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 and only 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 catchy 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.