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Elohim Discusses Collaboration with GRiZ, Mental Health & More [Interview]

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Elohim’s latest effort is a collaboration with GRiZ entitled “Bring Me Back.” The wavy house track combines GRiZ’s signature funk-infused production with Elohim’s mesmerizing vocals, which convey a message that many fans are sure to find relatable. 

Elohim says she sent the vocals to GRiZ, who responded with a full production the same day. The collaboration sparked a friendship between the two artists, who were familiar with each other but had never worked together. “Bring Me Back” is a musical treat for listeners of GRiZ and Elohim alike, and may even bring the two fanbases closer together. 

“It was very much the emotion of just missing somebody and wanting to feel them next to you and just feeling so in love…But also that kind of achy feeling of wanting to feel that person next to you.” – Elohim

“The best part of the process is being able to share the music that you made and see how it feels for other people and what it makes them feel…That’s the most joy I get is seeing other people get joy from listening to the music that I had fun creating.” – Elohim

We had the pleasure of speaking with Elohim about the new single, along with the importance of being honest about mental health – read on in our exclusive interview below.

Nocturnal Times: First of all, congrats on the single with GRiZ. I really like it!

Elohim: Thank you so much! Oh my gosh. I really like it as well, so thank you!

Nocturnal Times: What kind of energy or emotions did you put into that song?

Elohim: So it was very much the emotion of just missing somebody and wanting to feel them next to you and just feeling so in love. But also that kind of achy feeling of wanting to feel that person next to you. And I actually wrote it a while ago and then GRiZ and I were just texting or whatever and I was like ‘oh I have this acapella I feel like it would be so perfect for you and for us to collab on.’  So he did a whole new take on it and did all new production and then I did a new chorus and stuff. So yeah, it’s that feeling of just wanting somebody next to you.

Nocturnal Times: What was it like working with GRiZ?

Elohim: Yeah, so I sent him just the vocal and it was a totally different song that I had made with one of my best friends and I sent it to GRiZ and he responded in like two minutes and was like ‘I’m in.’ He loved it and that night he sent me a full production that he did and it was amazing and it was so different from the original one, which I love. That’s the cool thing about remixes too. GRiZ is such a musician and hearing his take on it was so cool for me. So yeah, it was so fun and it just connected GRiZ and I even more. We bonded and have this beautiful friendship now, which is the best part about making music. 

Nocturnal Times: What is the most rewarding part of the creative process?

Elohim: Yeah, I think the creative process is really beautiful. Meeting new artists…like I said, we were aware of each other and had say ‘hey’ or whatever on social media, but this really brought us together. We started FaceTiming and actually have a friendship now, which is so beautiful. I think that is the best part about collaborating. 

And then the best part of the process is being able to share the music that you made and see how it feels for other people and what it makes them feel. That’s the most joy I get is seeing other people get joy from listening to the music that I had fun creating.

Nocturnal Times: That’s so cool. It sounds like making music is rewarding for yourself because I know you say music is your medicine. So it’s good for you and it’s also good for the fans, so it kind of works both ways which is really cool.

Elohim: 150 million percent. 

Nocturnal Times: So on the flip side, what would you say is the most challenging part of the creative process?

Elohim: So the challenging part, I would say, is when you’re getting down to the final mixes. Being any kind of artist, any kind of creation of art…it’s kind of the final minutes when you’re like ‘okay wait!’ And then you start to second guess it and you’re like ‘oh my gosh do I need to add this thing? Is this good enough? I don’t know!’ And then putting the seal on it and sending it to the team and then being like ‘okay, is it done?’ I think sometimes that’s the most challenging only because you sometimes start to second guess and want to change things.

Nocturnal Times: It seems like the song could never really be done. You could always keep working on it, right?

Elohim: Totally, and that’s actually the really fun part about doing live shows because I play instruments live. And so for me, I always do new takes on songs. For the most part it’ll be the same, but then I’ll add little fun, cool things and that’s really cool for me being able to do that live. Because then it is this never ending evolution of a song.

Nocturnal Times: Yeah, it’s like a living entity.

Elohim: Exactly. 

Nocturnal Times: Is that last 1% of making a song pretty hard? Do you tend to be kind of a perfectionist when it comes to that?

Elohim: Yes and no. Sometimes I get to a point where I’m like ‘it’s fine just take it away from me.’ There are times when you do overthink it and then you can end up doing more damage than helping the song. So sometimes I just have to trust my team. I have an amazing team and I’m very lucky to be surrounded by such musical and amazing people that have my back and are like ‘it’s good, it’s done, it’s ready to go.’ It’s also a relief too when you’re like ‘here, take it. I’m never going to listen to it again.’ 

Nocturnal Times: Shifting gears a little bit, I know you’re such a big advocate of mental health and you’re always really transparent about your own mental health. Why is that honesty and transparency so important to you?

Elohim: So, the honesty and transparency and authenticity while talking about my own struggles is so important to me because for so long, I felt completely alone. I mean all of my life I felt completely alone and I didn’t know anybody else went through what I went through. I just felt totally isolated in that feeling, which is incredibly scary when you’re going through that. And it seems like everybody else is totally fine and living their lives and no problem and that can even exacerbate the dissociation because you start to spin out and think ‘oh my gosh I’m the only one that goes through this.’ 

So for me, I felt completely alone and so I decided to share my story not knowing if anyone would be able to relate and it turns out a lot of people could relate. The messages that I would get were so meaningful and they moved me to a place where I was like ‘I want to keep writing about this and keep creating these songs and this message and do it in a really authentic way.’ Because people do talk about it a bit more now but sometimes it still feels like it’s not fully authentic and real because there are really dark parts to going through panic and anxiety and depression and dissociation. And I think it’s really important to share the heavy moments as well because those are the most real moments and those are what help people the most when they hear about the really real moments of me going through my struggles. So it’s important to me because I realize that a lot of people need to hear this stuff and it’s helped a lot of people and that’s my purpose here.

Nocturnal Times: I think it’s just so great that you have music as this platform to do that. You tweeted recently “I used to feel dead inside. Now I feel alive.” Could you just expand on that and tell me how you’re feeling these days and how music plays a part in that?

Elohim: Yeah, so I tweeted that because I was looking at photos of myself from two and half or three years ago and I was 100 pounds. I’ve now gained 30 something pounds and I feel the healthiest I’ve ever felt. And looking back at those photos, I can see this emptiness behind my eyes and it’s scary looking at them, but at the same time I feel really grateful because I’m like ‘wow, I’ve come so far’. And I feel so much more alive right now than I ever have because making music, creating this community has helped me tremendously. And then I took the steps of going to therapy, going to a psychiatrist, getting on medication, and that really helped me live my best life that I could and most productive life that I could. So yeah, I hope that that answered the question. 

Nocturnal Times: Well, I’m curious about how you strive for self-improvement without being too hard on yourself because I feel like it’s hard to find that balance sometimes. 

Elohim: It is really hard and that’s why I feel really grateful to have such amazing friends around me and a team and family. I really realized the importance of keeping people around you that lift you up and support you and want you to get better as well and don’t want to hold you back. And it’s been really important for me to sort of keep that in mind and keep those people really close to me no matter what because that support is everything.

Because of course there’s days where we get so hard on ourselves because we do want to…just a week ago I had a really panic attack where I was throwing up and sometimes that happens and it’s like ‘oh no, it’s a setback.’ And then you get guilty or you sort of get mad at yourself like ‘oh my gosh of course I’m doing this right now and now this is a setback.’ And it’s not. We’re human. We’re going to go through these moments where we have good days, we have bad days, we have weird days, we have sad days, and ultimately we’re going to have another good day and we’re going to be okay. And every step is a step in the right direction, even baby steps. 

I always say for people who struggle with panic and anxiety or even depression, sometimes you can’t even get out of bed and I say that even if you made an extra step today that you didn’t make yesterday, that’s something to celebrate. So I think it’s really just important to celebrate the positive no matter what it is. You know, if you couldn’t eat because of your anxiety and then suddenly today you’re able to drink a smoothie, that’s a celebration in itself. So yeah, I think just celebrating small victories as well as the big ones and pushing yourself, but also remembering that it’s okay to take baby steps. Slow motion is better than no motion. 

Nocturnal Times: Absolutely. I mean for me, sometimes I’ll create lists of what I want to get done for the day and sometimes I’ll throw in really easy stuff that I know I’ll do anyway like making breakfast or taking a shower just so I can cross it off and feel good about that. 

Elohim: Oh my gosh, I started doing that in the last few months. That’s so funny. I started doing that and it makes me feel so good and accomplished. And same, I would put just really easy things on there as well and it would make me feel so good to check it off. That’s so funny. 

Nocturnal Times: Yeah, I think it’s really helpful. Especially because I create goals for myself and a lot of times I won’t be realistic about them and I’ll get disappointed in myself for not meeting them, so I think it’s important to be realistic and just be good to yourself and be easy on yourself sometimes. 

Elohim: 100 percent. I had to have that talk with my therapist. I would get down on myself where I would have days where I didn’t want to leave the couch and she was like ‘you’re doing things all the time, it’s okay to take a day for yourself and just relax and reset and recharge your batteries.’ 

Nocturnal Times: Yeah, for sure. Another thing I feel like is that so much anxiety and stress is caused by either looking ahead or looking behind and I feel like it’s so hard to be in that present moment. What do you do to try to stay in the present?

Elohim: It’s so funny. On Twitch yesterday, I was live and we were all talking about that and I was like ‘for the next ten seconds I’m going to count down and let’s be present.’ And I really find that a great way to be present is to focus on gratitude and that’s something my mom always tells me. You know, if for ten seconds you just list down things that are in your immediate present that you are grateful for, that has been so helpful for me. This attitude of gratitude, as cliche as that sounds, it could never be too cliche because it’s actually a beautiful sentiment. So for me, the best way to be present, even if it’s just for ten seconds, is to just shift your energy to gratitude.

Nocturnal Times: What are some things that you do for self care that are important for your mental health in general?

Elohim: I find that whenever I’m feeling really down or having an off day, sometimes I literally just have to get under my weighted blanket and put on some shitty TV and just turn my phone off and try to turn my brain off and just relax. But I also find that if I push myself and say ‘just sit at the piano and play a little bit’, it always shifts my energy which is really awesome. And I feel really grateful to have music. 

But you know, little things like pushing yourself to go for a short walk or something and get outside. Those things can really help with just changing how your energy feels in that moment and change your scenery or go for a drive. That’s one thing I’ve done during the quarantine. I’ll start to feel weird and I’ll just drive to the ocean and drive home and I’ll sing in the car or try writing in my mind and record on my Apple watch while I’m driving. And those things actually help a lot. And sometimes you’re like, ‘the last thing I want to do is go for a walk or exercise’, but I found when I do push myself to do stuff, it really does help a lot. 

Nocturnal Times: So talking about panic attacks, what exactly does that feel like? Because I know that term is used a lot, but some people might not know exactly what it is or what it feels like. 

Elohim: Yeah, and that’s why I don’t use those words lightly because they are a very serious thing. And often people will say things like ‘oh my gosh this traffic is giving me a panic attack’, but that’s just sort of a stressful feeling. Panic attacks for me, when I’m truly having a panic attack, often I will be on the bathroom floor shaking, throwing up, hard to catch your breath, cold sweats, goosebumps. A lot of just uncontrollable shaking and crying, throwing up, dry heaving, dissociating, don’t know where you are, you don’t know who people are, everything feels like you’re in a fucked up movie. 

I always say it feels like you’re in a movie, and I’ve never actually been drunk or taken drugs, but when I watch movies and they do the point of view from somebody who is having a bad drug drug trip or very intoxicated and they actually film from that person’s perspective, I always say that’s what dissociation feels like. Because it feels like everything is spinning and nothing makes sense and you kind of don’t know who people are or where you are. It’s really scary and a lot of times my panic attacks are triggered by dissociation and you never know when it’s going to hit you. 

You could be in the grocery store and you’re like ‘oh my gosh’ and that’s definitely happened to me a few times. So yeah, it’s really intense. It’s really intense. I never knew anyone else who went through that and it’s so wild now to talk to so many people who have had the exact same experience and that’s been life-changing and life-saving for me truly. Because you can talk to a therapist, but a lot of time a therapist has never gone through that. But then to talk to people who have gone through, almost to a tee, exactly what I’ve gone through is pretty phenomenal for me. 

Nocturnal Times: Is there anything you can do to take yourself out of it or do you just kind of have to wait it out?

Elohim: I would say you have to go through it to get through it. I mean I have to turn to medication, because sometimes it is just so intense that there isn’t anything that can really help you out of it. And it’s why myself and a lot of people that I talk to that I’ve met through my music and become friends with, we sometimes get frustrated by people talking about panic attacks like ‘oh, just try journaling and take deep breaths.’ Like yes, that would be awesome but when I’m having a panic attack I can’t meditate, I can’t fucking write in a journal, I can’t take a deep breath, I can barely even breathe, and nothing is real you know. 

We talk about this a lot, which is why I want to share my story as authentically as possible, because not many people do. And a lot of people do go through it, but some people don’t. But for the people that do go through it, I want to remind them that they’re not alone because I also go through this and a lot of people go through this. So yeah, in the moment I may kind of just have to go through it to get through it, which sucks but that’s just kind of how it goes. 

Nocturnal Times: Yeah, I think it’s awesome that you’re bringing awareness to this through your music. So I want to circle back to your music a little bit and talk about some of your music influences. Who are some of those artists that you look up to and may have influenced your sound?

Elohim: Well, I grew up playing classical piano and seeing that that was my whole childhood, that had to have influenced me in some way because it was my whole life. But you know, I remember when somebody showed me Radiohead and I was like ‘wow, these sounds are incredible’ and then somebody showed me Animal Collective and I was like ‘wow, these sounds are also incredible’. And I think it was always my dream to make music that had interesting sounds, but had a melody and lyrical content that anybody could follow and it’s not too weird and it’s digestible and comforting and comfortable to listen to and not too avant-garde, but still have some of those interesting sounds that I love. So yeah, there’s just a lot of electronic music that I hear that is really inspiring, but I also love alternative music and pop music. I even like country music lately. 

Nocturnal Times: So how do you think your music has grown over the past few years and how do you think you’ve developed as an artist?

Elohim: Gosh, it’s always growing and changing. That’s the coolest thing about music is that it’s just infinite. You can never know everything and you can always make something new. My mind is always blown every time I go to the studio I’m like ‘there’s no way I’ll make a song I like today’. And then I make my new favorite song. I did that last week and it always blows my mind because you go in with nothing and you just create out of thin air. You can make anything you want. That’s my favorite thing and I love having freedom with creating and it’s why my music is ever-evolving. 

And I only want to ever be around people that support that and so it’s always changing. I never want to be in a box and if I want to go in and scream on a song, I’m going to go do that. So it’s always changing. I think also when I first started playing a lot of live shows, that created a big difference too. Because the feeling of performing a song live is totally different than creating a song, so playing a lot of festivals and touring a lot really brought an excitement to the writing process because there was a place where I knew the song was going to go and so that made it really exciting. And thinking about what’s going to be really exciting to play, so it’s always changing, always evolving. Music is crazy. 

Nocturnal Times: I know earlier in your career you were anonymous, so what made you decide to come out and how do you feel about being in the public eye now?

Elohim: It’s kind of funny, but the initial thing that made me want to speak was I was hired to and booked to do this GoDaddy commercial. They were totally down for me to not use my real voice and they wanted me to talk about my experience with mental health and they wanted to keep it very real. So I was in the car, they sent me a driver, and I was on the way to set for this huge commercial shoot. And I was sort of transcribing the script into the voice that I would use before that was kind of a British robot woman. 

And as I was doing it, the words were so powerful that I was just like ‘I have to say this.’ I got to set and I went straight to the director and I was like ‘I want to speak in the commercial’ and he was like ‘wait, what?’ He was like ‘are you sure, are you positive?’ and I was like ‘yes’. And so that was kind of the first thing and then they came to my house to do an interview and that was my first on-camera interview using my voice. And I remember waking up so nervous and I was dry heaving and then we did the interview. It was amazing.

So that was the beginning and it kind of sparked it and I was like ‘wow, I feel like I have this great story to tell right now’. And it felt like I had been working for a while and I had gone through so much and it felt like I was ready to tell my story. And so it was really empowering and I felt really good about it. I felt really strong and so empowered and I feel more connected to the community than I ever have. So it’s been amazing honestly. 

Nocturnal Times: Well, is there anything coming up on the horizon music-wise that you’d like to let fans know about?

Elohim: So much new music is coming out. I created an entire album in my bedroom and so many more songs even beyond that. I’m really grateful we’re going to put all of this music out this year and I’m so excited to share that. And I just want to remind anyone that’s reading that you are not alone and there’s a beautiful community of people that have your back. 

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