Do you run into any home recording challenges? Is there anything you’d like to have that you don’t yet?
Elijah: Obviously I’d love an SSL desk or something, but that’s just about affording stuff [laughs]. But something I would like is a live room. I don’t do too much live stuff, and all the live stuff I do I tend to go into a studio and record kick drum samples and use them later. So I guess there’s nothing I really need in terms of live recording. Maybe a larger array of microphones, but right now we have a few really great ones.
Jamie: As someone who doesn’t own that kind of stuff, I actually think it’s the opposite: we run into fewer issues because of the comfort having our own studio brings. It’s nice to have a studio in a small town and comfortable space. It helps with the writing. Sometimes it can be super overwhelming being in a big, commercial studio. It’s so important to have the right atmosphere to be able to perform to the best of your ability, especially for vocalists. I never run into problems like that at Elijah’s place because it’s so peaceful and calm.
On Facebook you write: “The duo has meant to breach the boundaries of every genre out there—with hints that there’ll be dancehall, hip-hop, jazz influences that consistently shake up the tune.” How intentionally do you try to span multiple genres?
Jamie: It’s not so much intentional as it is organic. Both Elijah and I have backgrounds of different styles of music—whether it’s from our parents, uncles, aunts, cousins—the list goes on. When we sit down to write music together, we pull from so many different styles to create sounds. It helps break down the barrier for artists who think they have to stick to one genre of music. That defeats the purpose, right? There are so many beautiful aspects of every genre, so why not pull from them to make one body of work?
Elijah: If we write a dancehall track, that’s what we were feeling in the moment. If it’s 2:00 a.m. and we’re kind of drunk, maybe we’ll write a dancehall track. If I’m feeling kind of sad, we’ll write a jazzy, dark piece. That’s where we end up a lot—dark music. There’s a Weeknd quote I like a lot from Starboy: “It’s good to have darkness, because when the light comes, it’s that much better.” I feel that about our music, too. We pull on those emotional aspects and have dark pieces in our music, but when that bright side comes through it’s also when our musical diversity comes through.
On more of a superficial, marketing level, it’s hard to keep people’s attention these days—especially trying to develop a sound as an artist. Everyone’s skipping songs left and right, so you’re trying to keep songs and projects as interesting as possible by accomplishing as many genres as possible. In doing that, it keeps the listener engaged. We want to keep things organic and approachable.
Jamie, this is a question for you: if there was a food that could describe your music, what would it be?
Jamie: Pizza, because even when it’s bad it’s good [laughs]. We like to think you can’t go wrong with an EWxJF track.
Feel free to use that marketing.
Elijah: That’ll be the album name: Pizza.
Your song artwork and video production quality are top-notch. Visuals are obviously important to your brand. How would you describe your visual brand?
Elijah: When we’re writing, we’re approaching a lot of different genres of music, and we try to evoke emotion. That’s our big thing in branding: we want people to feel what the music is supposed to convey. We don’t want music you can throw on in the background and not really think about it, and we want our visuals to be the same way. So when you watch the visuals, they’re sort of cinematic. You’re involved in whatever that storyline is. We intentionally branched away from having the artist in the video; for example, rapping on screen with a bunch of girls and cars. We want the visuals to almost feel like short films, and I think we accomplished that in our upcoming (third) release. But the first two songs were shot by a videographer named Shamlo Faek, an insanely talented, nineteen-year-old kid from Vancouver. He’s wild, has crazy vision, and is really unorthodox, which we love. When we first reached out to him, he was very interested in the project. He flew out and we filmed “Wouldn’t Be Enough.” That video has more of a storyline, while “Stone Heart” is more abstract. The music’s sort of slow and draggy, behind the beat, but the music is super intense, which we really like.
As for the artwork, as simple as it sounds, we hired a graphic designer who did the visuals, and I just thought they were beautiful. It’s all about incorporating the emotional spectrum into the branding. We want it to be very relatable and not synthetic and overdone.
Jamie: Both Elijah and I understand that there are some people that are not as emotional as others, and so we are targeting everybody with our music. As for the visuals, they’re really for the people who are more emotional—the people who listen to a song, picture something, and look at the visual and say, “That’s exactly what I pictured.” Not in terms of what’s going on in the song, but how it makes them feel or enhances how they feel. Then there are going to be the people who watch our videos and just say, “That’s sick,” which is fine too.
We’re targeting everyone with our music, but we have an appreciation for those who are a bit more emotional. I’m one of the most emotional people you’ll ever meet.
Elijah: I can vouch for that.
Jamie: Thanks, Elijah.
What iZotope products do you use, and how do you use them?
Elijah: I use pretty much everything. I really like Neutron. Really, really cool stuff. I love how clean and transparent all the products are. If I’m mastering someone else’s track, I use Ozone. I’ve used Trash’s distortion. I also use iZotope Insight a fair bit when I’m mixing.
I love Nectar on vocals—I use a lot of UAD on my vocals, but I find Nectar sometimes replaces the UAD. I use Nectar instead and still get that same shine and shimmer. Reverbs kind of freak me out in Nectar because they’re scary close to what they should be.
Ozone 7’s vintage stuff is really cool. I use a lot of that for saturation, and I use that for mixtape stuff, too. I’ll use the vintage tape machine on individual tracks—I like it if I’m doing a stem mix or something.
What’s next for Elijah Woods x Jamie Fine?
Jamie: Just continuing to do what we love to do and exploring new things. We think this is the beginning of something cool that we’re both really proud of—especially being from Canada. Unfortunately, there are barriers to being a Canadian artist, and we want to break those. We want to create a sound that can’t be described as Canadian, American, or from the UK, or something like that. We just want to do something different, and that’s super important to us. We think we’re well on the way to doing that. It will be a year to remember, and hopefully many more to come.
Keep up with Elijah Woods x Jamie Fine on their official website. Want to hear their music in some Neutron and Ozone Advanced tutorial videos? Check them out!