Ellie Bleach on her upcoming EP and Fair Play Festival

Ellie Bleach is about to release her sophomore EP, Now Leaving West Feldwood, and will be performing at SXSW in March before heading to Manchester for Fair Play Festival on April 6th. We spoke to Ellie before the festival to find out how she is feeling about playing the EP live.

GC: You were named as ‘One to Watch’ in 2023 and it ended up being a really big year for you. What were some of your highlights, and what are you looking forward to most in 2024?

EB: Highlights: playing a sell out headline show, going on my first ever tour supporting Ten Tonnes, recording a sick EP with my band and fabulous engineer. In 2024 I’ll go on my first headline tour with the band and can’t wait to play in new cities as well as putting together an all-singing all-dancing headline set. I’m also heading to Austin for SXSW in March, the first time I’ve ever been to America!

GC: You released a Christmas song at the end of 2023. What do you think is the secret recipe for a good Christmas song?

EB: I think nostalgia and an underlying sentimental feeling is a great starting point. My favourite Christmas songs are the sad ones, there’s something almost camp about pairing maudlin lyrics with a sappy melody.

GC: How have your experiences in 2023 helped you prepare for your Spring 2024 headline tour?

EB: Recording the EP has really pushed me creatively, as I co-produced it with Dave Mountain. Developing my sound to verge on the theatrical means I want my live show to reflect that. I want people to leave feeling as if they’ve been taken on a bit of a journey and have to return to their normal selves after being fully immersed, like when you leave a cinema to find it’s still daylight outside.

GC: What can people expect from one of your gigs if they’ve never seen you perform live before?

EB: Here at Ellie Bleach inc, we like to keep it old school. I see my stage persona as a narrator, or a slightly more irreverent cabaret host.  Singing along is also heavily encouraged, hearing people scream the bridge of ‘Doing Really Well Thanks’ really does make lugging my keyboard around the UK all worth it.

GC: You’re also performing at Fair Play Festival in Manchester in April. How does preparing for a festival set differ from a headline show?

EB: A much larger proportion of festival crowds have never heard you before and are just checking you out. I try to treat festival sets like a whistle-stop tour of all things Ellie Bleach.

GC: What do you find most exciting about performing at festivals?

EB: The opportunity to wow people that never would have encountered you before. Someone who’s come to the festival for a totally different act or genre can stumble across you, and as a music fan there’s no better feeling than uncovering something sick that feels like your own little discovery. 

GC: Which other artists who are on the Fair Play line-up are you excited to see on the day?

EB: I was totally spellbound by The New Eves when I saw them at The Windmill last year and would love to learn what they’ve done with their set since then. I’ll also be furiously gyrating to Marie Davidson come nightfall.

GC: Which songs from your upcoming sophomore EP Now Leaving West Feldwood are you most excited to play live?

EB: ‘That’ll Show ‘Em’ is arranged live to end in cacophony and transition into a different song, so it’s super fun to end the song live with chaotic improvisation.

GC: Talk us through the latest single you released, ‘Whole Lotta Nothing’.

EB: This one’s for all the lovers out there! It’s a slow-dance homage for the romantically dissatisfied cynics who reluctantly participate in the whole dating charade. It follows an elusive other woman and the strings of half-baked love affairs she saunters through, unphased. It wouldn’t be an Ellie Bleach song without a sense of deep dissatisfaction and loneliness now would it. 

GC: What else have you got coming up in 2024 that you want to shout out?

EB: I’m super excited to play SXSW, but flying an independent artist halfway round the world can be difficult, so I’m asking any Ellie Bleach-heads out there if they have any spare cash to chuck a few quid towards my GoFundMe: ‘Get Ellie Bleach to SXSW’. My EP Now Leaving West Feldwood comes out 28th March – yes, it’s a concept album!

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