Elijah Mann – Without My Breath ft. Ellajay | Folktronica
New York-based singer-songwriter and music producer Elijah Mann ends his brief hiatus, returning back to his discography with a definitive collaboration track with counterpart New York-based singer-songwriter Ellajay.
The artist updates his discography from some of his earlier work like The Flooding Season and Cut to the Feeling with his latest number Without My Breath. Thematically, the duo crafts a four-minute track on the transitory and gradual fading of depth in relationships with time and distance, driving the point home as the track leads off with a recorded phone conversation underlying the soundscape.
At a more characteristics level, Without My Breath is indie electronic folk and electronic dance pop with hints of incorporating dance rhythms and acoustic fill-ins. Alongside soaring melodic uptempo harmonies by Ellajay, a back-to-the-scene track does not possibly get better than Without My Breath where Elijah Mann performs elicits of his most self-assured and confident vocal performances — announcing a certain upscaling of his musical ventures from here on out. How the singer-songwriter goes to decorate his discography is sure to be interesting, and we are here to observe Elijah Mann’s upward slope.
Already captivated by his music, we reached out to the artists for their inputs on their latest track, their process and their music. Here is how that went:
Congratulations on your latest track! How would you describe Without My Breath to someone going into your music fresh?
I’ve been working under the super-niche genre of “electro-folk”, as I draw equal inspiration from grounded folk/rock like and synth-pop. Sort of like if Jack Antonoff produced Hozier. I use my lyrics to talk about real things; emotions and neuroses that are boiling just below the surface, and I use larger-than-life production and arrangement to explode them. My new song “Without My Breath” is no exception, I think it walks the line between Bruce Springsteen and Phoebe Bridgers. Great for cross-country road trips and existential panic attacks.
We noticed themes of heartbreak and lovesick ballad in the track. Tell us how the song tries to encapsulate those emotions, if they do.
Funny you should say that, the first version of “Without My Breath” leaned more into the melancholy of it all. I think all my songs start out as sad acoustic voice memos, it helps me know exactly what I’m feeling and what I’m trying to say. I used to lean into that sorrow a lot more in general, but I’ve found that I personally don’t love falling into that hole and inviting listeners and audiences to get depressed with me. I’ve been trying to write as honestly and vulnerably as possible while still giving my listeners a cathartic boost of energy.
How would you say you have evolved as a musician from your 2019 EP ‘The Flooding Season’?
For both my producer and me, “The Flooding Season” was a masterclass in how to make an album, and how to collaborate on a project. I was slowly learning how to best express what I wanted from a track, and my producer/mix engineer/arranger, the absolute genius Elliott von Wendt, was learning how to produce songs from the ground up. We would each learn new tricks and bring them to each other to try out. We would get so unbelievably hype when we figured out the perfect guitar tone, or rounded out a synth heavy track by tucking in the Shepard Tone way in the back. When I listen to that EP, I hear two friends having a blast figuring everything out, playing on each other’s strengths.
On “Without My Breath”, I knew a little less about what exactly I wanted sonically. I was so fortunate to work with an incredible producer, Adam Tilzer. Adam is an encyclopedia of rock and pop music, and definitely has a signature sound in all his productions. I gave Adam several different ideas and reference tracks, and we were able to “yes and” each other until we found out what the song should sound like. It was really the opposite of “The Flooding Season”, Adam and I were trying to figure out each others languages and strengths until we understood what we wanted from the song.
Tell us about how ‘Without My Breath’ came to be, and your process of songwriting and production!
I’ve moved around a lot over the past 5 years, and I’ve had to say goodbye to a lot of really amazing friends. I’m at a point in my life where most of those friends are going through massive life changes; engagement, marriage, new careers, new homes. I’m going through those changes too, and it feels so weird for us to go through all these life events separately from each other. This song stemmed from the fear of not knowing who I am without my best friends by my side.
This song went through a lot of twists and turns. We had the whole song recorded, including an incredible drum part, and I made the decision. to scrap everything we’d done. It sounded amazing, but it didn’t sound like me, and the honesty in the lyrics were shrouded in overproduction. In two sessions, we built a whole new track that combined all of my inspirations: Bleachers, Noah Gundersen, David Ramirez, Ethan Gruska. A little bit Americana, a little bit hyperpop, exactly as vulnerable as it needed to be. We also got amazing collaboration from singer Ellajay on harmonies and Jesse “Dr” Blum on keys/synth. They added a ton of character to the track, really made it one-of-a-kind.
Being the first single out since your last EP, should we expect this track to be the beginning of a new full-length project?
Right now I’m focusing mainly on releasing singles, but stay tuned this November for a secret project I’ve been working on with my producer Adam Tilzer. Y’all are not ready for this.