I already did an interview with Chris, singer and guitarist in Elliott after the release of their second album "False cathedrals". Now "Song in the air", the third album from Elliott is out and once again it's beautiful, magnificent and intriguing. Reason enough for me to hook up another time with Chris and ask him about the latest things going on in the world of Elliott.
Hey Chris how are you doing? Probably you don't remember me, but I did an interview with you after "False cathedrals" came out but I guess I haven't been the only one so you surely won't remember :-) When I asked you how you'd be doing, you said: "Currently I'm doing fine, just trying to stay warm as winter approaches." As winter is over now, what's your condition right now?
I'm great. Traveling across the US. Playing as many shows as we can.
Your new album "Song in the air" is once again a great one. In my opinion it can be seen as a natural development after "False cathedrals". I mean the difference between "U.S. songs" and "False cathedrals" was pretty big, but the difference between the second and the third album aren't that big. Would you agree? How do you see the development Elliott has made since "False cathedrals"?
It's a bit more natural for the listener. All the changes over the years make sense to us because of live shows and the process of writing during that time. Now we have our sound and can tweak it developing it in subtle ways.
When I first listened to "Song in the air" I thought that you once again did a great record, but I missed one "super hit" like "Drive on to me". After a couple of times many hymns appeared from out of nowhere, just like "Beijing (too many people)". Now the question: Do you think that with a record like "Song in the air" you will make all your current fans happy, but as there's no "typical radio single" on it do you think it will be difficult to reach a broader audience?
It was intentional we were looking to write a album steering away from singles. We wanted something you could listen to from beginning to end and get something from it instead of picking a couple songs to listen to. Some artist don't give their audience the respect they deserve. People are looking for something to sink their teeth into something with substance. Hopefully we can provide that.
If I am right the album was recorded at your own studio in Louisville? Did you feel now was the right time to finally record there?
Yes it was a difficult thing to do and took forever but I'm glad we did it.
As you produced the album on your own and Kevin engineered and mixed it I'm curious if you can imagine going to another studio in the future and working with a producer who comes from outside the band?
We will I promise. It was just too much to take on it was draining to all of us.
Who came up with the idea of using a real string quartet this time instead of keyboards? The string parts fit excellent to the songs by the way. How did you get exactly these four guys to play strings on the album?
Kevin helped put it together and did the arrangements. Christen Frederickson pulled the musicians together (all female) and they recorded everything in one take.
I saw you on your last tour through Germany where you used samples to reproduce all the effects. Will you do that for future tours, too, or will there finally be a fifth member handling the keyboards?
Our fifth member is what you saw, a large black box we call Leon. Leon takes care of us, we love him (Let's give a big hand for Leon - Stefan).
Speaking of touring: I guess you are looking forward to going on the road again, aren't you? When will the tour start and with which band(s) are you playing? Do you know yet when you're coming over to Europe?
In the US we are touring with Further Seems Forever, Mae, Vendetta Red and tons of great local acts in two separate tours. We will be in Europe sometime this summer.
I heard that you first planned to do an EP after you came home from tour, but you ended up writing more and more songs so that you finally recorded a full length album. Is that right? Was this EP ever planned and how did you end up doing a full length?
Your right we just kept writing and it turned into "Song in the air". It just made more sense this way.
The recording of "Song in the air" was the first time when you worked with Benjamin and Jason in the studio, right? How did that work out? I mean you have been on tour with both of them for a long time, but how about the studio atmosphere?
Everyone worked together fine. Benny works on his own schedule, it's either there or not. But its exciting that way. We wrote and rewrote songs, it was a tedious process.
How long did it take to record "Song in the air"? How did you work: Which instrument came first and which was the last one to be recorded? Did you have any time schedule for each day or was it more spontaneous?
Almost a year and a half we took our time. Songs would come in be complete and then torn apart. Lyrics were rewritten, it was a very democratic process.
The last tour through Europe was the first time for you in Europe if I am right. What were your impressions concerning the people and the single countries you visited? Any major differences between them and between themand the US?
Huge, Europeans have a better outlook on live music. They respect what's happening and are honest. The US is corrupt on all levels especially the music industry.
I guess we're at the end of this interview. Did you like it and do you have anything to add?
Thanks so much, I hope it came out ok. Chris.