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Art + Music + Technology

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Aug 1, 2021

Luke Thornton, one of the three people that make up the band Elder Island, perfectly embodies the self-learning/DIY perspectives that are fueling the exciting edge of current music making. Outfitted with a studio full of interesting gear, a lineup of dedicated friends, and the time to focus on production, Elder Island is producing some gorgeous house-infused pop music – and pushing the envelope on both sound design and production quality with their work.

In our discussion, we talk about how Elder Island operates: how they work up their songwriting, how they develop tracks, and how they do their unique sound design work. We also discuss creating their near-cinematic tracks while still leaving room for a vocalist/cellist, and how they use (and learn from) outside production and engineering resources to bring home their work.

This discussion was really interesting, because I don’t talk to pop-oriented artists very often, but the perspectives and goals are remarkably similar to everyone else that I talk to – regardless of style. What was interesting, though, was the genesis of the band from ‘a pair of mates’ to a trio that were surprised to go from art school to full time music production. You can hear it in Luke’s voice: he is still floored (and thrilled) by where they’ve landed.

Elder Island’s website ( is the hub to find out more about what they do, how they do it, and what they might be doing next. You can also find their latest release (Swimming Static) on all the streaming services, and a short documentary is available on  YouTube (

Transcription available at

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