Elephant: Nostalgic Allure Band Interview | Under the Radar - Music Magazine

Elephant

Nostalgic Allure

Jun 25, 2014 Web Exclusive
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Elephant's Christian Pinchbeck describes his band as "nostalgic," though that can be interpreted in one of two ways. He and vocalist Amelia Rivas create time-stamped melodies that echo decades past, but Elephant not only look back musically for their influence: their debut album Sky Swimming also bears marks of the duo's romantic history.   

"I can't listen to the record," Pinchbeck says, almost two months after its release and three years since Elephant first formed. He simply discloses that the 12 tracks hold "too many memories."

"Sky Swimming, looking back, seems more like a diary that's just been thrown out for everyone to hear," he continues. But, following the footsteps of many bands that feature ex-lovers, Pinchbeck and Rivas put aside any hard feelings and decided to complete their album. Nowadays, Pinchbeck admits, "It feels more like a job, but in the best possible way."

Pinchbeck and Rivas met at a house party, which quickly led to late-night writing sessions, a "hobby we shared and did whenever we had a free minute," he says, otherwise declining to divulge the details of their initial meeting.

The nocturnal writing binges translated into an appropriately moonlit product: effusive strings, quivering riffs and vocal reverie that swirl together into a fantastical midnight dream. "Skyscraper" lifts its haunting chorus into the clouds bolstered by lustrous bass and guitar, whereas "Shapeshifters" swoons the listener into Gatsby-era sounds. At its core, though, Sky Swimming sinks and bathes in its own maudlin narrative.

Even though Pinchbeck says that he's not spinning these songs anymoreplaying them live is different, he argueshe does speak of these tracks with a certain gratification. "How can you argue with someone who can write 'Golden'?" he says of the album's acoustic denouement. "Those words are a masterpiece in my eyes, and I can say that because I didn't write it!"

The pair now spends less time together outside of the band and have yet to even examine the interwoven aspects of their work and love lives. "I guess interviews are our shrinks," Pinchbeck says. "But it's like we're best friends when we are together. We were in Paris last week and our keyboardist was super ill, so he went to bed at the hotel and Millie and I went to share a bottle of wine at a cafe until 3 a.m. It was the first time we properly hung out and it was so nice. Bloody miss it."

Intimacy is palpable throughout Sky Swimming in its hushed and vulnerable moments, be it in Rivas' confessional lyrics or Pinchbeck's moving instrumentation. In fact, Pinchbeck lists those attributes off as his band's strong suit, but that factor also holds Pinchbeck back from proclaiming Elephant as a pop band. "Pop music is writing for the masses," he says. "Less engaged, more utilitarian. We were only writing for ourselves this time.

"We poured ourselves into this album until there was nothing left," he continues. "It's weird that four years of my life has been archived without me even really considering what people might think."

 

 

 

 

 

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