Local singer/songwriter Eilish Ellen is one of the most prolific performers on the Gold Coast, having started playing music live at quite a young age. She recently released the track “Tulips” (take a listen below) as the first single from her soon-to-be-released album “Shadows”.
We were lucky enough to get the chance to talk to her about the album, her songwriting and recording process and more. Here’s what Eilish had to say…
First of all, thanks for taking the time to talk with us. Your first single “Tulips” is amazing – can you tell us a bit about what to expect from the forthcoming album?
Eilish: Thanks a bunch! Tulips is like a first child to me so I’m stoked to hear people are digging it. My album “Shadows” has colour and character which I hope will find its way to listeners who are searching for a variety of sounds and influences. Those who have sneaked a peek at the album are pretty fond of its diversity, so, so far so good! Of course it would be radical to have it nab more spins on the radio but I’m going to be super happy just to have people taking the time to listen to music I have put so much into.
Even though Shadows was written over a period of two years, it was interesting that you composed and finished each song within a single day. What was the reasoning behind that?
Eilish: I find that as a writer I need an experience to get me rolling on an idea. Unfortunately, I’m not one who can just sit and slave over a song I’m not personally wired to – I strive on writing after a huge kick of inspiration that comes from a personal place. Like a lot of musicians I choose to execute my emotions through lyrics. Being so dependent on this is both a blessing and a curse – it can delay deadlines by a long shot, but when big things do happen, it really entices and excites me to sit down and smash out everything I can as quickly as possible. Once I’m writing, I can’t stop until I’m done.
Can you tell us a bit about the recording process for “Shadows”?
Eilish: I have been incredibly lucky. Once I was ready to record these songs I went through a lot of ups and downs, I couldn’t find any studios or producers that were quite right for me. I felt like I had looked everywhere, when ironically, I ended up tracking my entire record right next door. My producer Aram Anson had lived there for about a year, and I didn’t even know he was a muso, let alone that he had a home studio!
The album is riddled with both live instrumentation as well as heavily affected and crafted plug-ins from Cubase. Aram is incredibly talented, and his ideas are wacky and adventurous, so we really hit it off from the start. The funniest part of his production process is when he would text me hesitantly something along the lines of “Oo I added this thing into the track, but I don’t know, I don’t think you’ll like it, I don’t think it’s right, It’s OK but eh,” and I would walk over there and be absolutely in love with it! My favourite moments on the record all come from moments like that.
So the album launch is at at Mandala Organic Arts Cafe on December 5th – can you tell us anything about the show and also your plans for 2015?
Eilish: The show is going to be a brilliant night. My band has been killing it at rehearsals and I’m over the moon with their dedication and ideas. We’re all really grooving through the songs and we all amp each other up. I’m lucky that everyone in the show has a stellar persona and much hilarity ensues, it makes rehearsing feel so comfortable, and I can’t wait to take our banter to the stage.
2015 is travel time I am ecstatic to say! I’ll be visiting Japan, Italy, Greece, America and Cambodia, in between gigs back here, so a lot of flying. I plan on taking my record over and hopefully I may even snatch up some gigs in my spare time. ‘Muso abroad’, that would be a dream come true.
Finally, if you could give three tips to up-and-coming artists based on what you learned over the years, what would they be?
Eilish: Number one would be force yourself on venues early! I performed at my first professional gig when I was 14 after I walked in unannounced and bugged the owner until he agreed to let me play (thank you so much Alan, you’re a gem) and it really boosted my confidence as an artist and performer. I soon found I had residencies at multiple venues, and here I am today with something around 1000 hours of live experience! Gigging is the best ‘job’, so go for it.
I have a few venues on my resume that had never had live music before I rocked up and asked. The Boatshed Currumbin, Cafe D’bar and Crust Pizza are a few of those. I’d also like to say thank you to Miami SLSC, TVM markets, Your Local Markets, and Secret Deck Cafe for giving me regular spots. All of my private gigs have come from playing live at these wonderful local cafes and restaurants.
My second tip would be don’t feel obligated to stick to one sound. Branching out not as intimidating as you would think. Through my transition from acoustic-folk to rock and electronica characteristics, I was petrified. For a while I felt out of place and uncomfortable, and while it would have been so much easier to just stick to what I knew, it has been so worth the leap of faith I had in myself. Now my music is really starting to represent me as an artist. I believe I still have a lot of growing to do, but right now this is where I want to be.
My best advice would to stick it out through everything. That sounds obvious, but you will always come across those dream-crushers who thrive on trying to defeat others. I will admit whole-heartedly that there have been times I came so incredibly close to giving up because the pressure of this career is intense and very hard to handle at times, but I am so proud of what I’ve achieved now and had I given up, I would have regretted it for the rest of my life. Don’t let anyone tell you it’s not worth pursuing, because I promise you, it is.
Eilish Ellen launches her album at Mandala Organic Arts Cafe on December 5th: make your bookings while there is still availability on (07) 5679 1762 (and don’t forget to mention you are going for the launch). You can check out her website here.