The last year and a half has been trying for a lot of people as the ongoing health pandemic halted everyday life and forced people to adjust to a "new normal," which for many people meant spending much more time at home.
Alexander Kotz (known better these days by his stage name Elderbrook) says he actually didn't mind the adjustment, only because it didn't take much effort to work from home, as he had already crafted a skeletal studio at the bottom of his garden.
"I already had a home setup I loved," he says, speaking with Variance ahead of his performance at Lollapalooza in Chicago. "And to be honest, I do so much stuff within the community, so what I really needed was just a microphone and keyboard. It was quite nice. I was one of those guys—those annoying guys that quite enjoyed it."
Elderbrook is glad to be back playing live again, admitting being in Chicago still feels surreal.
"My last live proper show was New Year’s Eve going into 2020," he recalls. "It feels like a really, really long time ago. So yes, it’s good to be back."
Playing Lolla for the first time, Elderbrook says one of the things he appreciates is how the festival is surrounded by so many giant skyscrapers, and the fest injects so much energy into the city itself, especially after so many months of isolation.
"The city is alive and buzzing at night. It’s incredible," he says. "And especially because in the U.K., it’s been a lot more locked down than [the U.S.] lately. So I haven’t seen this many people in a really long time. I'm still getting used to it, actually."
While most Lollapalooza attendees are understandably locals, Elderbrook's journey was a bit more nuanced because of the restrictions the United States has in place for those traveling from the United Kingdom.
"I had to go to Croatia in order to get to the U.S.," says the London-born musician. "You can’t fly to the U.S. if you’ve been in the U.K. in the last 14 days. So I went to Croatia for two weeks and then flew here. That's how it is now."
Thankfully, Elderbrook's schedule is starting to look more and more like pre-Covid days. He's been putting out new music, and he's about to head out on tour. So he has a lot to looking forward to, as he acknowledges.
"I’ve got an EP coming out, with some cool features on it," he says. "And I obviously have the new song out called ‘Inner Light’ with Bob Moses. And again, all of this was done online over the past few months, from the little shed in my garden," he adds with a laugh.
He continues: "So the EP will be coming out—at some point. And I'm just getting out and playing shows again. I’m supporting Louis the Child for a few shows, which is going to be cool. And eventually working on the second album. That's the plan so far."