Interview: ELBI

“The only rule is: as soon as it feels wrong, I need to change my path,” says Elbi, who just released a magnificent electronic EP “Shadows”.

Elbi is a recent laureate of the 2018 edition of FAIR, a French competition opened every year to emerging artists to help them in the beginning of their career and which has rewarded in the past artists such as NTM, Katerine, La Caution, Yelle, Orelsan, La Femme or Christine and the Queens.

In April, Elbi returned with a new EP “Shadows” released on Animal Records. More minimal than the previous one “Colourful shores”, it is another evidence of the capacity of Elbi to mix the warmth of her soul voice with cold electro beats, French and English lyrics to create a hypnotic journey.

Elbi tells us more about her and her music.

Fabien Hellier: Hi Elbi, could you describe yourself in few words ?

Elbi: My name is Lucile Bauer, I’m a songwriter, producer, and DJ based in Paris.

What inspired you to make music and to become Elbi ?

I started proper singing lessons when I was 11, but I remember recording my voice on a Fisher Price recorder when I was 4 and being very shy about it. I think I was raised in a very creative environment. My dad used to listen to awesome music and played the piano, my brother drew and danced, and my mum sang in a choir.

I guess music was a big part of my childhood and singing was my own way to express my feelings. The name Elbi came at 15 as soon as I started to write my own songs. I have evolved a lot since then, but I guess the essence is still the same: what I go through, what I need to express.

David Bowie explained that “he was excited by set design, by the way he dressed, by trying to create a whole landscape for the music he was making” You work with texts, voice, sound, but also with the movement and the image.

I think the visual aspect of music actually makes me as excited as the music itself. As a child, I loved to dress up so much, create stories, so I decided to do the same in my music. The only rule is: as soon as it feels wrong, I need to change my path.

For example, I used to paint my face with white make up to sing “Colourful Shores” EP. When I started to sing new song of the future “Shadows” EP, I wanted something more real, because “Shadows” is much more anchored in reality. The ups and dows, the feelings.

So I stopped the make up and colored, dreamy landscapes to create visuals that represent the realness and duality of this world.

Isn’t it a bit tiring do take care of every creative aspect of the project?

Sometimes it is a lot to handle. But I have tried different directions, and I always come back to this configuration, so it must be the one I’m happy with. Or at least the one that works best for me.

Is there any collaboration that you would like to have?

Lots of them, actually. I would love to collaborate with Grems for the impressive flow, with Romeo Elvis because every bit of song he does seems to amaze me, with HER for the spirit and similar influences, with Kiddy Smile, Yaeji, Adam Naas, Mahalia, Jorja Smith… So many talented artists everywhere.

And what would be your dream place to perform live? In what configuration?

It would look a bit like Sasquatch festival in the US, but without the stage and much smaller crowd, in a circle. There would be electric plugs and soundsystem coming out of nowhere, so we wouldn’t have to worry about shit sound conditions. A rhodes, drum machines with massive kick and lots of percussions. Mics, and reverb, lots of it. Dancers, and a choir.

What would your message for the readers of beehype?

Not to be afraid of trying. Even if it doesn’t sound or look good in the beginning. And if someone doesn’t like what you do – do not think his opinion is more important than yours. Also, try be less to make less judgemental in general. It will help others and yourself to be more creative.

Stream “Shadows” EP on Spotify and Bandcamp.


Photo: Arash Khaksari

ELBI on Facebook, Twitter.

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