Interview – Elise

Towards the end of last year, I featured the track Ragdoll by Irish musician Elise in a round-up review based on underground folk music. She’s very talented and is clearly headed for big things, so I wanted to get in ahead of the game and find out a little more!

By Jane Howkins

You recently released a new track titled Ragdoll. What can you tell us about the song and where can it be purchased?

Ragdoll is a song about set reflection. In life, we often come to a point where we have to make big decisions for ourselves. Sometimes we make the right choice and at times we continue on down the same old path, repeating self-defeating habits. Change can be scary, and perhaps it’s easier to ignore the fact that what we are doing is not in our best interest. Ragdoll is a story about digging deeper and figuring out what works and what does not. It is a song about learning to be better and understanding our true self.

It can be found on Spotify, iTunes, Apple Music, YouTube and all other streaming and downloading services.

Have you got any plans to release a full length album/EP anytime soon?

 I am currently working on the next selection of songs, I will be releasing an EP sometime in the near future, along with another standalone single.

What is the writing and recording process like for you?

I live to write songs playing my acoustic guitar, I love coming up with a chord sequence and melody first. I try let the story of the lyrics come to me as naturally as possible – that way I can sing what I’m really feeling – once I have the bones of the song, I start working on the lyrics so that everything makes sense and flows nicely into each section.

I then like to demo the song and record my vocals and guitar, before building the arrangement around that. Drums, bass, synths, and other instruments that work or sound good. Once I get everything out of my head and into the demo of the song, I send it across to my producer Thomas O’Donoghue so we can start working on it together.

Do you plan to release any singles at any point in the near future?

I will hopefully be able to release another single by the end of 2022. But if not, it will be early 2023, followed by the EP I am working on.

You’re originally from Ireland. What is the music scene like in your part of the world at the moment and are there any local band/artists you can recommend?

The music scene in Ireland is exploding in a great way, with loads and loads of different kinds of artists of different styles and genres. Although I think Ireland has always been a place with great music, I think more bands and artists are getting recognized. I’ll give you a pick and mix of a few I would highly recommend checking out: CMAT, Ailbhe Reddy, Pillow Queens, Thumper, Senu, Maria Kelly & Silverbacks.

What/who influences you most as an artist? What have you been listening to recently?

I’ve always found it hard to answer questions about who influences my music, because I genuinely really don’t know, I’ve always listened to everything and then I went through a phase of not listening to anything at all. But I can answer who I love and who I’m listening to now. My forever favourite artists would include Michael Jackson, Stevie Nicks/ Fleetwood Mac, Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Sting/Police, Sade, all the greats really.

And at the moment I’m loving Aldous Harding, Sarah Klang, Peach Pit, Niki & The Dove and Oracle Sisters to name a small few. There’s so many more artists and bands I love. I genuinely have a taste for everything!

Has the pandemic hindered your work much?

Yes! The pandemic has hindered my work a bit, I wasn’t able to record the EP or single that I am going to record this year! But it was a time where I could work on and plan out new creative ideas as well. So I want to get the ball rolling this year and push myself out there more than I have before.

Do you have any tour dates lined up?

The pandemic also caused me to cancel an Irish and UK tour. But I’ll get planning on rebooking the tour as soon as it feels right.

What can people expect from one of your gigs and why do you think people should come and see you perform live?

I perform solo sometimes, and sometimes with my band.

So when I’m performing on my own, I suppose people can expect a moody singer songwriter pouring her heart out on stage. I perform using my acoustic guitar which I mainly figure pick while I sing. I love finger-picking the guitar when I’m performing solo because it adds more to the song and fills it out a little more. So I think anyway! It just feels a little less lonely up there. No gaps in the song and always a melody to sway to.

When I’m performing with the band it’s more energetic, I love a big drum and bass sound so it’s always quite a indie rock sound – I’ve been compared to The Cure a few times when I play with the band. I’ve never heard it before but I can understand what people mean, it’s the dark and moody sense to the song with a rock band behind it that lifts the whole mood a little, so that people can have a boogie to it

Any last words for the fans?

Last words for the people who enjoy my music are thank you so much! Thank you for listening once, and thank you for returning and listening again. I hope you can connect and relate to it and that it can bring you warmth and comfort for whenever you listen.

I hope I get to perform them for you sometime too. Thanks for being the ears that are there to hear what I have to give.