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May 7, 2020 Interview with London-based electronic/alt-R&B/Hip-hop duo E L E V N S

London-based electronic/alt-R&B/Hip-hop duo E L E V N S made their debut in 2019 with their first single ‘Let Me In’ hitting Spotify’s New Music Friday on release day. They have been busy travelling between London, Paris, NYC and LA performing and finding artists to collaborate with, including getting endorsements from companies such as Soundbrenner and ROLI.

Looking back, what were some of your earliest entries into music appreciation? And music production?

Gramm: I was lucky to be part of a band when I was 15 years old. My first gig was probably the best memory I have and also one of the reasons I’m into music. The excitement mixed with stress before going on stage became like a drug. I only started producing at the age of 25 and hearing the first song done from scratch without having to work with other producer was quite a proud moment.

Aurelian: I started playing the drums when I was 12 and I was listening to a lot of different things like Michael Jackson and Blink-182. I had a few bands and like Gramm, performing live became a drug. I would go to jam sessions and play with other musicians for hours. I realised I could produce and write music myself after listening to Ben Kenny, bass player for Incubus. He made an EP where he recorded everything and that was the moment I started producing but it only got serious in the last 5 years for me.

What are some of your key musical influences?

We take inspiration from everywhere, we’re like sponges that absorb anything that could be inspiring. We both listen to a variety of musical styles but in general, it gravitates around Hip-Hop/Soul with artists like Chance the Rapper, Aminé, Brasstracks, Anderson.Paak and Mac Miller, pop with Ariana Grande and Justin Timberlake and electronic with Snakehips, Kaytranada and 20Syl / Alltta. 

If you could paint a picture of your unique sound, what would it look like?

It would look like a KAWS painting,  lots of colours and dynamism.

Take us through your songwriting process. Are there any particular steps you take when putting music together?

We really believe that the more people you work with the more magic you can create. But we don’t really have a specific process. We always start the two of us and then we send a beat to an artist we know or that we found on Instagram. We especially target some artists we love by scouting on Spotify and then reach out to them on IG. With overseas collaboration, most of the time artists would write, record themselves and send us the vocals. From then we wrap up the production. But sometimes we would have a session at ours or in a studio with some friends or artists and do everything in one day.

What gets your creative juices flowing?

We’re more coffee guys than juices so a nice flat white or latte would work best (laughs)! To be more serious, it is the vibe a sound or a drumbeat can create. Creativity is something you need to cease when it comes because you can’t invoke it. For us, it is a lot about the vibe and good energy that things, like travelling and being surrounded by cool people, bring to us. The opposite of quarantine basically (laughs).

As an artist, it becomes apparent that there is a huge difference between the art and the business. Is there anything about the music scene that you would personally change?

Spotify should remove the number of streams, followers and monthly listeners like Apple Music does so people would judge less on the number of streams and focus more on the music.

Tell us about the chemistry you have with your fans on stage.

It is awesome! We can really feel the energy they bring and how they interact with us. As we feature different vocalist along with the show, the vibes change often and it keeps a nice dynamic. One of the best crowds we had was when we played Sofar Sounds, people are really here to listen to the music and you can bond with them easily.

What is the most memorable response you have had to your music?

The most memorable one was being added to Spotify New Music Friday on our first ever release ‘Let Me In’. That was insane! We didn’t have any fan base, a few followers on Instagram but that was it (laughs)!

What would you like to achieve with your music? What does success look like to you?

We would like to do big tours, travel the world, connect with new people and have fun with our music. Obviously there is all the fame and being able to live off your music but when people move their head to the music and we can see them smile and enjoy, this is a success!

What’s on your current playlist?

There’s a lot of music but here’s a little list (laughs): 

Goner (feat. Audrey Mika) by Souly Had 

Blueberry Cadillac by Landon Sears

Blue World by Mac Miller

The Plug (feat. Drelli) by Party Pupils

Backyard by Kota the Friend

Breakdown the news for us: what can we expect from you in the near future?

We are currently working on releasing a song a month and we’ve got some amazing collaborations mainly coming from the US with Atlanta based singers Zach Paradis and Jaylon Ashaun again and Danny Diamonds from Boston. We are also working on a new live set to perform when things will be back to normal after COVID-19!

Famous last words?

Hasta la vista, baby!

Follow E L E V N S online

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