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Eric Elbogen of Say Hi


For his the fifth record, Eric Elbogen shortened the name of his indie rock outfit Say Hi To Your Mom to the more aesthetically appealing Say Hi. Also, gone are the references to spaceships and vampires and Elbogenís cramped New York digs. He spoke with SF Station from his new home in Seattle where he recorded The Wishes and the Glitch. Say Hi performs at The Independent on July 17th.

SF Station (SFS): This is your first record since you relocated to Seattle and you already have a song about Northwestern girls. They must have made a big impact on you.

Eric Elbogen (EE): Yeah, sometimes it doesnít take more than a patch of a thought or observation to inspire a song. Iíve never been a person who only writes songs about deeply affecting situations. That song, more than anything, is about starting fresh. After living in New York for seven years, the move was a bit of a fresh start for me.

SFS: What has been the biggest change for you?

EE: There is a slower pace out here, which is definitely one of the things that attracted me to this city. The biggest lifestyle change was going from a loft in Brooklyn with seven roommates to living by myself. It is actually very, very nice and itís something that I had been jonesing for.

I spend so much time at home making records and working on music-related stuff while weíre not on tour, the concept of home has become somewhat of a sacred thing for me. Itís nice to not have to share that with annoying roommates.

SFS: Has your creative output increased?

EE: It has been a very productive year and a half for me. Since we got back from the last tour, Iíve been doing record No. 6, which Iím mixing right now. This time around the process was quite a bit quicker than some of the other records.

SFS: Does the next record stick with the serious tone that you introduced with The Wishes and the Glitch?

EE: Unfortunately, Iím a long way from being able to discuss the themes of the record because I donít think itís going to come out until next year.

SFS: Youíre keeping it under wraps for now?

EE: Yeah, sorry about that.

SFS: It seems like more musicians are opting to create music by themselves and tour with other people. Do you think technology makes musicians more insular?

EE: I think that in the past 10 years it has become much easier for anyone who wants to be creative to make a semi-professional sounding record. In the past, you had to save a bunch of money or sign with a record label to buy studio time. Even the way that people can distribute themselves has changed a lot because of technology. I would not have been able to do this band had the technology to make records by myself not been available.

SFS: The New York Times described you as a mumbler with shaky pitch and onstage awkwardness but you still managed to get a good review.

EE: That is actually the second time that writer has done that to me. I think he is a great writer and Iím extremely flattered to even get a little blurb in The New York Times. Iím really not bothered at all by well-written negative or mediocre reviews. Itís the poorly written, non-fact checked, plagiaristic reviews that bother me.

SFS: Since your new album is more personal than your previous albums, do negative comments affect you differently?

EE: First off, I used to take things a lot more seriously than I do now. Second, I stopped reading most of the reviews. I read stuff in a lot of the bigger publications and publications that I respect. Itís just kind of unhealthy, I discovered, to read every review that is written because most of them just really arenít constructive for what Iím doing.

SFS: Was it a calculated decision to release your own music?

No, not at all. I finished the first record and sent it to every semi-respectable indie label I could think of and no one wanted to put it out. I just started doing it myself and I had absolutely no idea what I was doing for the first couple of years.

SFS: It seems like you know what you are doing now.

EE: Thank you. I enjoy it. I sort of devote half of my brain to creative endeavors and the other half to the business of the band. Itís like a crossword puzzle for me to make this happen with as little resources as possible.

Say Hi opens for The Long Winters at The Independent on July 17th. Tickets are $15. Doors open at 8:30pm and the show starts at 9pm.