Liverpool trio, Elevant, could hardly be described as workshy. In less than a year they’ve released two full length albums, completed two comprehensive national tours and numerous local gigs and rather than take a rest, they’re all eager to get on with the third long player, and continue with even more touring.
Just as they are about to embark on their latest jaunt, we managed to pin them down for a few minute to get lead singer and founder member Michael Edward introduce us to his band…
BM: So – who are you, and where you from?
ME: We are Michael Edward on Guitar/Vocals, Hannah Lodge on Bass and Tom Shand on Drums, and I’m from Liverpool, Hannah’s from Bishop Auckland near Durham, and Tom’s from Goole in Yorkshire. The band’s hometown is Liverpool.
BM: Quite a variety then – how did you all meet?
ME: Me and Tom lived together by accident in halls at university, then we met Hannah through her playing in another band, Indigo Moon, who we both loved. Initially the lineup was Michael, Tom, and Joe Hutchinson on bass, but he had to move back to Jersey after recording the first record with us, so we poached Hannah to go on tour. Now we’re all writing together.
BM: Where did the name ‘Elevant’ come from?
ME: Boredom, frustration, and noticing that Elephant skulls are aesthetically really cool.
BM: I’ve been listening to you’re stuff and can hear quite a few different elements to your sound. How would you describe it?
ME: Heavy psychedelic rock, with bits of post punk, and a bit of everything else we’re into. Which is a lot of stuff. We’re heavy and huge sounding, but with a lot of dynamics, nuance and detail. We try to put as much of all the different music we love into it, regardless of whether the styles traditionally fit or not. So we’ll mix thunderous drums and fuzz with stuff like krautrock or post punk touches, bits of psych, pop, hardcore, shoegaze, trip hop, stoner rock, noise rock, blues. Anything we’re into really.
BM: Which are the bands that you would say have influenced you the most?
ME: That’s a long list. We’re pretty rabid music fans, but for starters; The Stooges, Sonic Youth, Melvins, Neu!, Fugazi, Can, Led Zeppelin, Sleep, Portishead, Lightning Bolt, Boredoms, Spiritualized, Funkadelic, Tame Impala, My Bloody Valentine, Mugstar, David Bowie, Black Flag, Queens of the Stone Age, Electric Wizard, Dope Body, Massive Attack, Swans, The Modern Lovers, Mogwai, Kyuss, Nick Cave, Genesis, Deerhoof, Drive Like Jehu, Eliott Smith, Black Sabbath, Death Grips, Dinosaur Jr. Plus a load more.
BM: Was it a mutual taste in music that brought you together as a band?
ME: Me and Tom bonded over stealing each other’s food when living together, and going to the gigs of our old bands, Absolute Captain and Hyper Magic Mountain. Hannah we really got to know on tour, so we bonded through playing, however I remember when we first met, us all talking for ages about My Bloody Valentine and Swans.
BM: You’ve been mega busy in the past 12 months, can you still remember what it was like when you first started out?
ME: With this lineup, it was late last summer we already had an album and a half done, and a tour booked, so it was pretty rigorous. Learn 12 songs in about a couple of weeks then onto the road. For the band as a whole, it was last January, but even then it was pretty similar. The songs were written and studio time was booked so it was straight down to business. Our first show was at Maguire’s in Liverpool last spring. I don’t remember much about the show, beyond that we closed with the song No Goodbye off our first record, and it brought the house down. That said, even though we knew what we wanted to sound like then, the band’s come insanely far in its short life
BM: You mentioned how far you feel you’ve come. What’s the latest stuff like?
ME: Liverpool. We were the last band to ever record on that site, as sadly Kyle Western whDreamface is our latest record, and it came out in March. Most of it was written by Michael in during the tour for the first record, but it was also the first time we started to write together. Mood Manipulator was collaborative, and Good Intentions evolved almost Bitches Brew/Can/Faust style from improvisations and editing. Currently we’re trying to fund a vinyl release through a website called Qrates. If we meet our minimum pre order they’ll go to press, so everyone check that out. We recorded it at Western Recording Company on Seel Street in Liverpool. We were the last band to ever record on that site, as sadly Kyle Western who runs the place was forced out of the building by property developers who want to convert it into yet more student flats. Thankfully he’s got a new place sorted out, as he’s a fantastic engineer, and we’re going to work with him more in the future.
BM: You (Michael) are the vocalist and founder member of the band. Does it tend to be yourself that writes the songs?
ME: It used to be mostly me, but now we all write as a group. The next record will be mostly all written together. It’s producing some very different results, different colours and personalities are being allowed to slip in, and the structures are getting more abstract, but the hooks are getting better. It’s pushing us to be both more poppy and more adventurous, as oxymoronic as that might sound.
BM: Is there a particular sound or vibe that you’re trying to capture in your music?
ME: We try to make it sound like us. The hardest thing to do is to get a record to sound like a true expression of yourselves at one point in time, and that’s always the ultimate goal. In the music we tend to write about whatever we’re passionate about or pisses us off. I have a love of writers like Kurt Vonnegut and that sort of “so it goes” humanist philosophy, and a bit of a fascination with mortality. In the way we operate, which is more message than subject matter, I’d say it’s an exercise in doing it yourself, making things happen on your own. I was lucky enough to run into Viv Albertine from the Slits at the Sound City festival in Liverpool, and she said that starting your own label or your own business was far more revolutionary than standing on stage in ripped jeans sneering. Definitely a sentiment shared.
BM: You’ve completed a couple of lengthy tours and are just about to embark on another – how would you describe your live set?
ME: Passionate, sweaty, exhilarating and loud.
BM: You must have met and played alongside loads bands. Are there any in particular that you think we should be keeping an eye out for?
ME: Pocket Apocalypse. We’re good friends with them and they’re just phenomenal. Post rock influenced alt rock band. Can’t speak highly enough of them. There’s Mothers, who are kind of like the Melvins with more hooky vocals, they’re just vicious. Super Luxury, they’re utterly mad noise punk from Leeds.
You can catch Elevant live at the following:
Cardiff – Buffalo Bar – 11/7
Chester – The Compass – 12/7
Manchester – Fallow Café – 17/7
Leeds – Bar Santiago – 23/7
KCC radio live session – 24/7
Sheffield – Tramlines Festival, University Arms Stage – 25/7
Liverpool – The Magnet – 30/7
Nottingham – The Lofthouse – 31/7
Bristol – The Stag and Hounds – 28/8
London – New Cross Inn – 29/8
Goole – The Macintosh Arms – 5/9
Liverpool – Hope Fest – 18/9-20/9
Liverpool – O2 Academy – 14/10
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