Interview Nick DiSalvo (Elder) – “We don’t want to shit where we eat”

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Every now and then I get tired of all the really heavy music I usually listen to, believe it or not. Especially when on lockdown and you’re kinda going in circles with the albums I usually listen to. So I thought I’d set my death metals, grindcores and darkwaves aside and dig around for something really relaxing for a change. A few hours into my search I stumbled upon Elder‘s ‘Reflections of a Floating World’, a stoner/doom record befitting of my quest for a mellower sound. But then I realized I’d seen this band pop up in my list of upcoming releases. Indeed, a few days ago Elder released a brand new record which they baptized ‘Omens’. The record’s been out since April 24 on Stickman Records. But before it dropped I had the pleasure of talking to guitarist/singer Nick DiSalvo, who had some interesting insights on the stoner rock genre, their new record, and a few other related topics.

GRIMM: So, Nick. How’s it going, man? You keepin’ busy during this lockdown, with the outbreak of the coronavirus and all?

Hey, man. All good here in Berlin. There aren’t actually that many restrictions. So it’s not too bad. Still I do try to focus on activities that keep my brain active. Not just binge-watching Netflix shows. *laughs*

GRIMM: You have a new album coming up. ‘Omens’ is upon us. A bit of an unfortunate time, if you ask me. Is the band feeling the impact of this global pandemic?

There would not really be a reason for Elder to release a record right now. We would probably just wait until it was all over. But everything was already in motion by the time the virus started hitting Europe and the States, and it became clear that we would be impacted. Right now you can’t promote an album. It’s really disappointing. Normally we’d be getting ready to fly over to the States for the first leg of our tours, but now it’s just… nothing. People will listen to it on the internet and that’s all. It’s a bummer. We would definitely not be releasing a record right now if we’d known this was coming.

Artwork by Adrian Dexter

GRIMM: Why not just postpone it?

That never really came into question. The pre-sales for ‘Omens‘ had already started, the LP’s were pressed, the wheels were in motion. As much as it may suck for the band, people need something to look forward to. It would suck if we just pulled the rug from under them after having teased a new record. At the very least, fans who are stuck at home and bored can listen to something from a band they like. It’s nice there’s new music coming out right now.

GRIMM: Never a bad thing, indeed. You’ll still be able to count on your fan base though.

I guess fans will still be interested in seeing the band like half a year or a year from now, when they’ll have listened to the record. It usually takes people a bit of time to warm up to our new material anyhow. I think it took more than a year before fans wanted to hear ‘Reflections of a Floating World‘ songs live. So by the time we’re finally out supporting the record people will have really listened to it and be into the material. It could turn out to be an advantage somehow.

GRIMM: Elder is a pretty well-known name in the scene. Shouldn’t be much of a problem.

In a small microcosm, we might be yeah. Not as much in a broader sense. Maybe it’s just the way I see it, but I feel the music world is still very compartmentalized. You can’t really go out and say “I’m in a rock band”. The first thing that comes to mind is Foo Fighters. Like, what is a “rock band”? You have to kinda find a niche and really hit it hard. Plus, we’re kind of in between worlds, with the stoner rock, the psych rock, and the prog rock thing. So that’s our scene, and that’s the scene we’ve gotten big in. We’re trying to cross-pollinate but it’ll be a while before we’re playing huge festivals that are geared towards a broader audience, I think.

This interview continues on page 2.

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