Photo by Jeff Hewitt


Elliott Malvas has been one of the most proficient musicians in the Norfolk Virginia area for well over a decade. Besides writing and recording as You’re Jovian and Obscure Son, Elliott plays bass in the dreamy indie rock unit Gone and has been a part of the bands Suburban living, Swirlies, Dreamshake/ We Are Tree’s and The Seeers.  We sat down to talk about early musical experiences, writing and recording as You’re Jovian and Obscure Son and what it’s like being a contributing member to so many awesome bands.  Take a listen to  You’re Jovian,  Obsure Son, and  Gone  and enjoy our chat. 

So how were you first introduced to music when you were growing up and what band or artists made the biggest impact on you?

I was probably around the age of 3 or 4 years old. My mom would bring me to a small town of Portsmouth Ohio, where she and majority of her family is from. I’d be around my grandparents and uncles; all of whom played music. My grandma and grandpa were both country musicians and three of my youngest uncles all played in various punk bands back in the day. My uncle Jason who mostly played drums, would let me play with his drum kit while he the band would kill about 5 hours on the front porch smoking ciggs, drinking mountain dew and eating taco bell. When I was a little older, probably about 5 or 6 years, old my mom would drop me off in Ohio for what felt like most of the summer and things just escalated musically around all of them.

As far as artists that made the biggest impact on me besides my family would probably be Weezer, Pavement and Swirlies ..maybe Robert Pollard.


When did you first start playing instruments and writing your own songs?

I was playing drums by 5 or 6 years old pretty regularly. When I was about 12 or so I remember getting a bass guitar and an old dobrough guitar shortly after. From there I would mess around but it probably wasn’t until 15 or so I began writing and recording my own songs on a multitrack recorder. Up until 15-16 years old I was playing drums with my childhood friends. Guitar wasn’t really anything I took to serious until we all grew up and sorta went different directions. This was all around 2004.

Photo by Noah Daboul


What led you to start releasing music as You’re Jovian and how has that project evolved over the years?

Not exactly to sure what led me to begin releasing music as YJ. I just know around 2011/2012, my friends were putting out some music that was getting some good feedback and I knew deep down I could do that as well. In many cases I was even helping my friends accomplish their goals and so I just came to the point of wanting to do it all myself. I did it myself because not only am I a control freak but I also really enjoy writing the music, recording the music and making the art for the covers etc. YJ has evolved a lot since its inception in 2008. I’m proud of how it’s done so and everyone who has played a role. We’ve had an open door policy since the beginning. A lot of people have played in the group and so that’s probably been the biggest contributing factor in YJ’s evolution, at least live. Sonically I’d say changes in musical influences but also working with Jeff Zeigler on the last release ‘Sound of who we are’ has definitely been positive change.


You also have another project called Obscure Son. How did this band come together and how does your approach to the music differ from You’re Jovian?

Obscure son started in 2017 or thereabouts. It was just me with some analog backing tracks, my guitar and a way to play more in between YJ shows and keep up my chops all while maybe trying new techniques or pieces of gear. I could say yes to more shows as opposed to no or having to feel bad by dragging YJ into some poorly attended shows. The initial goal was to open up for bands and support my friends if in need of an opener or something. Plenty of week day shows at Charlies but also a few bangers in there as well. I was proud of how it developed and feel fondly about those solo days. During this time though I was mainly playing YJ material in some way shape or sound. I would sprinkle in a few new jammers or alternative songs that I maybe just wrote but didn’t fit the YJ vibe. I was recording a lot on my Tascam 4 track and piling up these more or less improv songs that I’d write in an evening that fit a different mold/ vibe. When covid hit I started writing more proper songs and began recording those but they were a bit more indie pavement~y sounding to me. When shows were coming back I felt like it was time to do something again but by this time YJ wasn’t going to be able to come back as quickly as I wanted. Around this time my cousin Taylor moved back from London upon losing his job and so we began jamming more and eventually learning these songs I was writing. I asked Aaron Lachman and Kyle Craig to join because we had just wrapped up playing in the b52’s cover band I organized for LAVA in October 2021 and we just wanted to keep playing. They were also extremely fun to all be around and play with so thus this new interpretation of Obscure son. Now we have Will Huberdeau on 2nd bass duties. It’s been a breath of fresh air for sure but we’ll see how things go. Not taking it all that seriously, just wanna keep playing shows. The craziest it’s ever been is when both YJ and Obscure got accepted into Macrock 2022 and played back to back.. wow….


 On another note you are currently part of the Norfolk band Gone, you’re filling in on drums for another Norfolk band Reptile Tile and are part of The Cure cover band that’s playing the annual Lava Halloween Event. All of these projects have shows within a week? How do you keep up with it all and what’s it like playing with such a cool variety of musicians?

Ask my wife! Michelle has been extremely supportive during this time. I started off telling her that I wanted to take it easy this October. Sooooo take that however you’d like. I’ve always played in a variety of bands. Swirlies, Suburban living, Dreamshake/ We Are Tree’s, The Seeers are the most notable and memorable. I think I’m happiest when I’m most busy. Writing music during this time has been uneventful but just playing a lot makes me feel good, so, right now just enjoying it all because it won’t always be like this. I’ll also add that filling in on drums with Pet Name reminded me that drums are fun and so cure and reptile tile has been fun as well as extremely challenging. Reptile tile asked me to do a show with them in November but this October show kinda fell into our lap and so it’s a great excuse to get a show under my belt. After November with RTT we’ll see what happens. I love Roderick and the music but I just don’t know if I can be in all these bands long term and be 100% all the time. Getting to know Brett and Nate has been a lot of fun. It’s been a little over a year now that I’ve been in Gone! I love what brett and nate are doing, so I use to bug them about me playing bass with them and one day they finally hit me up to do so. All my parts are original and I’ve enjoyed writing with them. We’re just starting to record our most recent and current set which I’m excited over. I feel very apart of Gone but to me it’s still Brett and Nates band and so I let them do most the hard band work. I finally figured out how to use my calendar on my iphone, so just gotta go week by week and rest when I can. Also October and Halloween is my absolute favorite time of year, so just more memorable now. I will add it’s been great getting to know everyone involved with cure including yourself! Super excited. I do enjoy these events. Kuddo’s Josh/LAVA!

Beyond the busy live show schedule you are maintaining, what do you have planned for the coming months? Any new recordings or album
projects coming up?

Back in 2020 I told myself I’d like to play as much as possible but I really enjoy writing and recording and being in a studio. I’ve mostly been limited to my Tascam 4 track recorder but Doug Nicholson recently doubled down on purchasing recording gear and beginning his journey as a recording engineer. He and I recorded a new YJ record in my garage in 2021 as I’m his guinea pig more or less but now he’s got a spot to work out of so after about a year break, we’ll see how this develops. Everything is tracked but not so much mixed. I don’t even know what it sounds like anymore but I’m just impressed we were able to knock it all out when we did! I’ll attach a link to my demos on my bandcamp. So other than that, just doing my thing out of my bed room on my Tascam 4 track when and if I get inspired. I try not to force myself to write or finish anything I do but working at my pace really works well. Most of that material stays in low fi mod as I really enjoy the energy of the recordings. I feel like if I re recorded those songs they’d turn out very stale. So yea, just playing a lot lately but maybe by November start finishing some material soon. I do play guitar daily and just loop riffs and I’ve really enjoyed that lately.

Catch Elliott playing tonight 10/24 with Gone alongside Cor de Lux and Hope Magnet at Smartmouth Norfolk, Wednesday 10/26 with Reptile Tile at Chichos Backstage and Saturday 10/29 with The Cure cover band for Lava Halloween Extravaganza at Toast