Hi Eli, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?
I’ve been good – super busy, but super happy with the artistic process and finally getting to share what I’ve been working on musically this last year. With my single ‘Go Down’ out now, the music video lighting up YouTube, and the debut album dropping soon, it’s a really exciting time!
Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Go Down”?
It’s a swampy, southern-gothic, country-funk anthem that puts a little swagger in my step every time I hear it. We used a Rhodes keyboard and acoustic wah pedal for a really unique sound that’s got a lot of soul to it.
Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?
Yep, one event in particular:
Last year I visited my Israeli relatives in the Kineret (The Sea of Galilee) and witnessed a strangely beautiful yet peculiar phenomenon happening where the Jordan River meets the Sea of Galilee.
Tourists, locals, believers (and non), from all around the world came to the river banks to immerse themselves in the waters, or witness others go through that process.
It was at once a spiritual, commercial, sexual, religious, awkward, and meaningful experience – I wondered what it was like for these people to connect to their spiritual selves, go through their own cleansing process, and how much courage it took to do so.
The idea for the song ‘Go Down’ was born, and every time I sing it, I feel a little closer to my own unique creative spark. The video explores those themes in depth, and I’m super proud of how it turned out.
The single comes off your new album All Roads East – what’s the story behind the title?
When I was living and teaching on the Navajo Nation in Arizona after college, I was introduced to the idea that east (not north) is the natural cardinal direction of our world. It makes a lot of sense considering the sun always rises in the east and that’s where we look toward at the beginning of each day. I’ve incorporated that idea into my own world view, and I get a lot of comfort and happiness from it.
When I’m traveling, I can always orient myself toward the rising sun in the morning and find that equilibrium I so desperately look for on the road. The title ‘All Roads East’ is just a nod to the importance of being grounded and centered, and having a starting point to the great journey ahead.
How was the recording and writing process?
A wonderfully difficult, all-consuming, yet incredibly rewarding experience.
What role does Washington play in your music?
The DC community is my family. I grew up here, and coming back home this last year has felt like a huge loving embrace. The creative folks here are open, experimental, smart, supportive, and business savvy. I was really proud to work with ten DC creatives on the ‘Go Down’ music video, and it spotlights some of the best talent in the city. I love it here and want to represent this town as the up-and-coming music center that it’s growing into.
Any plans to hit the road?
Yes! I’m thinking regional tours by the start of next year and cross-country by 2019. There’s so many fans out there who have been asking me when I’m coming through their town, don’t worry we’re on our way!
What else is happening next in Eli Lev’s world?
Right now, playing bigger and bigger shows with an incredibly talented group of musicians as a full band. We had our live TV debut last week on Let’s Talk Live, and we’re excited for our upcoming album release show in December at Songbyrd Music House in DC. It’s been a wild ride so far, but I have a feeling things are just getting started.