Every Monday we will be bringing you an unsigned singer or band as part of our Independent Music Monday feature. This week, we caught up with Michael from band Elevant find out more about them...
Who is in the band, how did you meet, where are you from and how did you come up with the band name?
Michael Edward (guitar/vocals), Tom Shand (Drums), Hannah Lodge (Bass/backing vocals) is the lineup. We all met at university. Myself and Tom lived together just by chance in halls, and played in different bands for a few years before teaming up. Hannah we knew from another band who're now inactive, Indigo Moon. Our original lineup featured Joe Hutchinson of Tom's old band Hyper Magic Mountain on bass, though despite doing the first album with us, he moved back to Jersey after just three shows because he'd got sick of being a postman. We were left looking for someone to fill in for the tour we had booked, and Hannah was the most stylistically appropriate player we knew. I can't actually remember how the name came about, but I do sometimes regret it when I have to tell people how to spell it.
Who were your musical influences when you were growing up and who are your influences now?
I think we all enjoyed classic rock as kids, Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones and what have you, though our palette of influence is extremely broad now. Fugazi are a big influence on the band, as well as the textured guitars of My Bloody Valentine, and the atmosphere and grooves of Portishead. Tom's a big Lightning Bolt and Zach Hill fan and that definitely creeps in, Can and Neu! are a big deal to us, and bands like MX-80 Sound and Sonic Youth play into a lot of our approach as well. There's also a big influence from grunge and stoner rock and doom in our riffs, so Soundgarden, Kyuss, Electric Wizard. I could go on, but we'd never finish the interview.
How would you describe your sound?
I like to say we're a rock and roll band, though that is a bit reductive. There's a full range of sounds and emotions, lots of sonic experimentation, but we always try to tie things up with a sharp hook and keep it centred on a groove. You can get away with weirder things if there's something familiar to hold on to.
What is your latest single called and what was the influence behind it?
It's called 'Nowhere'. It's about being romantically involved with someone who's having a bad depressive episode, and feeling completely lost and unable to help. It's probably the closest thing to a love song we have. Sonically there's a bit of Soundgarden in there, a bit of Radiohead, and something of heavy bands like Part Chimp.
What’s your local music scene like?
That's a strange one. For a long time we really hated it, it was horrendously cliquey and there was a severe lack of interest in anything on the fringes. A lot of attention for beige indie rock doing nothing new. Last year though, we put on a festival, Wrong Festival, and that galvanised the interesting and underground bands who were coming up in the area, and gave them a platform to be seen on a more national stage. The mood's definitely changed for the better since then. We just finished putting on the second edition of it and it's fantastic to have all these bands who work hard all year get to share the stage with their musical heroes like Future of the Left and Damo Suzuki.
What do you have planned for the next 12 months? Any albums or festivals?
We've got a new single coming out on the 25th of May called 'Rounding Error', which is the second off our forthcoming EP 'Here Come The Cold Sweats', and we'll be back in the studio to finish recording for our fourth(!) album. We're pretty excited because it really feels like we've hit our stride creatively now. We're on tour throughout May, and will be on the road a few times before the year is out, hopefully going to Europe as well. Festival wise, we just did Wrong Festival, and we've got Smithdown Road Festival, Liverpool Sound City and The Great Escape to go on this tour, plus some stuff next year we can't talk about yet*.
Is there anyone you’d love to collaborate with?
It'd be amazing to go to Chicago and record with Steve Albini, though that doesn't really count as a collaboration.
Any funny stories surrounding your live performances?
I once hospitalised myself by jumping into the ceiling at a basement show. I cracked my head open on a concrete beam, gave myself concussion and bled all over the stage. We played another 45 minutes and an encore before heading to A&E.
What is the one thing that you want readers to know about your band?
We're trying our best, and we live for making music.
That was really corny.
*Editor: This interview was conducted before Smithdown Road Festival and Liverpool Sound City took place but is being published on the website after they took place.