Reflecting On Touring With Elder
Heavy rock/pysch band Elder is hitting the road for U.S. clubs with King Buffalo in support, kicking off Oct. 11 in Brooklyn, N.Y.
Elder frontman Nick DiSalvo answered some questions for Pollstar about the band’s growth and future plans and revealed he doesn’t quite know what to think about being praised by popular music critic Anthony Fantano of “The Needle Drop.”
Buzz over the Boston-based sludge band has been growing, with its latest album, Reflections of a Floating World, garnering praise from critics and metalheads alike.
Elder is known for pummeling riffs, extended jams and soundscapes evoking the best of classic heavy rock.
Now based in Germany, they’ve been on the European festival circuit and are kicking it up a notch for the upcoming headline tour in North America, with 16 club dates on the eastern part of the continent.
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Click here for all of Elder’s dates.
The band’s current booking contacts are (United States / World): Heavy Talent – [email protected] and (Europe): Vibra Booking Agency [email protected].
I thought you guys were in Boston! How’s Germany and what are you doing there?
We’ve always had the difficulty of giving ourselves a “hometown” because as long as the band has existed we three have been moving around constantly. Matt, Jack and I have lived in Boston, Providence, New York and me off and on in Germany for 5 years. It’s been interesting, to say the least… I studied and taught English out here years ago and decided to come back on a whim – I was sick of New England and, outside of Elder, had little going for myself. I had flirted with the idea of moving to Berlin (where I am now) for years and decided to just give it a try. That was about a year and a half ago now.
Seems like you’ve been steadily growing your live fanbase. Any favorite shows recently?
We generally play much bigger shows in Europe than we do in the States. That might be due to the fact that we tour way more in Europe, or because the music resonates more over here, who knows? In any case, we’ve been growing steadily the past few years on both continents and the upcoming U.S. run will hopefully be the best one we’ve had yet there.
On the last European tour this summer we had some amazing gigs headlining festivals in Germany, Norway and Portugal. Playing on big stages in open air settings is really exhilarating, something I never expected I’d do. One of these festivals was in Tromsø, Norway, above the Arctic Circle. We were playing outside in July, freezing our asses off looking out into a majestic fjord. That was pretty surreal.
Are you handling all the guitar parts on this tour?
There’s no way I can really play all of the guitar and keyboard parts live just by myself to some degree of satisfaction, which is why we decided to bring on a fourth member for these tours.
Mike Risberg is now handling second guitar and keyboards on these tours. He’s a friend of ours from years ago and a great musician whom we had always considered adding to the band in some capacity. So now we’re touring as a four piece.
I’m sure you’re aware of the influential music critic Anthony Fantano (The Needle Drop) praising your latest album. Do you see an immediate impact from positive critics’ response like that?
I had never heard of him before he reviewed our album and a friend tipped me off to the video, saying that he was pretty influential.
Maybe that got some more people interested in our music, but the only concrete feedback I could gather from his review was in the comments section, which seemed to be more filled with trolls and nonsense than most YouTube videos, and that’s saying something.
I doubt that even if the most popular publications raved about us that we’d see some resonance in a mainstream audience. The music just isn’t very “cool” and I don’t think it’s super accessible unless you come from a heavy rock background.
Do you manage the band yourself?
Yeah, you could say that. We have two booking agents, one in the U.S. and one in Europe, and I’m the head of the band, that’s about as professional as it gets. We probably shoot ourselves in the foot by rejecting the traditional channels towards growth, like working with bigger record labels and paying some greasy manager to push our music on people, but it’s just not something we’re interested in. As much as we can do ourselves, we try to do it; I enjoy personally representing the music we invest so much into.
Are you going to play the U.S. West Coast anytime soon? What’s next?
We are definitely coming to the West Coast soon and coordinating a time frame for that right now. Unfortunately, especially with the distance between us and everyone doing their own thing in between tours, it’s not always easy to tour everywhere all the time, but this is a region we’re absolutely going to hit as soon as possible. We’ve got another European tour in the works for this spring as well. And of course trying to write new music in the meantime!
What are you listening to now?
the band in Russia, dated August
My favorites from this year so far:
Kairon; ISRE! – Ruination
Papir – V
Dungen – Häxan (Versions by Prins Thomas)
Penguin Cafe – The Imperfect Sea