Elliot Duke is no stranger to the world’s troubles and tragedies. Duke is inspired by
innovators such as Doja Cat, Alex Cameron, cupcakKe, and Rina Sawayama. With this, Duke
crafts sensual synth-pop and abrasive pop-rap with lyrics that use political satire aided by
soulful soliloquy on sex and true-love. The state and Elliot have not been on good terms where
he has been in jail, beaten by police, and found himself under surveillance by the US military.
His social justices include LGBTQ activism as well as homeless rights.
His track, “Hit it from the Back”, is a bright synth pop bop that shows a playful and laid
back vibe from Elliot. Duke uses a lot of political and social references such as “I’ll love you until
the ice caps melt” which just reaffirms his stances aided by song. The soft “shoo be doo bes”
are reminiscent of The Beatles and 60s music which give it a softer touch. As America’s social
climate intensifies and increases, artists like Elliot Duke bring some light on the matter through
easily digestible songs that are nonetheless powerful with its message. Regardless of your
political stance , you will find that Duke’s music is groundbreaking and has created a genre of
Take some time to listen to Elliot Duke's "Hit It from The Back", and catch the artist's interview below where he sheds some light on the message behind his music creations!
Your music is very light and fun, but your messages hold a bit more weight to them, how do you go about writing your music?
I usually write by trying to imitate whatever music I’m most excited about at the time. I try to analyze why I like it so much- what is special about this or that particular song, and then try to create the same effect in my own work. My main goal is always to hold the attention of the listener or viewer in some way, so I try to include something unexpected, strange, funny, or shocking in every song. I want to get a strong reaction from people. I’d rather have people hate my music than have no opinion about it.
Will you ever come back to the United States and do shows/make music?
I don’t know! I definitely want to tour there again. I really love the U.S. and Canada and most of my family is there, so I might end up living there again at some point, but I really like Berlin and I plan on staying here.
What do you think is the future for America is and how will this shape your music and your viewpoints?
It’s impossible to predict right now where things are headed. This is a really confusing, scary, and important time for the whole world in fact. It’s inevitable that the U.S. will continue to decline as a world power, but the future of the political and economic landscape is uncertain. Things could improve a lot, or the country could suffer a long period of violence and devastation. I’m cautiously optimistic but only time will tell. The only thing that’s certain is that it won’t be boring! Mainstream music has become much more political in the past few years; "This is America" by Childish Gambino and "Land of the Free" by The Killers are two good examples. I really like the idea of combining the themes of politics and sex in music, so I want to continue to explore that combination with my lyrics.
What inspired you to write your song, “Hit it from the Back”?
When I wrote this song, I was listening to a lot of 90s pop music. Backstreet Boys, NSYNC, and that kind of thing. And I realized that I’d never written a love song that was completely happy. Every love song I had written previously had some element of sadness or conflict; so my initial goal was to try to write a love song that was completely happy. Of course I failed, but I really like how the song turned out! And I never intended to make it political actually, but I guess climate change was weighing heavy on my mind because somehow it snuck its way into the song lyrics.
Do you think by living in Berlin, it will change your style of music?
It already has! I’ve been getting really into modular synthesis, and the next two tracks I’m going to release are a drum and bass track and an experimental electronic piece.
Catch up with Elliot through the artist's Instagram for the latest on songs and upcoming events!