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Elder Island

Tuesday, September 17, 2019, 9:00 PM


Beware before entering Elder Islands world because once youre in you wont want to leave. Be prepared to be led down paths from which you cant come back, to be captivated by sensual, soulful, shapeshifting songs, to encounter lyrics littered with clues.There is magic in Elder Islands music and perhaps a little witchcraft. Trying to pin the Bristol trios sound down is pointless because the usual pop rules dont apply. Textures matter as much as melodies. Genres bend and blend. Electronics rub shoulders with odd instruments. Katy Sargent sings as though casting a spell.They are songs to lose yourself in, to be swept away by, to send shivers up your spine. What they mean is for the listener to decipher. There are signposts, of course alluring lyrics, telling atmospherics, tantalising sonic twists and turns, tempo-changing beats but these lovingly-crafted life stories arent literal. Theyre far too smart for that.Formed six years ago as an experiment-come-university hobby, Elder Island are singer and cellist Katy, bassist and beats maker Luke Thornton and guitarist and synth wizard David Havard. None hail from Bristol, but the city was what brought them together and its genre-mashing scene was what inspired them to start Elder Island.Luke and Dave grew up as mates in Bournemouth where both were in indie bands. A shared love of Arctic Monkeys convinced them to team up in their late teens and briefly took them on tour, but their band broke up when Dave left for Bristol to study graphic design and Luke went to Wales to learn documentary photography.Birmingham-born pop fan and lapsed school cello player Katy, studying fine art, found Dave in a flat-share where Luke spent weekends sleeping in the kitchen (Bristols nightlife having more to offer than Newports). Luke had bought a drum kit, Dave was DJing and when the pair heard Katy practising her newly-purchased cello in the bathroom of the flat (acoustics, apparently), a sonic seed was planted.The trio of Four Tet fans started out with jam sessions at home, adding weird percussion to Lukes loops and stitching field recordings in to their soundscapey songs. What was supposed to be for fun suddenly got serious when, in 2014, a debut EP they stuck up on Soundcloud took off.A fellow student studying music management had the EP pressed on to vinyl and, to the bands surprise, it was picked up by Majestic Casual and played by Gilles Peterson on BBC 6Music, BBC Introducing and Amazing Radio. By then Elder Island had played just a handful of gigs.We had no expectations for the EP at all, admits Luke. And we were clueless as to the industry. Even playing live was a struggle because the songs were tricky to recreate and Katy was a nervous wreck. I was terrified, confirms Katy. Id always loved singing, but Id never been in a band before. The only time Id been on stage was in a Martin Luther King musical at school. At our early gigs, Id be glued to the spot. It took me a long time to learn to loosen up.Both Katy and Dave were off travelling when their debut EP started to snowball Katy in Japan, Luke in Mongolia. On their return, they poured their experiences in to a second EP, 2016s Seeds In Sand, a more structured, at times dancey five tracks that found fans in Beats 1s Zane Lowe, and Tom Robinson and Radio 1s Huw Stephens. Festivals came calling. The band sold out a headline UK tour. Their streams started to spiral, most notably on Spotify.Production-wise, Seeds In Sand was where we found out feet, says Dave. The songs were more complex and coherent and less ambient. The final song, Key One, was the most upbeat wed ever been and that became for our cue for the album. Live, it always the song that started the dancing.The magic in Elder Islands music has its roots in the trios strange, painstaking songwriting process. Every song starts as a jam in to which ideas and instruments are thrown. The jams, recorded in Lukes basement studio, can last for 20 minutes or several hours. Lyrics might arrive at

Cost: $15 in advance / $18 at the door
Tickets: http://www.ticketnetwork.com/tix/tickets-3937909.aspx

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Santa Cruz, CA 95060

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