Introducing: Elles Bailey
Hey Elles, can you introduce yourself?
So i’m Elles Bailey, I hail for the beautifully musical town of Bristol, and I blend rootsy blues, country and soul with a contemporary rocky edge.
What have you been up to so far in 2017?
2017 has been fabulous, I have been working on some new tracks in the studio, filmed the music video for Wildfire, done a live session for Bob Harris’s Under the Apple Tree and am now four dates into my UK tour.
You’ve a new single out, ‘Wildfire’, tell us about that
'Wildfire' is a gritty rootsy rock tune, taken from my debut album of the same name, which will be released later in the Spring. Its written about how the tabloid media take a story, twist it, put their own spin on it, then how it spreads like wildfire!
You released your Elberton Sessions EP last year, can you tell us about that?
So I decided to pull together six tracks, record them completely live but in a very much "stripped down" style. I wanted to take the music back to its roots, and leave space to really feature the instruments and my voice.
Why ‘Elberton’? Well that was where this was recorded, in a majestic old 16th century manor house on the outskirts of Bristol. We set up in the stunning living room, mic’d up the instruments & off we went! It’s raw, it's honest and I am very proud of it.
What’s your process for writing/choosing songs to record?
It's pretty organic really, sometime the lyrics come, sometimes a melody and if i'm co writing it depends on who i'm writing with and what instrument they play. My song 'Girl Who Owned the Blues…' that was all about the lyrics (written about Janis Joplin), same with 'Perfect Storm' (written about the ‘colourblind’ music that came from the Muscle Shoals in Alabama) - But 'Wildfire', which was a co-write with my touring guitarist Joe Wilkins, that was all about the riff and the vibe and I wrote the lyrics around that.
What does 2017 hold for you?
2017 is very busy, I've just started a 34 date tour of the UK and Europe, I'll be releasing my debut album late spring time, then some fabulous festival slots throughout the summer, then back touring again in October!
There’s a great live music scene in Bristol at the moment, how do you find the scene there?
I love it, it's very eclectic and there are so many talented musicians there making beautiful music! It’s great to be a part of it!
Talking about influences is such an obvious question, so along similar lines I’ll ask; what are you aiming for with your music?
I would love to be here for the long haul. I admire the careers of artists such as Beth Hart, Imelda May & Jo Harman. Building from the grassroots and staying true to themselves.
Touring; everyone has to do it. Have you got a place you’ve loved? And hated?
It's weird - you often don’t see a place, you arrive in the dark, leave in the dark and only have your memory of the venue and the audience. However - after my first ever show in Germany we stayed in this really tiny town, and the hotel in the morning wasn't providing breakfast… however they said we should head down to the local bakery and we could get breakfast there. So we toddled out to find this bakery in the freezing February cold, and then something life changing happened... I had the best sandwich ever….and in it was a pickle and I had never eaten pickles before…. And now all i wanna do is eat pickles are they are literally AMAZING! I’ll remember that gig for the rest of my life because of the fabulous audience and the epic pickle sandwich! The best thing is - we are heading back there in April…. There is a sandwich waiting for me with my name on it! Small things!
Worse place… well i really like the place but my worst gig was playing to the bar guy at a fringe festival in Malvern a couple of years ago… empty room is not really fun but we all have to pay our dues….thankfully that hasn’t happened since!
What’s the toughest thing about touring?
Late nights and long drives! But you see a lot of the country so it's not all bad!
And what makes it all worthwhile?
Meeting people along the road, getting to travel doing something you love and taking my music to the people! Also the guys in my band are great and I have tons of fun and laughter whist touring with them!
If you could only listen to one song this week, what would it be?
Chris Stapleton 'Nobody to Blame'
What’s the most embarrassing moment of your career to date?
Well that's easy ;) - I was playing the Great British Rhythm & Blues Festival on one of the main stages and at the end of my song ‘Howlin Wolf’ I threw my head back, managed to flick my hat off, stamp my foot (onto the hat) and proceeded to tumble and fall and twist my ankle…. Still I finished the set (the show must go on) then limped off the stage in agony - However more was yet to come…. I was signing CD’s (sitting down, leg propped up, being checked over by a nurse and doctor who were both in the audience - diva Bailey) when someone came up to me and asked what had been stuck to my skirt through half the set… Well that was the first I had heard of it so I took a look only to realise that a piece of white plastic sticky tape had come free of the drum riser (there for health and safety reasons) and managed to get stuck to the back of my (short) skirt , right between my legs…. It looked like i had grown a little lambs tail…. And it was big enough for most of the audience to have noticed it but I was far enough away for them not to know what it was. Definitely not my finest hour!
Finally, how do you take your coffee? (Or alcohol?)
I’m not a big coffee drinker…. But when I get one its usually with Caramel and very milky!
Thanks so much for your time Elles, enjoy your live dates!