Brooklyn’s Elika is another great addition to the shoegaze revival that’s been swaddling New York like a technicolor dreampopcoat for the last four years. But the retro-futurist duo spills their gooey textures on their laptops, exploring a human and delicate version of the electrogush of M83 or Ulrich Schnauss. Elika’s latest album, Always The Light (due March 5 via shimmergaze depot Saint Marie Records), revels in firefly-blinking electropulse, gushy woosh and the dusky Madonna-gone-indie melodies of vocalist Evagelia Maravelias. First taste “No One Gets Lost” hums like a choir of harmoniums teaming with a glitchy drum machine, deeply exploring themes of life and loss.
Download: Elika, “No One Gets Lost”
What is “No One Gets Lost” about?
Evagelia Maravelias: Before my father passed away, my mother asked him, “What are we going to do without you?” And he said, “No one gets lost in this world. ” It really stuck with me; he wanted us to know that we would be OK no matter what and that everyone finds their way. I wanted to tell a beautiful story about family, love and how hard it is to say goodbye. I know many people will be able to relate.
What inspired it musically?
Maravelias: I wanted there to be two opposing feelings in the song: The struggle between holding on and letting go. The verses are a dialogue between people that love each other and desperately want to hold onto what they have. The choruses are about the release. Like saying it’s OK that you’re gone. We know that your spirit is somewhere beautiful and that the memory is eternal.
What do you remember about the session for this song in particular?
Brian Wenckebach: What stands out to me was how dramatically it changed. Originally, the overall vibe was a lot mellower. Then there was a weekend where Eva was out of town and I was looking at the session. I just wasn’t happy with it. We’ve done lots of remixing in the past, and I thought I would try to revisit those sections as if I was someone else. For whatever reason, I decided to fuzz the hell out of the bass line. It changed the feel immediately. I replaced all the drums and rebuilt the mix from scratch. The song changed into something aggressive and immediate–it just jumped out of the speakers.
What about making the glitchy beat?
Wenckebach: The beat in “No One Gets Lost” changed so many times. It probably went through three or four incarnations. In the beginning, it was half time and had a downtempo feel. However, instead of adding life to the song and melody, it was sucking it away. Once we rebuilt the verses it all came together.
Why do you think shoegazy textures have been making a comeback?
Wenckebach: I have always loved shoegaze and dreampop textures. They tied into the escapist need of my adolescence. It’s like I’d go to a party and, for lack of a better word, the “drug” music people would put on would be the Dead or Phish or something. And I’d just be like, “What the fuck, man? You want to hear something out of this world, check out Pure Phase or Flying Saucer Attack.” Thinking about the current state of society and culture, we probably need an escape more than ever.
What’s the most memorable show you’ve played in NYC?
Maravelias: We played this Polish disco in Greenpoint with all of our friends a few years ago. Our buddy Ulrich Schnauss was in town and at the end of the set, we all did this huge impromptu jam at like four in the morning. It was me on drums; Brian, James from Asobi Seksu, and Skyward on guitars; and Ulrich was rocking the synths. It was loud and obnoxious! Everyone was dripping with sweat and laughing.
What’s your favorite place to eat in Brooklyn?
Maravelias: Anthony’s on 7th Avenue in Park Slope makes an unbelievable Neapolitan pie. All the guys that work there are cool dudes!
Wenckebach: Alma in Red Hook. Sit on the roof with a tequila and get the molé chicken. It’s hard to find something better than that.
Elika play Spike Hill on February 4.