Little Love

Little Love

For some, the journey to a second album can be a long and often fraught one. Yet, for British producer Alexander Kotz, aka Elderbrook, the follow-up to his 2020 debut LP, Why Do We Shake in the Cold?, had a singular and inspiring theme: fatherhood. “In the three years since the last album, I have become a dad twice and it has totally changed my perspective and priorities,” Kotz tells Apple Music. “That experience couldn’t help but become the overarching, life-affirming force behind Little Love.” Drawing on the emotively charged, melodic electronic music that has made Kotz a star ever since “Cola,” his Grammy-nominated collaboration with duo CamelPhat in 2017, the 12 tracks on Little Love harness infectious dance-floor melodies. There is the house-inflected yearning for home on “Howl,” an anthemic euphoria on “Just Like Us,” and the reassuring, thumping groove of “I’ll Be Around.” “The album is the best of these years—all the emotions are in the music,” Kotz says. Read on for his in-depth thoughts about the album, track by track. “Just Like Us” “I was really into ‘Nevermind’ by Dennis Lloyd and I loved its cyclical, vocal refrain. I wanted to write my own track with a similar loop where the vocal felt rhythmic, so I came up with ‘Just Like Us.’ The lyrics talk about trying to remind yourself that, no matter how alone you feel, we’re always connected to other people and there’s a million others out there dealing with the same issues as us, if not worse.” “I Need You” “‘I Need You’ is one of the last tracks I came up with during my two-year period of writing. It was only finished around a month before the album release. I often write the backing for a track and mumble a melody over it, then I try to ascribe words and meaning to the sounds that fit. I rarely know what I’ll write about until the song itself starts forming, and for this track, it became about not knowing in a relationship what the other person is feeling or thinking and becoming obsessed with wanting to find out.” “Howl” “I’m a big fan of Tourist’s work, so it was great to be able to write this track with him in London. I wanted to write about my daughter, since she had only recently been born and it was at the time when she wasn’t sleeping and always crying in the night. That’s where the howl of the title comes from. But the second verse was written when I was on tour and away from family and that howling became my longing to be back at home and reckoning with the pain of leaving.” “Talk It Over” “Me and Vintage Culture kept bumping into each other at festivals and I found out that he was a fan of a few songs of mine from my first album, so we decided that we would work together on something. He sent me an early version of the backing for this track and it ended up becoming a simple song about talking to a loved one until the sun comes up, when you’re so mesmerized by a person that you lose all track of time.” “Beautiful Morning” “This was written around the same time as ‘Talk It Over,’ during the first COVID lockdowns, and so it has a similar theme of wanting to be with the person you love the most and not caring about time. I really enjoyed the quiet moments of those lockdowns, where I could just be lazy with my family and in each other’s company without worrying about where I needed to be or what I should be doing.” “I’ll Be Around” “‘I’ll Be Around’ is one of my favorite tracks on the record. I came up with it while I was on tour in LA, when I linked up with Amtrac for a writing session. The song is essentially the message I want to always send to my children, to let them know that I am here for them no matter what. It’s me calling out to them for all time through the music.” “Little Love (Little Interlude)” “Since the album is generally so song-based, I thought it would be nice to have a little instrumental break between the sides. I basically just messed around in the studio until I heard this melodic line, which still had the overarching, loving emotion of the record. If you listen carefully, you can hear sound bites from my kids gurgling and trying to speak placed in the background too.” “Wasted on You” “‘Wasted on You’ was written in the little cabin studio I have at the bottom of my garden, and it started quite simply with an arpeggiated chord sequence and vocals that I wanted to keep minimal and striking. It has two meanings—one is about being drunk, or ‘wasted,’ on someone, and the other is about your presence being a waste and feeling riled with the idea of being unappreciated by someone, but loving them nonetheless.” “If You Want Somebody” “This is a collaboration with the producer Barry Can’t Swim. We got together and jammed in the studio, where he played around with chords on the piano and I wrote about the frustration of not being able to make someone feel a certain way about you but having to go with it all the same. We produced it and then I finished it as I usually do—in a dark and lonely room by myself!” “Tied to You” “‘Tied to You’ has a lovely, upbeat and happy feel to it, largely because I wrote it in LA in a beautiful room on top of a hill where the sunshine was beaming in. It’s a song about my daughter and how inextricably stuck with each other we are, but in the best way.” “The End” “In October 2022, I was on tour with ODESZA and I wrote this all-encompassing song about how we will all die, so we should make the most of having fun while we can. At the back of the tour bus I set up a mic to record the demo vocals, but the take had the perfect feeling to it so it ended up being the final version you hear on the record now. It was a pain to master because you could always hear the road noises in the background.” “Walk Away” (feat. Ailbhe Reddy) “I’m always listening to new music while I’m on tour and one day I put on a folk playlist. This song ‘Walk Away’ came on and mesmerized me. I thought it had to be a cover because it was so good, but it turned out to be an original [from Ailbhe Reddy’s 2020 album Personal History], so I decided to remix it to play out live. I reached out to Ailbhe, who sent me the parts, and then I sang the first verse so it would feel like a duet between us. It seemed like the perfect way to end the record.”

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