Interview by Rebecca Mae
Hi Eli! We are so glad to have you featured here at All Or Nothing. Can you tell us a little about yourself to start?
Hey! Huge thank you to you guys at All or Nothing! My name is Eli Jonathan. I am 20 years old and I am a producer and songwriter from the Seattle area. I had a very musical immediate family growing up and through that I’ve made a lot of friends I can now call family. More importantly, I’m an enneagram type 3 and my moon sign is Capricorn.
You are about to announce your next project, which is an EP named “Princeton”. Was this release date already planned before COVID-19 broke out?
It actually was already planned! I had just arranged my schedule and devoted a lot of hours towards finishing up Princeton and releasing it in May when the outbreak started affecting day to day life. I wouldn’t call the situation fortunate by a long shot but I will say that it did leave me with even more free time then I had planned for, which has allowed me to expand my vision for the project quite a bit.
How is this EP similar to and different from your last EP?
My vision for the first EP, “Kennedy", really blew up for me while I was stuck inside during a couple week long snowstorm in Washington State early 2019. So there’s definitely feels like a strange parallel being stuck inside working on Princeton here and now. I’ve released a couple of singles in between this and the last EP. So with the new EP I’ve focused a lot more on how the songs on it all function together. I know more now how it feels to simply be proud of a song vs how it feels to be excited about a bunch of songs saying something together. The first EP, as proud as I am of it, was really me proving to myself that I could release something and stay dreaming and excited about it. With Princeton I can easily say I'm ready to show people that same feeling.
What were the main sound inspirations for “Princeton”?
For Princeton I’ve stayed obsessed with the development of big Indie Pop staples like COIN, Hippo Campus and LANY. The new releases and back catalogs of theirs and bands like them have really inspired my sound consistently. There are for sure some creative decisions in the album that are definitely inspired by artists like Emawk, Dominic Fike and Charli XCX who’s production styles all stick out in their own phenomenal ways.
Does this EP have a common theme/concept? If so, was there any specific experience (that you are willing to share) that caused you to feel like you should write about it?
There is a definite theme of two people interacting, romantically, and sexually while they’re exposed to the world around them. Without getting too specific, I find it extremely interesting how a relationship just can't possibly exist in a vacuum and you’ll constantly be subjected to the pressures of people watching around you. There’s no way around it, so everyone individually or together has to make the best of it. It’s definitely all about your most intimate experiences with someone being made as public as possible.
Did you collaborate with anyone new on “Princeton”? What did those new collaborations bring to the project?
For the music on this project specifically, I got some integral instrumental parts and some much needed feedback out of collaboration with some of the best session musicians I know who double as roommates of mine. There has always been some background, add in content in my final projects that I get from sampling my friends as well which is still the case here.
As far as creative direction my team has expanded exponentially. Most namely visual artist and director Gemma Cross who I’ve been shooting and releasing some amazing content with since 2019. Working with her and artists like her has given me a confidence in my own artistic image and much wider perspective on my goals for each project.
In general, what can we expect to see from you in the future?
My most basic answer is much more music. A greater focus on collaboration, because I have friends that need to be famous and I want to be part of that. I will for sure have some projects in the near future that I’ll be taking more of a writing and production role in rather than artist. Looking farther ahead, my obsession with live shows and creating an experience for people with them will definitely make an appearance when its safe and ready outside. Maybe put out some highly creative video content and/or tik toks in the meantime.
Do you have any other projects in the works? If so, can you drop a hint?
Princeton the EP is a title I have had for this project for a long while. However, it is listed on a physical note in my bedroom, a whiteboard in my living room and in my phone very plainly as EP #1. What that implies that the future holds I will leave up to the imagination.