Dutch electronic dream pop artist VAN ELST is known for creating a sonically soothing yet arcane landscape inside his songs and continues to do so in this emotional release.

The song consists of deep-sounding bass lines, ethereal vocal samples and impactful drums. The vocals of Eldorado in combination with the intricate guitar parts recorded by Jasper Bullynck (Oscar and the Wolf) dance around the dreamy analogue synth harmonies. Together they embellish the song, establishing a sense of bright contrast against its gloomy surroundings.

On a journey to shine a light on the unspoken sides of mental health, VAN ELST hopes his music will create more awareness and understanding of the struggles experienced by many: “Listening to songs that relate to the situation I’m in helps me to process my feelings. With ‘Où es-tu’ I hope to provide a feeling of hope and a similar healing experience for the listener”.

VAN ELST commented: “Où est-tu is one of the results of the existential state I’ve been in for the past few years. Having lived in uncertainty and losing a few main pillars in my life, I’ve been trying to rebuild and reset my mind. Making this song has helped me process and put my feelings in order. 

I feel like it perfectly captured the mood of feeling generally lost and directionless, without someone or something that used to be present. In a state of being on our own, we often reflect and see things that remind us of how things used to be and how they perhaps could have been. I’m proud to say for myself that I’ve captured all these sentiments into five sonic minutes with the help of the amazing Parisian artist Eldorado who I met through social media.

While I was working on the song in my home studio I came across some of her inspiring content and asked her if she wanted to collaborate and sing on the song.

I am aware that the French and English mixture in songs is not something very common but I like to experiment and go against some of the usual pop music creational writing rules. Besides the (in my opinion) majestic romantic sound of the French language, the song is partly in French bringing me back to a nostalgic and more intimate memory. Personally, I feel that the song has gained such alluring colours and contrast having Eldorado vocals and lyrics weave into the bath or melancholic sound waves.

Besides getting Eldorado involved in the collaboration I also feel very proud to have worked harder with Jasper Bullynk who plays the guitar for Oscar & the Wolf and Ivori Moss. Both bands I highly recommend checking out as I love the dreamy electronic pop music that’s being created by them and some other super inspiring bands coming out of Belgium recently.

After meeting Jasper at Oscar & the Wolf shows in London a couple of years back and having an occasional catching up online I decided to write to him and ask if he wanted to help me by recording some guitar parts on the almost finished track. I was very happy to hear that Jasper wanted to be part of the recording and be included in the song, As the band and their sound have been such an inspiration to me in creating my own VAN ELST project.

Getting Jasper to record his dreamy guitar sound onto the song felt like the final glue to piece all harmonic elements together dancing around the melody into the climax of the song. I remember the recording process going very smoothly. After sending Jasper the stems with some references and pointers I asked him to just do his thing and after that, he sent me a perfect guitar take a few days later which I absolutely loved and could easily fit into the mix.

Once I mixed the song I wanted to give the composition its fullest potential and send it off to the UK for mastering at Metropolis Studios by Matt Colton, who has worked with many inspirational artists such as Thom Yorke and James Blake.

When looking back at the whole writing and recording process I feel it’s so interesting how the song came together mostly online, crossing a couple of borders and languages while still holding on to its meaning and even growing in its sonic potential. It’s so exciting to see how your ideas can expand and grow with the input and interpretation of other musicians.

I really feel like I shared this song with them and poured open some deep inner feelings.

The song is part of a string of singles which I can’t wait to release into the world later this summer. All of the coming songs are written in a similar head space but I managed to divide them topically as our feelings are fluid and change from time to time. My hopes are that the true intentions and emotions I’ve put into the song will transpire to the listeners and inspire them to really feel, dream away and potentially feel a step closer to healing and feeling their own self.

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