The Sonic Side of Pride: Eli Escobar on the Emotion and Inspiration Behind Our Pride Month Playlist
NYC DJ, producer, and house & disco evangelist, Eli Escobar, shares how music has shaped his life and explains the intention and inspiration behind our Sounds of 1 Pride playlist.
Across our properties, we’re toasting, connecting, and dancing to the spirit of Pride. Crafted by renowned NYC DJ and Producer, Eli Escobar, our Sounds of 1 Pride playlist echoes the perfect mix of celebration and liberation balanced by melodies that honor the undeniable struggle that all members of the LGBTQIA+ community share.
Eli Escobar has been electrifying New York City’s music scene for the last two decades. Known for his ability to fuse yesterday’s classics with today’s new wave, he crafted a playlist full of frequencies that evoke emotion and flow through your soul. Whether you’re listening in your car or grooving on the dance floor, these sounds transcend settings and transport you to a place of deep connection and high vibration.
We spoke with Eli about the many layers of inspiration behind his music, the creative energy that went into curating this soundtrack, the importance of queer culture and influence in the music world, and the undeniable intersection of music and self-expression.
INTERVIEW WITH ELI ESCOBAR, NYC HOUSE & DISCO EVANGELIST
What impact has music made on your life?
Well, that’s a huge question! Music has remained the constant love of my life and has given me strength. At the same time, it’s taught me how to be okay with being vulnerable and sad. It’s taken a considerable amount of therapy for me to realize that I experienced a lot of pain and trauma very early in life, and I know I wouldn’t have gotten through it without my music and art.
What are moments that, in your opinion, necessitate music?
Joy and pain. When stress needs to be released, music is a pretty powerful tool—and cleaning the house on Sundays of course.
What inspires you? Who are your biggest musical influences and how have they impacted your own music?
There are way too many to mention, but I’m a child of the 80s, and I live for all the popular music of the time. Prince, Culture Club, George Michael, and beyond. Late in the decade and into the 90s it was all about De La Soul, Deee-Lite, Neneh Cherry and Jungle Brothers, and so many more. I’ve always loved a little bit of everything—I think that's why music can be a bit all over the place. My last few albums all sound like they were made by different artists!
Talk us through your creative process when putting together this Pride Month mix.
I just wanted to pick songs I’ve noticed connect in a deep way with folks on the dancefloor. When you’re celebrating something that symbolizes liberation but also acknowledges struggle, the songs need to resonate on more of an emotional level.
What is it about disco and house music that speaks to you the most?
I love dance music because there are no boundaries or rules. As long as there’s a continuous groove going, genre and style do not matter. I think dance music in a club can touch people in a very unique way. They are not (hopefully) focused on someone on a stage or a screen and can totally lose themselves in not only the music but in themselves!
Can you tell us a little bit more about queer culture's effect on house music?
Well, house music is queer culture. The truth is that house music has affected straight culture!
How does who you are shape your approach to music? What do you think is the relationship between music and self-expression?
I use my own music as a way to get out my thoughts, feelings, and ideas. It’s a very natural, therapeutic thing for me and that’s part of why I’ve never been too concerned with making a huge song or trying to achieve some level of success. I’m happy there are people who like and connect with my music of course, but I really do it for me. DJing is a different thing of course. I can also express myself by playing songs that tell a story about how I’m feeling that day or the friends I have lost and the grief I carry with me. And I know so many other humans are going through similar things and we can all share this experience to help us get through it and celebrate life.
What will you be listening to this Pride Month?
The new Lana Del Rey album and my personal Pet Shop Boys playlist that is totally perfect!