Ears Wide Open: Gloomer

Gloomer (Photo by Cassie Hunter)

Working under the name Gloomer, Los Angeles-based producer and musician Elliott Kozel mashes together dense, shoegaze guitars and vocals with drum and bass. He does so by breaking most posted speed limits.

Kozel, who has produced for the likes of Jean Dawson, Corbin, Velvet Negroni and the upcoming Yves Tumor album, cites inspirations such as Elliott Smith, ’90s D&B and My Bloody Valentine. His singles and visuals are fast-paced with heavy energy, bringing to mind the grittiness and seedy underbelly of Los Angeles.

He debuted Gloomer in June with the rhythmically heavy single “Drumjoy” and followed up last week with the equally aggressive “Wait Up.”

“My goal was, primarily, to make music for myself again, after many years of producing for other people,” Kozel says. “Secondly, I wanted to create a mixture of styles and genres that hadn’t been heard before. I challenged myself to use high BPMs between 130-190. Drum and bass, mixed with My Bloody Valentine was sort of the guiding light of the project, but I also wanted every song to have surprising twists and turns.

“My friend Pat [Morrissey] from Ill Peach asked me to work on a song of theirs that was all vocals and synths with no drums, and I started experimenting with sampling the track over breakbeats and heavy guitars. After it worked well on ‘Drumjoy,’ which was the first song I made for the project, I decided to create limitations for the project to work within. Every song had to incorporate high speed drum breaks, fuzz guitars and a mutation of this Ill Peach sample. I have been so used to producing for so many different artists in so many styles, it’s been hard for me to stick to an aesthetic in the past, so it was important for me to build a world of sounds for the project that would be cohesive.”

The video for “Wait Up,” a collaboration with director Ryan Thompson (Bon Iver, Lizzo, S. Carey, Sylvan Esso, Low and Policia), is a collision of strobes, fire and gritty imagery. “It’s about being surrounded by drug addicts and mentally unstable people who need help but not having any energy left to help them,” Kozel says. “I flew out to Santa Fe, N.M., where he lives and spent a week stealing grocery carts and buying up all the rubber cement in town to set things on fire with. We pumped over 30 gallons of fake blood out of a tube discreetly placed in my sleeve to create the blood effects.”

||| Watch: the video for “Wait Up”

||| Also: Stream: “Drumjoy”