See: The Elephant Trees – ‘Day 42’: counting the lockdown days with breezy indie funk

The Elephant Trees, photographed by Declan Creffield

DOING the good and steadfast work, Leeds’ Come Play With Me is one of those organisations whose praises we should all sing; deeply involved in supporting the Leeds grassroots scene by way of its singles clubs, concert promotions and compilations (last year’s Come Stay With Me raised funds for musicians losing out in the pandemic, and was a lovely snapshot of a rising scene in fine musical health – read out review here).

The label has a new compilation, Side By Side, nearly ready to roll – and they’ve let the curtains part just enough to reveal “Day 42” from Leeds trio The Elephant Trees. Come listen below.

“Day 42” is singer-songwriter Martha Phillips’ first self-produced track after spending time in lockdown honing her production skills and discovering creative ways of working remotely with the rest of the band over video calls.

You’ll find it just shy of three-minutes of airy, funky glide à la Orielles, bouncing brightly but with a more introspective lyrical theme – the isolation and weariness of lockdown, with a video poignantly seeing Martha, bass gunslinger at the ready, touring shuttered venues that she might be otherwise be gracing the stage within.

Forming in Guiseley, Martha lines up alongside guitarist Sam Hugh-Jones and drummer Tom Palmer; the band is now a Transpennine affair, split between Leeds and Manchester; and “Day 42” follows “What Did You Do”, “Heroine” and “Survival” into Elephant Trees’ fine canon.

Martha says of the track: “’Day 42′ was definitely inspired by the magical year that was 2020!

“Lyrically, it just sets the tone of where my mental health was at, pretty bleak. I wrote the song in April and every day just felt like it was on repeat.

“The writing/production process was actually really interesting, as I spent most of lockdown working on my production skills and this was one of the first songs I produced by myself. A lot of the sounds are from around my flat – tapping on a glass bottle, water from a tap – that kind of thing. Just anything I could get my hands on. I then sent the basis of the track to Sam and Tom and we worked on it over Zoom together.

“They both invested in a few mics and we all recorded our parts at home. We then sent the project to our good pal Lotte of Luna Pines, whose production we love. She added a few textures and mixed the track for us. I’m really happy with the sound as it captures a period of time for me.”

‘Day 42’ is taken from Come Play With Me’s latest compilation ‘Side by Side’, due for release in the summer, on which The Elephant Trees line up alongside Bored At My Grandmas House, Dilettante, Supriya Nagarajan and more; the album is intended as a callout to support women, marginalised genders and LGBTQ+ identifying artists based in the north of England. Doing the good work.

The Elephant Trees’ “Day 42” is out now on Spotify and iTunes.

Come Play With Me’s various artists compilation Side By Side will be released digitally and on multicoloured ecomix vinyl on June 11th – you can pre-order your copy here.

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