By Hollie McGowan
In November of 2016, the election of U.S. President Donald Trump created a ripple of fear, anger, and resentment felt throughout the world. Among those who were deeply troubled by the election was renowned New York DJ and disco house producer, Eli Escobar. He did what any good artist would do during such a tumultuous period, which was to turn to his creative outlets to release emotion and voice concern regarding the grim and unstable political climate.
“I was feeling a lot of pain, anger and confusion, and the best way I knew how to deal with it was to make music,” reflects Escobar.
There exists a long history between music and politics, which has resulted in masterpieces that have transcended the years with messages of peace, love, and harmony over powers that seek to divide cultures and breed hatred, each generation echoing the words of their creative ancestors. For Escobar, the 1970s in particular were a goldmine of politically charged music, strong messages presented in the most beautifully composed tracks.
“I’m very influenced by the music of the ’70s,” Escobar says. “During that time, artists were really talking about the problems of the world, the inner cities, war, social and racial injustice. We haven’t seen another era in music so focused on mirroring the outside world since, and [Marvin Gaye’s] What’s Going On was probably the first high profile album of that decade which really set the whole thing in motion. I did not set out to emulate this period or make political statement with [my 2018 album Shout], but what I did do was make music directly influenced by modern day America.”
Shout tracks like “Nightmare Rag,” “The People,” and “Goin’ On?” clearly illustrate Escobar’s sentiments regarding the current state of affairs. On “The People,” lyrics explicitly address the POTUS, making a call for justice as a solid house beat enters the track and carries the rest of the tune forward. The album itself is filled with dancefloor worthy tracks that leave one feeling just as excited about the rhythm as they do about being politically engaged.
“I feel a solidarity with all of the nightlife scene here in New York,” tells Escobar. “I believe most everyone here wants to be on the right side of history, and that’s one of the beautiful things about nightlife and dance music. People who believe in equality for all tend to come together on the dance floor!”
Eli Escobar closes down Open Studios on April 13deep house, Disco House, Downtempo, EDM, Eli Escobar, HOUSE, Open Studios