Made up of Katy, David and Luke, Elder Island are the Bristol-based collective ready to make their mark on the music biz. Their latest offering, the “Seeds in Sands” is a five track masterpiece which serves up sizzling synths and angelic, otherworldly vocals. The trio teamed up with Sam Wheat and Liam Nolan to mix the EP. Sam previously put his hand to bangers by Rihanna and Amy Winehouse while Liam has assisted masterpieces by Adele and Ellie Goulding. They’ve got some pretty major experience behind them, and they’re taking full advantage of their experience to create electro pop tracks that buzz with indie beats.
Their 2014 self-titled EP gained attention from musical powerhouses at Radio 1 and helped build the bridge to major festival performances at some of our best loved festivals: Secret Garden Party and Lost Village. So who know what bridges their second offering could lead to…
We sat down with the trio to find out more about the Bristol beat-makers.
We all played instruments when we were younger, Dave and Luke kept it up playing in bands over the years. It was never a set path. Most of us used it as another creative output after doing Art based degrees. We were all majorly drawn to music; we were into records, going to gigs/nights, DJing. It was an integral part of our friendship, so it was a natural progression for us to start making music together.
Describe your sound in one sentence.
Difficult to pin down so…raw electronic pop with a soulful house, indie persuasion!
You’re named after Canada’s Elder Island, where does the interest in this Island come from?
Just a happy coincidence. We were trying to set on a name for a while and we landed on this. When we finally googled it we found that there was an island in Canada under that name and liked the connotations it brought to the style of music we were making and the way we created it.
Tell us about the Bristol music scene and the impact it has on your music.
We’ve all been living in Bristol for quite a while now. Moving here for university meant we got heavily stuck into the DJ culture Bristol has. Going out to the early dubstep nights then having the whole French Electro scene come through definitely opened up our love for electronic music early on. Our tastes and styles have changed over the years but Bristol, having a very diverse music scene has always been able to cater to that. The attitude to playing & consuming music here is much more loose, fun, a party approach which definitely feeds into how we perform.
“The passing of time and the comfortable environment we were in comes through in the music. It’s a collection of memories from the past two years, encompassing our lives at home and our travels.”
What is the process you go through when writing new tracks?
We love hardware. So it all starts with that. Turn everything on and just start playing. A lot of the time we hit record on the whole thing. This will lead to having anything from 30min to 4 hour long jams which we then play back to pick out the gems. Riffs, rhythms, vocals etc. Slice this down to around 10mins or so and then start to refine it into something more streamlined and polished. We’ll go back and forth playing it together, working on an arrangement. Usually it involves getting lost with it then picking the pieces back up again and running with it. Its a high yield method but requires a lot of man/woman hours.
What themes do you explore in your new EP ‘Seeds In Sand’?
It’s turned into a small body of work collated over a time. It was all recorded and produced at home when we were free, in between work and other commitments. The passing of time and the comfortable environment we were in comes through in the music. It’s a collection of memories from the past two years, encompassing our lives at home and our travels.
How have you developed as a trio since your first, eponymous EP?
Getting better at playing and writing together and being able to turn those initial recordings into finished songs. We have loads of material recorded from the last couple of years and are able to turn those ideas into songs more efficiently now. We used to be quite reliant on the computer when producing tracks which made it harder to naturally perform them. We don’t use a computer live, we use lots of loopers, sequencers and fx. Now the writing & producing are much more intertwined with the way we play and perform.
Who would your dream collaborators be?
It would be working with someone like Dan Carrey on a production side of things. Love the feel and groove he gets out of a track. Also The Invisible, as a band they’ve got a great approach and to collaborate with that sort of talent would be a lot of fun.
There’s likely to be a couple more shows ahead of the festival season, but we’re mainly focusing on writing at the moment. We hope to have another EP out before too long as there is already some new material taking shape.