American rockers Elisium took time out from working damn hard at music-y stuff to answer our regular set of Band of the Day questions. Take it away, Nate Compton (vocals/guitar)…
Simple things first – where are you guys from?
Fredericksburg, Virginia, USA
How did you meet?
Kirb (bass) and myself are brothers. We grew up playing together, with our other brother on drums. When we decided to go full time and pursue music as a career, we were joined by Nathan Thomas on drums. He was in some local bands in our area and joined Elisium in 2009.
How long have you been playing together as a band?
We usually say that we’ve been together since 2009, but really our very first record came out in 1998. But we were basically an entirely different band then.
“Elysium” is the Greek Mythology version of Nirvana, or heaven, or essentially the reward for a great and heroic life. We have adopted this meaning, but changed the spelling a little for trademark reasons. It’s the payoff, the light at the end of the tunnel. The reason to keep fighting the good fight.
What are your influences – individually or as a band?
They vary in our personal lives. Mine are Pink Floyd, Tool, Nirvana, Silverchair, Karnivool, and other melodic heavy bands. Kirb (bass) listens to heavier stuff, Parkway Drive, The Browning, Asking Alexandria. Junior (drums) has been on a 36 Crazyfists kick lately, but also spins tunes frequently by Karnivool, Deftones, Nonpoint, and Skindred.
Describe your music. What makes you unique?
Our music is “dark rock”, a kind of blend of metal, alternative, and mainstream rock. We usually hear things after our sets like “you guys have a really unique sound!” and that is encouraging! We are not trying to sound like anyone else, just playing the music that we love to create. I think what makes us unique is that we are just 3 guys, and that we are constantly focused on making each song the best it can be. No filler.
Do you have any particular lyrical themes?
Well, I get sick of hearing all of the same sounding lyrics on the radio, and in pop culture. People love to rhyme awful things like “life” and “knife” and it drives me crazy. I’m not sure that any real themes have been consistent in my lyrics. I sing about life, sometimes love, but mostly about the things that keep me awake at night. I think our latest album, Shoreline is a very positive
record. No self-loathing lyrics on there, but a lot of soul searching.
Our live show is what we do best! We’ve been a full time band since June of 2013, and have played 45 out of our 50 states. We do an average of 200 shows a year, that’s how many it takes to support us, and we still need to do better!
What’s the wildest thing you’ve seen or done at a live show?
Once we were on tour with this band called Artifas. On the last night of the tour, we swapped all of their water bottles out for full bottles of gin. We almost got away with it! They caught us before the set started, and sent shots of equally shitty gin to the stage between every song. It was a sloppy, sloppy night. There are a lot of stories though, it was hard to choose! We have one fan who’s come to see us 30 times. I think that’s one of the wildest things I’ve seen for sure!
What kit do you use / guitars do you play / etc.?
We are sponsored by some of the best brands in the business, and proudly play on their gear! Our drummer uses DW Pacifica shells, and Saluda cymbals. I play PRS Guitars through a Mesa amp. Our bassist uses Spector basses, also through Mesa amps. Shure microphones. GHS Strings. Pretty simple and straightforward!
What are your plans for 2016 and into next year?
Well we are almost 2/3 of the way through 2016 and we have plans still to record some more music, and do 2 more tours before calming down for the end of the year break. We will likely be back on the grind in Jan/Feb 2017 unless the winter is really really bad. It’s super tough supporting yourself on music full time, so we don’t have much time to rest. We’ve also just launched something very cool, our VIP support system, the Elisium Secret Society. More info is available on http://elisiumband.bandcamp.com
If you could be part of any 3-band line-up (as support or headlining) who else would you have on the bill?
We would love to play with Tool, it would be one of those dream come true moments. Also, Nothing More have been really inspiring lately as far as powerful music and live shows go.