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"Hail, Hail Rock and Roll"

A couple of years later, Max met Orion, and they have been Elatia ever since. Max brings a bluegrass influence, and the result could be called. . .um. . .

Max: “We call it ‘tribal lullabies.’ We don’t know what to call it, though.”
Orion: “Like ‘psychedelic folk-metal.’”
Max: “It’s tough to label it.”

A good point. The flyer for the show I went to over a year ago claimed Elatia were “heavy metal bluegrass,” and I went into the Bremen Café expecting to hear a banjo get the beating of its life, or maybe some goofy Black Sabbath covers. Instead, I found two acoustic guitars and a bongo, and a set of marvelous, intricate songs sung with inventive harmonies. The band’s electric incarnation is powerful, heavy, and loud, but retains the inventiveness, including the harmonies, and, another hallmark of Elatia, instrument switching. Though shows right now are either electric or acoustic, both are equal parts of the band’s sound.

The shared duties and rotated instruments have a musical purpose (Max: “all three of us are singing and taking turns. . .’cause we have different voices”), but they’re also indicative of the group spirit of the band.

The group identity is something the band takes seriously, as exemplified by the wall hanging they’ve made and put up at shows. Not just a prop, it is, Orion says “a living thing. . .it does store certain energies.”

The band is serious about their mysticism, both on- and offstage, but they have a sense of humor. During a discussion of possible stage show additions, Max mentions “choreographed dance stuff, you know. . .baby doll heads.”

Geoff: “We’ve got a huge box of baby doll heads.”
Max: “Huge box.”

Elatia also boast a strong pragmatic side. They’re moving steadily up in the Emergenza Festival, a worldwide battle of the bands, currently in the area finals. And it’s all in service of the music.

Max: “It’s about having fun, that’s the main reason we do it, you know. ‘Cause it is fun as hell.”
Orion: “We’re all in it for the same thing. . .wanting to play for people.”
Max: “We all three believe in it more than anything, so. . .whatever it takes.”

Elatia performs on May 28 at the Rave Bar for the Emergenza Finals Show.
- Riverwest Currents

"Learn more about the 14 finalists"

[Abridged only to include the three winners.]

Check out the bands vying to win the Milwaukee finals round of the international Emergenza competition. The acts below are scheduled to perform Saturday at The Rave, and the winner will advance to regional finals that will be held in Detroit on June 4.

Acts are listed in the order they are scheduled to appear:

Elatia: The West Allis three-piece revels in the contradiction of creating atmospheric music that's both ethereal and heavy.

Marashino: Anthentic, catchy pop-rock from one of the area's most avidly adored bands - just check out the giddy fan postings on its Web site. www.marashinomusic.com.

Way to Fall: The four-piece creates lush and surprising rock with a melancholic edge in the studio, but gets heavier and more in your face in a live setting. www.waytofall.com.

- Gemma Tarlach
- Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

"Milwaukee Music: Elatia"

Elatia is an anomaly. Hard beats and riffs are mixed with bluegrass complexity and a Madchester swagger creating a sound unlike anything currently dominating the baren music scene. Intelligence and inginuity drive the structure, power and soul set the tone. - OnMilwaukee.com


First album due to be released early this spring.
ORTUS- check out the first few tracks here!



Electronic-industrial rock outfit Elatia is a band whose mystique relies on the varied influences of its musicians and its transmutative live sets. Formed in 2005 with members Orion Baekr, Max Williamson, and Geoff Slater, Elatia quickly built up a following for their constantly changing and pleasantly peculiar performances. That year, Elatia placed third in the Milwaukee finals of the Emergenza festival—a sort of worldwide battle of the bands with over 300 local entrants. Elatia has been described as everything from “heavy metal bluegrass” to “atmostpheric” and “ethereal,” in part because each musician’s background shapes the band’s music: Williamson, a Milwaukee transplant from West Virginia, was raised on bluegrass picking parties held in his parents’ living room, whereas Baekr’s musical influences come from experimental alternative rock. Add to this each member’s ability to play multiple instruments, and the band’s philosophy that a concert should be something more akin to seeing a “live album” instead of a set of individual tracks, and you have a musical performance unlike any other currently on the Milwaukee scene.

Elatia has played most of Milwaukee’s major live music clubs, including The Rave, Cactus Club, and Stonefly, and they have written scores for several local plays and short films. In 2008, circumstances required Slater to relocate, so Elatia recently transitioned into a two-piece while retaining its emphasis on electronic rock. Since they are already evolving by necessity, they have decided to venture into other unexplored terrain as well: Elatia’s first studio-recorded album is due out in 2009.