The cover of Brooklyn electronic music artist Eliot Lipp's 2012 album depicts a shark eating a wolf eating a rabbit eating a snake. The carnage seems to be the perfect metaphor for his approach to the music industry. Be the eater—not the eaten. And In this equation, being the shark means constructing imaginative beats that grind concert goers' dancing feet into stumps.
You'll hear what I'm talking about when Lipp rolls into Bend on Friday to take over Liquid Lounge.
Since his debut release S/T in 2004, Lipp has leveraged his imagination by mixing samples with his own beats to create some of the most genre-bending instrumental electro music out there. The guy straddles the world between '70s jazz/funk and club hip-hop anthems. And that 2012 album Shark, Wolf, Rabbit, Snake blends those elements into a record that conjures up images of Tron in a breakdancing competition.
"I love club rap shit. The bass is always hard-hitting," said Lipp in an interview with the Source. "I wanted to be at that energy level. I also wanted something really jazzy and melodic that I could drop in between all these club tracks and still keep people dancing. I love bringing up the energy in the room, but I like these down-tempo tunes, too."
And he's on to something. Rapper and music mogul Jay-Z recently premiered one of Lipp's tracks on his Life + Times blog. Lipp earned another notable nod when fellow producer Derek Smith—who records as Pretty Lights—signed him to his record label early last year.
In order to make his vintage hip-hop sound a reality, Lipp, like other producers, which is the modern term for professional DJs, mixes in music that's been sampled—oftentimes without permission—with his original beats. And according to him, he doesn't care who knows about it.
"I just go for it. I don't think about it," said Lipp. "To me it's about what is going to make the song better. I'll sample anything from anywhere. If the song ends up being good but I can't promote it commercially—I don't give a shit. I've had people sample my music or steal riffs from me. But at the end of the day I'm flattered. Now if someone was straight jacking my tracks and using them in a Super Bowl commercial that'd be one thing. But if someone steals from me just to make music, I don't care."
Lipp also isn't shy about staying away from the drama among some of his peers. It's a scene he's been a part of since its early days.
"When I first got into making beats, I was making them for rappers," said Lipp. "A lot of guys were. But then things started happening and producers started putting out solo instrumental material. They got together and started their own labels and clubs."
And though he recognizes getting accepted by others in the industry can be beneficial, he'd rather focus on more important things—namely, the music.
"That's the thing—a lot of producers get hung up on one-upping each other or getting the record deal. They forget about the fans," said Lipp. "One big thing I've learned is that your originality and your imagination are the most invaluable things you have. When you make music that connects with the fans, that's what's important."
For the better part of the last decade, Lipp has found favor among those fans while living in cities like Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago and New York-markets that typically either make or break an artist in his genre. During that time he bounced around a couple of different record labels, even started his own in 2008. Today he releases many of his tracks for free on SoundCloud.
As a result of Lipp's "worry about yourself not what others are doing" approach to music, what we, the fans, get are creative albums released at the fiery pace of one per year. A stark contrast to someone who jumps through a bunch of industry hoops just to get his music out.
Lipp's advice for Bend's music producers:
"If you're out there somewhere remote, that's the beauty of the Internet. You can still connect with producers. We're in an era where the quality of software is so good and it's so cheap to get your stuff to sound really good. I would recommend artists getting in on that. Brush up your skills. I basically downloaded a bunch of free programs and watched you tube videos on how to use them. If you can polish it up and make it shiny like that it does help. But a good song is a good song whether it's mixed well or not."
Lipp's advice for his younger self:
"I would definitely tell myself to read every contract that I signed. I learned that the hard way."
9 p.m. Friday, March 8
70 NW Newport Ave.