What is your name and role within My Elephant Ride?
My name’s Chev, I sing (co-lead) and play keys.
Where are you currently based and what is the music scene like there?
We’re based in Melbourne, the music scene’s amazing. Spending a bit of time outside Melb has made me really appreciate the fact that we’re spoiled for choice for gigs every night of the week and lucky to be flies in a well interconnected web of musos.
What have you been working on recently?
Since finishing Beyond the Skin, Nathan’s just finished his solo album and I’ve been working on solo stuff and a project with an awesome jazz-folk musician called Stav.
You’re new single ‘Diamond Eyes’ was released recently, what influenced the sound and songwriting for this track? Where are we able to listen to ‘Diamond Eyes’?
The song is about delving into someone and feeling them completely, melding your mind into theirs. Sometimes it feels like that person is a mirror. And it’s about nourishing your inner world, the way you did as a child.
The song can be found on many streaming platforms including Spotify, iTunes, and Soundcloud, and the best place to purchase a download is from Bandcamp, where you can also find pre-orders for our upcoming album on vinyl or CD!!
Your new album ‘Beyond the Skin’ will be out on the 21st of June, where and when did you record?
We wrote and recorded this between 2017 and 2018, between Bali and Melbourne.
We generally did it in a few short intensive periods – two or three weeks at a time of setting up a space and working every day.
Who did you work with during the recording and production process?
We worked with Simon Lam (Kllo) on mixing and mastering. We did a lot of the mixing ourselves, mainly Nathan working on that side of things, but Simon helped us refine our vision and add sparkles.
What programs/instruments did you use?
We used Protools combined with some use of Ableton. We used a fair few different things – including guitar, drums, bass, a few different keyboards including Nord Electro 5, Juno-60 and Juno-106, and a bunch of quirky things for percussion like a tissue box and a metal handrail. There’s also a sample of an aeroplane taking off in there somewhere. We had two Juno’s and it still wasn’t enough Juno’s.
How did you go about writing the music for ‘Beyond The Skin’?
We’re all songwriters, so we would share either full demos, song snippets or just chords and a groove, and work together to arrange or finish each other’s songs. We often used the computer as a writing tool which was a fair contrast to the live band oriented approach to our last album. We would take turns on Protools adding musical ideas and rearranging forms for each other’s songs.
What did you find most challenging and rewarding during the recording/production process?
I think the collaborative approach to the core songwriting was really rewarding for all of us. It was good to sort of sacrifice the protectiveness that can come with writing your own song in favour of letting each other change things in ways we couldn’t expect. But it was challenging too – sometimes someone would have to pitch something 4 or 5 times before the other would consent. And then 3 days later, ‘oh sorry this is way better now’.
Who are you listening to at the moment?
Digging Flying Lotus’ trippy new stuff, and Aldous Harding is doing some lovely things.
What do you like to do away from music?
I love to draw, I have my insta @chevperson for some of the art I make (plug plug). And learning about philosophy is pretty addictive but never fails to turn my brain inside out.
The band lives between Melbourne and Bali, how is this experience and how did this come about?
Joe runs yoga teacher trainings in Bali, so between that he’s been coming to Melb or Nathan and I have flown to Bali to work on the songs. This is pretty amazing for us to be able to do – Bali is a beautiful place and the sun really helps keep the smiles on our faces. In Melbourne we use coffee for that mostly.
What’s planned for 2019?
We’ll be stoked to release our album on the 21st of June! Nathan and I have some solo stuff up our sleeves too, and there’s always music bubbling on the horizon.
Any secrets that you care to share?
One night late in the studio, we sold our souls to the devil for some 2-minute noodles. Also Joe has this weird phobia of sleigh bells and won’t tell us why.
Favourite food and place to hangout?
We generally end up at Black Cat in Fitzroy, it’s a real cute and leafy bar to hang in and they have chessboards. Food, I like to bring vegan chickpea and mayo sandwiches to the studio, they’re cheap and filling so good for musos. I’m pretty sure Joe and Nath like them but maybe they are just being polite.