For those who haven’t heard your music before, tell us a little about Ella Thompson?
I am a musician from Naarm, I play keyboards, sing, produce and write songs. I love soul music. My favourite sandwiches in this town are the salad sandwich from Loafer and the curried egg sandwich from Sunhands.
As one half of GL, and member of Dorsal Fins, what’s been your favourite part so far of making music as Ella Thompson?
Collaboration is one of the best parts about making music. Being in a band rocks, I also love the opportunity my ‘Ella Thompson’ project gives me to go at my own pace and create whatever my ears and heart want to hear, that’s empowering to me.
What are the stories behind the two singles on the release ‘Cool Down My Heart’ and ‘Lost’?
Both of these songs were recorded and written at home during the lockdown time. I was trying to go places my body couldn’t through music. ‘Cool Down My Heart’ is about letting go of the things you can’t control and trying to keep cool under pressure. ‘Lost’ is about those precious brief moments of nirvana.
One word you would use to describe each of the tracks?
‘Cool Down My Heart’ – Bouncy
‘Lost’ – Dreamy
Could you pick a fave between the two?
They both hit different!
What was the recording process like? Who are some of the musicians you collaborated with?
I wrote ‘Cool Down My Heart’ at home during deep covid times with Liam McGorry who plays lots of instruments. We wrote and produced the song together and then sent to our drummer friend Hudson Whitlock and our Saxophone friend Will Morrisey who sent back their recordings and we pieced it together. Then John Castle polished it up and gave it a nice mix.
‘Lost’ I wrote and played lots of different synthesisers on during the same period, all the above mentioned gorgeous musicians also contributed to this song too.
How do you approach songwriting for Ella Thompson in comparison to your other projects?
My ‘Ella Thompson’ project has evolved over time, giving me the opportunity to discover a diversity of styles in my practice. I started playing soul music as a teenager and developed a love for electronic music in my 20’s. Now I feel like I am putting everything I have learned over time into my music and writing it from an intuitive place.
What Australian artists have influenced your approach to writing and creativity?
I feel lucky to be from such an inspiring music community, there is so much going on to listen to. I am a big Renee Geyer Stan. Nai Palm for her trueness. Tiana Khasi for her poise and brilliance. Frollen Music Library for their endless ideas. I could go on!
Touring with your many projects, you have played alongside Australian heroes including Renee Geyer, Paul Kelly, and Linda and Vika Bull, do you have a favourite memory or live show?
So many memories with awesome people who have shared their tours and audiences with me. I remember a show at the ‘Fly By Night’ in Perth when I was about 16 years old touring with Renee Geyer and Vika and Linda Bull. I was opening the shows on a national tour and they would call me on stage to sing with them. I remember on this show they got me up for ‘Shaky Ground’ and it was really fun.
Do you have any pre-show rituals?
A few deep breaths, and away we go.
First piece of recorded music your purchased or gifted and do you remember where from?
My parents had lots of great records I listened to as a kid. Dad is a big Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan fan so I remember being in awe of these recordings as a kid. There was also a lot of jazz vocal records at home by Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughn and Billie Holiday.
Where is your favourite store to go digging for records? Either in Australia or overseas?
Best record store in the world is Northside Records.
We hear you’re playing at the in store at Northside Records on Record Store Day, what can we expect from your live set?
I will be bringing my full band and playing songs from the the new 7” record plus a few other songs which will be on my upcoming EP ‘Cocoon/Dawn’ which will be released May 4th.