“Lofty lyrics, gentle vocal delivery, a punchy 80s synth and mesmerising accompanying visuals make for a kind of dream sequence-esque cinematic timelessness.” – FBi Radio
“I love how that the sweet pop chorus rises from this misty eyed DIY synth pop tale of regret.” – Declan Byrne, triple j ★★★★
“[In Spells] Elmo has measured out each sonic ingredient perfectly – from the delicate and ethereal top notes to the a squelchy modulated undercurrent and even her own own buttery smooth vocal delivery.” – Weirdo Wasteland
Listen to ‘Spells’, the electronic-tinged synth-pop single from Elmo Aoyama, out now via Dinosaur City Records (AUS/NZ), Burger Records (North America) and Geertruida (ROW). The single is taken from Aoyama’s debut EP of the same name, out Wednesday August 26.
“Spells is a song about loss and the change that follows. The subconscious is often responsible for processing transition, particularly when changing relationships and lost friendships occur suddenly or are unresolved.” Explains Aoyama of the new single.
Of the accompanying video, Elmo says, “[Spells] was shot in a single take out the front of my old house in computer. It was shot the morning I moved out of the house and right before I hopped on a plane to Mongolia. It entertains the notion of other paths and possibilities, the wonder of what would have happened or what could have happened if things had worked out differently. Strangely, not only was the video filmed at a pivotal point in my life, but also many of the objects in the video have been passed on or lost, tying in with the theme of loss within the song.”
Born in Tokyo and based in Sydney, Australia, Elmo Aoyama is best-known as synth-player, bassist and singer in much-loved Sydney band Big White who have released an EP and two highly acclaimed albums on Spunk Records/Caroline/Burger Records, toured the USA, Europe and the UK, and performed festivals including SXSW, Treefort Music Festival and Burgerama alongside acts including Ariel Pink, Gum, Julia Jacklin and Ty Segall.
Taking inspiration musically from the likes of The Knife, Dirty Three, Yann Tiersen, YMO, Miharu Koshi and Yosui Inoue, debut EP ‘Spells’ was recorded at Elmo’s Blue Mountains home back in 2017, where she had no internet, no phone service, a waterfall down the road and west facing windows backing onto bush. Elmo printed off a limited run of home-made CDs and took them to Japan where she played a run of shows, selling out the CDs and abandoning the project for a few years before resurfacing the tracks for a full release in 2020.
The songs that make up ‘Spells’ reflect on events significant and insignificant to Aoyama, exploring themes of love, life, death, loss and politics.
“When people are in transit they’re in their own vacuum. They think about where they came from, where they’re going, what they did and what they’ll do next. If it’s a familiar route fragments of memory are stored along the way which is triggered when you reach that same spot. Passing a corner or glancing up at a street sign might remind you of who you were with or what the weather was like last time. Spells is a collection of songs written during transit through automatic writing. Each song represents a time already passed which will never be revisited again. The songs include both significant and insignificant events, fleeting thoughts and feelings which deal with themes of life, death, loss and political comment.” Elmo says of the EP.
‘Spells’ (EP) will be released on August 26 via Dinosaur City Records, Burger Records (North America) and Geertruida (ROW).