Anthony Sgrasso


We’d hazard a guess that wherever you are, it’s kind of insanely hot, or least, slightly above the annual average for your area. Understandably, the heat is bringing out the worst in people, maybe even in us – but not everyone.

Elders, one of Florida’s most fantastic math rock and prog exports, dropped a surprise fireball on us today with EP#2, and it’s got some of their most ambitious moments on record yet.

Full disclosure, we’ve actually been listening to our advance copy of EP#2 for almost 2 months straight. Check out “The World” below – it’s one of our favorite tracks, and features handiwork from none other than Zeta’s Juanchi Ricardo Yilo. You probably didn’t need an excuse to listen to the whole thing immediately, but to sweeten the deal we also caught up Elders guitarist Jairo Munoz to talk about the writing process, video games, their split with Things Amazing, and a whole lot more.


FB: It’s been a solid couple of years since we heard a batch of songs from Elders, being your split in 2021 with Things Amazing. Can you tell us about how the Elders style developed over the last couple years?

JM: We’ve moved to writing as a band more and letting all of our influences really shine, and our big common grounds are funk and VGMs. The first EP, I mostly came in with the skeletons done myself and then let everyone else do their thing on top of it. Now, Sam’s (Gendriz, bassist) writing a lot more and we’ll take our tracks to Mikey and Gabe where we’ll completely re-write the tracks into their final forms. That process more or less started with Mercado on the first EP, but Shaq on this EP was the first track where I basically contributed 2 riffs and then let the band really make it something we can all equally claim as ours. We’re less concerned with being progressive or mathy and more concerned with having fun and writing music we’d actually listen to.

FB: The Opening track “The World” features some prominent rhythms and vocal support from Zeta’s Juanchi Yilo Alvarado – how did you first meet Zeta?

JM: So Mikey used to have a detached garage behind his mom’s house that we all lovingly referred to as The Barn (RIP) and almost every year, we’d throw a little local fest referred to as Barn Show. There’d be bands coming through from all over the country that were either on tour (Wait and Shackle and Sinai Vessel come to mind) or bands that were local and have since become much bigger names (shout out Gouge Away and Gillian Carter). Juanchi and Zeta had moved to Florida for a bit when they came to the states and came by the show in 2018 or 2019. I’m sure you know, but Zeta are the sweetest guys on the planet. Juanchi and I hit it off super quickly and we’ve been friends since then. Asking him to be on this track was a no brainer and his contributions to the track really took it to the next level. Also have to shout out Chris Palowitch who contributed trombones to the track. They made this our favorite track we’ve ever made.

FB: What can you tell us about Davie, Florida? How, if at all, did the cultural / environmental aspects of the area figure into the music for the second EP?

JM: Davie is where we all met, but we’re from all over South Florida which is a very culturally diverse place to grow up. Sam and I are both Latino, Gabe’s Haitian, and Mikey’s our token white guy. Gabe, Sam, and I have had latin/caribbean music around us our entire lives while Mikey grew up going to shows from an earlier age than any of us. All this to say that we’ve had a VERY diverse set of influences hit us our whole lives. Growing up in the suburbs, we were all also playing a looooot of video games. Sam and I met in high school and bonded over Smash Bros and music like RHCP, Megadeth, Muse, and The Fall of Troy. I don’t think it’s very hard to hear how all of that led to the sound we’ve developed with Elders over the last few years. With the 2nd EP we really wanted to lean into showcasing our roots in the tracks and I think that’s fairly present in “The World” and “CR1.”


FB: The artwork for all of the records thus far have a prevalent science fiction theme. Would you say that Elders sort of has a visual aspect to it as well, or at least agree that science fiction is an appreciation shared by the members of the band?

JM: Our artist Anthony Grasso (@oddgobgames on instagram) has been behind all of our art, minus the split art which was done by the incredible Taylor Adams (@taylorcadams on instagram), and we just let him go nuts with our mutual love of giant robots. We just like nerd stuff in general. Evangelion inspired hats, Magic the Gathering merch signs, Alien inspired sweaters, we want you all to know that we’re just as nerdy as our music. “The World” opens with a Jojo reference, it’s just all in good fun!

FB: Speaking of science fiction, that really is where our mind goes on a track like “Boy George Lopez,” even if the song title isn’t remotely spacey. It’s very cohesive and visionary – does the band communicate parts to each other in person? Do you find using creative or metaphorical language, or using notation?

JM: Every song reaches its final form in person. No matter how often we try to write over the internet (I’m in NYC, Sam’s in Orlando, Mikey and Gabe are the last 2 in SFL), we always end up throwing out most of what we came up with online in favor of what we come up with in person. There’s just a chemistry that Sam and Gabe have in person that can’t be replicated and the moment they lock in, Mikey and I are just along for the ride. When we’re writing together in person, we tend to use a mix of both “dumb band guy talk” (no no more like ba DUM tss instead of ba dum TSS) and actual theory terms. We’ve never been a band to write over guitarpro or anything like that though. I tried, doesn’t work for me.

FB: The overall mix of the new EP sounds really crisp and visceral. What was it like working with Corey Bautista? Were there any records in particular that inspired you to work with him?

JM: Corey was a dream to work with. Super easy to communicate with and was able to make sense of the aforementioned “dumb band guy talk.” We recorded the EP with Lon Beshiri and then had Corey mix it because we’re huge fans of the work he did with Satyr and The Callous Daoboys. Also shout out to Adam Cichocki for mastering the EP and really making it sparkle!

FB: When you came up with the song title “Shaquile O’Neal Patrick Harris,” were you picturing Shaq in a particular NPH role, or were you picturing Mr. Harris making NBA history?

JM: Shaq can do anything NPH can do, but I don’t think NPH can shatter a backboard.

FB: “Shaquile O’Neal Patrick Harris” already has a couple tasty remixes to its name – do you guys plan on doing another remix EP as well with the material you’ve come up with since then?

JM: That was our second remix EP that we did with our friends and as long as they wanna keep chopping up our songs, we’ll happily keep putting them out. If you want some stems to do the same, bang my line.


FB: Did any of your gear or demoing strategies significantly change in relation to the pandemic?

JM: We all got some Neural DSP plugins and I got a REVV D20 amp to make demoing easier, but like I mentioned before, we need the energy of bouncing ideas off of each other in person. We’ll hop on the occasional zoom call like we did over the pandemic to familiarize ourselves with ideas, but the real work starts the moment we’re all in a room together. Life would be much easier if we were one of those bands who just send tracks back and forth until they’re done, but I wouldn’t trade that for the feeling we all get when we finally nail a final version of a song together.

FB: Are there any touring or release show plans for the EP?

JM: We’ll be doing a little tour with our friends in Space Corolla starting on 7/26 and finally going north of Charlotte for the first time. We’re incredibly excited to also play Choke Artist Fest on that run which has bands like Sawce, In Angles, pulses., and With Sails Ahead. It’s gonna be a blast.

7/26 – Bart’s Mart Charlotte, NC
7/27 – Atlas Brewing Washington D.C
7/28 – esoarts Lancaster, PA
7/29 – Choke Artist Fest @ Salty’s Beach Bar Lake Como, NJ
7/30 – Bar Freda Queens, NY

FB: Sometimes when an album has been recorded or mixed for a long time, but needs to wait for release for whatever reason, new songs start brewing almost by necessity. When were the songs for the EP officially done? Has there been anything written since?

JM: These songs were actually done back in 2020. Between the pandemic and our jobs, life got a bit in the way. We’re happy to have written a lot since then though so it shouldn’t be nearly as long of a wait between this and the next batch of songs. Eternally grateful to everyone who still cares enough to support us between these long periods. As long as it’s still fun, we’re gonna keep going!

Even after having heard a few of these songs before, the repeatability they offer is truly remarkable. The fresh guitar tones, the party crashing drums, and nimble baselines make for a great time, and also a deep time. No matter what goddamn temperature it is. As you may or may not have heard, we’re about halfway through a vacation of sorts. We’ve been camping. We got very, very sunburnt. We’re about to do it again. But as always, we are eternally grateful for you and your support. Tomorrow, we’ve got another big one from Chicago legend Chris Carothers of Ativin, who put out a stellar new comeback a few weeks ago. Then we’re headed to the Grand Canyon to think about our life. Oh, and don’t forget to check out all the rest of the Elders goodness at their Bandcamp here! We love you.