RGM INTRODUCING – WE INTERVIEW LONDON ARTIST ELLIE MADELAND
Hiya folks thanks for joining us in the virtual RGM lounge today, grab a brew and take a seat.
What made you decide to start making music with Gentle William?
I played in a band for a while but started to get pulled towards doing something more solo-driven in 2019. I found Gentle William online, and he sent over some stuff he had worked on. I absolutely loved it, it resonated with me a lot. So we’ve been working together since then!
Introduce us to all the members and your musical history?
It’s me & Gentle William. I write the lyrics and vocal melodies, sometimes the chords and song structures too. GW also composes and writes the music + produces/mixes & masters the tracks. We basically send demos back and forth to each other and work on the ones that we love the most!
I have sung all my life, but officially started doing music in 2018. I sang in the synth-pop duo Island Empire with Chris Howe. We released an album called “Olympian”. After that, I started a band called Emergent Minds, and we released a couple of songs in 2019/2020.
GW has worked with The Whiskey Priest, Sophie MackIntosh and Junkboy (amongst others) before we started our collaboration.
What’s one question you’re sick of being asked when interviewed?
Haha… I’m not quite sick of it, but a question I can find hard to answer sometimes is how my creative process works… Because it’s always different, and sometimes there are no words for it. It’s almost like a spiritual/meditative kind of existence at times. But every time I get asked about it, I get a little bit better at wording it I guess. So don’t be scared off to ask that question! Haha.
Do you sign up to any conspiracy theories?
Haha! Great question. Um. I definitely used to. I was obsessed with finding out everything about Illuminati when I was a kid. Found it so haunting and interesting. But generally, no. I tend to think that the more I learn, the less I know. And I feel like a lot of conspiracy theorists think they know everything about what’s going on behind the scenes. I can struggle with that idea. I don’t think we know anything, haha. I just try to keep an open mind about most things, I love exploring, discussing and seeing things from different perspectives. But some conspiracies really turn me off. But let’s have that conversation another time, haha.
What useless party trick do you have?
I can tense my lips in a way that I have never seen anyone else being able to do. It looks really stupid. When people see it, they always try to mimic it, but so far no one has been able to do it! My sister named the expression “the dolphin” when I was a kid, because I kind of look like a weird dolphin I guess. I’ll have to show you sometime.
What was the most fun you have had on stage?
Probably at my sister’s wedding. I performed with my best friend and we really just let go and sang really fun, uptempo songs (which I never write or perform usually!). We sang Beatles songs, The Kinks, ELO, Lorde, ABBA, stuff like that. Haha. Cheesy but fun!
What was the worst experience on stage?
Oooh. I’ve not had any really horrible moments, but I used to get so terribly nervous and afraid to take ANY space on stage. So I would just stand completely still and feel really awkward and apologetic, praying that my voice would carry me through the gig… That wasn’t much fun. It’s still there a little bit, but WAY better than it was.
Tell us something about you that you think people would be surprised about?
Hm. Two things come to mind… I can be a very social, chirpy person when I meet people, so people can get a bit surprised when they learn how introverted, insecure, anxious and depressed I can get. And how much I’ve suffered with being unhappy basically. New people I meet usually think I’m all bubbles and light. Hah. That’s not always true.
Another thing is that I’m quite a “feminine” person nowadays, but I have struggled with my gender identity my whole life. I was certain I would transition when I was 18. But life is pretty awesome and unexpected, so things happened that made me feel okay with being a woman and I’ve now accepted myself as one. But because of my journey, I often relate very strongly to many trans people and what they go through.
If you had to describe your music to an alien how would you describe it?
I would probably just make noises to try and describe how it sounds.. Haha. Or like “imagine your home planet, the sounds of space with some added melancholy and soft, female vocals” haha. I don’t know!
What makes you stand out as an artist?
Good question. I think I share quite a lot of my personal life with people on social media and in my music. I can talk and open up quite nakedly about myself and my journey on stage and invite people into my life. I’m not scared of being vulnerable anymore, and I’m not scared of being cheesy or lame or cringy anymore. That used to paralyse me from doing ANYTHING. I just wanted to be cool, haha. I think you need to try things out and if people judge you for it – it doesn’t matter. It’s their contraction and judgement, which is fine for people to have, we all do, but it’s not a representation of who you are. I think I’m getting quite good at not caring what other people think.
Right now, what’s pissing you off the most?
I have to say the wars. All the wars going on in the world right now.
What’s your favourite song to play live and why?
Of my own songs, I’d say “Body after Body”. It’s not out yet, but stay tuned! 😉 It’s so far the only song I have that is more uptempo and that can be really fun to perform live. It brings the energy up a bit. But if it’s a cover – The Cure songs. I think “Lovecats” is really fun to do live!
I hear you have a new single, what can you tell us about it?
My new single is called “Mother Mother”. The song was inspired by some letters I found between me and my mum, from when I was a kid, when my parents had just announced their divorce. It stirred up a lot of emotion in me, remembering the pain of her moving out. Reading the letters also brought me back to all the times in my life where I have felt anxious, depressed and lived pretty grimly. The song is about my journey with abandonment issues, depression and anxiety, but it is also a portrait of a past life I have moved on from in many ways.
“Mother Mother” is actually kind of a prequel to my first single “Out of Nowhere”, which portrays my journey with coming out of a hole and finding ways to love myself and others more than I thought was possible.
What was the recording process like?
I recorded the vocals for “Mother Mother” myself last year in Sweden. I was staying in this house in the countryside for 6 months during the Covid-lockdown. It was actually a really beautiful experience recording music from there. Everything was so still around me, so I could really focus on my music.
What are your plans for the year ahead?
I have a gig planned in Berlin on April 21st. Really excited about that! Other than that, I will record and release more music with Gentle William. So stay tuned 😉
Is there anything else you would like to share with the world?
I have a music video for “Mother Mother” out on YouTube! Please check it out. Oh, and I’m making these little interview clips on Instagram where I answer questions from friends and followers. So if you want to find out more about me and my music – follow me on there – @ellie.madeland.