For those of you who haven’t heard of Eleanore and the Lost you are in for a real treat, this very talented and down to Earth young lady is producing some of the finest music to come out of the UK in a while, so chill out, grab a cold one and meet Eleanore.
Hi Eleanore thanks for taking the time to have a chat with us, can you tell us a bit about yourself and the band?
I’m Eleanore from Eleanore & the Lost. We are a UK rock band who take inspiration from Jeff Buckley, Kate Bush, Evanescence, Fleetwood Mac and Bjork. I’m the singer and songwriter. I write from quite a range of genres, which I think, combined with my voice and the way everyone in the band plays, has created the Eleanore & the Lost “sound”.
What did you like listening to growing up?
I was lucky to have been exposed to a wide range of music by my mum as a child, some of which I liked, some that I didn’t and I also heard some of the opera that my Dad sang (both my parents are trained singers – my father was a tenor at English National Opera and my mum was a session singer at Abbey Road Studios and a songwriter; she now works as a singer and singing teacher). I also have very fond memories of my grandmother playing lots of Bacharach and David songs, which I have a big soft spot for now.
When I first started buying music my taste was awful! It was the heyday of pure pop and boy/girl bands and I bought some of it. As I went through my teens, I probably got a bit rockier and looked into musicians like Placebo, Skunk Anansie and Evanescence. As time went on, I also began to buy film and T.V soundtrack music and was learning the piano, having singing lessons and learning music analysis in my music technology A Level which meant that my eyes (or ears!) were opened to even more.
When did you start singing and making music?
I remember singing songs round the house that I was making up as a very small child, but as I got a little older I became far too shy to sing in front of people and would always get the silent parts in musical shows I took part in. When I was fourteen, I started having singing lessons and my teacher made me perform a solo at a school music evening. I was terrified, but discovered that I loved singing to an audience and trying to capture their attention. Around this time my mum also started creating singing shows that I continued to work on with her for a number of years. I sang solos, backing vocals and as part of group numbers and helped with choreography, creating vocal guide tracks, editing backing tracks and more. I gained a huge amount of experience in singing nearly every genre and how to really perform a song to an audience in the appropriate style for the song.
When did you decide to start writing your own stuff and what form did that take?
I was writing from a very young age and would try to layer up ideas on my keyboard and record them onto tape. When I was taught to use a music sequencing programme during my A Levels, I had finally found a way of composing that allowed me to layer up all the instrumentation I heard in my head along with my voice and the harmonies and effects I wanted to add to it. I still use the same programme today, Logic.
When did Eleanore and the Lost begin and how did it start?
I originally just went by ‘Eleanore’, which is the name you’ll find on the cover of my first album. After my first album was released I auditioned for musicians to create a band and that’s how I met the musicians that now make up ‘the Lost’. Then we had a think about a name and also asked for some suggestions from the fans.
How would you describe the sound of the band?
Because my musical tastes are quite wide ranging, that comes out in the music that I write. I get bored if I sing or write in one style all the time and I like to experiment. Sometimes the sound is rockier, sometimes there’s a fairytale, fantasy element to it and sometimes it has a glossier, slightly poppier sound, but there are things about my writing eg. my love of strings, and the band’s playing eg. the Fleetwood Mac feel to some of the drumming and guitar playing, along with the way that I sing, that it’s synthesized into an Eleanore & the Lost sound, which I now think is recognisable.
Who would you say influences that sound the most?
I mentioned my main list of influential artists earlier; Jeff Buckley inspires me to work hard on my lyrics so that they can be as poetic as possible, and to express as much emotion as possible with my voice. I admire artists like Kate Bush and Bjork for their experimentation and the way they push boundaries; this can give me a lot of ideas. I’m often drawn to music that I find exciting, and some of the more goth rock bands like Evanescence have tracks that have that effect on me. Classical and film music and any music that uses strings in a beautiful way also really inspires me.
How do you go about writing new material, are you a natural writer or do you need to be in the zone?
I write in different ways: I’ve been commissioned by others to write songs and instrumental pieces to a brief and deadline; in those circumstances I try to sit down, analyse the brief and think about what I want the piece of music to be, so it’s a slightly more methodical writing process.
At other times I write in a more natural way, and with me it’s usually some lyrics combined with melody, and perhaps a sense of instrumentation or a riff that just pops into my head. I usually record it on my phone or write down the lyrics and if it keeps coming back into my head I know that I definitely have to work on it – or I’ll rediscover the idea later and decide whether it’s worth working on or not. Then I take it to my computer and play and record in as many ideas for the song as possible to build it up to a complete demo. Sometimes I’ll create an entire demo of a song with layered instrumentation and vocals but then decide it’s not interesting enough for one of my albums, or it just doesn’t fit with my style.
What was playing live like in the early days and how does it compare to now?
For me, ‘the early days’ covers a lot of things as I’ve performed in so many different kinds of gigs and shows and at very different types of venues! With regards to Eleanore & the Lost some of our later gigs when promoting the first album were different because more people had already been listening to us, so they were already excited to hear the music before we even started! Plus, in the beginning you spend a lot of time searching for places to play whereas later on things lead to you being asked to play somewhere, which I’ll always find flattering!
What has been your touring highlight so far?
There are probably two gigs that stand out the most; one would be at the Fairfield Halls in Croydon where members of the audience were singing along to my lyrics and I could hear their excitement when they knew some of my trademark high notes were coming up! The other was at the Theatre Royal in Windsor in the show ‘Kiss Me Goodbye’ where the show was choreographed around the songs from my album.
Can you tell us more about “Kiss Me Goodbye”, what was that?
The show consisted of contemporary dance that had been choreographed to the tracks from my album to tell a love story. It was interesting to see how the dance company interpreted my songs and it was a good venue. The band and I were all on stage with the dancing going on below us so it was a very novel experience.
Can you tell us a little more about the song ‘My True Nature’ for WWF?
As I mentioned earlier, this was one of those songs that was written to a brief and a deadline. The World Wide Fund for Nature asked me to compose the theme song for their 50th anniversary plus the song was also going to be used for their nationwide campaign aimed at 8 – 16 year olds. I was given the title “My True Nature” and tried to write a song about what nature meant to me. It was used as a stimulus piece to help children to create their own works of art on the same subject and I was sent to tutor a group of children for the day to help them create their own song. On my new album “The Gift”, I’ve actually re-recorded parts of ‘My True Nature’ and had it re-mixed and re-mastered as the track was always meant to be part of an album.
Are you writing a second album? If so can you tell us a little about it?
Yes, I’m currently writing and recording my second Eleanore & the Lost album. It’s called ‘The Gift’ and it’s going to be a different process from my first album, ‘Parlour Game’ because with that album I took all my best song demos to my producer and we spent months in the studio creating the final versions of the tracks.
This time a lot of the songs are demos that I take to the band so that they can add their sounds and ideas to them and then we record them live in the studio after that, over a longer period of time. Also, I’ll probably be recording all of the vocals myself at home this time instead of in my producer’s studio (the only song to use some vocals I had recorded at home on the first album was the title track, ‘Parlour Game’). It was also very important to me that all the songs were mine on my first album, whereas this time I’m probably going to do two covers, simply because I think I can create very different versions of those songs. This album will also be released in three parts, digitally – like 3 EPs – but I consider them all to be one album and my hope is to create a really great hard copy special edition version at the end with some added extras.
When can we expect it? Have you got any exclusives you can share?
‘The Gift – Part 1’ is due to be released extremely soon, I’m aiming for it to be out this month ie. March 2014. One of the songs was performed live on BBC London in January, which was it’s first airing, really. I’m currently very busy working on the accompanying artwork and music video plans to go with this first section. One of the songs will be the updated version of ‘My True Nature’.
You are very into ‘ethical living’ can you tell us a little about what that means to you?
It’s important to me to try and make choices that have less of a negative impact on the environment, plus animal welfare is also something I feel very strongly about. I’ve slowly become vegan over the years, as I’m not happy with the idea of increasing the demand for the use or killing of animals. I’ve eaten organic food for the past fourteen years, because its impact on the planet is smaller and considering I’ve got this body for the rest of my life, I want to eat foods that aren’t full of synthetic chemicals! I also buy makeup, hair and body and household products that aren’t tested on animals and are made from natural ingredients – organic where possible. Again, it’s a two part thing for me – I don’t want to surround myself with synthetic ingredients and I don’t want to be pouring them down the drain or increasing the demand for their production. People sometimes say that these products are more expensive (sometimes they’re not actually) but we all have our priorities regarding how we spend our money.
I’m guessing the natural world is a huge part of your life, how does that translate into your music?
Obviously, with ‘My True Nature’ the song was about my connection to the natural world, but generally it’s probably something quite subtle such as the fact that I really love living in the countryside and those surroundings help to inspire me and be in the right state of mind creatively. I also like to write my songs on lots of different subjects rather than just love and relationships and when I find ways to say those things, I want to express my opinions about the lifestyle choices and views I’ve mentioned above, but without sounding cringingly pretentious!
What does the rest of 2014 and beyond look like for you?
This year will be really busy – lots of time spent writing, rehearsing, recording and making videos etc and then back to performing after that, as it will then be time to promote the album with live gigs. But I’m always writing and singing; I don’t feel right without that in my life, so my plan is to continue making music where I can experiment, challenge myself and find out what I’m capable of and hopefully form more albums along the way. As long as I’m proud of the music that I’m creating and that I feel it’s good enough for people to listen to, then I’ll keep making albums in the hope of a long career as a respected musician.
And there was the very lovely Eleanore, a truly great singer/songwriter who has a real passion for the art she shares with us. I hope that some of you will go away and enjoy the music and I’m sure the next few years will be very big indeed.
Catch up with all things Eleanore and the Lost here:
All the major download sites such as iTunes and Amazon and you can listen to the tracks on Spotify and on the website and Facebook page players, plus the CD of the first album, ‘Parlour Game’ is available on the website shop page.[amazonmp3 asin=”B006869YJ8″]Eleanore & the Lost