Undergrad, isolation, connection, technology and black millennialism.
These are the words that IU senior and musician Elijah Pouges uses to describe his recently released hip-hop EP, "Don't Overthink This." Collectively, these are ideas he reflected on as he made this EP during his junior year and themes that he felt were poignant at various parts of his undergraduate experience.
Pouges' EP has six songs: “Between Shuttles,” “Tangible,” “Love and Growing Pains,” “trip to nowhere,” “Don’t Overthink This,” and “Stream.”
“It really is my stream of consciousness throughout my undergrad career,” Pouges said. “It kind of talks about my social interactions, how they’re mediated by technology. A lot about love and ruminations on love, meditations on love, that sort of thing.”
Pouges said he has been making music since he was 9 years old when he started playing the cello. Around age 15, he transferred to a new school — one that didn’t have an orchestra program.
It was then that he picked up the bass guitar and got into electronic production. He said that during that time, he also interned at a studio in Indianapolis and was a sound technician at the Madame Walker Theatre. These experiences in both studio and live sound facilitated his transition into another realm of music-making, as he learned more about the production aspect of the process.
Pouges said one aspect of his “isolation” that inspired the EP was the isolation of his music from the public for some time. Though he began to release music in high school, he stopped doing so during his senior year.
“I felt like I had run out of relevant things to talk about,” he said.
After Pouges had stopped making his music public, he said he became more self-conscious and it was difficult getting comfortable sharing his work with the world again.
“The title of the EP is kind of a message to myself," he said. "Like, 'Don’t overthink the whole process. You have to let it go. Don’t be afraid of criticism and critique because it’s the only way you grow as an artist. It’s the only way you grow as a person.’”
Though he had withdrawn from performing when he stopped releasing his music, Pouges said he is now trying to be more proactive in pursuing performance opportunities.
Pouges said he thinks making this EP allowed him to reflect on his undergraduate years and meditate on various parts of the experience.
Now in his final year of undergraduate studies, he has an interest in going to graduate school for sound design and art.
“Music is a vehicle through which culture travels," he said. "I think at an individual level, as a musician. It’s how I share myself with the world, how I present myself to the world. It’s how, maybe the only way, I can express really abstract ideas concretely or as concrete as we can perceive them in 3-dimensional space. I think, overall, music is just a great way to share.”
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