Mask Era and {in-boxes}'s Daniel Elijah Novem's New EP Shows That: "God Is Love"

Categories: Interviews

How has this release prepared you for future ones?

I can definitely say that the follow-up release that we are working on now, which will be our first LP, sounds like it's headed in a more linear direction. That is to say, there's more of a cohesive train of thought between the nine songs that are on the follow-up, because they're all about one single individual. I wouldn't say that I'm aiming to create another album with the band that is solely "hits," but a lot of these songs are songs that we've been playing live for a while and they may cause some foot-tapping when heard. Nor have I lost interest in making another concept album; I always need concept in order to tap into the intuitive psyche of the album's mood.
I think the most important thing to remember, if there is anything important about {in-boxes}, is that initially we are telling a story. Tori Amos once said that her songs are all individual girls that come to her, and in a mystical sense she stated that those girls would always promise to appear to her so that she may tell their story as long as she didn't try to change their nature. That is a statement I not only agree with, but that leads me to respect another individual's craft. I'm not a good musician -- yeah, I play several things and I'm capable of singing, but I'd never consider myself a real musician. In essence, I'm just a storyteller and a visual artists archiving these stories in a tangible format. In a way, that's why our music feels more like a soundtrack or a score versus a hit record.

I understand that a big {in-boxes} theme has been the connection between an external dissonance -- analog vs. digital -- and a more internal one -- human warmth and closeness vs. distance.

Well this is just my opinion, but I'm one to believe that we as a people are socially evolving into individuals that are becoming too dependent on technology.

Like I mentioned before, I've noticed that, in the process of communicating, our ability to do so with proper quality between one individual to another is degrading. Technology is helpful, of course; I'm not denying that. But, for instance, while the invention of the phone helped us communicate through long distances, we were able to still hear people's tone of voice. Then came email, Facebook, and texting. These new forms of technology promised efficiency by making things quicker, and we have succumbed to that notion of quicker equals efficiency. 

I've noticed that now, as old and new generations are progressing, our relationships are becoming so desensitized by how we communicate. We rarely want to speak on the phone because it's "awkward," so we resort to a synthetic form of communicating: Texting and anything that involves being behind a little screen. You can't see, experience and discern facial expressions and the subtlety of one's tone. Then the aftermath is communication and all the associations that follow.

Why is this a big deal for me? I genuinely feel that our relationships and our perception on what love is are being affected. The whole technological theory of "quicker equals efficient," I believe, is laced with the notion of instant gratification. What will happen if instant gratification becomes our sole pursuit in life instead of anything that has substances and challenges who we really are? 

What's next for {in-boxes}?

I've made the conscious decision and ran it by the band, and they agree that it would be in our best interest to hold off on performing so that we may focus on recording and creating a great album that we are happy and at peace with. At least for this fiscal year, possibly till June, we want to disappear for a bit and then reemerge hard with the release of our first LP: Corner #1 - An Apiary for a Swarm of One (The Honey-Be[e] S[t]ung Sessions).

What else are you working on? I know you're in Mask Era now.

A few individuals have asked me to help them out with their projects. The first is the Gray Girls. My friend Martin Gaza, who created the band, kind of asked me to take up the mantle of being the band. He wanted the band and the incredible album that he put out, titled HONEY I, to have a life of its own outside of him. So he's given me total artistic freedom to work with the Gray Girls as I see fit. I'm focusing on reviving the band, starting with recording a re-imagination of HONEY I and titling it, at the request of Martin, HONEY YOU. I'm honored to do it; it's such a delicate feat, and I don't want to half-fast it. I'd rather wait until the most opportune time to focus on it as a labor of love.

Aside from that project and {in-boxes}, I'm happy to say that I'm able to be playing supporting roles with other bands, such as the folky alt-country band David Saul and the Southern Gentlemen, and the avant-garde post-punk group Mask Era, in which I focus solely on playing guitar and pushing my androgynous alter ego, Novy Græy, on stage. Novy, conceptually, is the hybrid of what happens to both male and female when they become one in the process of making love.

Aside from that, Mask Era's drummer, who happens to be a great friend of mine, Emile Milgrim, approached me about starting another band with her called Quarter Horses. It feels great to finally be able to support someone else's dream, goal, vision, and music as I've been supported. It's a very humbling experience to finally be part of a community.

If you would like to purchase The Analigital Sessions, contact {in-boxes} at, check out their Facebook page, or head to Sweat Records and ask for their EP. If you would like to purchase the Gray Girls' HONEY I on vinyl for $10, contact Daniel at They are a limited edition red vinyl and come with an MP3 download card. 

Mask Era performs with Retrocities and Eons, 11 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 15, Green Room, 108 SW Second Ave., Fort Lauderdale. Entrance is $5. 

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{in boxes} played a great set last time they played GR. I'm excited to check out Mask Era's set on Saturday. They're the opening performers. 

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