Eventim Spotlights chatted to the vibrant, colourful and beautiful Elle Exxe over a glass of port ahead of her Discovery2 gig at The Islington, to find out what is in store for her this year.
Give me a description of Elle Exxe in 5 words!
5 words….damn! Ok, explosive, unpredictable, fun, passionate and….stylish.
I love your style! How about your musical inspiration? Synthesising is a massive track – can you tell me more about the writing process?
The whole start of this has come out of a trip I took to America, and I wrote a song that just had all the energy that I wanted in it. It had this big drum beat, a kind of fun riff on the guitar and then a really feisty vocal.
I was listening to a lot of the same music at that time. The Kooks’ new album had just come out then so there were bits of that I was listening to, Sky Ferreira, Charli XCX and people like that. I realised that I liked this kinda take on old music, mixing hip hop with rock guitars.
I would go into the studio for co-writes – I was just meeting up with friends, not bands and producers – and I would say to them “we need this drum beat”, I’d beat box it and suggest and sing a riff. Then they’d carry on working on the production, I would sit there writing all the lyrics and the melodies, take a day away and come back and finish it off.
It’s been a really fun way of writing. It happened really fast, so it’s exciting.
How long have you been writing and making music for?
Well I started playing piano when I was 6, I started writing lyrics when I was 7. I didn’t put them together until I was 15 and I’m now 24. So I’ve been doing this nearly 10 years.
Who inspires you as an artist?
Freddy Mercury is the person I consider an idol. He’s the one person that I just wish he was still here, so I could pick his brains! I also love Lady Gaga and Prince, and Jack White. I’ve been listening to Run DMC lately as well. I listen to a whole mishmash of things!
Whereabouts are you from, and when did you come down to London?
I’m from Edinburgh and I dropped out of school when I was 16 and went to the Academy of Contemporary Music in Guilford. That was quite a while ago now it feels like! I’ve been in London for 3 years.
What’s been your most exciting gig to date?
I think the launch of Elle Exxe at Westfield London was probably the craziest! It was in a soundproof glass cube, and they put vibrators in the floor so that when the bass kicked the floor vibrated.
I didn’t get to experience it from a viewer’s point of view, but they were all wearing headphones. It was sponsored by Sennheiser, Kiss FM and Infitini Cars so it was quite a big event and there were TVs all around, and I was on all of them, dancing around and singing in a box. Then I’d catch sight of myself everywhere and think this is just mental!
I managed to get the crowd singing and dancing as well. People just walking around didn’t know what was going on! They’d just see me but they couldn’t hear anything without the headphones. It was such good fun!
What is occurring for Elle Exxe in 2015?
What is occurring! Basically I’m releasing at least two singles, and a double EP that I call an LP which is going to be Love on one side and Hate on the other. Five tracks on each, that’s why it’s a double EP.
I’m really into not just the music side of things but the whole visual and meaning of being an artist I suppose. Contrast and definition, pop art and colours.
The love/hate concept is about opposites which is another theme I’m running through. I like oxymorons like sweet misery or hot mess. There’s going to be a few surprises along the way to help support the release, something that will really set Love/Hate apart. I don’t want to reveal everything, I’d like to surprise you and the fans!
I’ve built up a team to support me, we’ve just officially released my debut single ‘You Don’t Matter’. We just got some remixes on there which are amazing! Both remixes have different vibes, which give the listener variance. So right now its about pushing that single and working towards the next one whilst playing shows!
Our next show is Thursday 2nd April, where I’ll be celebrating my single release. Expect lots of energy and partying. It’s Good Friday the next day!
Yes tell us more about the gig!
It’ll be lively, really lively! My feeling on stage is that you have to get everyone to feel every emotion of every song, so I’m working on how I can express myself in a way that the audience can join in. I don’t like my shows to be just me saying “this is what I do” I want it say “this is what I do; come join me and lets have an experience.”
You mentioned styling the band. Can you tell me about that and your own personal style?
I’m into bold colours and bold lines. Black and white.
I’m essentially trying to make my band look like cartoons so the outfits are being custom made. I like making stuff that’s 3D look like its 2D. I’m also trying to convince the boys to wear some make up!
I’m not a big comic fan, but there were these comics in the 60’s and 70’s that I’ve fallen in love with – it’s just the artwork that’s in it really inspires me. That’s hopefully going to blend in with the videos.
I’m not tying myself down with anything. That’s why the idea of contrast is so exciting to me. You see someone like Miley Cyrus when she twerks on stage and some people are calling her names, but other people are saying she’s free and liberated. I want to be the kind of artist that can go from one extreme to the other extreme. But it doesn’t matter what I think. It’s something that starts a conversation in someone’s mind.
I want to be switching from one definition to the next definition. Almost like a walking contradiction but in an artistic sense, rather than a negative sense.
Tickets for Discovery2 are available here.