Raleigh.
Lipp will be making a return engagement to the Southland Ballroom on Thursday, a venue that’s starting to become the resident spot for Lipp whenever he’s in town.
“I’ve played Southland a couple times now and it’s awesome,” says Lipp in an email interview. “The crowd gets rowdy as hell and they don’t mind me playing weird (stuff).”
Considering the man mostly traffics in the genre known as electro, Lipp prefers playing to crowds who are sophisticated enough to know that electronic dance music is more than just dubstep.
But don’t get the dude wrong – he doesn’t mind dabbling in dubstep or house music or down-tempo or hip-hop or funk and so on.
“When I think of the term ‘electro,’ specifically I think of the concept of robotic funk,” he says. “An oxymoron sort of, but still a recurring theme in electronic music across the board … I make a lot of styles and I’m inspired by all genres of music.”
Originally from the Pacific Northwest (Lipp paid tribute to his home when he dropped the album “Tacoma Mockingbird” in 2006) and now residing in Brooklyn, Lipp – who grew up mostly listening to hip-hop – admits that it took him a while to get fully educated on EDM culture.
In his younger years, he took up residence in San Francisco, Chicago and Los Angeles, working on his music and picking up bits and pieces from those cities’ influential dance scenes. His work ended up in the hands of Scott Herren, the producer best known to many EDM heads as Prefuse 73. Herren eventually signed Lipp to his Eastern Developments Music label, where Lipp dropped his self-titled debut album in 2004.
Lipp hasn’t let up on the recording since then. Last year, he released “Shark Wolf Rabbit Snake,” an album of syncopated yet soulful compositions originally conceived while he was on the road.
“I made a lot of the ‘Shark Wolf’ record while touring and the audience definitely helped shape the songs,” he says.
“I’d been playing various versions of those beats live for months before they were finished.”
Like most EDM artists, Lipp believes the music he and others like him perform unify audiences. As he also found when he was working on “Shark,” performing live can be a collaborative effort with the audience. They can instantly give him the feedback he needs to know whether he’s on the right track or not.
“I think the main thing I want listeners to take away from my music is that it’s a universal language,” he says. “We’re all a lot more alike than we think we are, and music can break down cultural barriers and bring people together. This I have seen firsthand at Southland Ballroom, late at night, on a very sweaty dance floor.”