A song can be a trip to an underground hell
I was recently interviewed for the Spanish Mag Revista Kuadro.
Since I got a few requests for a translation from my English speaking friends – here it is 🙂
I’m sorry to say that this is the translation for the questions alone – and it does not include Adolfo Rivas’s beautiful descriptions of my Music beyond that. Sorry :/
Who is Michelle Elle?
I can say WHAT I am – a composer, writer, illustrator. I sing. WHO am I? Oh, I hope I’ll be able to answer this question one day, when I’m old and saggy, if I’m lucky enough to get there. I think the saggy element helps in understanding one’s self. Maybe only when you care about nothing in you personally, you realize what matters most around you and you appreciate the present, the ‘now’. I do hope to get there! If only for the appreciation.
Describe your music.
That’s a tough one, but I think it’s an interesting subject .I’ve heard very different descriptions of my Music from people, that I now believe that every person actually hears something else – not with the ears but with the mind. I guess it has to do with individual memories, feelings and places Music takes you to. A song can be a trip to a meadow, to the sea, to an underground hell. Every person gets to visit a different place.
But if I go by me alone, I think my Music is pretty dramatic, dark, a bit theatrical and sometimes funny. Mostly honest. I try my best to keep it sincere, so that years from now, I’ll still be able to believe my own words.
Tell me about your songs.
Every one of my songs has two places it’s been created in, or created for – it’s a roof to stand on and clap your hands to the sky, and it’s a musty dungeon that holds my worst nightmares. The roof is the high point of the song, its happy place, the optimistic place. Every song I’ve written so far gained its conclusion of freedom, in a way, somewhere along the song – probably at the end.
And the dungeon… that’s the place where I, not literally of course, sit and write.
Pretty Handy, for example, is a true story of a man that holds his fists in the face of the entire world – he’s constantly at war with everyone. He’s got imaginary friends that poison his mind with lies he chooses to believe, and he can’t find his way out of his black world. He got used to it. Habits are very difficult to change. I think we’ve all been in that place at some point, in some level. I guess war, both social and physical, is an issue for me. I can’t escape it, and I think its influence is visible in all my songs. But I try to keep high points as well.
I’m an optimistic pessimist. I create from the dark, but ultimately, I want the light to shine on my face.
Who are your influences?
I have so many influences, I can’t even count! And new ones are constantly added. I’m influenced by everything. By movies, by words people say, by a bee flying over my head. I’m easily distracted. As for Music influences, I love good melodies, no matter the style – it can be Rock, Jazz, Bluegrass, Trance, Opera… if its got a great melody, I’m all in. My main influences – the artists that, Music wise, made me who I am today – are my basics. This might be boring, but they’re actually the same musicians I’ve been listening to since I was a kid: Queen, Pearl jam, Audioslave, Led Zepelin, Abba, Fiona Apple and Elvis Costello. I can play each and every one of them in repeat for days.
Tell me a little about your videos.
Oh, videos.. We got a love-hate relationship. I love making Music videos because it’s another way of self-expression, and it’s easier for me to paint you the picture I have in my head – with the visuals that accompany the Music. On the other hand, I hate making videos, because it takes up so much of my time and it’s a long, tiring process that swallows a lot of energy.
Every video I make is a huge project for me, because I do everything myself – storyboard, film, illustration, video editing and effects, and I really care how it turns out, I never underestimate it. It’s hard work and it takes me quite a while to finish just one video. But I believe the outcome is worth it, because my videos are a part of me as much as my Music is. That said, I’d, eventually, rather not make them myself, and I’d sure be happy to work with talented people with a unique, artistic point of view.
At the moment I’m working on a video for the song ‘Temporary Thoughts’. If all goes well, I hope to publish it in the next week or so.
New album coming up? Do you have plans for this year?
Yes! A new full album is coming up. I’m doing my best to release it as soon as possible, hopefully before 2015 will put its foot at the door.
Anything else you’d like to add?
Don’t lose your curiosity. I think that’s the most important thing in life. Learning new things keeps the mind & soul alive.