After the success of his newest beat tape, ‘To The Verrazano Bridge with Love’, Elric (formerly Godstouch) curates an exclusive mix for The Crackle.
Hailing from New York City, Elric’s music can be described as organised chaos. It skitters and punches whilst at the same time submerges the willing in an intangible vibe. Cinematic, thematically blurred but unmistakably rich, Elric has carved out a nice little niche documenting his experiences in NY through music. With the release of his newest mix for us, we took the chance to find out what exactly makes this enigmatic figure tick.
The mix is great! What fed or influenced it?
Just from chilling in my house! It was too cold to do anything other than make beats. Like just messing around, experimenting. I’m at weird stage with music. I’m trying new things.
Cool, cool I get you. Do have a philosophy around creating mixes?
I’m actually kinda new to creating mixes. I try to listen to what my homies are doing. Also I like listening to mixtapes my dad has. He has some old Nas mixtapes that really blend and tell a story with the sound effects. I try to build my mixes like that.
Dope! So your latest tape ‘To The Verrazano Bridge with Love’ is filled with the sort of off centre, lo fi beats you have become known for. What was this project inspired by? Is there any meaning behind the Verrazano Bridge?
Yeah when I moved back to NY I hung out a lot around there. I used to hang out at Bay Ridge, Sunset Park and Park Slope. That's pretty much all the spots along the R train line/D train line. It's all the neighbourhoods in Brooklyn close to the border between other boroughs. Me and my homies use to hang out on rooftops round there. We would stare at the Verrazano Bridge and be like 'Damn that shit is beautiful’. The bridge connects Staten Island to Brooklyn but puts you in all those areas.
So the tape’s kind of inspired by those nights with your friends?
Yeah it's like a tribute to the area and those times man.
Did anything else feed into that feeling of connection with the city?
This tape was actually influenced by watching a lot of classic NY cinema. Stuff like Taxi Driver, some shit that Woody Allen put out in the 70's, Needle Park etc. When I was living in Brooklyn back then, I was watching a lot of films like that. I really like Robert De Niro and Scorsese but people don’t really fuck with that shit no more. My dad put me on to it though.
What about these classic NY films comes through for you when you’re making music?
It's the overall attitude. The city is different to how it was years ago but that attitude still exists in New Yorkers today. I think most New Yorkers actually doubt or discount that. Like with gentrification and communities changing people think it's gone but it's still there.
Yeah like it's still part of the New York Persona.
Yeah! I used hit up this restaurant in Sheepshead’s bay and the attitude is just different! People there are really direct and to the point. The staff there will just yell out like: 'Yo you coming in here? You gonna order? Stop fucking about!' haha!
Haha ! You do quite a lot of videos on social media playing your beats outside in different locations. How did this come about? Like is there a conscious decision or is it just when inspiration strikes?
I'd say it’s more about having genuine experiences that speak to your music. A lot of people, whether Hip Hop or not, make music for others rather than speak for themselves. Like, I’m a regular dude. I don't have some mad backstory. My music just has my emotions in them.
So when doing these videos you’re sharing experience through the location as well?
Yeah and doing music outside is eye opening. Me and Eddie Res use to go to 14th Street or Tomkins Square Park and just slap beats. We'd meet so many different people and characters.
That’s dope. There does seem to be a strong grass roots scene developing in NY at the moment. Do you think this a reaction to something?
Nah I think people will find each other. Artists will gravitate to each other like that. I don't think it’s unique to New York either. Heads are realizing they aren't the only ones making shit like this.
I feel you. So recently you changed your name from Godstouch to Elric, saying ‘Godstouch is on vacation’. What was the thinking behind that?
I wanted to try something different you know? Like Godstouch IS on vacation haha. I'm at stage with my music where I’m trying re think some things and try out new stuff. It could be long term but I just wanted switch it up, you feel me?
Yeah man I feel that. Another part of your persona is the mask. What’s the story there?
It came out of the name Godstouch. The idea behind that name was associated with a higher power or something like that. The mask represents that a higher force never directly 'reveals' itself.
Is the mask going to be shed with Elric?
Nah I’ll probably keep it. I think there’s some magic about it.
Word. So finally Elric what can we expect from you in 2017?
Me and my homie are working on stuff through our collective, Grip. It’s mainly NY based rappers (like Deadlung) and beatmakers all collaborating. I'm gonna be putting the videos together for it. I recently got this analogue tape video recorder so I’ll be dabbling with the visual side a lot more.
Fantastic! Where can we follow you out there?
Dope. You can follow me on insta at n3w_challngr.
Listen to Elrics’s exclusive mix for The Crackle below: