the AU interview: Elodie Adams (Melbourne) chats ‘inSUBORDINATE’ and influences ahead of Melbourne launch!

the AU interview: Elodie Adams (Melbourne) chats 'inSUBORDINATE' and influences ahead of Melbourne launch! [Hosted by The AU Review]
Date: 27 August, 2014
Interviewer: The AU Review
Interviewee: Elodie Adams


Melbourne artist and performing dynamo Elodie Adams is set to launch her EP inSUBORDINATE with a surefire hit hometown show at the Tote tomorrow night! Before the chaos kicks off, the lady behind the popular single “Born To Love You” takes us through her week of preparations for the show, discusses her own musical background and development and how inSUBORDINATE came to be!

Your launch is coming up this Thursday, it must be a pretty exciting week for you! Can you take us through the current preparations for the gig? Is there anything special/you’ve not done yet live that you’re hoping to explore?

Elodie Adams: Absolutely. It has been a very big week. Current preparations becomes more about how the band works together as a unit, as opposed to focusing on any individual parts. Personally, I love dress rehearsals, because that gives me an opportunity to run the show before the night in full costume and avoid any wardrobe malfunctions! You would be surprised at how difficult it can be to find the right corset which also allows the wearer to breathe enough to sing.

On a more serious note, this gig will be unlike any that I have done previously because now I have a whole support team around me, who offer advice and are involved in improving the live show. One thing that comes to mind is the alterations we have made to the technology we employ in the show. A large part of my music involves the use of industrial electronica, which comes off backing tracks, on Thursday we are running an entirely new tech setup, which has taken multiple people to get off the ground, so I am looking forward to seeing how that pans out!

You’re described as a ‘neo-Gothic rock singer’ – can you tell me a bit about your musical background and what led you to be making the sort of music you are today? Who have you found you were most influenced by?

Elodie Adams: When I was four years old, I harassed my mother until she found a violin teacher who would accept me as a student. Violin literally became my entire life. It was the one thing in my life which fascinated me, never bored me, and made me feel like I belonged. The violin became my greatest love. It wasn’t uncommon for me to practice for 6-8 hours every day by choice.Most people assume I was a singer first, but to me, the violin will always be my first instrument.

When I was 16, I injured my arms from overuse and wasn’t able to play the violin seriously any more. I went to, what felt like, every specialist available, but none were able to treat my arms to the point where I could play classical violin at the level I had become accustomed to. It devastated me, completely. I have never been able to play the same way again.

At that time, I remember feeling like my entire life had become unaligned and it could never be put back together again. The one thing that gave me the most joy and brought me the most love had been taken away from me. Even thinking about the experience now hurts me very deeply. I began writing music at the age of 17 as a response to that sadness. I bought a keyboard, without knowing how to play it, I sat down and found the pain I felt in the combination of keys I pressed down upon.

As a person in general, and from the perspective of myself as an artist and writer, I adore the dramatisation of tragedy and creating an environment where an exaggerated emotional response is triggered. I feel that there is a place within me that I draw upon to write the material that I do and that place is very dark and consumed with anger, sadness and an overwhelming desire for passion and love. It took me many years, and much life experience to arrive at a place where I feel comfortable enough to share my “sound” openly and I suppose in retrospect, the use of heavy rock fused with electronic symphonica is only natural because the tone that combination creates, perfectly assimilates with the kind of response I aim to evoke in my writing.

My absolute favourite description of my music will always be “Neo-Romantic Post-Industrial Stalker-Rock”!

The EP came out last weekend – how does it feel to finally have inSUBORDINATE released and available for people to listen to? As it’s your debut, I assume there would’ve been some nerves surrounding it! How hard/easy was it to let go?

Elodie Adams: You’ve been talking to my co-producer, Lee Bradshaw, haven’t you?! He would often say to that I need to learn to recognise when it is time to stop tweaking a song and allow it to settle. I am very fortunate that I chose to work with a producer who really allowed me to nurture my talents as an aspiring producer and oversee the project and give directive rather than coming on board and completely taking control over how the songs I had written “should” be produced. I would literally bring my ideas to Lee on my own system, and we would discuss why I chose to employ the elements that I had, and work out what might need to be changed or altered and fill in any blanks together. Lee is also the most extra-ordinarily talented string writer, and I must say, that as a classically trained violinist who adores the use of strings in her work, having string arrangements written for me was one of the aspects I enjoyed the most about the project.

Also, during the process of creating this body of work, I realised that I want to become a producer in the future. I co-produced every track on the record and when I listen back to it now, I can hear parts of myself within the music. That is something so surreal, and so wonderful to experience. I owe a lot of this realisation to working with Lee. He was incredibly patient with me and allowed me to make an incredible amount of mistakes and really learn through trial and error and I believe the end result has proven to be something so wonderfully unique due to our atypical production method we kind of established as we went along.

I get the impression the music is very evoking and visual – how much of this feel is incorporated into your writing and creative process? Is there a particular way you can see the music coming together when you’re in the studio?

Elodie Adams: Absolutely. To me, music is always accompanied by a strong visual. As a musician, I often look to create self contained universes in the songs I create and as such, every song that I have written has a different narrative that plays along in my head alongside the melody. That aspect of my writing is not something that is intentional, it has always simply happened.

I am a writer who greatly appreciates musical prosody. So the connection of all elements that contribute to a song as a whole. I don’t feel that lyrics are any more or less important or removed from a tonal key, a chord progression or a melodic phrase, each individual aspect to a song must be chosen appropriately to come together to make a whole. I think that’s why so many people I work with refer to me as a perfectionist.

I wouldn’t say that I pay any more or less attention to being a visual writer when I am in the studio, it is really an ever-present, completely organic part of the process for me from conception to actualisation.

Tell me a bit about working with the band you are for the live shows – what has been the best part about bringing your sounds to life with other enthusiastic and like-minded players?

Elodie Adams: Working with my band members in a pure joy. I am so very lucky to have them on board with me. We get along so well, and are always having such a great time together in rehearsals. My guitarist/bassist/engineer and close friend, Brendan Thompson has been working with me from the beginning, coming from a strong rock/metal background, I feel Brendan was instrumental in helping me find the heavier side of my sound. He introduced a lot of new music to me, and (forced!) me to open my ears to a lot of music I would have otherwise dismissed!!

Jason Richardson has newly joined the project as my drummer. He is phenomenally talented and can really lock down any beat I need him to in any given arrangement. We are at the point where I can really let him loose and bring his creativity on board with our live arrangements.

What is the rest of 2014 holding for you? Any more touring or live dates you can tell us about?

Elodie Adams: The fact that a remix of my first single “Born To Love You” is being used as the theme song to the Playstation game Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee – New n Tasty has certainly opened up a lot of doors very quickly. There are a few things in the works, but nothing confirmed as yet. Everything is sort of happening in a whirlwind. It is difficult to keep up with all the change happening in my life at the moment.

If there is one particular song/s on the record that you’re relating to the most now, which would it be and why?

Elodie Adams: Yes. I would say “More Than You”. That song is often lyrically interpreted as something I did not intend for it to mean. I wrote it about feeling un-needed by the person who the protagonist felt she needed the most and the frustration and internal anger experienced when being trapped in that situation and not being able to remove herself from it.

Every song I write is written from the perspective of a contained dream or vision; a picture I see in my mind I am trying to describe with words and sound. It was difficult to write because at that time I was very deeply involved in those feelings myself and writing it was my way of saying goodbye to the person I had loved for a very long time.

Production wise, “More Than You” was also a very organic experience. Some songs I altered and revised many different times before I was satisfied with the outcome. “More Than You” kind of happened by itself. I didn’t have to think about what I was doing. Each sound came to me so quickly and there was no doubt in my mind about the decisions I was making, which is unusual for me. Somehow I just knew it would turn out to be exactly as I saw in my mind.

As a songwriter and musician, when did you have that click or realisation that you wanted to be doing music for a living and what would you say to other young musicians embarking on this road as well?

Elodie Adams: I never intended to enter the music “industry” or to think of music as a job in any way. All I knew was that when I was younger, nothing else felt as real as music did to me. Music has always spoken to me intellectually, I felt understood by it which filled a large void in my experience growing up as an outsider, feeling like I didn’t belong anywhere. Everything that has happened since has happened as a consequence of a burning desire within me to create great art. I want to create a fantasy world for people to lose themselves in, to act as a medium for self acceptance as I did as a child. Almost, like an audible painting whose contents have stepped out of their frame.

Music is something I can never walk away from, because it makes me who I am. It is not possible to separate myself from it. The advice I would give to young artists embarking on their journey would be to really know your craft. Being talented is not enough. Take lessons and understand why you are good at what you do and accept there will always be ways in which you can improve. Always accept criticism objectively. Never take yourself too seriously.

There will be many difficult roads ahead and tough decisions to make but with the right people around you, you will be able to make it through if you work out what truly motivates and drives you to succeed early on in your career.

inSUBORDINATE is out now. Catch Elodie performing at The Tote in Melbourne on August 28th!