Derek Rickert

Talking About Breaking Into EDM Success (and New Music) with Elephante

Tim Wu, commonly known as Elephante, is no newbie to the EDM world. With his hit tracks Catching On and Closer, Elephante has been a fan favorite for quite some time. Graduating from Harvard in 2011, he decided to make the choice to quit his full-time job to pursue music.

Elephante’s first EP, I Am The Elephante, released in September 2016 debuted at the #2 spot on the iTunes Dance Album chart. 2018 is going to be a huge year, already on lineups such as Beyond Wonderland, EDC Las Vegas, plus his residency at Hakkasan Las Vegas and support for Matoma and 3LAU at major dates on their tours.

We had the chance to sit down with Elephante before his set at Beyond Wonderland this year, check out the full interview below.

Elephante in tie-dye shirt on red background

DMNW: What genre of music inspires you that is not EDM?

TW: I listen to all kinds of shit. I love hip hop, I love rock, classic rock, I love indie stuff. I grew up listening to everything. Pretty much you name it and I’ll fuck with it.

DMNW: Your track “Troubled” with Deb’s daughter, how did that collaboration happen?

TW: We met through our managers. I heard this demo and was very moved by the story of it and the lyrics and melody. We worked on it together and was super stoked on how it came out.

DMNW: Any new projects that you are working on?

TW: Yea, I’m working on finishing an EP. Hopefully be out by the early summer, in a few months. Just wrapping that up and have a new single coming out in a couple of weeks. Excited for everyone to hear.

(The new track, The In Between featuring Anjulie is out now. Hear it for yourself below.)

DMNW: What are some DJs that are inspiring your sound right now?

TW: Man, there’s so much good music out there right now. Guys like Galantis, Porter, Virtual Self; I love the new Odesza’s new album, super moving, and 3lau’s new album’s great.

DMNW: What show/festival are you most looking forward to this upcoming season?

TW: I’m super excited about Beyond right now. I’m playing EDC this year for the first time so I’m super stoked about that. I don’t know which other ones have been announced, so I’m just going to leave it at Beyond and EDC.

DMNW: You graduated from Harvard, what made you decide to quit your full-time job to pursue music?

TW: I mean I love music. It was something that I always wanted to do. I knew that I would never forgive myself if I never gave it a shot. I’ve been making music my whole life. I tried having a normal life and realized “this sucks.” So then, I knew I had to give it a shot and even if I failed, I’ll know that I did my best.

DMNW: What have been some of your biggest struggles so far in your music career?

TW: Trying to get your music out there. It’s tough because every day you try to make the best music that you can and you put everything that you have into a song or remix and no one cares. Then you have to find a way to dig back down and do it again and again and again. You are constantly trying to do better and improve your craft and hoping that things will happen.

DMNW: What are some new things that you are trying to bring to the EDM scene?

TW: I don’t think I ever thought of it as “this is the scene and this is what I’m going to add to it”. I think of it as what sound excites me. You can’t just be like “oh I’m going to play the tambourine today and make it into a thing”. I have this sound in my head and I try to get closer to it every day.

DMNW: What are some things that you wish were different in the EDM scene?

TW: I wish that music mattered more. There’s so much on who you know. I think in the long run music that makes people believe in something is the most impactful and lasting. Not the people who are the flavor of the month and on the hype train.

What is your favorite track by Elephante? Let us know in the comments below!