Interview: A Little Bit with Elmor

Indie Brit band Elmor is a band you should love. The boys of Elmor intertwine delighful pop vocals with driving insturmentation to produce fun, “dance-y” and romantically charged rock n’ roll. I had the pleasure of interviewing the group before they embarked from England to LA to tour. Unfortunately this interview took place via Facebook chat due to the band’s location across the pond, but imagining the boys saying everything in a British accent made up for it.

Liv: Where’d you get your name?  I’m sure you know there’s an Elmore band and an Elmore D Band?

Andy: It’s our lead singer Luke’s mother’s maiden name (she’s Scottish) and a street he used to live on. Elmore band…? There’s one in London but we’re bigger than them so doesn’t matter! Although myself and Rich here are big jazz fans and love Elmore James [of the Elmore D Band]! Don’t forget we’re Elmor though!

Liv: How did the band form? Where are you all from?

Andy: Luke and I have been mates for about five years. After living in Vancouver I moved back here [London] and hooked up with him for some drinks. Luke said he had written some songs and wanted to get a band together. We started with a five piece line-up then. However things weren’t working and our original guitarist had to be fired after a year, so Tristan joined who we knew from the muso circle around here! We went through three other drummers before getting Richard who we found on the net….so 21st century!!

 Liv: What is muso?

 Andy: People in England who are musicians basically…! But it’s like more of a cool term for rockers.

 Liv: Ah, I like!

Andy: As a band we all have different influences though and so the sound we have is different than what it was when we began. The songs we did when it started three years ago? We don’t play any of them now!

 Liv: Describe Elmor’s sound to someone who has never heard your music before

Andy: Melodic rock; energetic rock sound with a commercial vibe…hang on we once had a review from a national paper which describes us well: “A face-off between the west coast of America indebted soaring melodies of the Thrills and the day-glo pop of the hirsute Magic Numbers, with a dash of stadium rock U2 and even industrial Editors-esque riffs” THE FLY “A lot of scope and expansiveness to the music, a certain kind of wind-swept romanticism” THE INDEPENDENT ”

Liv: If you weren’t in the band, what would you be doing?

Andy: Working in the industry; I’d probably go into management. I was doing that before the band. Luke would probably carry on – writing, doing solo stuff – and start a gardening business.

John: I’d be song writing and producing.

 Richard: Playing drums?! Typical drummer! Playing jazz though…

Liv: I’m glad you all would still be doing music stuff!! That’s refreshing.

Andy: The thing is we’ve never discuss that! We are part of the project and team and we don’t consider anything else.

Liv: What’s the song writing process? Song writing inspirations? Lyrical inspiration? Do you ever find it difficult to write a song?

Andy: When we wrote our current single it happened within an hour. Other songs have taken weeks! Sometimes the lyrics and melody are written first, sometimes another part is the basis. The songs can take weeks to tailor. “The Wedding Song” – which you won’t have heard; that shall be our next single – took about two months to get it how we wanted. Luke uses a lot of influences in his life for inspiration.

Liv: Yes, writing about what you know is always good! Do you have a favorite song to perform?

 Andy: A track called “Use It”. This was originally called “Everything and Everyone” but we’ve changed the latter to the album name. Because it’s the first song we wrote we wanted to incorporate it into the album title. John’s and Luke’s favorite is “One Step”

Richard: “Seven Years”

 Tristan: “Little Bit”

 Liv: Why these songs?

Andy: They are all different. Each one has its own elements. How we play them physically is different too. We get a different reaction to each one. I think our main basis is every song should be unique but encompassing our signature sound! There are too many bands – especially in this country – who have an album of “samey” songs…..also bands we’ve met touring. But then there are a couple who are special…

Liv: Like you?

Andy: We have been told we are! Haha!

 Liv: What song do you wish you had written?

Andy: “Be my baby”, The Ronettes. “Don’t Worry Baby”, The Beach Boys. Uum………. I know Luke would say Radiohead’s “Ok Computer”. For me: every album Muse has done!

Liv: Me too! I love Muse. Have you seen them live?

Andy: yeah last year!

Liv: Their keyboard player is fucking incredible.

Andy: Such a massive inspiration for me…

Liv: What’s your favorite thing about being on tour?

Andy: Making bets on how long it takes for Richard to fall asleep on the dance floor when we’re out! Oh, and tickling Tristan. He hates it!

Liv: Couldn’t you tickle him anytime?

Andy: Yes, but in a vehicle, he can’t escape! Meeting other bands is always fun. We come away from a tour having met loads of lovely people. Of course there are the obvious perks like trying different venues and crowds. England even though it’s small to you, you go an hour away and people/accents can be very different!

Listen to Elmor on their MYSPACE

Causing a Scene with The New Collisions

Meet our newest writer, Olivia Hauck! She also writes for the amazing blog ‘Rock n Roll Boston’. Olivia recently sat down with indie pop sensations The New Collisions who discuss everything about how they met to Scott Guild’s Brian Wilson obsession.
All Photos by Michael Connors

The New Collisions will get you out of your seat and dancing like a maniac. The band’s playful, synth-y pop melds perfectly with silver-haired frontwoman Sarah Guild’s sexy and intimately intense vocals. Within the first five seconds of songs like “Parachutes on the Dance Floor” and “Ones to Wander,” it is impossible not to get hooked on their addictive music. Their fantastic sound translates into an energetic and commanding live performance, making a New Collisions show one worth attending.

Scott and Sarah of The New Collisions

Liv: How did you two meet, music related or otherwise?

Sarah: We met in college, at Marlboro in Vermont during some freshman orienation thing.

Scott: It’s a weird, weird place. The kind of college that if you get caught with pot, they give you a five-dollar fine. Originally, Sarah’s from Pennsylvania and I’m from Connecticut…two hot spots.

 Liv: Were you studying music?

Sarah: We were going to school basically for general studies…I was looking to do something with herbology, or botany or something

Liv: Are you still involved in that?

Sarah: Well, I’m a massage therapist so I get to work with herbal essential oils.

Liv: Scott, what is your day job?

Scott: I work all over Boston…Banana Republic, Middle East, T.T. the Bears, I did some real estate stuff… I worked at Cheapo Records for, like, a day…

Liv: You happen to be married… when did you two decide you liked each other?

Sarah: It was about two months into our friendship, I think?90411mac053

Scott: She had a boyfriend! And she dumped him! I was a nihilist at the time, so of course I was irresistible.

Sarah: And I was looking for a challenge!

Liv: How did you come to realize you wanted to play music together?

Scott: That was way down the line; we were already married. I sort of played, but I don’t even think I had a guitar when we met, did I?

Sarah: Oh, you did, you were playing Bob Dylan songs, playing like…”Earth Angel.”

Scott: I love that song “Earth Angel.”

Liv: When did you get the band together? And evolve into the genre you’re in now?

Scott: I was 23, and I had just finished my degree in Philsophy. We went over to England so I could do grad school at Oxford, and we soon realized we wanted to return to the States to do something musical. We re-located back to Connecticut, and both enrolled in grad schools there. We were immediately unhappy…without bashing Connecticut, it’s safe to say there is a very diminutive music scene. Although we were both in school, we realized more and more how much we liked doing music. Actually, we were doing folk music at the time – well, more ambient, weird, Sufjan Stevens-esque. We got really, really bored doing that after awhile.

Sarah: We played the coffee house circuit, but people would rather watch the TV than listen to us.
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Scott: I eventually bought an electric guitar; we wanted to pursue a more upbeat, rock and roll sound. We holed up in our bedroom for days with a drum machine, just writing new stuff…and suddenly we had all new songs! I’m not even sure how it happened…so we put together a band around this, and never knew how much fun we’d have playing this dance pop rock music. It’s rock, but it’s melodic, it’s dance-able…

Liv: What are some musical influences for your “dance pop rock” sound?

Sarah: Missing Persons, Debbie Harry…

Scott: Our music at first though was a lot more like Arcade Fire, The National, and Interpol, but a little more sedate, a little more mopey. They’re all our favorite bands, but it’s not music you can dance to with your girlfriends (imitate dancing girls). As we developed and played more shows, we noticed people dancing to our music, so we started playing faster and faster-

Sarah: I think there is something we missed here, we had moved to Boston at this point!

Scott: Oh yeah, we had already moved up here while this was happening!

Liv: How did you decide on Boston?

Scott: Boston is just so sweet and inviting, we love this city.

Liv: The local music scene is incredible here, for a city of our size…

Scott: Yeah, the music scene in Boston welcomed us with open arms. The first show we played was at TT’s. We just showed up here, playing our music, and everyone was incredibly good to us. I don’t think we’ve had a single bad experience with the local music scene. Fans are so supportive.

Sarah: We’re not trying to be mainstream, per se, but we’re trying to reach as many people as possible with our music. We want to be attainable.

Scott: Our lyrics are meaningful, and the content is something a lot of people can relate to.

Liv: What’s the lyric writing process? What goes through your head? Do you simply sit down and say “Ok, today I’m writing a song” or does it just spontaneously come to you?

Scott: I’ll write the lyrics, just doodling whatever comes out, but since I can’t really sing it’s more like, “Uhn uhn uhn uhn dun dun dun dun” all on one or two notes. I’ll give the lyrics to Sarah-

Sarah: And I’ll be like, “Ok, this is good, keep that, move that line over here, change the chorus…” I’ll hear him strumming on the guitar and I’ll join him in his doodling, just humming melodies and working things out for hours.

Liv: Do you transcribe any of the music?

Scott: I don’t, ever. I play chords on my guitar, I hum the lyrics, and I just remember it, figuring out what works and how the lyrics go with what chords I’m playing…

Sarah: Scott’s really good at phrasing. There will always be the right number of words for what he’s playing.
Scott: But Sarah is more classically trained, so she can write things down. When she does keyboard parts she can notate it.

Liv: When it comes to your melodies, Sarah, do you write those down?

Sarah: No, I memorize them. I rarely write down my melodies.
Scott: Sometimes she sings a song differently a few times before we nail down what we like, we were in the studio earlier and she started singing one song like we’d never heard it before.

Sarah: I’m always improvising. I never really bolt down a melody.
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Liv: What’s your favorite song to play live? What gets the adrenaline exploding through your body?

Scott: The two new songs we just did in the studio with Anthony J. Resta; he used to produce Duran Duran and Blondie. He’s unbelievable. We collaborated with him and Greg Hawkes of The Cars; Greg came in and layed down keyboard parts for these two songs.

Sarah: The two new ones are called “No Free Ride” and “Beautiful and Numb”. We love playing them live.

Scott: We have them as singles, which sound better than anything we’ve done so far, but we’re just waiting to release them. They’re going to be digitally released and on a 7 inch.

Liv: Where do you see yourself in five years? Ten years?

Sarah: I want to be touring. We have to be.

Scott: This time next year I know we’ll be touring. That’s what we want. Badly.

Sarah: Our team, our entertainment lawyer, manager, and producer, sees us breaking into England and exploring that market. We have a lot of friends in South America who think our music would do well down there also.

Scott: The overall goal right now is just to keep building and building the fan base.

Liv: It seems you’ve been through the “getting started” process, done and finished with scrounging around at coffee houses…do you have any advice for musicians just starting out? Anything you did or didn’t do well, something you’d do again?

Scott: I think the two things that worked best for us was that you have to put on an energetic and crazy live show. That’s what gets people to remember you. That’s what gets people talking about you. I’ve seen bands starting out and they stand there stock still, nervously performing, and it doesn’t work. That’ll kill you. The other thing is that a band should meet every single fan and every single person interested in the band’s music.

Sarah: Just be open and friendly. I appreciate so much the people on the top tier still being down to earth and helpful.

Scott: I remember, once when I was working at the Middle East, I was the driver for Tom Morello. We ended up hanging out with him for like, two days. We had a blast, he was fantastic.

Liv: If there is any band or musican you would ideally love to collaborate with in any capacity, who would it be?

Scott: I’d love to do something with Brian Wilson.

Sarah: Scott is a Brian Wilson superfan. It’s borderline creepy.

Scott: Brian Wilson literally has changed my life.

Sarah: The way he produced music made me think about music differently…. but I would like to meet Debbie Harry.

Liv: Who wouldn’t? She’s a goddess.

Sarah: She’s so amazing, and she just has this edginess that isn’t pretentious. It’s all coming from who she is as a person and from her life experiences. She’s one of those inherently cool people.

Liv: Got any famous last words you’d like to leave us with? Better think of something witty and clever so we know that you’re cool.

Scott: I’m very appreciative of how quickly our band has progressed, and how many people have attached themselves to us, helping promote us and helping push us forward. We don’t have trust funds or rich parents, and everything we get to do is because we make it happen with the help of our friends and fans. Thank you!
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Alvin Band ‘Temple Pressure’

Miniature Tigers’ Rick Schaier is more than just the man behind the drums of one of the greatest new indie bands out there. Schaier is also paving his way as Alvin Band, his solo project of avant garde proportions. Just releasing the first video for ‘Temple Pressure’ a catchy song that will have you up and dancing to say the least, Schaier really brings out his witty personality. Alvin Band’s ‘Mantis Preying’ will be out this year via Intelligent Noise Records. This will be a must have for 2009, trust us.

Watch Alvin Band’s ‘Temple Pressure’  HERE

Check out Alvin Band on MYSPACE

Calvin Harris Remixes Passion Pit

I think the title says it all. Calvin Harris recently remixed Passion Pit’s ‘The Reeling’ and the only reaction that can explain this is ‘WOW’. Combining two of the current hottest musical forces Harris manages to give a whole new life to this Passion Pit song….just when you didn’t think one of their songs could possibly get any better.  Giving the song a little softer tone and a brilliant into bassline I can only imagine what would happen if these guys made a record together. 

Passion Pit is currently on tour so don’t forget to check them out in your city! Tour dates can be found at their Myspace.

Download Calvin Harris’ remix of Passion Pit’s ‘The Reeling’ HERE