We had the opportunity to interview alt act ELEL. They dropped a single "Gravity" to close out 2019 that you need to check out. But before you do, see what they had to say in our Artist Spotlight interview!
1. How did you come to pursue music and how long have you been at it?
I started writing songs a long time ago, in highschool. I’ve played instruments my whole life though, started violin at the Suzuki school at an early age, then piano, drums and guitar later on. It just clicked for me when I was about 17 years old that I could come up with some chords and a melody and put words to it. It’s still my favorite thing in the world, that initial creation of the song. It seriously feels like magic.
2. Could you walk us through your process of writing music?
Yeah, I usually come up with a groove in my head, like a drum beat and some chords, a whole vibe. I click my teeth for the drums and imagine the way the band sounds. Then I start imagining melodies. Sometimes I get the right one quickly, but sometimes I have 20-30 options recorded on voice memos. Once that all becomes settled I start trying to hear what lyrics the melody wants to say. I’ll literally just make sounds that seem to fit, and those eventually become actual words, something to hang the song on. And then I have to write the rest of the lyrics which can take me an unusually long time, sometimes months to finish a song’s lyrics.
3. What artists have inspired you in your career?
At the moment, Dr. Seuss and Maurice Sendak. I have two little children and I read to them every night. The wild stories and environments they come up with, and the flow and rhyme of the lines they write are insanely good. Air-tight. I think a lot about craft, and these guys mastered their craft and it’s so enjoyable to experience what they’ve made. I was listening to some Wilco albums last night and I think the same about them. When people create works that have a lot of moving parts, and when those parts fit together effortlessly, that’s so impressive to me.
4. Do you have any favorite music gear (guitars, amps, effects pedals, keyboards, etc.) that you love to use? If so, what’s the story on them?
I have an old Hammond C3 organ that I love. It’s got all these really warm tones and weird little issues like it doesn’t play in the accurate key when I turn it on until I hit the black button. But I love playing chords on it and always feel like I come up with something new when I sit down there. And it also has the keyboard for my feet, which has such low notes it rumbles my body.
5. Can you describe the vibe at your live shows? Also, what do you enjoy most about a venue when you do a show?
Our live shows these days are earnest. That’s the main thing we care about being on stage. I’ve been wild and crazy for a lot of shows in the past. Now I want to be almost still unless the moment really requires something else. We’re playing songs about some serious shit. And the venue question: my favorite thing is the way it smells when I walk in early in the evening before the show. It’s usually not a very good smell technically, but I love it because it means we get to play that night.
6. What is one thing that you want the public to know about your music?
There’s a lot of put-on these days with the way people present themselves to the world. Our music and our show is a break from that. We’re talking about how tough life is, and how messy it is and how even today we don’t have it figured out, at all. But we also say: keep working, stay in it, don’t ever give up, at least don’t give up for too many days in a row. Find a way to keep going.
7. Can you tell us about your new single “Gravity”?
Yeah, I wrote Gravity actually when I was going through a really lonely chapter of life. It’s a relationship song written outside of a relationship. I just really wanted to be in love, and with someone, so I wrote this one, and some others, as if I was. And then my bandmate Timmy did the artwork for it. It’s these two characters that are falling, and not necessarily together. When he sent it to me, I realized that the song may not be as hopeful as I thought it was. Maybe it’s about someone trying to keep a relationship together that they really shouldn’t try to keep together. That made it more exciting for me. I’ve always loved how the recording sounds, but now I really love singing it at our shows.