If DJ Shadow decides he wants to turn all his complex production into polyphonic ringtones and sell them to Motorola, we hope he enlists Eliot Lipp to produce them. Named bittersweetly after his hometown in Washington state, sophomore album Tocoma Mockingbird (Hefty) sees hip-hop influenced Lipp as a keyboard cowboy of sorts, with his manipulations of analog keyboards and drum machines. Influenced by the complex and somewhat neurotic beats of Shadow, Pefuse 73, Dabrye, Dosh, and other detail oriented producers, Lipp moved from Tacoma (too rainy) to San Francisco (too expensive) to Chicago (too elitist) and most recently, to Los Angeles, where he’s still feeling things out. Feeling a false sense of celebrity might overtake him, Lipp says he’s not sure he’ll stay in Los Angeles long, but he certainly isn’t done yet.
“I don’t feel like I’ve accomplished what I wanted to in Los Angeles so far, and I haven’t really picked a new place to move to,” Lipp tells from his cell phone. “I want to get to a point where I’m comfortable doing music as my occupation. Maybe I’d like, retire to Tacoma, but it’s too hard to stay active there musically.”
Ironically though, it’s his wet hometown that initially whet his appetite to create the heavy and, in spots, forlorn melodies on Mockingbird.
“I think it was inspired by a combination of the environment I was in and the nostalgia for the environment that I missed in Tacoma,” he said. “I think this album is more confident than my first one. I wrote most of the melodies and, rather than use sampling, I’m playing keyboards.”
Lipp hopes that his move toward more macrobiotic music will aid in changing up his live act, which he says gets a little monotonous sometimes: “I’ve gotten used to people just standing there with their arms crossed, staring at me,” he says with a laugh. “Right now, I’m just doing live whatever synth and sample parts I can, but I’d like to eventually have a laptop-free set. Not to prove a point or anything I just get so bored looking at a screen.”