The Elovaters – Living By The Day, Loving By The Night
What an extraordinary and well-deserved 12 months it has been for Boston-based reggae band, The Elovaters. Their sophomore record Defy Gravity, was released on October 26th – before a packed crowd at Levitate Backyard. The hometown throw-down sold out in under 90 minutes.
The journey to that fall Friday night in Marshfield, MA has been equally as remarkable. To start, Defy Gravity was produced by Danny Kalb (Beck, Ben Harper, Willie Nelson). Shortly after recording, the band signed with Rootfire Collaborative and Ineffable Music for artist management.
A tireless work ethic combined with a sincere and uplifting vibe, enabled Defy Gravity to be #1 on Billboard Reggae. Now, The Elovaters find themselves halfway through a winter tour, on the bill for California Roots and The Levitate Festival, winners of Surf Roots’ ‘Album Of The Year’ and opening for Stick Figure this spring – all on the heels of another sold-out hometown show with Aldous Collins and Rustic Overtones.
In the midst of the ride, we had the chance to catch up with frontman, Jackson Wetherbee, who here, takes us inside the band’s enthralling momentum.
What an exciting time for The Elovaters, with the new record now out four months, how are you, how are you feeling?
It has been a crazy year for us already and we have so much to be thankful for and to look forward to. We are better than ever, with all our recent successes and the album doing well it feels like we have a full tank of gas and are ready to continue learning and growing.
With Defy Gravity was there any particular message or theme you were aiming for in regard to the takeaway?
Totally. The takeaway is about the importance of balance in your life and remembering that no matter how grim things can look there is some sunshine right around the corner.
It’s a very lyrically-rich (“The Ladder” really comes to mind) and up-lifting record. In fact, the first thing people here is your voice singing, “Because we live by the day, love by the night.”
Thank you. I wanted to step my lyric game up on this album. I hope it resonates with people.
In addition to being a fellow south shore resident, I am a fellow long-boarder. How does something like long-boarding translate to your music and/or artistic vision?
Long-boarding and the surf culture are what we’ve grown up with and it inspires us. We board all over the country on tour. It’s a killer way to check out cities and kill some time with the band.
For you personally, having trained in opera, how did you arrive at reggae-based music?
I always have listened and gravitated to reggae since I was a child. Opera taught me some incredible fundamentals on knowing how to treat and listen to your voice, but I never felt as passionate about it as a genre.
I find Bob Marley to be timeless and ahead of his time in many of his messages, how does Bob Marley continue to inspire you and the group?
Bob is totally timeless. He had a beautiful way of taking a big message and compressing it into something easy to relate to. When I put on his records, I am always trying to dissect his method of writing and arranging. It also gives me a ton of nostalgia.
You give a nod to Boston on the record. I love the line, “We’re always thirsty, like our water dirty.” Boston and even the south shore area can be a very supportive artistic community. With platforms like Levitate, how have The Elovaters gone about embracing the greater Boston scene?
We just feel fortunate that the Greater Boston area has embraced us to be honest. We are all very proud to be from this area and are all about ‘repping where we are from.
Is there a particular obstacle you have overcome, either individually or as a group that you attribute to the success of where The Elovaters are today?
We as a unit have all been grinding playing music full time for over 10 years, I would say individually we all have put in our dues. As a band, we rented busses for tours that weren’t even going to pay for the rental, traveled across the country making $50 total a show, and haven’t stopped working our butts off. Even with all that grind we feel lucky to be able to create music with each other and to have it recognized. Getting signed to Ineffable Music Group, putting our album out under the Rootfire Cooperative, signing with Madison House booking agency… these were our dream goals. Now we just want to continue the growth and make the best music we can.
There’s a ton on tap in terms of touring, what are you most looking forward to?
There are a few things that pop into mind immediately. We hit the road with Stick Figure and The Movement through the mid-west in April, and are stoked to be on the lineup for the California Roots Festival in Monterey, the Levitate lineup right in our back yard, and some other really cool festivals we’ll be announcing soon.
All things considered, what does this ‘Defy Gravity’ moment in your career mean to you?
It means everything to me. All of my dreams are coming true, so it really does feel like we are Defying Gravity.