If there was ever a physical and aural personification of anxiety, it would likely be experiential electronic music artist Elohim.
Ever-elusive and often draped in an oversized jacket emblazoned with the word XANAX in block letters, Elohim presents herself as something intangible, yet relatable. Her real identity held secret, she chooses to let her music speak for her, only occasionally conversing with her audience or press via an eerily calm digitized speech program.
The emotional dimensions and pointed personal content of her music reveal so much about her, however, that her growing fan base feels like they already know her — even if they’ve never fully seen her face.
“I like the idea of the music coming before anything,” Elohim said of her mysterious identity. “I love building a world and experience people can go into to escape. That was really important to me. I really felt I wanted to prove myself as a musician before it became about what my face looks like or what my middle name is.”
Since officially starting out three years ago, the Los Angeles-based artist/producer has become more comfortable revealing herself over time. She may even one day disclose who she is, but for now the one-woman singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer prefers the support she gets from connecting through music.
“All I can hope for is that when someone hears the music, it brings something, whether that be peace, solace, happiness, gratitude or inspiration to smile and live another day with love surrounding them,” Elohim said. “I have a very strong relationship with most of the people that listen to my music. There may be a slight detachment when it comes to putting my physical self or appearance out there, but I am always in constant communication with people online and in person at shows, and give my true self, my inner self. There is no greater connection than a personal one.”
On her 2016 self-titled release, she describes her struggles with anxiety, detailing her most personal panic attacks, fears and insecurities over shifting rhythms and beats.
“It is interesting, in moments where I think absolutely nothing can get me out of my panic or anxiety, I’ll touch a piano and immediately feel comfort,” she said. “I think it is because I can go into my own world and almost snap myself out of that debilitating panic.”
Elohim grew up studying classical piano and still finds comfort behind the keys. From a young age, she spent hours dedicating herself to mastering traditional techniques, while away from the piano she explored the divergent sounds of alternative artists like Radiohead and Animal Collective. Eventually, she ventured into the world of synthesizers and sequencers herself, crafting a one-woman multimedia show that now includes mind-bending visuals accompanying her ever-anthemic electronic music.
Last year she broke out, with singles like Skinny Legs, collaborations with rising artists like Louis The Child and Whethan, and performances at massive music festivals like Lollapalooza all taking her in front of more and more fans. This year, she already has an even busier schedule that includes festival gigs at Coachella, Electric Forest and Bonnaroo, in addition to the recent release of her latest single, F*ck Your Money, and the forthcoming release of her debut LP.
“From the first listen, I hope everyone has an experience,” she said of her music. “I want to take people on a journey they haven’t been on before. I love introducing people to interesting new sounds and visual context that might inspire them and bring something to them they’ve never felt before.”
The Stache, 133 Grandville Ave. SW, Grand Rapids
March 30, 8 p.m. $15
sectionlive.com, (616) 451-8232