The artist Elohim has been an enigma since she first broke on the scene a half decade ago. She's since stepped out from behind the anonymous persona she originally crafted, and through her tender exploration of mental illness in her art, has reached millions of fans — proving true authenticity has no labels.
The Los Angeles-based artist and producer was in the midst of her headlining Group Therapy Tour when the coronavirus pandemic hit, and like so many artists, she had to step back from performing live. But she quickly recalibrated and has been performing live from her home studio — and also working on the visuals for her single, "I'm Lost." The supremely trippy, Chase O'Black video captures the surreal experience of dissociating — something Elohim says she's been experiencing she was 7-years-old. "A lot of the art I create is speaking about these experiences (i.e. hallucinating)," Elohim tells NYLON. "'I'm Lost'" examines this part of my brain, which is something difficult to put into words, so we decided to share this experience through surreality in the desert. Creating this new music filled my life with the most freeing moments, and making this video felt similar."
Take a trip with Elohim to the California desert (and the infamous Slab City — an ideal setting for any artist on an inward journey) with the "I'm Lost" video, premiering exclusively on NYLON below, and read on for a conversation with Elohim on adjusting to quarantine and connecting with fans from home:
What are you working on right now? How does it relate to your past work?
I'm currently working on finding structure and balance in quarantine. I went from being on the road most of the year to being exclusively at home. But there's a silver lining, and it's that I have more time. Now that I'm not constantly touring, I have the time to dive into the art and where it came from. Spiritually, mentally, physically. I have the space to create exactly how I want, when I want, and that will ultimately make sharing my new music with the world a really special beautiful moment in time. I want to gift an escape because we are all missing concerts, friends, gatherings, restaurants, and normal life right now. This music is different — it's the most real me I've ever been. I am stronger than I’ve ever been and that shows when I’m creating. It is a beautiful thing. I'd say it differs from my past because I am always evolving and growing and that is the most wonderful thing about creating music. We are in an unfathomable time right now and this music really speaks to it. Every moment I create is a different moment in time and it's interesting to see how those times relate to others.
How is working on music during quarantine different from other times? Do you find it more challenging?
At the beginning of quarantine I was so frustrated, angry and confused. I didn't want anything to do with creating music unless it was playing shows and festivals. I was set to play festivals all summer and right when quarantine was put in place, I was in the middle of headlining my Group Therapy Tour. An hour before i was going on stage in Grand Rapids, Michigan, my tour manager told me "tonight will be the last show." The next day, March 13th, I was on a plane home and have been here ever since.
That being said, I let myself sort of mourn the loss of my baby, my headlining tour, and then I set up my full live show rig in my living room. I made a list of everything I am grateful for and how I could turn this time into something positive. Shortly afterwards I started creating again, doing live streams, making videos and a spark ignited that has me feeling great! Everyday seems to be different and I want people to know that it's okay! This is a strange adjustment for everyone in all walks of life and it is important to remember we are in this together and need to love, support and inspire each other. If there is a day you feel like you can't leave the couch that is also very okay. So to answer the question..yes. It can be challenging, and yes, at times it is different but no matter where I am or what part of life I'm at I can reach inside and turn it into magical music.
Like so many live events, your sold out tour was canceled due to the pandemic. What do you want to say to your fans who would've seen you live? What do you miss about touring?
Gosh I miss everything right now. Even the things we constantly complain about (early call times, flying too much, driving too much, not sleeping enough, no bathroom in the green room, not getting a good meal in, missing home) it all sounds trivial yet rings so true to touring artists. It is a common thread when I talk to my friends who are also touring artists, it is like we are all romanticizing touring to the tenth degree, much like how you romanticize an ex when you're missing them. What I truly miss the most is the human interaction, the buzz in the room, the buzz in my tummy right before walking on stage and then the butterflies exiting my mouth when I sing the first note.
The Group Therapy tour hit differently. When I heard the words "tonight is your last show," it felt like a punch to the gut; my eyes welled up with tears and when I called everyone into my green room to tell them, I just lost it. This was hands down the most special tour of my entire life. The love in every venue, every night to everyone, not just to me, was something out of a dream. Even people working at the venues were struck by how beautifully kind and loving everyone in the audience was to everyone. My mission with the tour was for it to feel like this therapeutic, spiritual experience from whatever reality you want to escape. And it was exactly that. I miss it every single day and I wish to say to those that didn't make it to a show because of COVID-19 that I love you so much and I am just as gutted. But we have some catching up to do, and as soon as this pandemic is under control, we will be reunited, hugging, laughing, loving, singing, dancing and escaping the scaries of the real world together.
What was the inspiration behind this new video? It gives trippy a whole new meaning.
I have suffered from severe dissociation since I was 7 years old. It is really hard to explain to anyone that hasn't experienced it. I would imagine it feels like a bad drug trip, which I have never experienced, but from movies when you're looking at a first person perspective of someone heavily under the influence, it sort of gives you a glimpse of that dissociative feeling. A lot of the art I create is speaking about these experiences (i.e. hallucinating). "I'm Lost" examines this part of my brain, which is something difficult to put into words, so we decided to share this experience through surreality in the desert. Creating this new music filled my life with the most freeing moments and making this video felt similar. I absolutely adore the California desert, it is one of my favorite places in the world. The silence out there and the way the sun feels automatically creates a world. I need total freedom when creating, I want to go as weird as my mind wants to go and I need people around me who are ready to take that trip. I was able to do that with this video. We examined the motifs and moments that I experienced with my own dissociation and transcended those into metaphors that show how it can feel at any given time. Sometimes it feels like you're so far from reality and all you're trying to do is get home.
Anything else you'd like your fans to know?
This is the beginning of the next chapter in my journey. I have spent every moment of this time designing a world for you because we all need love and community right now. No matter what, you are not alone. I am always here for you. And with love I cannot wait to share the new art I have created.