A Q&A with Elephant Takedown
New hard punk from Cambridge – here’s bassist
What’s the title of your latest release, and what does it mean to you?
‘Forked Tongues & False Hopes’. As well as being our latest release, it was also our first release. It solidified who we are and how we sound as a band. It’s literally the bedrock of how we’ve written our music going forward. We were really proud of it and it’s very difficult to verbalise how much it means to us that we can be fortunate enough to share our music with the wider world.
What was the hardest part about putting this release together, and why?
The hardest part was the timeframe we had to record it. Our band has always been something we’ve done because we enjoy each other’s company, and we like having the freedom to express ourselves. As a result, while wanting a high quality recording, our budget was very limited, and we could only afford two days in the studio. Nailing down four songs in two days with no studio experience, and some ideas that needed an expert touch to hold them together made for a fun, but challenging experience.
Who produced the release – what did they bring to it?
We recorded the EP at Headline Studios under the guidance of owner Piers Mortimer, guitarist for Sweet Crisis. Piers has a wealth of industry experience, and an immense amount of focus. One of the biggest things he brought was ensuring we kept to schedule, but also knew tips and tricks that really helped bind some of our songs together, or lift sections to make them special. Even silly things people take for granted, like using tambourines and shakers. It’s stuff we’d never considered in the context of a professional recording.
What do you want the listener to take away from listening to your music?
It’s not often that there is any sort of insightful message behind our music. Usually we’re writing through the eyes of someone experiencing something oddly specific. If people take anything away it’s that good music can be written about any subject matter.
How does a track normally come together? Can you tell us something about the process?
There are a few ways, but often someone supplies Ben with some half-baked lyrics, and Phil or I turn up to the studio with the seed of a riff. From there it’s a lot of moulding and massaging to get the song to a point everyone loves, though this usually only takes a couple of weeks to achieve. A riff that doesn’t make it from one practice to another is usually considered an unsuccessful one.
What band/artists have influenced you the most since you started this project, and why?
Shinedown have definitely had a look in. They’re about as heavy and have a similar music spread to us. Nirvana and Foo Fighters have both influenced some of what we’ve done. Rage Against The Machine and Audio Slave. Usually we go in for bands that have really interesting hooks or a certain amount of swag and attitude. There are a lot of bands that musically push and pull us here and there, but those names have come up more than once for sure.
What countries would you like to tour? Are there any standout venues you’d like to play in?
We’ve not even made it out around our own country yet! That said, I know Netherlands and Germany have both been mentioned as “Wouldn’t that be cool places to tour?” As for stand out venues, Donington Park is definitely up there; doing a festival is on the bucket list, and where better than Download?
If you could pick one track for our readers to listen to in order to get a taste of your music, what would you pick, and why?
‘The Boatman’ is probably my top recommendation as we approach the recording of our album. It’s an excellent representation of what we envision our direction; it has everything we love in music from a catchy hook, to lots of distortion, to a dance-influenced drum beat.
What ambitions do you have for the band/your career?
Release our album, do a tour, play some festivals. Our objectives are modest, but at the end of the day the thing we care about most is writing music that we love, and we hope others enjoy too.
Finally, as you leave the stage, what are your parting words?
April 30th, Melbourn Rock Club. May 29th, Portland Arms. We’ll see you there.
For more info visit: facebook.com/elephanttakedown