Space wave pioneer and Brooklyn-based MC Black EL is back with a new song. His last project L_ST received critical acclaim from sites like Mass Appeal, Noisey, and Pigeons & Planes. Now as he enters a new phase which he calls his "Mixtape Era", EL is prepping a new project, taking more musical risks, and is becoming a better person overall. Read our exclusive interview and stream his new track "Tell Me If the Bass Good" below!
You and your producers have invented a new genre called "Space Wave." Describe it and tell us how you guys created it.
Space Wave is something that I, Durkin and Victor Radz came up with over our time making music together. Space Wave has always been a blend of the three of our styles, With Vic bringing the space, Durkin bring the wave creating the canvas and giving me something to paint on. I just created the term because I didn't want the sound to be boxed into just being "hip hop", "rap" or any other name that I felt didn't properly describe our sound.
Space Wave is atmospheric, minimal, creates a mood, but has bounce to it. It's a sound that is constantly evolving as we all grow as artists and when you listen to L_ST to the newer music you can hear the similarities, with the only difference being now I feel like we're a lot more comfortable and know what are sound is.
You've battled with negativity in the past when it came to making music, how are you better at staying optimistic and productive these days?
I changed my whole mindset last September, not just with music but with life. I stopped trying to force things in my life that didn't feel right, truly follow my heart and passion with whatever decision it was I was making. I've suffered from depression in the past and I've been a lot more proactive in the last year in terms of battling it. Creating art puts me at ease, it makes me whole and when I'm not doing it I get anxiety.
I also stopped looking at music as something I have to be "successful" at, and something that I just need to do for my sanity. That took a lot of pressure off and allowed me to be a lot more creative and just enjoy the process. All the music I've been putting out now I've made in one sitting, front to back. I have more of a fluid process for making music and it's allowed me to experiment a lot more than I ever would in the past.
Oh and lastly shoutout to my homies Maka and Fat P, who showed me how to have fun with music again. They the real MVPs.
What's the concept behind "Tell Me if the Bass Good"?
Up until recently I lived at home in the suburbs with my parents and as much as I love them it was pretty hard not having my own space. So I always went out whenever I could even if it was to go down the street to get a coffee, I would literally put on my flyest/most comfortable outfit, blast music in my car and drive.
Sometimes I would go to the city, and other times I'd just go down the street to the grocery store. I spent a lot of time in my car, and it was the only time I could truly be by myself. "Tell Me If The Bass Good" is about reluctantly living at home with my parents and getting that personal time in my whip where I could collect my thoughts.
Your last project L_ST dropped in 2015, when can we expect something new from you?
I like to think of this as the "mixtape era" of my career and just having fun dropping music, and content. Sometimes I don't even know if a project is even necessary today with how quickly everything moves. You look at an artist like Russ who dropped nothing but singles for a year and is now finishing up his first solo tour.
However, I am working on something it's called "Anywhere But Here" and I have a concept for it, but as of now it's not ready. I want to do something different with it then just drop a project online, but for now I'm going to keep dropping stuff.