Mustard had the pleasure of speaking with Elio of Knifethroat. Together we discussed Knifethroat’s formation, their favorite brand of cutlery, their most recent album “Songs for Houseplants”, and so much more!

1. Mustard is grateful to have Knifethroat join them at Music Shelf. How are you doing today? 

I’m great! Things are well. Nothing too crazy.

2. Mustard has observed that humans are social creatures. When did Knifethroat first form? 

Knifethroat started as a solo project during the pandemic. I recorded a handful of songs in my girlfriend’s basement with her brother and that formed the first demo. After that I remotely recorded some tracks with Joe and Liz from the band The Best of The Worst. And we put out our little release odds and ends. Then for our “houseplants ep” that was full band recorded with my best friend Brian on bass and then a great guitarist and drummer named Frank and JD. Knifethroat has shifted around a little bit. Brian and I have always been consistent but we’ve always had help from our friends. Our new line up is with Becky, Sam, and Levi and that’s been going great.

3. Does Knifethroat have a favorite brand of cutlery? How did Knifethroat decide on your name? Were there other names you had in mind? 

I love a good spoon. Knifethroat had kind of been a joke placeholder name for all the other bands I’ve been in so I decided to keep it this time around.

4. There is a professional wrestler known as the “Switchblade” Jay White. Is he an inspiration for Knifethroat? Who or what inspires Knifethroat? 

I’m more of an Okada guy but Jay White isn’t bad. Honestly I’m inspired by my friends and musicians that I’ve known for the past 15 years I’ve been making music. It’s crazy to see the growth and success that hard work has brought some of the people I started seeing who were originally playing in basements that are now playing in bigger venues.

5. Who are some of Knifethroat’s influences?

In terms of bands that inspire us sonically I would say Say Anything us up there. Lyrically they are unparalleled and it’s great how they can tastefully hide cynicism in some pretty good pop songs. Utah Philips is another huge inspiration. He’s an old school folk singer that was a wonderful story teller. Phil Ochs is up there, and there’s tons of modern bands that influence us. Drug Church for their lyrics, Polar Bear Club for their melody. The Menzingers, Gaslight Anthem, The Hits. We kind of pick and choose from everything.  That’s one of the best parts about the current line up of Knifethroat. Musically we’re all over the place. I’m a big hardcore, folk punk, and like Fest-punk guy. But Brian is huge into post punk bands like Protomatyr etc. Levi is really into bands like Silverstein, Rise Against, Four Year Strong. Becky is a big punk person with some indie thrown in- a ton of Gaslight Anthem, Menzingers, Bon Iver, Half Waif, Big Thief, and a lot of ska too given she’s playing with Joystick and JER, and has been part of the Omnigone cast as well. We’re all over the place.

6. Knifethroat is tasked to create a lesson around one of their albums to teach to students. What album are you teaching about and why? What age group would you teach? 

Oh man I would never teach one of my records. If I had to pick a lesson to teach and I have it would absolutely be from The Hotelier. I used to book them a long time ago and was always in awe of their singer’s writing. I used to teach a little lesson on metaphor and simile on the song house broken. I’ve always taught a metaphor lesson on Gouge Away’s song “Until Every Cage Is Empty” 

7. Mustard wonders how El’s 5K went. How do you train for a 5K? Is this something all humans participate in? 

Idk if all human’s participate but my mom and I certainly do hahaha. I got really into running last year. It felt very competitive to me. I’m not very fast but there’s such a good feeling in running and beating your time. My personal best for a 5K is not very good. But I did improve it by like 3 minutes from my first 5K to the second one and that’s what it’s about.

8. What is Knifethroat’s songwriting process?

Usually one of us comes in with the shell of an idea and we build upon it. We’re in the process of writing a full length and usually Brian and I will come in with a riff or a chorus and the band adds layers to it. Becky helps a ton with layering vocal harmonies, melodies, etc. She adds a lot to the rough ideas I have for vocals and adds just such a nice flair to it.

8. 2020 saw the release of your “Demo 2020.” with songs written during quarantine. How did the quarantine affect your creative process? 

It turned me super introspective. Not a lot was going on for me. I spent 2-3 months totally alone in my apartment before I felt even remotely safe enough to visit my family so it was a lot of accepting and being like “this is who I am and how my brain works”

9. What is something that adds value to property? 

A space is what you make it. But personally I like a window with a view. 

Artwork by

10. Mustard loves the album artwork on “Odds and Ends.” What inspired the artwork? Do alligators surf often in your human world? 

So that release has a long story so I’ll try to make it quick. That release was originally supposed to be a split with my old bandmates from the band Gambo. Due to circumstances and life it just didn’t work out. My good friend and old bass player Natalie came up with the idea because she wanted something ridiculous. Kaitlyn Bemis did the art work and she’s absolutely amazing. Check her out

11. “Songs for Houseplants” deals with themes of loneliness and abandonment. Could you share more about the process of putting this EP together? Does Knifethroat have a favorite houseplant?

I had a snake plant I was absolutely in love with. This EP started similar to my demo. I wrote 6 tracks but felt like they really deserved more. I wanted to work with certain musicians like Joe and Liz. Brian has always been someone I’ve depended on in terms of song writing and help recording and writing music. So he was on board. And we really sat and worked on these tracks. Before this interview is over I wanna take a moment to highlight Ellie from Jameater Records. She is a human being I admire a ton and I think is personally a musical genius. She took these simple songs I had written and really helped me bring them together in the production process. She rocks.

12. What is next for Knifethroat?

So we’re back in the studio with Ellie in the middle of February. We’re putting out a single from our upcoming full length and then re-recording a track from the 2020 demo full band. Besides that we’re hard at work writing new music. Trying to get together around 12 songs. More shows for sure. Maybe some merch. Who knows where the wind might take us.

13. Where can readers listen to your music?

All the normal places. Spotify Bandcamp Apple Music etc. Thanks for the opportunity for an interview mustard. I think what you do is really important


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s