Track-by-Track: Eli Moon Explores Morality, Hedonism, and Control on EP ‘Angels, Devils and Empty Vessels’

Angels Devils Eli Moon
Finding your place in this world is no mean feat, but Eli Moon perseveres as he moves through phases of stasis and detachment to reconnect with reality and embrace change on EP ‘Angels, Devils and Empty Vessels’.

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Angels Devils Eli Moon

Angels, Devils and Empty Vessels – Eli Moon

South Londoner Eli Moon debuted in 2019 with his breakthrough project, Bodies. His first release gained attention from tastemakers at Line of Best Fit and Clash Magazine and fans alike. “Bodies” cemented the experimental artist as a commanding force on the British RnB scene, but Eli has returned in 2020 with a new perspective.

For the most part, Angels, Devils and Empty Vessels was produced by Eli Moon himself alongside his longtime collaborator Koala. Although, the exception is the second track “Phases“, which was produced by Mojam who has worked with the likes of Aitch, Bugzy Malone, and Sam Smith. Angels, Devils and Empty Vessels was released on September 11th via MERIDAN.

After releasing his debut EP, Eli found himself lonely and in a spell of stasis, no longer growing and learning, but stagnating. In his own words, Moon explains, “Living through two polar-opposite alter egos, the fast pace of the London nightlife and my hedonistic, irresponsible lifestyle had caught up to me. I found myself at a turning point; was I going to be consumed by the dark underbelly of the city or rise high above the temptation and allow some light into my life?” He chose to let light into his life and moved forward in the form of a jaw-droppingly poetic RnB EP that makes the most of smooth synths and commanding beats.

I’ve been having bad dreams lately
You know nothing’s as it seems
It’s been hard for me to tell what’s right from wrong
It’s been hard for me to know where I belong 
It’s been hard for me to sleep lately
And when I do it hurts my head
Sometimes I wish I was somebody else instead
Sometimes I wish that I was dead 
All these late nights in the city
Rolling ‘round with
Different faces different stages of our lives
But really everyone hurts the same
Everyones fucked up in their own way 

The first track, “Stasis” is the most melancholic of the collection. The song recounts Moon’s feelings when it dawned upon him that he had reached a point of stagnation. At this stage, Eli remained in an introspective state and focused on his regretful choices. This mental state is depicted by gloomy arpeggios played on the electric guitar and a prominent drum machine beat. Moon’s mentality quickly switches from introspective to outward-looking in “Phases.”

An angel cries every time
You give your love to me
My darkest times lonely nights
Are where I find myself searching for something new
Into the light, I hope to see
The vision of you and me In harmony
But an angel cries every time
You give your love to me 
What if it never changes
What if it’s only phases in my mind
Do we fill these empty spaces
Or do we just keep chasing what feels right 
Eli Moon © 2020

Eli Moon © 2020

Phases“, the EP’s second track is about change and taking control over repetitive, cyclic patterns. It is clear from the upbeat undertones that in the writing of this song Eli saw the end of the negative behavioural patterns he had found himself in and was ready to break free.

I want you to surrender
Give me all of you
More of you’s better
I’m waiting
I’m fading
I’m wasting away 
I’ll be gentle I’ll be careful
I won’t cause you no harm
This is pleasure
Don’t you worry at all
Just enjoy the ride 
Buried down below
Or in heaven up above
I’ve got a pocket full of shame
But I’m mad for the drug
I been holding out of for something
Holding out for something
Bigger than us 

Throughout the third track, “Bigger Than Us,” Moon leaves behind his period of stasis and toys between following a positive or negative path. The internal conflict depicted in “Bigger Than Us” is refreshingly honest as Eli struggles with his mortality. The lyrically profound track is also supported by futuristic production that, towards the end, features prominent sub-bass frequencies that are akin to a dubstep track. “Pray” is the track that concludes the thought-provoking EP. The most outward-looking offering from Moon, “Pray” focuses on the temptation, greed, and consumerism that envelops the modern world.

What you need
Is my loving
Times up
Did you get the message
White lies better count your blessings
You better pray for yourself
Better pray for yourself 
Sign the deal gimme my percentage
Black lives what they repossessing
You better pray for yourself
Better pray for yourself 

When asked about the creation of Angels, Devils and Empty Vessels, Eli Moon exclusively told Atwood Magazine that “Writing this project really enabled me to understand how I was feeling. I had endured a period of numbness. Looking in from the outside, it was almost like I was ignoring my feelings, but as soon as I stepped into the studio and started writing, it was obvious to not only me but to everybody around me what I was going through. There isn’t one lyric that doesn’t come from the heart and I feel my words are so well matched with the overall production; it’s very hard to listen and not feel emotion.”

Experience Eli Moon’s phenomenal new EP on Atwood Magazine using our stream and get inside Angels, Devils and Empty Vessels as Eli breaks the record down track-by-track.

Listen: Angels, Devils and Empty Vessels – Eli Moon

Inside Angels, Devils and Empty Vessels

Angels Devils Eli Moon

“Stasis” 

To be in a state of Stasis is to experience a slowing down of the normal flow of a bodily fluid such as blood. I wrote the song at a time when my life had completely stagnated. My self-destructive behaviour had finally taken its toll, and I was now stuck inside my house with nobody to talk to, nobody to meet, and nobody who wanted to know me. I had taken my relationships for granted and was now no use to anyone or anything. I guess that’s where the reference to the ‘fallen angel’ in the chorus comes from. The devil, the once-trusted ‘guardian cherub,’ had abused his power and was destined to endure eternal suffering. I felt like I had experienced a ‘fall’ of this nature. I had everything and everyone I wanted, but this only fed my ego and led me to make endless bad choices. I guess the song is an admittance of what I had become. It was like I was standing on a burning ship to hell, watching the world that was once mine, flourish without me, and it was all my fault.

“Phases” 

“Phases” is a song about change. A lot of people seek comfort in life, but if I stop for too long and become too comfortable, I very quickly start to lose my mind! I wrote this song at a time when I needed something new. Life felt like a never-ending cycle of the same activities, the same people and I just needed to escape. In the song, I deal with the existential crisis that I often find myself in, where I begin to question everyone and everything around me. ‘Why am I here?’ ‘Why am I doing this?’ ‘Is there meaning to any of this?’ I suppose the biggest question is ‘what if it never changes?’ That’s how the song arose. My biggest fear is being stuck in a situation where I have no power to affect it. It’s not a quiet feeling, it’s not a creeper. I wake up one day, and there it is; the gut-wrenching need to scrap everything and start all over. I suppose life does happen in phases, which is why it’s important to understand that no situation lasts forever, and there is never a situation where you have no power to affect it. But, I wanted to capture this emotion in a song so that I have it forever and can always use it in times when I need to be reminded of this.”

Eli Moon © 2020

Eli Moon © 2020

“Bigger Than Us” 

The idea of ‘as above, so below’ is the fuel for this song. Coming out of my period of “stasis’,’ I was beginning to feel more in touch with reality and realised I had new choices to make. In the song, I flirt with the conflicting nature of God Vs The Devil. I talk with the two forces, and both put forward their intentions for me. The biggest thing to note, which is very reflective of my life at the time, is that both the relationship with God and The Devil are attractive to me and that my fate lies in the hands of whichever one can deliver me to my end goals fastest. This lack of morality is a recurring theme throughout the EP, as I was living in a time that I did not care for negative consequences, just as long as I got what I wanted.

“Pray” 

“Pray” is a song about man-made earth. In the song, I begin to subtly list components of society that I feel always have and always will be our downfall. We live in a world where we think we have a choice, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Everything about real life, everything in society, is an experience that has been repackaged and resold to us for profit. In being so dependent on this level of consumerism, the human race gives up its sense of pride and hands over the power to the greed at the top. As humans, we are the most violent addicts of all; addicted to pain, addicted to the feeling of needing more and addicted to tearing each other down in order to achieve personal gain. In this song, I step out of my form and shine a light on the world as it really is. Our greed is so insatiable that not even God can save us. There is definitely irony in my perspective; I am no different to the next person whose life is governed by the limited experience made available to me, but I wanted to make an abrasive, manufactured sounding record to reflect this mass-produced, dystopian reality we are really living in. When the world ends, this is the song that will play.

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Angels Devils Eli Moon

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I'm a music-obsessed, guitar-playing Brit who adores writing. I love the moon, Bruce Springsteen and the winter. If you want to find me on a rainy day I'll probably be at the beach.