Interview: White Elephant Emporium

white elephant

White Elephant Emporium are performing at the RAZZ launch party tonight! Learn more about the event here.

1. How and where did you guys meet?

Harry: We met last year through campus bands and started jamming. We brought in a friend to play live drums and started playing acoustic sets at house parties and small venues soon after.

Emily: Harry had been working alone on pseudonymous projects and I had been writing lyrics and prancing about pretending to be Siouxsie Sioux before I sent out an ‘ad’ through campus bands. I recall offering the recipient a Thai Green curry for their reply!

2. How would you describe your music?

Harry: Loud, guitar-driven indie-rock with lush, ambient soundscapes and soaring vocals.

3. Are you influenced by anyone?

Harry: I have an unhealthy obsession with the Smashing Pumpkins while bands like Pixies, Radiohead and Nine Inch Nails contribute to the more experimental elements. A lot of shoegaze-type music has impacted on our current sound.

Emily: I contribute the more surreal elements. I’m a huge fan of groups like Can and Faust, along with Post-punk and No-wave kids like Lizzy Mercier Descloux and Fugazi. Strong performers, atonality and a bit of tooth and nail goes a long way for me. I’ve also got a soft spot for medieval madrigals. Abbess Hildegard von Bingen is a heroine of mine.

4. Can any of you read music?

Emily: I was trained in opera and classical singing until about the age of 18 (grade 8 hollaaaa) so I can sight read. It’s great to do things by ear though, it really embodies the music.

Harry: I’ve studied bits of theory, but I’m pretty much self-taught so composing is always organic.

5. Who has the best fashion sense?

Emily – Queen Elizabeth I. Oh, you mean us? We’re both pretty fetching. Harry has the finer shoe selection by far and he owns a pair of long johns with a skull and crossbones on them which we constructed into a pop filter for some vocal recording -that is ‘fashion’ and ‘sense’, right there. I do something between Jeff Koons and a woodland fairy.

6. Where do you want to be in 2 years time as a band?

Emily: We see ourselves with a clutch of straws and hands poised.

7. What was your fav festival this year?

Harry: Secret Garden Party, no question. It’s an annual tradition for me but it’s probably best that I don’t say too much. We don’t want the secret getting out now do we?

8. What’s your latest track called?

Harry: ‘Blood Sweets’ is scheduled for a September release. We’re also working on a song called ‘Eye’ that we’ll be debuting at Mama Stones, so watch out for that.

9. Tell us the most outrageous thing that happened this Summer…

Harry: A friend of mine polished off a 3 litre box of wine at SGP. She projectile vomited from the tree she’d somehow found herself in, fell out, then got me into trouble by drunkenly convincing the first-aiders at welfare that I’d given her ketamine- A complete lie, she’s never touched a drug in her life!

Emily: I was working in a really vile naval pub in Plymouth all summer. The final straw was when a fully grown man with magenta hair punch his girlfriend in the face at the bar. I burst into tears and quit to retreat to my world of 9 ‘o’ clock bed times, quinoa salads and paintbrushes.

interview by Claudia Hogan


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