Getting To Know... ELLiS·D

After spending the last few months building up his name as a solo artist, Brighton-based artist ELLiS·D is back once again to share his latest thunderous offering 'Clap Hands'.

Following in the art-rock footsteps of acts like Art Brut and HMLTD, 'Clap Hands' is a bold and blistering return for the emerging name. Filled with captivating grooves, killer riffs, and his own dynamic presence stealing the show, his newest release is surely one to have on repeat right now.

So with his new single doing the rounds, we sat down with him to find out more about his origins and what has inspired him most over the years.


What was the first instrument you fell in love with?

I first started to learn drums at primary school and it’s always been the instrument I’ve been most passionate about, and still is to this day. My writing process for songs will usually spawn from a drum beat or pattern I’ve come up with whilst messing around on a kit for a couple of hours, building a coherent structure then adding the melodies in afterwards. Playing drums has such a unique emotional and physical release to it that I find incomparable to all other instruments (or at least the ones I’m able to play!).

What has been the most prominent inspiration behind your music so far?

In terms of lyrics I feel most inspired to write as a means of alleviating feelings of fear and self-doubt whilst coming to terms with issues both personal and in a wider context. The desire to perform onstage is also a huge factor in driving me to create music and had I not picked up an instrument at a young age I think I would definitely have pursued something in a live performance-related field, whether as a career or as a hobby.

What kind of music did you love as a teenager?

I grew up listening to a lot of 80’s indie and post-punk as a late teenager, predominantly bands like The Cure, Jesus & Mary Chain, Pixies etc., but I’ve always had a real soft spot for sweet and melancholy sounds as well, with groups such as The Cardigans and Belle & Sebastian having a great influence on me over the years.

Can you remember the first song that made you want to pursue a life in music?

I’m not sure there was any one song that made me think ‘this is what I want to do’ but like many British musicians in my age group Arctic Monkeys were the first band I listened to that made me sit up and think ‘Fuck, this is incredible’. It stood far up and above anything I’d heard up until that point and made me dream of playing myself someday. If I had to choose one song then I’d go for ‘Teddy Picker’ as it’s the first song I learned to play all the way through on drums.

Who are your favourite artists you have found yourself listening to at the moment?

Nubiya Garcia’s most recent album ‘Source’ is a truly mind-bending experience and quite possibly even better than her debut, which I had on repeat for a long while. I’ve also been digging through all of Iggy Pop’s latest releases as well as I’d never bothered to listen to anything later than ‘The Idiot’ - he’s put out some really great albums over the past few years – ‘Post Pop Depression’ with Josh Homme & Matt Helders is a brilliant record but ‘Aprés´’ is spellbinding, and who knew Iggy could pull off French so well?!

How many of your songs have you written about people in your life?

I think it’s to some extent it's inevitable that those close to you will work their way into your songs, either consciously or subconsciously – whether we like it or not those who we surround ourselves with have more influence over the paths we choose than we can imagine and it’s almost impossible to write without referencing those we love and care about, or those we don’t, be it in bold and brazen terms or masked through imagery and subtle metaphor. I’d say there’s a nod to at least one person in my life in pretty much every song I’ve written, even if the subject matter is completely irrelevant, and probably always will be.

What has been the most unusual moment in your career so far?

Back when I was 17 I was playing drums in a relatively unheard-of group called ‘The Art Club’ and we managed to snag a short three-date tour of Italy, which obviously we were incredibly excited for. At the first show we turn up to find a 1000-capacity venue, decked out with a huge buffet for the audience including a team of waiters and more risotto than I’ve ever seen (or ever will see) in one place, with the promoter rather casually explaining he hasn’t advertised the gig but is assuming that an audience will show up. The 15 waiters who watched our set were very complimentary!

Outside of music, what is your biggest passion?

I’m quite an avid reader nowadays and literature is definitely my greatest love aside from music. There’s no one particular genre of writing that I adore more than others, and I tend to choose the next book from the shelf at random most of the time as I managed to accumulate a decent collection from spending a year working in a charity shop, sifting through all the old books that were said to be too tattered to sell on. Some of my favourite authors include Mario Puzo, Aldous Huxley, Hunter S. Thompson, Patti Smith and Haruki Murakami.

If you weren’t a musician, what other path do you think you might have taken?

Had I not chosen to pursue music in Brighton I would have gone through with a Politics course at Manchester Uni a few years ago, and I felt for a short while that I might get into political journalism of some kind. It was always second in my mind to music though and I think I would have just started up a band there anyway, and given the nature of the political circus over the past few years I don’t have too many regrets!


ELLiS·D's new single 'Clap Hands' is available to stream and download now. Have a listen to it in the player below.