Q+A: 5 Minutes with ELIS NOA

It’s rare that you can find an instant soulful classic when it comes to music these days. ELIS NOA provide the perfect, gentle interlude to the overproduced creations on the market at the moment with their recently released refined single ‘Weights’.  The classically trained Austrian pair are quickly rising in the international scene as they share their heartfelt lyrics with the world. ELIS NOA are currently building towards their sophomore LP, slated for release later this year with two singles (I Don’t Like It Here and Make Me Think Of You) having already been made public.  

Stream/ download: ‘Weights’

Naturally, we were curious about the creative pair behind the ethereal single. Join us as we learn more about their production process in the exclusive interview below

Set the tone for us. Why the arts?

There really is no other option. 

Which comes first when you’re producing – the sound or the idea?

There is no formula for how we work as it is always different. At times Elisa comes to the studio with a song sketch or a chords progression or a hook and Aaron takes that idea and works on a baseline or drums. Sometimes there is a sample that we like or recorded on a phone that develops into a song. 

When we work, the process of songwriting and production is very intertwined, we are both musicians, trying to form a piece of music out of a thought, a feeling and conversation or an experience.

Does your material feature any collaborations?

Not at the moment, but we’d love to do so in the future. Maybe after this album, we worked so hard to get this LP right that it took all of our energy. But are ready for new ideas and collaborations and see where that could lead us artistically. 

What’s on your current playlist?

Eloise, Arlo Parks, Miraa May, Lucky Daye, Mahalia

Tell us about the chemistry you have with your fans on stage.

Elisa: The best feeling is when there is brief eye contact with someone in the audience while we play and I exchange a smile for a second. Sometimes I get to talk to that person after the concert and they always start to talk about that moment too and what they felt while hearing the lyrics. I love how the content of the songs connects to people in so many different ways and it’s so great when they tell me their experiences and how the song relates to them.

What techniques do you experiment with to get your original sound?

With this last album, we introduced a lot of drum samples and more complex vocal harmonies as a choir to enhance the production and sound design. Aaron experimented a lot with manipulating vocals and samples, detaching them from their common usage and introducing them as a new arrangement medium within the production. 

Take us through a day in the recording studio.

Oh, this is a tricky one. We can’t generalize how we work on a track. While working on “I Was Just About To Leave” we sometimes created ideas and lyrics and harmonies super quickly, where all ideas worked and we got further super easily. And then we also had days where nothing worked at all. Where we would just go back and forth and just couldn’t get anywhere creatively. Working on art is very unpredictable. If anything, we learned that while creating music, the priority is NOT to judge any idea during the creation process as it will just slow the flow or break it completely.

Was there a specific moment in your life where you thought, “this is what I want to do”?

Elisa: Not really, I’ve been writing songs since I started playing the piano at the age of 7. It’s where I feel most alive, I never imagined doing anything else than music.

Aaron: There was no specific moment. Somehow it just naturally fell into place that way since I grew up in an environment where I was exposed to arts and music from early childhood on. 

What do you keep close by while you’re playing a set?

Elisa: There is nothing in particular that I hold on to while performing. Everything I need is within me, the plan is to get close to that during the performance. Meditating helps me to go within and find the calm to channel everything I want to express on stage. It really is a matter of letting go, not holding on to something. 

Any emerging artists on your radar?

Elisa: I’ve been in love with Emilie Nicolas’ music for years now. Her vocals, lyrics and exquisite productions are probably one of our biggest inspirations. I’d love to see her play someday, but she doesn’t play much live.

What gets your creative juices flowing?

Elisa: Silence, not doing anything, meditation, no social media, exercise, documentaries and interesting conversation with people who are into an honest and open exchange.

Take us through your collection of gear, tech or software that accompanies your creative expression.

Aaron: We record and produce everything in Ableton Live and have a couple of analogue synths and drum machines that we use a lot. With this album though we started to incorporate a lot more acoustic elements that we then try to process in weird ways to get new sounds. Everything from Saxophones, old marching kick drums, an old Fender Rhodes with a squeaking pedal all the way to a Mexican flute made out of clay that a friend gifted me years ago.

Any side projects you’re working on?

Aaron: I regularly work (both live and in the studio) with artists like Marco Kleebauer, Leyya, Sharktank, Oehl a.o.

Elisa: My main side project is a musical meditation project called NUJA, together with classical harpist Isabel Goller. We create music meditations for everyone who is looking for high-quality guided meditations in different languages. 

How have you refined your craft since you entered the industry?

Elisa: My work and output haven’t really changed since starting our journey of releases with ELIS NOA. My intention is to maintain an honest expression within my songs independently from the places and communities that we might be part of. 

Breakdown the news for us: what can we expect from you this year?

The release of “I Was Just About To Leave”, our second album and all singles that will come with that. We are so looking forward to sharing it with an audience as we will be playing it in Austria, Germany, and Italy this year. We’d also love to come to the UK, as there are so many artists from there whom we adore and get inspired by. Hopefully soon!

Famous last words? 

Only Love

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         Image credit: Dominik Friess

By Sarah Britton