How a DJ dad started making music for babies and kids

Posted in Family.

Eli Murray has been a composer, DJ and promoter for over twenty years, playing at various clubs, radio stations and bars, but his passion for music pivoted slightly after he had kids.

“I was very excited when we knew our son, (Lou, now 7) was on the way. I started going a lot through my record collection and pulling out all different types of music that I thought he would enjoy while still in my wife, Lauren’s tummy,” he told Shevonne Hunt on the Feed Play Love podcast.

“Naturally, a lot of that was more on the gentle side, you know – folk music, easy rock, ambient, and also dub and reggae stuff.”

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Turntable in baby’s room

By the time Lou was a few months old, Eli had set up a turntable in his son’s room, where ’60s folk singer Vashti Bunyan was on high rotation.

 “It’s very simple, very innocent, and optimistic sounding folk,” explains Eli. “I still remember those earlier months as new parents where lack of sleep means each day just kind of melds into the next. But playing that album helped bring our stress levels down – we were able to stay calm and it helped Lou go to sleep.”

Bedtime Explorers

Eli’s first album, A Quiet Home, was written for Kinderling Kids Radio’s super popular kids’ sleep podcast, Bedtime Explorers. Full of ambient, meditative sounds, the music reflected those first early months of a child’s life.

“It was designed to be for parents just as much as the child, whereas the second volume of music that I’ve written, Outside Explorations, involves a lot of natural noises from the outdoors.”

Listen to Eli Murray on Feed Play Love:

Outside Explorations

Outside Explorations was inspired by soundscapes recorded by Eli for the Kinderling Kids Radio series, Sound Bubbles. Using a small, hand-held digital recorder, Eli has managed to capture sounds of the wind, birds, ocean and even the bush. The effect on Lou and his daughter Bernie, now 3, has been nothing but positive.

 “I think it just calms them,” he says. “The idea with meditation music and particularly the music that I’ve written for Kinderling Kids Radio, is that it should be sounds that are not completely engaging. They’re background sounds, and it creates an atmosphere or mood rather than a full-on engagement like you get with a song.”

Eli continues, “The music I’m writing here is more subtle, and hopefully helps people and children to relieve their anxiety or stress.”

A tool to help during lockdown

It’s something Eli, who lives in Sydney’s Inner West, hopes can only help over the next few weeks of Sydney’s lockdown. “It’s not just myself and my wife, but our children – you can see how much the lockdown affects them. 

“My son is old enough to know what’s going on. ‘COVID-19’ is a word that he’s very familiar with now, and it’s associated with pretty negative feelings for him as well.”

Eli, like most parents, is hoping some subtle, sweet sounds will alleviate the dark cloud of lockdown – for everyone.

“I like to just put music on that will help lift my mood and just create a more gentle atmosphere – and more positive – without having to be completely engaging.”

And if you breathe deep and close your eyes, you might find yourself transported to the ocean or the bush. For a little while, anyway.

 Eli’s latest album is called Outside Explorations by Gentleforce. To listen to Gentleforce music on Kinderling Kids Radio, download the free Kinderling app now. Or buy the album on Bandcamp.


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