Music, OldVenue

Interview – Eliza and the Bear

London based indie-pop group sat down with Jessica Frank-Keyes ahead of their show at the Norwich Waterfront on 21st January to talk about life on the road, their new-found love for Bieber, and their hopes for a top ten album.

Your album comes out soon 1st April – how are you feeling about the release?
[su_quote]We’ve known it’s been coming out for ages, obviously it’s been done since the beginning of last year so we’ve kind of been agitating to get it out there. But as it gets closer you kind of get a little more nervous about it being released and how it’s going to be received. It’s three or four years old for us now – we’ve been working on it for years, since basically the start of this band. It’s such a long time since we starting working on it. We’re so excited to have it released but now it’s finally here it’s just out of our hands, there’s nothing we can do. We’re really proud of it and we’re excited to have people hear it. We want to put it out into the world and see how people respond.[/su_quote]

Was that a decision by you guys – to tour now and then to have it released later?
[su_quote]We got way more radio backing than we expected. When we released Make It On My Own and it started getting played, it wasn’t part of the plan at all. We didn’t realise we’d get that radio love – so it just makes more sense now to postpone the release so as many people can hear about the band as possible. We don’t want to alienate the people who’ve been listening to us for years, we want to get them the new music as soon as possible, but at the end of the day there’s way more people who haven’t even heard of us yet so we just want to be on the biggest platform we can really.[/su_quote]

Fingers crossed for a top ten album then?
[su_quote]Yeah definitely – I want that gold disc on the wall.[/su_quote]

What’s the song writing process like?
[su_quote]We’ve gone back to doing it in a band format, where we sit and jam the whole song and play it the whole way through. It’s almost like a scrapbook this album, from the day we wrote the tracks to recording them. We don’t really think about it but we do have a ‘sound’ as a band and we’ve really found that with this album. We re-recorded a lot of the songs that were done in studios last year and re-did them all together for the album and it really brought everything up a level. It still has that euphoric, Eliza-and-the-Bear sound, but there are a few darker tracks in there. We had time to experiment.[/su_quote]

What artists do you enjoy listening to – is there anyone that informs your sound?
[su_quote]We all have our own big musical influences, punk, rock, instrumentals and so on but we’re all huge pop fans – we listen to radio and chart music: Katy Perry, Taylor Swift, The Weeknd. It’s the pop melodies and top lines that get us going as well as thinking about what new bands are doing, what we can take from that and learn from that. This kind of music is popular for a reason, it’s being written by the most talented songwriters. We’re partial to a bit of Bieber, everyone’s a ‘Belieber’ now.[/su_quote]

Do you think it’s important for bands to play small venues like the Waterfront?
[su_quote]Definitely, especially at the beginning when you’re building your audience. It’s still an hour and a half journey to get in to London to see a band so if you don’t take the time to play people’s hometowns your fans won’t get to see you live. It’s what builds the character of your playing live and it keeps the venues alive. We know first-hand how important it is to play smaller venues.[/su_quote]

Do you have a favourite song that you love playing live?
[su_quote]It changes every night to be honest, depending on the response from the crowd. Some of the songs we’ve been playing since the early days, I literally could close my eyes and play them so it’s good to have the newer material where you’re not in so much of a routine. Light It Up’s been pretty good recently. At the end of the day, you make music for other people to listen to, so it really depends on the reaction.[/su_quote]

How did you come up with your band name?
[su_quote]Paul found a book of poems which happened to be sitting in a shop window in San Francisco. We had no intentions to be a proper band at that point, we didn’t really think that anyone would hear our music and not know what we looked like, so the fact that we had a girl’s name in our band name didn’t really occur to us until way down the line when people were like ‘Who’s Eliza? Who’s the Bear?’[/su_quote]


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September 2021
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