We got in touch with Ellie Bleach to talk early memories of music, the making of her EP ‘Petty’ and growing up with powerful female voices.
Hailing from Southend-on-sea, Ellie Bleach released her EP Petty last year through Norwich-based label Hazy Dog Records. With a new single and video set to be released very soon, and a London headline show set for July, we thought that there was no better moment to dig deeper into the psyche of Ellie Bleach.
What are your early memories of being introduced to or influenced by music?
“My dad loves 70s punk, early Clash, Ramones, Sex Pistols. So I grew up on a strict ‘three chords or less’ regimen. My parents actually did a great job of introducing me to powerful female voices – as a kid I was obsessed with ‘Cosmic Thing’ – The B-52s. The first song that ever made me cry was ‘Leader of The Pack’ – The Shangri-Las. It was one one of those free compilation CDs you get in Sunday papers. I must have been like, 7 and I don’t think I clocked their whole tongue-in-cheek heartbreak thing. And of course being a young girl in the mid 2000s I worshipped Avril Lavigne. I sang ‘Sk8r Boi’ for the school talent show in year 3 and I’m still chasing the high of wearing pink fishnet gloves and screaming about heartbreak on school property.”
What is it that shapes the style and sound of music you make today?
“Since the last EP I’ve switched up the ingredients, focusing on organ, synth and classic drum machine. The organ too often gets overlooked in anything other than old-school soul or classic rock. My new set is more unashamedly pop than it used to be – I kept getting frustrated that all the new melodies I was writing on organ sounded like ‘lift music’ but then I was like, wait I love that shit. So now I completely embrace easy-listening-elevator. Also, creative friends I’ve met in the last year have completely changed the game for me. They’ve struck a perfect balance of caring about their art but at the same time not taking it so seriously all the fun is sucked out.”
You released your EP ‘Petty’ in April last year, it feels like a collective body of work not just a collection of songs thrown together, what was the thought process behind the release?
“Making ‘Petty’ was a weird one. I recorded a load of songs for fun, realised I should probably release them as one entity then overthought it to fuck after they’d been made. If you asked me that question at the time of the release I would’ve spewed a three hour think piece drunken-smokers-area-chat style but looking back, the thought process was mostly: ‘I’m 19 years old and have no idea what I’m doing – here are some of my feelings.’ But also, I kinda stand by that.”
Can you tell us about your plans for this year? In and out of music.
“I’m releasing a single and accompanying video very soon! That’ll come with a headline release show in London in July which I’m super excited about. Outside of music I’m about to graduate from university and will hopefully move to London in the next year and really go hard on the London live shows.”
What are you listening to at the moment?
“Albums: Caroline Rose – ‘Loner’. Shintaro Sakamoto – ‘Let’s Dance Raw’. Sidney Gish – ‘No Dogs Allowed’. But right this second, I’ve listened to ‘Lah Di-Dah’ – Jake Thackray and ‘Nice For What’ – Drake on loop all day. The term ‘summer bangers’ gets thrown around a lot these days… but it’s like 25 degrees on campus right now and my English-Rose weak self needs just that.”
By Karl Johnson