1. Who are you guys?
My name is Eric. I do a lot of overdubs on the records, so it sometimes sounds like there is more than one person in the band.
2. Where are you from?
I’ve lived in Seattle, WA since the end of 2006. Prior to that, I was in Brooklyn and the East Village of New York City for about seven years. That’s where I started the band and made the first four records. It seems like another lifetime, but I also grew up and went to school in a small town in Southern California called Los Angeles.
3. What’s your plan to offset the perpetual dark cloud of modern existence?
The best way I can think to do this is by making indie pop records that people can listen to as a distraction from the constant barrage of terrible news we’re inundated with via our tiny hand-computers.
4. What’s your best (original) joke?
-- Q: What do you call a semi-hip vegetable?
-- A: Radish
5. I enjoy listening to Say Hi on Spotify or Apple Music or YouTube, but would like to support the band. How can I contribute?
Streaming as the cultural norm is a beautiful thing (it's how I prefer to listen to music too!), but you've probably heard all about how little $$$ bands make from these streams. So, to answer your question, here are two ways you can help: (A) Buy some merch, music or tix. (B) Donate here.
6. Where did you record [insert-record title here]?
With a few tiny exceptions, I’ve recorded and mixed all of the records at my home studio. More often than not, this ‘studio’ has been a laptop on a small desk in a bedroom.
7. Will you produce my record?
Yes! (Maybe). If you like the way the Say Hi records sound and have a budget for a producer, please feel free to email me a link to your music.
8. Will you play in my band?
Yes! (Maybe). I quite enjoy being a sideman if I love your band (and you’ve graduated from sleeping on people’s floors). I’ve played bass or guitar or keys or drums in bands like Telekinesis, David Bazan (Pedro The Lion) and Big Scary. Once I even did a short tour as the bass player for this band.
9. What’s Euphobia?
Euphobia is the name of the record label I started to release the Say Hi To Your Mom, Say Hi and Werewolf Diskdrive records. A number of the Say Hi records have also been released by the wonderful people at Barsuk.
10. What does Euphobia mean?
Fear of good news. A lot of the anxiety I’ve experienced over the course of my life has resulted from my over-analyzation of very exciting things. Fortunately, each new strand of grey in my hair or beard has brought with it a better appreciation for embracing good news at face value.
11. Will you release my band on your label?
Probably not. Have you considered releasing it yourself?
12. How can I see you perform live?
I tend to do a headlining tour (in venues or living rooms or living zooms) once every few years and occasionally some support shows when a bigger band is gracious enough to take me out. If you sign up for the email list, I will send you an email when these shows happen.
13. What’s the live show like?
Say Hi has performed as a four-piece, trio and duo, but I’ve been primarily performing as a solo act since 2011. Depending on the venue, this solo performance is either heavy on the synths, drum machines, bad jokes and sloppy dance moves OR of the unamplified acoustic guitar variety.
14. Will you support my band on tour?
Yes! It’s lovely that you’ve asked! I promise not to eat any of your green room snacks and to finish my set in the allotted time. You don’t even need to break down any gear between soundcheck and your show. I’ll work around it!
15. Why did you change your name from Say Hi To Your Mom to Say Hi?
This is a very popular question and one that I have a hard time answering. Why did you buy those pants that you’re wearing right now? Why do you like action films and not romantic comedies? Does spicy food taste good to you?
16. Wait, I thought you retired in 2017?
Well, I thought it was time to move on from Say Hi, so I started a new band called Werewolf Diskdrive. But then this Kickstarter (and a dream about a centaur named David Bowie) happened and a lot of people were really supportive, so I revived Say Hi with the Caterpillar Centipede record in 2018. Shortly after that, some very cool psychology experiments inspired me to make the Diamonds & Donuts record, which came out on February 7th, 2020. Finally, in October of 2022 I announced a new, double ALL-INSTRUMENTAL-MEGA-SYNTHESIZER-RECORD called Elocution Prattle, as well as some 20th Anniversary Living Zoom Shows.
17. Hold on a sec. This Werewolf Diskdrive stuff is super cool. How can I find out more?
You can find out more here.
18. How can I buy your records, t-shirts, posters, tote bags and stuff?
I’ve got everything in stock at home, so I’m ready to promptly package and ship you anything you want! You can go here to get started!
19. Will you compose music for my badass film or TV show?
Yes! I’ve done a lot of this, including the entire score and soundtrack for the film Free Samples starting Jess Weixler and Jesse Eisenberg. You can reach out to Bank Robber Music about facilitating this.
20. How do I go about sync-licensing music from the Say Hi, Say Hi To Your Mom or Werewolf Diskdrive records?
It’s easy! Once again, send an email to Bank Robber Music. They’re very nice and will get you sorted.
21. I guess that’s it, unless you have anything to add?
Nope. I’m good!
2000 -- Finally safe from Y2K, Eric Elbogen moves from his home town of Los Angeles to New York City.
2001 – An epiphany, which will be forgotten and remembered a thousand times over the next seventeen years, results in Eric’s decision to make an indie pop record that doesn’t take itself too seriously. A friend suggests he call his new band Say Hi To Your Mom and the name reminds him of his first visit to the Midwest, where a polite grocery store checker announced the phrase (in earnest) to a young woman on her way out of the store.
2002 – The aforementioned album, bedroom-recorded half on a four-track cassette recorder and half on a component-sourced personal computer, is called Discosadness and is released by Eric’s own label, Euphobia (the word means: a fear of good news). The combination of drum machines, synthesizers and guitars will become a consistent sound on all of the records to come.
2003 – The second full length, Numbers & Mumbles, is recorded in a bedroom in Brooklyn, NY (now an Urban Outfitters). Eric embarks on his first tour, a hodgepodge of solo dates throughout the U.S.
2004 – Numbers is released by Euphobia and supported by a lengthy full band (four piece) tour throughout the U.S. Another solo tour happens later in the year.
2005 – The third record, Ferocious Mopes, is written, recorded and released. Many tour loops around the U.S. and Canada are embarked upon (as both a trio and four piece). A highlight for Eric is the opportunity to support the band Nada Surf (one of his favorites) on their North American tour for The Weight Is A Gift.
2006 – The fourth album, Impeccable Blahs, is recorded at 234 Wythe Avenue (now a J. Crew) and released by Euphobia. It’s a concept album about vampires that features drumming from Chris Egan and keys from Jeff Sheinkopf, who have been touring in Say Hi To Your Mom for a while. Many tours happen this year, and the hectic lifestyle inspires Eric to leave New York City and move to Seattle, where he is able to enjoy a little more quiet time when he isn’t on the road.
2007 – Seattle is an exciting place, which Eric writes about on the record The Wishes And The Glitch. Some more touring happens, including a handful of dates in Europe. Finally, the name of the band is shortened to Say Hi. This will prompt the same question to be asked millions of times but Eric will never give the same answer twice.
2008 – Wishes is released. A lot of touring happens. It’s thrilling! Eric begins writing and recording the album Oohs & Aahs.
2009 – Eric signs a very cool deal with the record label Barsuk, also based in Seattle. They release Oohs & Aahs in March and a lot of songs from the record get used in television shows. This is VERY EXCITING for everyone involved. The first headlining tour for the record features support from the band Telekinesis, who will eventually hire Eric as a bass player for several tours (many years later). A number of other Oohs & Aahs tours happen, including one as support for David Bazan (Pedro The Lion). Eric gets to play double duty on this tour (a Say Hi set and as a member of Bazan’s five-piece band).
2010 – The record Um, Uh Oh is written and recorded (in a bedroom, as usual). Eric also buys his first drum kit (the majority of the Say Hi records feature midi-keyboard finger drumming) and starts to teach himself to be a drummer. This is accomplished (mostly) by playing along to Charlie Watts on the Rolling Stones album Exile On Main Street.
2011 – Um, Uh Oh is released by Barsuk in January and Eric does his first tour as a singing drummer. It is a terrifying and invigorating experience, a fun change from playing guitar for so many years.
2012 – Eric writes and records the score and soundtrack for the film Free Samples which features Jess Weixler and Jesse Eisenberg. He also begins writing and recording the eighth Say Hi record, Endless Wonder.
2013 – Endless Wonder ends up taking a lot of time to complete because of the arrangements of the songs. Hardware synthesizers and drum machines are used a lot more than their software counterparts (this is ends up being quite the unnecessary rabbit hole) and Eric attempts to make the record without any guitars or real-sounding drums (this ends up requiring an unexpected learning curve. How does one make a chorus sound anthemic without these obvious tools?). Eric also begins playing bass in the band Telekinesis, embarking on the first of many tours with the band.
2014 – Endless Wonder is released by Barsuk. Eric pulls double duty, once again, playing bass in the Australian band Big Scary who accompanies Say Hi on a North American tour. The Say Hi set is a refined version of the electro-centric performance Eric debuted at the Barsuk 15th Anniversary show the year prior, incorporating a number of sometimes-befuddled choreographed dance steps (also finger wagging and bottom shaking), bad jokes and audience participation. Many people find this format to be the component that was missing from Say Hi all along. Finally, to Eric’s delight, the television show Playing House decides to use the Say Hi song “Back Before We Were Brittle” as its theme song. This will be the case for three hilarious and touching seasons.
2015 – Eric is thrilled when the band Death Cab For Cutie invites him to perform his one-man dance explosion as support for a handful of U.S. shows and a full Australian tour. He even gets to perform it at the Sydney Opera House. Once back from Australia, the record Bleeders Digest, recorded earlier in the year, is released by Barsuk. It’s the vampire-themed sequel to Impeccable Blahs. A full North American tour happens that October and November. It is a co-headline with Telekinesis who is touring the 4th TK record (Eric is stoked to have co-produced a few songs off of it). E.E. does his electro set, plays bass in Telekinesis and also mans the merch table when he is not on stage.
2016 – A new, non-Say Hi band called Werewolf Diskdrive is conceived (and partly executed) as a result of three things: (1) Eric sits down to make a new Say Hi record but can’t listen to the sound of his voice without wishing he had a different voice-timbre to work with. Changing the formant of his voice with a low-fidelity pitch shifter does the trick. (2) Rap music, for some reason, starts resonating with Eric more than rock and roll for the first time in his life. (3) Boredom with the framework and formality of releasing, promoting and marketing a record prompts Eric to question whether or not there is a more creative and fun way to participate in the rigmarole.
2017 – With the Werewolf Diskdrive record finished, Eric shifts his focus to video (a new medium for him). The ambitious “Hamburgers & Hotdogs” video takes three months to complete, but ‘looks’ exactly how his own music has always sounded to him (synesthesia). The fiction and other visual components of the Werewolf Diskdrive project are also refined. It’s become clear that this new aesthetic direction does not fit neatly within the Say Hi universe, so Eric decides to retire his longtime band. A retirement announcement is made in tandem with the launch of a Kickstarter to fund the vinyl pressings of the first four Say Hi To Your Mom records that have previous only ever existed in digital formats. The Kickstarter is funded within four hours and eventually exceeds quadruple the initial goal (wooohoooo!). Throughout the campaign, Eric posts a vignette or colorful description about the narrator or characters from each and every Say Hi To Your Mom song. A colorful Instagram collage accompanies each post. Several months are spent coordinating the production of vinyl and fulfilling all of the rewards (handwritten notes for everyone! Hand-drawn robots too!). In October, The Werewolf Diskdrive record is released, along with the accompanying fiction and visual components. It’s a busy year, to say the least.
2018 – Eric has a dream about a centaur named David Bowie who attempts to convince him to revive Say Hi. After much pacing, he eventually relents and makes a rock record called Caterpillar Centipede, his twelfth since 2001. The record is released by Euphobia and an extensive Living Room tour is planned. Sans any amplification, Eric spends the fall playing acoustic renditions of all the Say Hi, Say Hi To Your Mom and Werewolf Diskdrive hits to polite, cheerful audiences in strangers’ living rooms. All parties involved consider each other to be new, best friends forever.
2019 – An anonymous benefactor commissions Eric to conduct a ground-breaking set of psychological experiments that eventually become the basis of the Diamonds & Donuts record. In November, the record is announced, and meticulous, weekly descriptions of the nitty-gritty of each experiment begin getting posted.
2020 – Diamonds & Donuts is released in February and Eric embarks on another lengthy Living Room tour in March and April (this never happened, but was rescheduled as Living Zoom Shows in September and October). Another batch of Living Zoom Shows also happened in November (this time with a Planetary Theme). Once again, those in attendance become Eric's new best friends (and vice versa). At the time this history was written, it was unclear what the rest of 2020 held for Say Hi, but Eric was hopeful that there would be enough interest in the Say Hi Patreon to allow Eric to follow through on a number of future Say Hi records he had planned.
2021 – Eric worked on new music.
2022 – After many many many months of diligent work, Eric finally announces the ALL-INSTRUMENTAL-MEGA-SYNTHESIZER-RECORD called Elocution Prattle. He is excited for it come out in 2023. Additionally, to commemorate the 20th Anniversary of Say Hi, he announces he will be performing every past record (in full) via a series of new Living Zoom Shows. Yet again, all in attendance have a REALLY GREAT TIME and become Eric's new best friends. Again. And vice versa. Again!
You can read some biographies about Diamonds & Donuts and Caterpillar Centipede here.