Elba consists of poet, vocalist, songwriter, and experimental sound artist Amber Sawicki and Metadata Records label head, producer, engineer, and motion graphics designer Jon Bierman.
Born in the Kootenay region of British Columbia, Amber grew up listening to her father’s music collection, country, folk, pop, and reggae. Singing and writing are an integral part of Amber’s life. After releasing her first album in 2011, Amber decided to enroll in Berklee College’s songwriting program and has a BFA from Emily Carr University with a minor in writing. Born in the United Kingdom, Jon is a raver at heart. Jon attended Drum n Bass parties during his university days in Durham and toured the UK with Keiretsu, a multi-genre dance music orchestra. Jon has produced jazz, rock, hip-hop, classic, and acoustic-singer songwriters. He cites 80s pop and 90s British dance music as influences.
So, how did Jon and Amber get together and form Elba? Amber’s roommate Michael was the key figure in connecting them.
Amber liked the electronic music her roommate Michael was listening to and wanted to make an electronic music album, a departure from the acoustic folk music she was used to. Michael suggested she contact Jon to produce her new material. The fruit of their collaboration is their 8-track debut Elba EP.
The album tackles themes like romance and breakups, the importance of mental health, and consumerism. Jon is a master knob-twiddler offering a good dose of trip-hop infused tempo, bouncy and moody melodies, breakbeat, and shimmering synths. Amber’s voice and lyrical rhythm drive the album’s visual landscape.
Elba spoke to The DJ Cookbook about their musical influences, favorite childhood meals, and recording process.