Before opening for headliner Charli XCX on Oct. 2, The Eagle’s Danielle Bourn sat down with the Swedish singer/rapper Elliphant.
The Eagle: You have a really unique sound. What are your influences?
Elliphant: I think my influences are mostly the ‘90s. It’s not any particular artist, actually. I listened to a lot of Swedish folk music growing up, and my mom was into, like, David Bowie, Frank Zappa… even Frank Sinatra, actually. But, I remember my first idols, like, B-52’s, Leila King, stuff like that. You know, Keft Vark, Borse Head has been a big influence, Cocorosi, stuff like that.
E: It shows! So, how did you get started? Have you always had this vision?
El: No, I’ve been lucky like that. I think it’s a very fortunate thing, to, like, sometime don’t know what you want with your life, and just get taken with life, you know? So, I waited for a while. I was doing a lot of hunting in my life. I’ve been traveling all over the f***ing planet. I’ve been working since I was 15. I’ve been doing so much. I didn’t expect something this amazing to happen to me.
E: Would you say this is your passion?
El: Yeah, this is my passion. Actually, everything else is fading. Because, I think, it’s all about the energy of something. Before, it was only my own art, my own idea. Now, I’m so involved. So many people involved with my project, so many people who want everything to work out with me. Not only because the topic of things but because [of the] art. So it gives the whole project a different… fire.*
E: Sure. So this project, and all these people, has it become a community for you?
El: Yeah, it is. I created a crew for the first time in my life. I have, like, a phobia of going to yoga class or dance coarse. I never done anything like that in my life. I’ve been very scared of being in a group. I’ve been very solo doing my own thing. Like, if people listen to Spice Girls, I listen to Leonard Cohen. If people listen to Leonard Cohen, I listen to Spice Girls. Know what I mean? It’s just gonna be all the time like that. So, this is the first time in my life I’m in a collaboration. I’m working with other people. And we’re working toward something that is not only good music, it is also a very good message, this whole project, and we all want good stuff.
E: What is the message you want students to get from your music?
El: They need to remember to be free with their emotions, not strangled from the bad side in life. Especially in America, Europe, we have this idea of a perfect life. The American Dream kind of thing. And, there are so many other ways of making a fulfilled existence and I think, stay free in your emotions and don’t be afraid to talk about how you feel. And it’s something I need to talk about because when it comes to humans, that’s really what I care about. I’m a diagnosed child myself, people tried to put me on drugs when I was eight, and because I had a family that didn’t want that, I was very lucky like that. Don’t buy what people tell you, who you are, because you know who you are.
And that’s my message to the world, and that what I want to represent as an artist and through my music, you will hear that. I will never rest. It will always be rock, it will be silly f**king trance. There will never be an album, ever.
E: There will never be an album, ever?
El: No, I mean, there will be an album, but not like, same producer made the whole album kind of thing, but maybe sometime in the future, I don’t know. But what I’m working on now is to really represent the people. Like, you can really enjoy strangle sex one time, but that doesn’t mean you have to have strangle sex everyday. Because, that will take it to a point where you will one day get choked. You know what I mean? Like, beware of the decadence. We don’t have it in fashion, anymore, because we are living in a free world right now. But it doesn’t mean that the evolution of the thing is still there. So, it’s really harder to capture it on the stand, how we provoke, and it’s complicated.
E: Is there anything else you’d like to say?
El: People should just stay open, and I realize that in America, student radio is bringing in a lot of new cool music. I don’t know if there’s anything I can do there to make it worse or better, I don’t know anything about it, but… listen to my music! That’s what I wanna say! Like, give it a chance. It’s simple and very complicated. Maybe I can help and, don’t be afraid to reach out. I also answer to my fans that reach out on Facebook, I try to take time to really answer people and if people have any questions. But, most of all, don’t take antidepressant f**king medical babbalong pills. Don’t do it. Don’t eat a bunch of this vitalina f**king sh*t for your diagnosis, don’t do it. Like, go out and eat ecstasy. But don’t do that sh*t, don’t do it. Don’t take drugs every day.