Interview with Elle Belle

On Friday, September 1st, the Noise Room will be presenting Soft Swells, Elle Belle, and Misty Boyce at the Hemlock Tavern in San Francisco, CA . As a lead up to the show, we’ve asked each of the artists a few questions about what they are up to and their experiences in San Francisco. Today we have Elle Belle:

Since the last time we caught up with Elle Belle, you’ve released a double album called “Wako Gumbo” and have been playing shows with radio appearances on both coasts. What else have you been up to?

Been doing more recording, playing some show as well, but mostly writing and recording a new record. I’m pretty much always in a state of writing and recording since I do most of my tracking in my apartment. I never have a designated time to “make a record” it’s sort of a rolling process.

A double album sounds ambitious. What was it that inspired that?

Well, i wouldn’t say I necessarily set out to make a double record, but as I was writing and recording it seemed to just make more and more sense. There was a really cool flow to all the songs and it just seemed to fit. Again the idea of when an album is “done” is hard to pin down since I am able to always be recording. So, for me, it is more of a gut feeling of “well this seems to all make sense together and this is a good place to stop.” And for this first record, that point came when I had amassed 20 songs.

On your album you have a song called San Francisco’s (Gonna Take My Baby) and you’ll be playing in San Francisco at the Hemlock Tavern on Friday, Sept 1st. What’s the allure of San Francisco to you?

The real question is what was the allure for her. The song was inspired by a relationship where the girl was playing with the idea of moving to SF and I thought I was going to lose her. For me San Francisco’s allure is the intellectual nature of it. I lived in Boston for a while and to be around MIT, Harvard, Tufts students meant that at any given time you could strike up a conversation with someone working on measuring the weight of an atom, or creating a biodegradable fuel cell. I find SF to give me that same feeling. When I’m in the city there is such a fine art/intellectual vibe that appeals to me. I love LA with all my heart, but sometimes conversations on who was the best boy grip on a new netflix show leaves me a little wanting.

Are you more comfortable in the studio or on the stage?

Stage for sure. Though I am finding my voice and style in the studio more and more. My friend Pierre has a beautiful studio in Highland Park where I did a lot of the tracking for my new record and it was a really creatively satisfying experience. I knew it would be beneficial to get out of my own place for a while and try recording in a new space. And Pierre knows me so well, and my own er… quirks about recording so we really work well with each other. But, if I had to choose one, give me a live show any day of the week. I feel like I’m more accurate when I shoot from the hip.

Speaking of performing live, the buzz is that your shows often have visual aspects or special guests. What can we expect in SF or would you rather keep that under wraps?

This new record cycle has had me reimagining the live show. I feel like the make-up, and certain aspects seem passé to me now. I did it, and for the debut record it made sense. Now I have a different idea of what the show is going to look like. This SF show will be special though since it’ll be more intimate and I’ll be trying out some new songs for the upcoming record.

Is there anything you’d like to add?

Would someone coming to the show please bring me a burrito from Taqueria Cancun?

Photo by Casey Curry

Check out “Knock on the Light” from Elle Belle:

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