Tim Wu // Special Episode // The Elephante in the Room
Welcome to the Special Episode of the Asian Hustle Network Podcast! We are very excited to have Tim Wu on this week's episode.
We interview Asian entrepreneurs around the world to amplify their voices and empower Asians to pursue their dreams and goals. We believe that each person has a message and a unique story from their entrepreneurial journey that they can share with all of us.
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A wildly innovative producer, artist, and songwriter fusing melodic electronic dance music with pop, blues, rock, and other genres, Elephante (American musical artist Tim Wu) is living what many people might call “The American Dream”. As the son of Taiwanese immigrants, his Asian-American upbringing in Michigan was unique and sometimes isolating. He graduated from Harvard University and entered corporate America at a top global consultant firm….and HATED it, so he addressed his unhappiness — “the elephant in the room” — and pursued his passion in music. To date, he’s garnered hundreds of millions of streams across his two indie EPs: I Am The Elephante (2016), a nine-track exploration of progressive house, synthpop and trap; and Glass Mansion (2018), which shot to #1 on iTunes! U.S. Dance chart. His upcoming project, Heavy Glow, represents his first full-length studio album, a largely solo effort further pushing the boundaries of dance music, featuring the debut single, “High Water.” Elephante has headlined two sold-out national tours, played nightlife residencies including those at Hard Rock and Wynn Las Vegas, and appeared at major music festivals such as Lollapalooza, EDC Las Vegas, and Electric Zoo.
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Intro: (00:00:00) Hey guys, welcome to Asian Hustle Network Podcast, My name is Bryan.
And my name is Maggie
And we interview Asian entrepreneurs around the world to amplify their voices and empower Asiansto pursue their dreams and goals.
We believe that each person has a message and a unique story from their entrepreneurial journey that they can share with all of us.
Maggie: (00:00:23) Hi everyone. Welcome to the Asian hustle network podcast. Today. We have a very special guest with us. Name is Tim woo. A wildly innovative producer, artists and songwriter, fusing melodic, electronic dance music with pop blues, rock and other genres. Elefante American musical artists. Tim Wu is living. What many people might call it? The American dream as a son of Taiwanese immigrants, his Asian-American upbringing in Michigan was unique and sometimes isolating. He graduated from Harvard university and entered corporate America. At a top global consultant firm and hated it. So he addressed his unhappiness, the elephant in the room and pursued his passion in music to date. He’s garnered hundreds of millions of streams across his two into EPS. I am the Elefante a nine track exploration of progressive house synth, pop, and trap and glass mansion, which shot to number one on iTunes S stands chart. His upcoming project, heavy glow represents his first full. Studio album, a largely solo effort to further pushing the boundaries of dance music featuring the debut single high water Elefante has headlined to sold out national tours. Play at nightlife residencies, including those at Hardrock and win at Las Vegas and appeared at major music festivals, such as Lollapalooza, EDC, Las Vegas, and electric SU. And this just in. Got word that Tim is now an officially and fully signed 88 rising artist. So congratulations and welcome to the show, Tim.
Tim: (00:01:59) Wow, thank you. That was quite the intro. Do you want to write my Wikipedia page for me? That was the excellent 10.
Bryan: (00:02:09) How’s it feel hearing that list of accomplishment in your intro and see how far you come, you know, it’s amazing. Shout out to you and we want to hop right into the first question. Tell us about your yourself and your upbringing.
Tim: (00:02:22) Thank you guys. Um, yeah, that’s, uh, you know, in, in music, you’re, you’re always kind of. Looking for the next thing. Right. And so it, you know, it feels, uh, I haven’t thought I’ve thought about a lot of that stuff, but you know, when you put it like that, it feels pretty nice. Um, but yeah, uh, Growing up. I had a pretty typical, uh, Asian American upbringing. Um, my parents, um, immigrated to the U S from Taiwan. I grew up in Michigan, in Ann Arbor. Um, growing up, I was, you know, I did a lot of the, you know, stereotypical Asian-American things. I played tennis. Uh, I did a lot of academic stuff, but I was also classically trained in piano. As, uh, Asian parents are, uh, want to do. My brother got, uh, took the violin, so I was on piano. Um, but yeah, that was kind of, you know, I grew up in school is very important. Um, like everyone, but, uh, for me, uh, music was always kind of the thing that. I was doing on my own. I, uh, started playing guitar in middle school and, um, uh, started writing songs around then. And, um, my idol was John Mayer. And so I was, you know, I learned like I learned guitar too, uh, by learning how to play continuum and like red hot chili peppers and shit like that. And yeah, it was a. I always loved music and it was the kind of thing that I would always just make time for. Um, but I think looking back now, it’s, there is really like a whole, or like a mental block where. Uh, growing up Asian American, becoming a musician, isn’t a thing, right? It’s not like a, it’s not an option, right? You, you go, you go to college and you become a doctor, you become a lawyer, you get a job, whatever. Um, you get something stable and you start a family and like, that’s your life path? And, uh, no, that’s, there’s, there’s nothing wrong with that. There’s no shame in that. And I spent most of my early life kind of going down that path, but then music was always this thing that was. On the back of my mind. And it was a thing that even in college, um, you know, I would, I would make time for, and I would, you know, miss, like skip class to go work on music and, um, you know, skip out on parties with my friends. And, uh, I was managing the campus studio. It was always just, you know, I drag my friends out to shitty open mikes and it was like, it was always just this thing. In retrospect, it was so obvious that it was my passion. It was the thing I wanted to do, but part of me didn’t really believe it was possible. And, uh, it wasn’t until after I graduated and got a very stable well-respected job and was really unhappy that I was finally like, look, man, I got a. I got to give this music thing a shot or else I’m never going to forgive myself. So I took the leap and, you know, it was one of the scariest things I’ve ever done. And, uh, you know, I was lucky that things worked out and I’m here.
Bryan: (00:05:51) Yeah. I mean, shout out to you, man. It’s a lot of people never take that job and a lot of people are still very unhappy with their job still. And the fact that you realized that at an early age and be like, Hey, I’m going to regret it or not be happy if I don’t pursue it. I mean, that’s, that’s awesome. Ending is a common theme too, with a lot of artists that we had in the podcast, it’s like, The first prerequisite that are that before we proceed our passions, that we have to graduate college and then get a job and then realize that we hate it. Right. I, this it’s an Asian thing to do to satisfy the requirement of a parents. It’s like, Hey look, look, mom, I finished college. If I fail, I, I still have my degree. I can, I can go for it. Right. And that’s like the culture thing I realized in our podcast too, where it’s like, when you listen to other podcasts, you’re like, oh, I dropped out there high school and dropped them. You don’t call us, pursue my passions for mostly. Asian American artists and actresses and actors, they had to finish college tourists, and then pursue their dreams.
Tim: (00:06:46) Yeah. I mean, the parental pressure is definitely part of it, but I think it’s just broadly the entire culture that you’re raised in. Right. It’s this, uh, growing up there wasn’t any, there wasn’t anyone who looked like me, who was doing the things I wanted to do. Right. And I think there’s a big, like sort of subconscious message that comes to there. Right. Where it’s like everyone. The Asian person that, you know, that’s older is, you know, a doctor or a lawyer or some kind of professional, like works in a restaurant, whatever. They’re like a business owner, there are all these sort of stereotypes. And I think when you’re growing up, at least when I was growing up, that was, that was just the dominant conversation. There is no, uh, you know, we had Jackie Chan, right. He was like the one. Um, and then we had, um, um, John chow. Right. But then he was like, and he was like the goofy guy and Harold and Kumar. Right. And it was never like, there’s no like, cool. Like, you know, every, all, all the like Asian entertainers were kind of like goofy or funny, or like the nerd I’m the TV show or whatever. And there wasn’t, um, it wasn’t until, you know, the last few years where the representation really took off. And I think. I’m excited for the next generation of like young, Asian creatives to see that it is possible. Like you can do it. This is a thing that you, your story is worth telling. Uh, and your experiences are just as valid as any other Americans. And, um, I’m just excited to see what, what happens with these, all these young kids.
Bryan: (00:08:21) Yeah, we definitely agree with you. And thank you so much for being one of the, one of the new pioneers for our generations to see, you know, we all look up to you and, you know, you know, leaving your Constable job and hopping to. Basically entrepreneurship and hustling for yourself is extremely scary. What was going through your mind like the first day, first week? And what was your first wind like before you realize that, Hey, like I never had to come back to my full-time job that I can actually pursue my passions. Full-time right. Cause that’s, that’s the most difficult thing because when you leave your constant paranoia, like how am I going to pay the bills? You’re looking at your friends who have nice stable jobs. You’re like, goddammit. It looks pretty awesome nationally, but then I’m not happy. Am I coming back? Right. So when was your first daylight and your first week and your first wind life?
Tim: (00:09:08) Um, that’s I mean, that’s a great question because they are very different they’re very far apart. Um, I think the first day I quit my job, it was simultaneously terrifying. Um, But it was also like the most liberating feeling. I feel like I finally took the first step to becoming the person I wanted to be. And that was really exciting. Um, on the other hand, when you, when you’re starting off, I think anyone who’s going into any kind of entrepreneurship, you almost need this. Completely irrational, narcissism, psychotic belief in yourself that you’re going to make it happen. Um, and I know I had that. Uh, I remember one of the things that kind of took me over the edge is I had gotten my first offer to do an official remix that would go on before. And I was getting paid $0, but I was like, I’m going to be on B port. I’m going to be on iTunes. Like this is it like, I’m, I’m ready to like, you know, a year from now, I’m going to be a Vici, um, and spoil, or it’s not, it works. Um, and you know, the I, the next, uh, 18 months was basically me just sitting in my room, uh, working on remixes and trying, and like putting music out every two or three weeks and having everything put out like no one cared, right? Like get 500 plays on SoundCloud. Get, you know, I remember the first time I got thousand plays on SoundCloud, I was like, oh my God, I’m not the first time you hit 10,000. Right. And it was, you know, it was just. There’s progress, but it was so slow. Right. And it goes up and down and up and down and you’re, you’re putting everything you have into everything you’re making. And after every single song I’d put out, I’d be like, I don’t know, this is literally the best I can possibly do. I don’t know how I can possibly get better than this. And inevitably it wouldn’t do it may and may or may not have done better, um, than the previous, but it was like, By no means was I had, I made it right. It was still just like, uh, I’m still just fighting for my life. Um, and that was just like, I was making no money and I was just like living off savings for a year and a half. And then, uh, I got, I was like getting pre. Towards the end. I was getting pretty down. I was like, I don’t know if this is going to work out for me. Right. Like I’ve been doing, this has been nine times our life. And like, I’m still making no money. And then, uh, I, you know, I was pretty close to the breaking point. And then I put out a couple of remixes that finally popped and, um, they got big on hype machine, which was the blog aggregator back in, uh, the mid 2010s, uh, early 20 times. Like got my first, like few million hits on SoundCloud. And this was kind of at the time where, uh, Dan EDM and dance music was kind of popping off. And I signed with my agent, uh, to go on tour and they started putting me on shows. And that was the, that was maybe the first time where I thought I had a shot and I was like, oh, I’m gonna, I can actually make money doing this. But, you know, there, there always levels to it where you’re like, even now I’m still like, well, you know, the music industry is so uncertain and there’s never a moment where you’re like, I am good. Um, and the moments where you do feel like that, like something the world will, the universe will put you back in your place. So it was, you know, there are ups and downs where there’s a point where I thought I was going to drop by my agency, um, where the music I was putting out wasn’t doing very well. And then, you know, I think the first moment, the first real moment, well, the, there was a moment where Galanta’s, I’m a huge fan of him. I looked up to them, they played my, one of my remixes for them at ultra. And now. Okay. This is like pretty fucking dope, but then that happens. That’s amazing. You feel great about it. And then like two weeks later you realize that your life hasn’t really changed and you’re like, okay, well I guess maybe that’s not it. But I think the first real one was, um, when I heard people singing a song of mine at a show that was like a, okay, I’m doing something that is resonating with fans. Um, And I’m certainly I know means like no means all said like living, cause I was still living, you know, showed a show. Um, but I was like, well maybe I have a, you know, maybe this can turn into a thing.
Bryan: (00:14:16) Yeah, man. That’s awesome. Uh, your story just gave me goosebumps because I, I, every entrepreneur story. It’s difficult. And you know, the fact that you were so open with us and sharing your struggles it’s most of the time we looked at you any, when your team emailed us or just like, oh my God, like Ella forte. So called how are you on the show? You know, but like just hearing your S your struggles, years and years and years, you know, it’s, it’s, this is like pre Tik TOK days that to say, like, the species is much, much more difficult back.
Tim: (00:14:50) Um, yeah, I mean, this is way, this is like barely into Facebook time. Like Instagram that I knew didn’t exist when I first started, um, Spotify didn’t really . exist. Uh, it was still all SoundCloud and, um, yeah, I think it’s, you know, it’s, that’s a big thing. Whenever people ask me, do I have any advice? That’s a hard question for a couple of reasons, because. Times change, right? The industry’s always shifting if you, the way I came up, you know, and whatever, be able to mimic that path anymore. It’s just the world does on the infrastructure. Doesn’t work that way anymore. Um, but so you’re going to have to kind of just figure it out yourself. Um, no one can tell you how to do it, but at the same time there is, it sounds kind of simple, but you either, I always like my motto is you either make it or you quit. So just don’t go. Um, and I was very lucky that it happened for me and the time that it did, it was like, you know, a couple of years. Um, but you know, for other people, it can be a lot longer than that, but at the end . of the day, everyone has to grind for their, to, to get their foot in the door. And you know, there’s no, there’s no real tangible plan. That’ll specific actions that you can take. That’ll get you there. You just kind of have to keep banging on the door until it.
Maggie: (00:16:17) Yeah, absolutely. I mean, everyone’s journey is going to look a little bit different and like Brian said, your story gave me a lot of chills too, because you know, when you were feeling your lowest of the lows, how a lot of entrepreneurs feel when they’re like running out of money and running out of runway, some people never get out of that hump, right? Like you really have to get. Grinding and keep going until you see the light at the end of the tunnel. And even when you do, you know, like your story, it just goes to show, you just have to keep hustling, even when you’ve reached like a highlight, right. You just have to keep grinding it out. Um, and then going back to, you know, how you mentioned your parents kind of putting you into piano lessons and your brother and to violin lessons. A lot of our Asian parents say, you know, put us into musical lessons to kind of teach us discipline. Right. But. . And then a lot of us, we want to get out of those lessons. Right. But for you music kind of stuck with you. So what did your parents think about you quitting your job, your corporate job, and then going into music? Full-time
Tim: (00:17:16) uh, yeah, it was, uh, my parents. We’re ultimately very supportive. Um, it was a tricky conversation. Um, my mom knew very much how miserable I was. Um, I think for her, the math was like, well, he was really unhappy at his job. He’s got to try something else. Like, you know, he’s got to figure it out. Um, but it’s funny when I, when I told my mom. She was like, that’s fine. I support you. Um, but just don’t tell your dad yet when I was like, okay. So I just, you know, we kind of had this charade of where he would ask me how my job was going and I’d just be like, good and then really . want to talk about it anymore. And, um, but, uh, at that point in my life, there’s like nothing really. My parents could tell. You know, it was like, this is something I have to do for myself. And that obviously was, uh, you know, a difficult thing to a big mental barrier to get over. But when I looked back at that time, it, it doesn’t feel like a choice. It was like, there, it was, it wasn’t like a, not like, oh, do I stay? Or do I go? It was like, well, I’m just, I’m just not staying. So like, it didn’t even feel like a decision. Um, so, and then it was like, well, given that, um, you know, I have to make my parents see somehow, but I think a lot of it was ultimately that they just didn’t understand. And I didn’t even really understand how you like have a career as a musician, right? You, this is the . thing you can do for a living. And it wasn’t until, you know, my dad started coming to shows and like seeing what it was and kind of seeing the fans and being like, oh, they know your music and they really like you. And I’m like, yeah. And then they’re like, oh, okay, I get it now. And I think it’s for them, it was just, they didn’t, as long as they knew that I had a sustainable career and was. You know, not going to end up on the street. I think they they’ve done, uh, uh, you know, they’re, they’re totally supportive.
Bryan: (00:19:30) Yeah. Yeah. I love that. It takes a while for our Asian parents to start. I realized that this is a viable path because, you know, from their perspective, it’s like, they sacrifice so much for us to have a stable career. Right. They don’t want to have to go back to a state of uncertainty like they did. And they’re like, this is horrible, but you’re like, this is the way I want to live life. You know,
Tim: (00:19:48) that was one of the, I think one of the big sort of. Understandings that, uh, I like that I, my parents came to where it was an understanding on both . sides to where it was like, when I went on, when I quit to make music, it was like so uncertain and so difficult and so stressful. And it kind of made me realize like what that was like for them. Like they, they left everything they ever knew to go to a country across the world to start a new life. Right. And. That was one of the big kind of understandings I came to my dad, like a lot of the pressure that he put on me early on to, you know, go to med school or whatever it was, because he was like, I didn’t want you to have to go through what I did because it was so fucking hard. And it was like, I wanted to do this so you wouldn’t have to. And so, and I was like, I totally understand and respect that, but. I have your genes, so you really have no one to blame by yourself. So, um, and I think it was kind of like a game recognize game, um, sort of thing.
Bryan: (00:20:53) Now, the fault away from the tree, this is a, this is a pretty big week Camille for you, right? So at the time of this release, the . podcast EDCs now. When you’re performing in the main stage, how does that feel? And before we even get there, it’s like this isn’t really big week for you actually have a couple of releases coming out. Can you speak about those? And what’s, uh, tell us more about that in a, in, in preparation for
Tim: (00:21:21) easiest way to my, uh, Is coming out, it’s called heavy glow. Um, it’s my, uh, first signed label release I’m with, uh, ADA rising right now, which is super fucking exciting. Um, and then, so for studio album, and then EDC main stage for the first time, um, you know, it’s one of those things where. Part of me is like, just treating it like any other show. Cause if I really think about it too much, I’ll be like, oh fuck. But, um, yeah, it’s just like a sort of culmination of, .of everything that I’ve gone through in my career. And especially with the pandemic to have it finally happen and kind of be like, oh, like, You know, there was a moment during the pandemic where I was like, I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to play shows again and then to kind of have this like big moment calm. It’s like, it’s still a little surreal
Maggie: (00:22:22) as amazing. And you know, we’re so excited for all of the great news. And like Brian said, this is such a big week for you. And like we mentioned, you being officially signed onto 88 rising. What is going through your mind at this time right now? And can you explain just like the process of it and what you’re currently feeling?
Bryan: (00:22:42) We want to hear Raleigh motions, like unfilter do feel free to use some profanity to describe your emotions, but you just want to capture it.
Tim: (00:21:51) Uh, I, this is, this might be disappointing, but honestly, if I’ve learned anything in the industry, it’s, you have to keep an even keel, . um, You know, you gotta be very grateful. I’m so grateful for everything I’ve done and all the help I’ve gotten to get to where I am. But you know, the, the, the music industry is so volatile and. You know, like great things will happen when you’re at your lowest and you’ll think you’re, you’re fucking crushing it and everything will come crashing down. And that’s just, that’s how it happens. And so like to preserve my sanity, I’ve had to just be like, you know, can’t get too high. I can’t get too low. Um, of course I’m incredibly excited for everyone to hear the new music and seen the new show and all of that. And that’s all, all great things, but, you know, I can, uh, Uh, I’ve I’ve written high before and had a crash down. So it is. Uh, I think for any of my peers, we’ve been doing it for a long time. It’s like a very similar thing. It’s like, yeah, man, you just gotta, gotta stay in the . moment. Um, be grateful and excited about what you’re going to do, but you can’t, don’t put too much, don’t put too many expectations on, uh, on, uh, something that hasn’t happened yet. So
Bryan: (00:24:13) yeah, that’s a mean, thank you for your level-headed approach to this and me. It’s a lot less, sorry. Right. The claws too high, or write it too low and, you know, seeing the entrepreneurship, right. You’re always don’t know what’s tomorrow. That landscape totally changed like the pandemic last year. Uh, so really appreciate that, that ground and mindset. And, you know, if she sees someone wearing like a pink hat or blue hat at EDC stage, that might be me and Maggie, you know, it’s cheering you on there’s some where I may or may not have a shirt on depending on how cold it is, but just kidding. Yeah. So I, I know you touched upon this a little bit too, but keeping your mental center. Uh, at an even state, right? . Because this there’s probably a lot of things that come to your direction. And like he said, like there’s a lot of things you can and cannot control, but how do you, how do you take care of your mental health, especially in a newsy industry rate, because earlier you mentioned a Vici and you know, I, I’m a huge fan of each had been following for a very long time. And he seen his ups and downs with his mental health and physical health and everything. It’s really heartbreaking. Right. And for me, when I look at you, You are a extremely rising artists. I’m going to see you. Like I beat you level in the next few years. I’m pretty sure of that. How do you, how do you take care of yourself and your mental health and really take time for, for yourself and take care of everything?
Tim: (00:25:38) It’s hard. Um, you know, I think it’s a, it’s a journey and a process for everyone. Um, I think, uh, It’s just like a lot of lessons learned throughout. Uh, it’s almost just like a survival instinct. Um, you know, I’ve had several points in my career where, uh, I was like, I don’t know if I can do this . anymore. And you, you just kind of learn to kind of roll with that. And especially during the pandemic, uh, You know, the, there for performers, it was like, this might be the end of the road. Right? Like, I, I was fortunate in that I was able to kind of hang on and hang on through. But, you know, I had friends who had to sell houses, had to take out loans, had like quit entirely. Um, but you know, I think. Taking care of your physical health is really important. Um, you know, getting enough sleep. I, after my first really big tour, you know, I was still like partying after shows and was still, you know, going out a lot. And I had like a complete breakdown. I was like, I can’t fucking do this anymore. Um, So that’s one, I would say I started therapy and during the pandemic, which I highly recommend to everyone, um, it’s, you know, I think taking that time to invest in yourself and not thinking about it as a weakness, um, you know, uh, everyone needs help. Um, and, uh, yeah, I think it’s just, uh, a long process of learning to. You know, love yourself as corny as that sounds and have compassion and forgiveness for yourself. Um, I think, uh, yeah, it’s just, it’s, it’s, it’s a journey. And I think being an artist, I am particularly predisposed to emotional highs and lows. Um, but it’s you, you have to just remember why you’re doing it and the remembering the things that you love about it. Uh, outside of any sort of external factors, um, cause to . me, ultimately it’s about making the music and, and, and making music. That means something to me and hoping that it means something to people who listen to it, um, you know, with everything else that goes on, like you just got to hold that as your north star.
Maggie: (00:28:16) Yeah, I love that. Um, I thank you for sharing. I think it’s, you know, really created just for you to even talk about therapy, because I think therapy has such a big stigma, especially in the Asian culture, you know? And oftentimes we think that if you see a therapist, you need help, but I definitely agree with you. I think everyone should see a therapist because there’s so many things that happen to us in situations that happened to us, that we just can’t comprehend or understand. And having someone help us, you know, peel down those layers. Better understand ourselves, better understand how we can take care of ourselves to give more self-love right. It makes all the difference. Yeah.
Tim: (00:28:52) And I, I think I’m doubly Scott. I was doubly skeptical of therapy cause I’m from the Midwest animation. Right. .And part of me was like, well, you’re so lucky. Like you’ve had, you have a great family, you have a career. Like, why do you, like, you shouldn’t feel bad. You shouldn’t feel sad. Like what’s wrong with you. Um, but you know, I think. Um, I’m glad that it’s getting less stigmatized because it’s, I think it’s important. And the way I look at it is it’s like a personal trainer for your mental health, right? Like, Some people might not need it. Right? Like some people can take care of the bodies and they know they know how to exercise without hurting themselves. But then if you don’t, if you’re not careful, you can really hurt yourself doing your own workout. Right. And to have someone in, especially if you’ve gone through trauma or you’re going through like emotional, tough times, like, it’s like, you’re injured. It’s like your knee. It’s like, you’re torn your ACL. Right? Yeah. You know, if you’re not going with someone who knows, if you don’t know exactly what you’re doing, like you might just have permanent damage in your leg. And, but to like actually work with someone like you can actually heal and become a, you know, . a happier and more fulfilled person. And I think it’s. Yeah, absolutely. Shouldn’t be something to be ashamed of.
Bryan: (00:30:09) Yeah. I absolutely agree with that. And, you know, thank you for continuing to speak to them, speak up and that we tried to touch upon touch upon like mental health a lot, because at the end of the day, we’re all human and we have different emotions. You can’t just dry hide all the time. We have our low moments. And you can never understand or judge what people are going through. Okay. Everyone has their own battles that they were facing. Right. Um, and I guess the next question I have for you is your creative process. Like you were listening to your music pretty much all morning long, so you’re like, okay. And it’s still, we jam with, we, we listen to your news in the passage for, and we definitely noticed a change of your evolution as a person. So let’s talk about your creative process, right? Like how do you. How do you come with the music that you do? And is there a particular feeling that you look for? Because we talked to other artists, they were like, I’m looking for happiness. I’m looking for sorrow. . I broke up my girlfriend again, to get that emotion back. I’m like, okay, it’s kind of extreme, you know? Well, like for you, like, what is your creative process? Like?
Tim: (00:31:09) Uh, it’s changed over the years, but I think fundamentally, it always. It to me, it usually starts, it can start in different places, but usually it’s away from the computer. Um, given that that’s how I had learned how to make me learn how to write. And, um, so I will. Get a seed of something from somewhere. It can be a line of lyric that pops in my head. It can be a melody. Sometimes it’s like a, like a sound that I make. Um, but it’s just, it really is just a kind of bottom up where you’re like, oh, this is kind of cool. What comes next? Oh, okay. Does this fit? Okay. This is cool. What comes next? And it’s always this process of like, what comes like what would be cool. Um, . And early on, it was a lot of like, learning, like how do I like learning the craft of it? Like, I hear a sound in my head, but I don’t know how to make it, like, how do I do that? And so there’s a lot of like twisting knobs and, you know, like just playing around with software to try to learn what the fuck you’re doing. Um, But now, like, as I belong, I’ve been doing it. I have a better grasp on like rough things that I know. I know like the rough path to get to where I want it to sound. Uh, it’s really important to have that element of, I have no idea what I’m doing and you need that process of discovery. And so, you know, now it’s kind of a point where on this, on the heavy glow, my album. They all started with sort of the song or the melody and the lyrics. A lot of it was, uh, started at the piano behind me. And when I ride, it’s pretty subconscious. I don’t . necessarily know what I’m writing about, but it’s always this like, okay, what comes next? And then a lot of times I’ll write a song and then I’ll be like, I don’t really know what this is about yet, but then it’ll kind of reveal itself later, which is like, Fucking magical part of songwriting. Um, and then after I have like, sort of the soul of the song in my head, I’ll, uh, record some stuff on my computer and then start adding the production and just kind of keep going back and forth. And that’s, it’s always just like, okay, what’s cool. Like, what do I need here? What do I want to hear here? What, what am I feeling here? And, um, There’s no, like I’ve learned that you can’t like force it into like, oh, I want this to be a progressive house song. Like, oh, I want this to be a bang or I want it to be this. Um, he goes, once you do that, you’re kind of just filling in the blanks and it always comes out kind of uninspired and stale. So it really is just like, uh, what’s exciting to .me right now. What’s, what’s interesting. What is this need? And just, uh, you know, you just keep following that until.
Maggie: (00:34:10) So amazing. Brian and I are probably the least musically talented people. So it’s just amazing care and your creative process when you’re making music. And I love the fact that you say that you can’t like put it into one bucket. You just have to kind of like let it flow, you know, wait. So how much time does it take on average? You know, to, for that whole process. Um, I know you can’t really put it into like a timeline, but I’m just really curious, like on average, how long would that usually take?
Tim: (00:34:37) Uh, I take much longer than most producers, I think. Um, if I can get a song done, start to finish in a month, that’s very fast. Um, but I also work in parallel. I’ll we’re all working on different, you know, I’ll work on the vocal to one song while I’m doing the productive drums on another song. And, . uh, just to keep it fresh, but I’d say on average, it’s like six to eight weeks of like, full-time work per song. Sometimes it can be faster. I think the fast I ever did something like. Two weeks maybe, and then some songs take years. Um, so it really depends, but it’s, um, you know, and I spent a lot of times on songs that don’t end up becoming, you know, don’t end up coming out. So there’s a lot of, um, it’s hard to say, but I started working on heavy glow probably in 2019. So, you know okay. Like, No 18 months to, to get it all done properly.
Maggie: (00:35:46) Yeah. That’s awesome. So you, we know that you’ve played at small clubs and extremely big festivals like beyond, and like we mentioned, you’re about to play at the upcoming EDC. Is there one in particular between playing at small . venues versus big festivals that you enjoy performing at and why
Tim: (00:36:06) they’re both just different animals? Um, Playing that small, more intimate clubs is awesome because you can really feel the sort of, uh, you can really make a personal connection with hands. Like you can really, you can see them, you can, you know, uh, you really feel that energy and, you know, they’re there for you. Which is always, um, you know, is always very special. Um, festivals are, you know, they’re incredible, right? Just the sheer sort of magnitude of it all and like seeing everyone there, um, there is a sense that like at the smaller venues, you’re like, okay, I’m going to go and be me. And then that festivals, there’s a little bit of. I’m going to show you these mother fuckers, what I can do. Right. Cause they might not know who I am. Um, so the, the energy you bring into it is a little bit different, but they’re both, they’re like, 0 you know, they’re both, uh, they both have their own kind of character and uh, you know, I love both of them. So.
Bryan: (00:37:11) I want to take this question a little bit off tension and make kind of fun. So tell us about a fun story about you being a rocker Nietzsche on the stage and having fans come lets you, because what to visualize is like you’re crazy after party in the back and say, Hey guys, go to the baths, meet all the girls like, woo. That was a fun story.
Tim: (00:37:31) Uh, honestly, I’d have to go, uh, Pretty far back, just cause, you know, recently it’s when your toilet, when you’ve toured as much as I have, like you learn to like preserve your body and like, you don’t really party anymore. Like it’s um, most of the artists I know who have been doing it a long time, at some point they’re like, I just can’t do this anymore. Um, . but you know, there’s just like cool, like cool, random things that happen. Like. You know, I would like you play a show and like Waka Flocka shows up and then you’re like hanging out with like Waka Flocka and smoking a blonde with a immigrant in your room or whatever. Um, you know, uh, like I met a couple of NFL players at a, like at an after party after a show or, you know, just like cool random, like, for me, it’s so much about the show now where it’s like that that’s my moment. And like, I’m, I can’t. Like, I, I can’t be partying because I’d have an early flight and I’m, you know, I’m just too old for this shit. But, um, no, I think it’s, uh, you know, I, I think the special thing for me is always, when you’re playing a lot, you can take it for granted, but then when you’re bringing your friends and they’re like going backstage for the first time, you’re like, you’re like, oh, this actually is pretty cool. And you’re not just like this another fucking . night. So.
Bryan: (00:39:03) Yeah, thanks for sharing that. You’re so I love, I love this entire interview. You’re so wholesome. I got to say so. So I guess, like, what are your goals moving forward? Where do you, where do you see yourself? Year or two or five years. And what do you want to take your partnership signing with, you know, 88 rising and whatnot. That’s going to be great for your career. Like where do you see yourself? One of your goals in escalate years?
Tim: (00:39:33) I think I’m at a point where I don’t really set Riley. I don’t really set concrete career goals anymore. Um, I think the pandemic was a bit. You know, ranch and a lot of people’s plans to put it lightly. Um, but to me it’s just like the, my north star is I just want to make better, a better music, um, . and get it out to as many people, um, as I can. And, you know, just want to make as big of an impact with people with the music and the art of. Um, the industry is so fickle. And so, you know, out of your control, you never know which way trends are going to go. You never know what’s going to be popular a year from now what song’s going to take off. And when you’re chasing that, it can be very, it can just be really tough, right? Because so much of it’s out of your control. And so for me, it’s just continuing to. Be a better artist, make cooler music videos, make better music, uh, be a better singer or be a better guitarist, be a better songwriter and just focus on the things I can control and, um, just create a better art. Um, it was particularly for me because I feel like. You know, the, uh, the, the culture on the music industry always goes in . cycles. And right now we’re in this, we’re in this cycle of where everything is so micro, like Tik, TOK, clap, like give me the, you need the ten second tick tock club. You need the, uh, you need the, that like viral video. You need to grab a 10 everyone’s attention span is so short. Um, you need to make things meaningful. And to me, that’s not. I I’m more of like a long form artist. I still care about albums. I still care about narratives and these longer form things. And it’s just, um, staying true to that and finding art that I’m excited about making it, uh, continuing to make it and get it out to people.
Maggie: (00:41:41) I love that. Well, we’re so excited for all of the upcoming things that you have in the next year. And I love that you focused on you know yourself because when you really focus on bettering yourself and becoming a better person, it’s, you know, the only person that you have to compete with is yourself to become a better and better each year. And I love that you exemplified that. So we have, should we do a fun question?
Bryan: (00:42:07) I mean, I, I mean, I’m asking you a question. So we watched your old YouTube videos for three or four years ago, and we always knows your hair is constantly blonde, right? How did he came up with that look, when they woke up, I only bought them to stay blonde forever. And like, have you been recognized? What was the first time was the first feeling like when you’ve been recognized at like a normal place, you’re just getting Boba or eating burrito. You’re like, oh, you elephante, what does that move like for you? How’d you tell him what the blonde hair concept for you guys are listening to podcasts is also wearing like a yellow is type of sweater to match the swag. So how did you come up the whole look that you have, right.
Tim: (00:42:47) Uh, again, there’s no like master plan. Um, I was going on tour in 2017 and I was like, fuck it. I’m going to DJ, like, I’m going to bleach my hair and just kinda did . it. And then was like, oh, this is, uh, uh, my management at the time was like, they were kind of pissed because they’re like, bro, we just shot. And now we just did an album cover where you have black hair. Like not recognize you. I was like, I don’t know what to tell you. But, uh, now it’s just, it kind of started on a whim and then it kind of, I was like, I’ll keep it up for awhile. And then now it’s like, kind of like, uh, it just feels like part of who I am and it, like, I look at old pictures of me in black hair and I’m like, I don’t even recognize, um, that person. So it really just started off kind of randomly on a whim and it kind of went from then it’s just kind of stuck around, um, As for the recognizing thing it’s, uh, I mean, it’s, I can’t remember when it happened perse, but it’s definitely kind of a surreal thing. Um, it’s, uh, it’s good for your ego that’s for damn . sure. Um, and it happened a lot more once I started bleaching my hair. So maybe that maybe that’s why I kept it, but, um, no, I think it’s, it’s always great. Um, you know, it’s something like I appreciate when that. Fans want to say hi, it does get a little weird when you’re like, In an airport bathroom. And like, someone’s trying to take a picture with you then I’m like, I’m going to get out of the bathroom first. Like, um, but usually it’s like, it’s very chill and ever, like everyone I’ve talked to is by and large, like super nice, by the way.
Maggie: (00:44:37) Yeah, it looks really good. I have to get your, your hair care products and shampoo because it keeps that you keep that the blonde and there
Tim: (00:44:46) it’s a lot of effort. There’s a lot of products, but, um, I’ve a, I’m a great solace in LA. Um, it comes every six weeks and just like gives me a fucking . bunch of shit. So it’s like use this and this and this and that. Now I always forget to use something and always yell at me. It’s like, you got to use the bomb and I’ll be like, all right, I’m sorry. I’ll do better.
Maggie: (00:45:10) That’s hilarious. Okay. Well, thank you so much. Elefante we just want to ask where can our listeners find out. More about you and your music and how can they go online to like support your music and support you,
Tim: (00:45:23) um, on all the social medias? Um, my handles are, uh, I am the Elefante for Twitter, Facebook, Instagram. Um, I’m just, Elefante on Tik TOK. Um, you know, all my music is out on all the DSPs, um, apple music, Spotify, Amazon music. These are. Uh, you can plan all my music there and my new album have you, glow is coming out. It might be out by the time this, uh, this podcast comes out. So, uh, definitely look up.
Maggie: (00:45:55) Awesome. Well, it was amazing having you on our podcast today, Tim. Thank you so much for .sharing your story with us. We appreciate it.
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