Deimos Phobos

a new electronic wizard hits the scene running

Thom Fountain, photos by Andrea Paulseth

A WHOLE BUNCH OF MUSICMAKERS. Elliot Etzkorn, who plays as Deimos Phobos, has quickly solidified himself as a large part of Eau Claire’s DIY music scene.
A WHOLE BUNCH OF MUSICMAKERS. Elliot Etzkorn, who plays as Deimos Phobos, has quickly solidified himself as a large part of Eau Claire’s DIY music scene.

Elliot Etzkorn has been a bit of a juggernaut lately. The UW-Eau Claire physics student has been in Eau Claire for two years and making music his whole life, but most recently as Deimos Phobos – an electronic-based chillwave project that’s still relatively new, but you would know looking at the catalog.

Etzkorn has put out four records since last year and has another one – the one he’s most excited about – lined up for a fall release. He’s been collaborating with local indie-rocker/jazz cat Addie Strei. He’s planning on working with hip-hopper Dan Johnson and has another collaboration lined up with a writer at UWEC. And that’s just the studio stuff.

Live, Deimos Phobos has played a few shows at various venues and DIY spaces – I’ve seen him in a basement and on a rooftop – but in our conversation alone was bouncing off ideas about interesting venues – or spaces that could be transformed into venues – to keep playing. 

Deimos Phobos’ sound is unique. Etzkorn has a classical background and can play a mean saxaphone, but mostly lets samples do the talking. Sometimes, literally. His songs are often interspersed with spoken word from audiobooks, telling a story to match the music. His most recent release, leisure, jumps around from ambient, Sigur Ros-esque compositions to bouncy and even epic melodies. You can hear the influence of M83 and other contemporaries, but Etzkorn says he’s constantly looking for new, different music – his current love is Oingo Boingo, an 80s new wave band he found in his dad’s record crates.

Etzkorn also finds inspiration locally, citing a Fourth of July show (featureing local acts Moro, Farms and Yohuna, among others) as the catalyst for a new song and local producer Sloslylove as someone he looks up to musically.

With the speed and determination Deimos Phobos is moving now, Etzkorn is definitely a name to watch out for in the future. If you can catch him.

You can find Deimos Phobos’ albums for free at DeimosPhobos.com or see him play at The Cabin at UWEC on Sept. 8.

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