Max Schieble, better known as Elbows, is a songwriter, vocalist, producer, and multi-instrumentalist creating a time-warping fusion of jazz, hip hop, electronic, and psychedelic pop. New York’s The Deli Magazine described him as “[flexing] through genres, bending tastes and traditions and creating something that sounds totally fresh." Born in the San Francisco Bay Area, Elbows is currently based in Brooklyn, NY.
On January 26 Elbows will release the Sycamore EP, the follow-up to his 2017 debut, the Corduroy EP. Building on the sonic stylings of Corduroy, Sycamore sees Elbows home in on a more singular mood, combining damp synth pads and 808s with woodsy percussion and acoustic instrumentation. Songs segue from outros to interludes to new songs like wandering thoughts on a walk home. Beginning with a long rewind, Sycamore takes listeners on a journey through Elbows' past, with vivid verses recounting his youth in The Bay, soured relationships, and growing up sibling-less.
Opening track and lead single, “The Rain,” warps through different musical eras, moving from a contemporary hip hop beat, to would-be samples of old school swing jazz, and touching on moments of drum & bass. The song is completed by a multi-dimensional sax solo from Tru Thoughts’ Sly5thAve. Later, during interludes “Sparrow Creek” and “Supper,” sped up vocals give the sound of a younger Elbows addressing the listener from the past. Sycamore sees Elbows continue to create with his in-house group of collaborators, including fellow New York-based bassist/songwriter, Jachary. The EP serves as the next installment of material culled from multi-year, coast-spanning recording sessions in San Francisco and New York, during which Elbows amassed a body of work chronicling his foggy Bay Area upbringing.
In May 2017 Elbows released his debut EP, Corduroy, which received acclaim from Okayplayer, The Deli, Impose, and Earmilk, who flatteringly said, “Elbows is readying to take hip hop by storm.” Coinciding with the release he was interviewed by Andrew Jervis on the Bandcamp Weekly radio show alongside ATO’s Nick Hakim. Corduroy served as an encapsulating introduction to the sound of Elbows, with songs shifting from dusty boom bap beats to oafish 808s, and from jazzy guitar chops to cloudy synth beds, all the while revealing Schieble’s comfortably peculiar persona through witty and introspective songwriting. The EP was accompanied by a capsule collection of cassette tapes, socks, and a set of pins in collaboration with New York’s Pintrill, with each item representing a song from the project.
In 2015 Elbows released his debut single “Flowers,” which Indie Shuffle described as, “nothing less than intriguing.” A self-directed video (co-directed by New Jersey filmmaker Nnamdi Simon) followed later that year. He has performed live throughout New York and the greater East Coast, and has appeared with Kendra Morris, Kweku Collins, Landlady, Madison McFerrin, and more.
Additionally, Elbows is a multimedia artist, creating expansive narrative projects that connect across platforms such as visual art, film, and product, as well as music. In 2016 he opened his first solo exhibit, At The Bottom Of The Well, at Brooklyn’s IMAGE Gallery. The two-month installation featured large-scale canvases, screen prints, and original drawings, all displaying Schieble’s vibrantly surreal aesthetic of multi-faces, legged-furniture, and dotted limbs. An original score accompanied the exhibit. He has also collaborated with the Tribeca Film Festival, Complex Magazine’s First We Feast, and others as a contributing artist.
The Sycamore EP is due out January 26, 2018. Elbows will celebrate the release live at Brooklyn’s Baby’s All Right on January 31, with more east coast dates to follow.