Interview: Irish Singer-Songwriter and Producer Elora C
Elora C is a singer-songwriter and producer from Ireland who recently released the single "Chemical Lie", which will appear on her debut album (as a solo artist) this summer. We connected with Elora C for an exclusive interview to discuss how her name originated, her creative process for developing songs, the impact of social media and Spotify playlists on music promotion for artists from small towns and much more.
After reading our Q&A with Elora C, be sure to follow her on social media so that you can stay up to date on what's next to come from this talented creative who is bound to have a breakthrough summer with her new album.
Tell us about your name "Elora C"; how did it originate and does it have a meaning?
Elora C is Carole spelled backward. I suppose it’s kind of an alter ego of sorts. I think humans have a dual nature, darkness and light. We’re complicated creatures and everyone has a flip side but often the two overlap and that’s where the most interesting things happen. You could be a good person but do bad things and vice versa. We like to try and put people in a box but in reality, no one fits into one box. I’m not saying Elora C is my dark side, although there is an element of that, of me being able to express my inner feelings without judgement. Like anyone else, I have good and bad in me, I like to think mostly good but I’m drawn to the murkier side of life, not bad or evil, just darker things: the supernatural, death, tragedy. I have a pretty macabre sense of humour, which is great for someone who writes horror. Stephen King is my king! Sorry, off-topic. I think Elora sounds kind of magical so it fits my whole “universe” too.
Describe for us your creative process for developing new music. Also, do you have a preferred place to write the lyrics to your songs?
There are multiple ways in which a song comes about for me. Sometimes, I write the lyrics first and fit the song around them but often I have a chord progression or just a feeling in mind and then I’ll write the lyrics to fit that mood. A guitar lick, drum sample or synth melody can all inspire a song. There are times when my husband comes up with a great chord progression or melody and I’ll write from there. There’s no one formula really, you have to flexible.
I prefer to write my lyrics in my bedroom as it’s the brightest, most appealing room in the house. I like to have big windows letting in plenty of light where I write, if possible. It’s the same for me when I write a story or novel. My window now overlooks green fields with plenty of wildlife around. I can hear buzzards keening from way up in the sky outside. It’s a beautiful place, especially in summer, but as it’s an old farmhouse it gets very cold in the winter. I write in the studio, on the fly too and of course, I use Notes on my phone when something occurs to me out of the blue. I’m constantly changing and improving lyrics as a song progresses, next to the feel of the song lyrics are the most important aspect for me. I like to tell a story that has a beginning middle and end, even if that end is uncertain. I like for someone to make up their own mind about that.
How did you get your start in music and were there artists that inspired your creativity when you were younger? If so, who?
I started piano lessons as a child and progressed to guitar in my teens. I found it easier and more inspiring to write songs on guitar. Something about bashing away on those strings expressed a lot of emotion for me. I had my first gig when I was eighteen; it was a singer/songwriter night at a local bar. After that I did a few more solo gigs but ended up fronting a few bands with my then boyfriend, now husband until my mid-twenties. Then, I started listening to jazz & blues, and incongruously, more pop music, all of which had a big part in forming my sound, and critically, my vocal style.
When I was younger my influences were mostly rock oriented. I remember hearing "You Oughta Know" by Alanis Morissette for the first time and feeling a chill go up my spine because it was so lyrically and vocally powerful. I think I put on my first performance when I was 9 or 10 for my parents in the living room and I sang Ironic. I didn’t even know what irony was! But neither did she, I don’t think. LOL.
Most of my other great influences were bands: Oasis, The Verve, The Stone Roses, Fleetwood Mac, The Stones etc. I think The Verve (especially their early stuff) really influenced me sonically, however; that dreamy, reverb drenched soundscape followed me right up until I discovered Lana del Rey which was a pivotal point in my progression as an artist. Her tragic world, her bluesy vocals but most of all her lyricism spoke to me as a songwriter. And there were echoes of The Verve and the torch singers of old there too.
If you had to describe your music to a stranger in three words, which ones would you select?
Dreamy, narcotic, cinematic.
Where are you from in Ireland and what's the scene like for pop music there?
I’m from a small town in County Wexford, which is in the south-east of Ireland. The scene for Irish pop music here is mostly indie pop bands on the radio, not a lot of solo artists, especially female. The live music scene is very active and varied, with international and home-grown talent playing to arenas and festival crowds. Irish people love live music and are very enthusiastic and responsive at shows but often there is little to no scene happening in the smaller towns.
Generally speaking, would you say that artists from small towns in Ireland feel as though they need to move to Dublin, Belfast, or London to get maximum exposure for their music or has social media and platforms like Soundcloud and Spotify leveled the playing field?
This is a tough one because when it comes to live music you have to go to the cities: Dublin, Cork or Belfast to get a decent crowd, especially if you’re relatively unknown. London is definitely a mecca for live music so Irish artists are usually aiming to get some exposure there but I feel that Spotify and the like have definitely levelled the field to some extent when it comes to recorded music. As we all know, Spotify curators have a huge impact on who reaches the masses. The goal is to start small and hopefully, at the right time, one of them will pick up on a song and add it to one of their many playlists with anywhere from thousands to millions of followers. It’s a lot of work, trying to gain exposure online and most of the time it doesn’t really give much in the way of return but then there are times when someone will surprise you by really digging a track, adding it to their playlist or featuring it on their blog and then it feels like it’s worth it. All any artist really wants is for people to discover and enjoy their music, though some financial return wouldn’t hurt either!
What can you tell us about your upcoming album, which features both "Stay in Love" and "Chemical Lie"? Do you have a release date in mind?
Well, I’m really excited about the album, it’s my debut as a solo artist so it’s a big moment for me. I’ve spent the past almost three years working on it and I’ve developed so much as an artist and a songwriter through making it. Every song on the album tells a story, I’m hoping that when it’s finished it will be kind of a cohesive universe of my own making. There’s a definite voice that’s evident throughout, tragic but hopeful. I’ve had a lot of tragedy in my own life and it’s had a big impact on my songwriting but I’ve always sort of held on to this hope that things can work out. I’ve struggled for so long as an artist but I feel like I’ve finally found my niche. Most of the songs are mid-tempo, immersive soundscapes guided by a person who’s trying to make sense of the world, of what real love looks like and sometimes hanging on by the tips of their fingers. But there’s beauty in it too. I’m a big fan of beauty, and I’m not talking human external beauty, (although who doesn’t find that appealing?) but beauty in all forms. Animals, nature, sounds, feelings, hope –there’s beauty in all of that. I try to put some of it in my music. That bitter-sweet feeling in songs is gold to me.
I’m thinking mid-August for the album release.