Eliza and the Organix
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Eliza and the Organix

Brooklyn, New York, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2011 | SELF

Brooklyn, New York, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2011
Band Rock Funk




"Eliza and the Organix Explore Intergenerational Trauma in “Broken Sky”"

Brooklyn-based band Eliza and the Organix have a unique sound that blends funk, rock, and hints of folk and jazz. Their second album, Present Future Dreams: Part II, is set for release on May 1 and will include their new single, “Broken Sky,” which vocalist and guitarist Eliza Waldman describes as a song about intergenerational trauma.

Waldman, who has a powerful voice a bit reminiscent of Alanis Morissette, sings of disillusioned dreams in the track: “Broken sky, paper dolls / When your whole life feels too small / When the best you know becomes the worst of all.” Due to the hit musicians have taken because of the coronavirus, Waldman is encouraging listeners to support the arts and download the track on Bandcamp for $.99 or more.

We spoke to her about her music, the impact of intergenerational trauma, and what having a female-fronted band means to her.

AF: Tell me about how your band got started.

EW: The band started originally at Vassar College in 2011. Me and my friends Kristen Tivey and Vanora Estridge were all in the jazz program, which was a mostly male program at a college that was historically all-female until the 1960s. That was, to say the least, a disappointing dynamic. So, immediately part of the band landscape for us was wanting to create a place for ourselves that felt more comfortable to improvise and explore what we could DO making music, and we found that with each other.
At the time, I was listening to a lot of the bands Cake and Morphine, and I was in love with the saxophone. I was really getting into textures, horn arrangements, all the layering that Cake would do on their albums. The saxophone really appealed to me because it’s like a musical gut punch. It’s a very forward instrument, and I found that aggressive energy very appealing. I was also really into Amanda Palmer and the Dresden Dolls at the time, which attracted me for a lot of the same reasons. She was loud, she was angry, she had a lot to say.
I had just really started writing songs in college – for years before that, I was very focused on classical guitar and did not really think of myself as a songwriter. But it started to come together part-way through college, and I realized, Oh hey, actually, I’m pretty good at this and I love doing it.

So it started out with me on guitar, Kristen on saxophone, and Vanora on keys jamming with a lovely drummer Erik Snow. When we started out, it was all super new, and our sound was very raw. Funk-punk energy is how I would describe it. It was a mix of soul grooves and me being super loud and playing around vocally. I was just having the best time.

AF: What made you want to write about intergenerational trauma? Is it something you’ve dealt with?
EW: I’m really glad to have the opportunity to talk about this subject, because it’s something I care deeply about. I think for years I was writing about intergenerational trauma without ever knowing it. I look back on my earlier work, and I can hear it everywhere in the songs, how I was trying to process things without really knowing how to. “Broken Sky” is one of those songs where I didn’t realize what I was writing about at first, and I was listening back to it, and it suddenly clicked for me. Oh, it’s about these patterns that got passed down to me that I now find myself living out over and over.
I’ve had quite a journey over the past few years emotionally. I think that the way we’re raised affects so much in how we think about and process the world, and it’s so ingrained that it’s easy not to realize. Both of my parents had rough childhoods, and I was raised with this mentality that no one will give you anything. Don’t ask for help. Pull yourself up by your bootstraps. Never show emotion, never let them see you cry. And several years ago, I went through some very rough stuff involving a relationship that I found myself completely unequipped to handle emotionally. I didn’t know how to be kind to myself when I wasn’t doing well. I didn’t seem able to pull myself up by my bootstraps, and I was really hard on myself about that for a long time. I didn’t know how else to cope. I realize now that my coping mechanisms and my mindset were not letting me break free of these painful patterns.
I was lucky that I discovered therapy, and I have to say it was an incredibly liberating experience. I feel like these patterns from the past are something I may always be dealing with, but I feel much more in control of my life at this point. I learned as a child to avoid conflict, and that’s something that has been the hardest pattern for me to break free of, to actually get to a place where I believe that my thoughts and my feelings matter. I know that’s something a lot of women can identify with. But I’m in such a better place with myself at this point, and I feel incredibly lucky to be living my best life, out there making my music in the world.
AF: Do you think a lot of women are dealing with intergenerational trauma right now?
EW: I don’t know if I’m just more attuned to it than I used to be, but I feel like I see and hear women dealing with trauma pretty much everywhere recently in the arts and media. I read an article a couple days ago where Reese Witherspoon was talking about how every woman on the set of Big Little Lies was dealing with some form of trauma. That really hit me. Millennials have been called the therapy generation, and I think there’s so much that’s been pressurized in our culture for so long that’s finally starting to come out. There’s been a cultural shift where things that used to be seen as normal, women are starting to say, “No, actually, this isn’t normal, this isn’t acceptable.”

AF: What would you say the rest of your album is about?

EW: This album is actually rather high concept! It’s a two-parter. The first half of it came out in 2017 and was called Present Future Dreams: Part I. And now, in 2020, finally, Present Future Dreams: Part II is coming out. The artwork was done in collaboration with my good friends Nick Cohen and Marlee Newman and features a rubber chicken under a car tire, the concept being that for millennials in their 20s, you are this rubber chicken out there on the highway of life getting run over and bouncing back and run over and bouncing back. There’s so much learning and processing that’s going into finding your place in the world, and sometimes learning experiences can be brutal, so there’s a kind of dark humor to it. But the chicken always bounces back and tries again, so it’s hopeful, too. The songs are really a series of vignettes about those experiences of growing up in your 20s.
AF: You’ve played at a few different women’s music festivals — what’s that like coming together with other female musicians like that?
EW: It feels really great! I’ve met so many really talented, badass human beings through festivals like Womxn Fuck Shit Up DC, Swan Day CT, and Ladybug Festival in DE. I really appreciate those festival organizers for putting in all the time and energy it takes to create these amazing spaces where we can come together and nurture each other. It’s such a special experience.
AF: What do you have coming up next?
EW: Our local NY release show for the new EP is happening May 1 at Pianos with our friends HARD NIPS and Sarah FM, and then we’ll be performing at Froggy Daze Festival in Narrowsburg, NY May 15th. April 24th we’ll be in Somerville, MA at the Jungle and April 25th, we’ll be appearing on WECS FM (Eastern Connecticut State University) and playing at Gaiafest in Southbridge, MA with some NYC locals Basic B-tches. We’re also planning out some dates for our summer tour, so we’ll be doing some traveling in July, those dates TBA! - Audiofemme

"Brooklyn Rockers ELIZA AND THE ORGANIX Offer a “Road Home” with Their New Music Video [Exclusive Premiere]"

"Brooklyn, New York rockers, Eliza and the Organix, are a fun mix of funk, rock, and indie that’s as chill as it is dancy, as current as it is retro." -Christopher Gonda - Pure Grain Audio

"Catchy, Raw, Soulful, Original Funk and Dance Music From Eliza and the Organix"

November 12, 2017

Catchy, Raw, Soulful, Original Funk and Dance Music From Eliza and the Organix

There’s no band in New York who sound anything like Eliza and the Organix. You can dance to them, but they also have flashes of psychedelia and a vintage punk fearlessness. They’re funky, but their sound is uncluttered and gritty – is it legal to call them organic? In other words, they’re nothing like the slick, cheesy Berklee clones noodling ad nauseum into the wee hours at Rockwood Music Hall. Over the past few years, Eliza and the Organix have been gigging constantly all over town. Their new album Present Fuure Dreams is streaming at Bandcamp; their next show is Nov 16 at 11 PM at the Way Station in Bed-Stuy.

Frontwoman/guitarist Eliza Waldman gets the funk going on the album’s catchy opening track, My Way (no relation to the Sex Pistols classic), but she also hits some burning Keith Richards riffage. Alto saxophonist Kristen Tivey – an ambitious songwriter and multi-instrumentalist in her own right- adds vocal harmonies over John Gergely’s subtly crescendoing drums. On the album, Stephen Cleary and Will Carbery share bass duties. The song has a recurrent reference to “doing coke out on the driveway,” which could be sarcastic – or not.

When I Call You is a snide slap upside the head of a “nihilist, masturbator, man-hater,” Waldman’s smoldering distorted chords rising to an unexpectedly swirly break midway through, with more of the band’s signature, tasty guitar/sax harmonies.

Blameless has a slinky latin soul groove under Waldman’s sarcastic vocals and wah guitar: “Aimless, shameless, am I blameless?” she wants to know. Waldman’s organ and Matt Soares’ vibes linger over sharp, staccato guitar in Trouble, an individualist’s anthem and another latin-flavored number: “I’ve been in trouble so long that I hardly remember the other side,” Waldman confides.

The album winds up with the moody nocturne Tapestry in Blue, which is an organ tune until Waldman’s guitar kicks in hard at the end. Everything here sounds like it could go on for twice as long and it would still be interesting – and you could give your lower parts a decent workout. Fans of Sharon Jones,classic soul and funk, and obscure punk-funk cult heroes like the Maul Girls should check them out. - New York Music Daily

"ELIZA AND THE ORGANIX Converses with Evan of Madness To Creation on “Present Future Dreams” and What’s Next!"

"If you’re looking for some soulful rock in the depths of Brooklyn, look no further. Eliza and the Organix is a dynamite rock group that can rock and groove with the best of them." -Evan Zwisler - Madness To Creation

"Brooklyn Indie Weaves A Musical Tapestry"

"A subtle anomaly of jazz, blues, latin, rock and other genres which the Organix seamlessly blend styles on." -Frederick Gubitosi - Shutter 16 Magazine

"Present Future Dreams: Part I By Eliza and the Organix"

"It’s part rock, part jazz, part funk with bits and pieces of other influences blended together to create something new and refreshing." - The Music Below

"Live Music Preview: Eliza & the Organix @ Freddy's Bar (May 30th)"

“The music showcases a powerful vocal dripping with charisma – Eliza's chief instrument, attracting a serious suite of talented jazz musicians...Whether Eliza continues to find her fun lyrically, or instead opts to marshal that idiosyncrasy through complex song construction a la “freak folk” standout Tune-Yards..., E&O will remain a band to watch.” — Willie Ward - NYC Indie Music Live

"A Night for Film, Exotic Dance, and Music Fanatics at Freddy's"

““Led by singer-songwriter/guitarist Eliza Waldman, the group [Eliza and the Organix] integrates madness and irony, providing on off-beat, crazy, and intense vibe that is also fun and inspiring.” -Andrew McDonald - Living Free NYC

"Amazing Radio: Live"

"Harkens back to the old No-Wave Movement of the late 70s, early 1980s." -Mike Taylor - Amazing Radio

"Fresh Faves: Batch 28"

“Review of featured track "Let Me Have This": "Built around an infectious guitar lick, this track exudes jazz cool all the time tempered by a rock sensibility, which keeps it direct and to the point. Saxophones swirl and the rhythm section grooves whilst laidback vocals put you in mind of a city street at dusk, with headlights streaking though the smoky heat and steam rising from the sewer caps." -James Robbins - Fresh on the Net

"Eliza and the Organix release music video for “Road Home”"

"They’ve got a tight sound on their recordings, but live, you get to see them spring into action. Even their most loose jams sound like a funky military drill with the precision of their groove." -Will Sisskind (writer for The Deli magazine) - Caffeinated Jam

"Eliza and the Organix present funky-fresh bop on “Road Home” video"

"Eliza and the Organix is, to quote their website, “a funky female-fronted rock band based in Brooklyn centered around the songwriting of vocalist and guitarist Eliza Waldman”. And today marks the release date of their new music video for the song “Road Home”, which you can take a peek at down below.

The very first thing that draws my interest in this music video is the slap of the car’s wiper blades in the opening scene. A minor detail in the scheme of things, but the that initial, almost metronome-like groove acts like a neat little slide into the ear-worming drum rhythm that buoys this song forward. “Road Home” is a tight, fun bounce of a single that uses plenty of synonyms from the funk handbook. That guiding beat’s soon paired with a slinking guitar line, Waldman’s bluesy vocal, and a pacing horn backdrop that altogether bends the line between jazz and punkish Pavement rock-pogo. This fluctuating tempo creates a layer of tension well-illustrated by the music video, in which our main character (played by Waldman herself) is on the run from deer/panda-headed representations of… time’s ceaseless pursuit? The anxiety of life’s constant obligations? Some combo of both perhaps?

A very serious set of questions to consider. The ending in either case represents inevitability. “I don’t know the road you’re on, I don’t know how much time is gone, how much remains?”, Waldman croons in a well-honed echo of the quiet desperation we have for one of existence’s biggest questions.

But this song doesn’t just spend time mired in its thoughts. If anything it considers those philosophies and decides to greet them with a sly smile and the timeless joy and abandon trademarked in the shape of rock and roll.

Both a song and a video worth keeping in your playlist!

Check out the band at elizaandtheorganix.com!"

-Christopher Hedden - On The Back Edge Of The Beat


Present Future Dreams: Part I- Oct 2017

Orange Moon Soon- April 2015

The Organix Experience- August 2012



Eliza and the Organix is a funky female-fronted rock band based in Brooklyn centered around the songwriting of vocalist and guitarist Eliza Waldman. E&tO deals in deep grooves, quirky humor, and high octane playing, drawing from a broad sonic canvas that remains focused in storytelling and soulful sound. 

Eliza and the Organix has played festivals around the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic including Women Fuck Shit Up (WFSU DC), Ladybug Festival (DE), Porch Stomp (NY), Swan Day (CT), Midtown Village Fall (PA), and others. Our latest single "Road Home" has been played on over 115 college radio stations around the US and Canada, and we have received coverage in sources like the Washington Post, Pure Grain Audio, Shutter 16 Magazine, The Middletown Press, the Hartford Courant, Fem Music Magazine, and Homoground Podcast.

Band Members