Elan Stouffer began making music at his parents house in Inglewood when he was 16. I remember checking out some of his beats when he first got a hold of his MPC. Everything was played on-the-fly, and it seemed to focus and improve his abilities of using improvisation and syncopated beats. He still uses the same MPC that he started with, but his career in music didn’t launch forward until he graduated college at UCSD. Now he’s signed to Modeselektor’s label, Monkey Town Records, based out of Berlin Germany.
In Europe he’s already dropped his second EP entitled Alligator Snaps as part of a trilogy being released through the label. Each EP even has a limited edition printed vinyl being released first in the EU and then in US. Currently eLan is working to release his third and final EP in the set. It’s taken a stretch across the globe to get started as a signed musician, but he’s still based out where he started down in San Diego. However this Tuesday, September 6th, he’ll be bringing the music he built from the ground up out to Fullerton as he performs at The Continental Room.
Full disclose: eLan, aka Elan Stouffer, is a relative to owners Alex and Mark Stouffer of The Fullertonian.
So you made the move out to San Diego from Inglewood to go to college at UCSD. How did you first start getting involved in the music scene out there?
I didn’t really get involved with the music scene in San Diego until after I graduated UCSD. I had a lot more time on my hands to work on music and meet more like-minded people once I was done with school. There wasn’t really much going on down here in terms of the beat scene at the time anyway so it wasn't too hard link up with everyone.
I don’t think I’ve ever asked you what your major is, because it’s one of those boring questions that your aunts and uncles ask when they haven’t seen you in years. Now I wonder if your education was involved in your growth as a musician. Was there an influence from that?
I was undeclared when I started, but by the end of my first year I was debating between a music technology major and cognitive science. I ended up going with cognitive science, which is the study of how people think and problem solve. I decided that I wanted to keep music as a hobby rather than make it my major and risk possibly losing some of the enjoyment and freedom to do things my own way. I also figured I already love music and it will be something I do regardless, so I might as well use my time in school to explore an interest I may not have on my own. I actually did use music production as the basis for a couple of my projects in my cognitive science classes though, which I believe broadened my understanding of both fields.
When you first started showing me beats everything seemed to be done on an MPC. How did your rig evolve over the years since you started?
My process really hasn't changed too much since I first got the MPC a couple years ago. It's still the basis of my productions. I have added a few more synths to the setup, and fine-tuned my mixing and overall sound. But essentially I'm still making beats the same way. I record anywhere from 4-16 short loops from drums, synths, and samples. I build a song by bringing these loops in and out on the fly while recording.
[Elan accidently sends me the wrong link for Alligator Snaps] Oh this is the raw samples?
Yeah I've been getting the samples for all my tracks out to everyone for remixes. Now you have a little inside look at what my tracks are built from though!
That's cool that you're sending them out for remixes. Do you compose with midi keys in addition to a sequencer? I never got off using fruity loops.
Yeah synths and a sequencer. Some of them don’t even have midi so I just sample individual notes or phrases. Fruity Loops is a beast. You can do even more on that than I can do on my hardware. I've just gotten accustomed to working this way for now. I want to get into Abelton eventually I think; combine the two. Good looking out! It should be a fun night. The band I'm bringing with me, Illuminauts, are really dope too.eLan "Alligator Snaps EP" (MONKEYTOWN014) OUT AUGUST 19 by Modeselektor