Elle S’Appelle are the new darling’s of Liverpool. Currently fore fronting the, almost ironically, titled “Boss Pop” movement, the world seems to be their oyster. For Andy, Owen and Lucy, this is no bad thing.
Making brilliantly catchy pop music, Elle S’Appelle don’t hide behind a charade of odd chords, quirky signatures and an egotistical attitude. I spoke to Lucy Blakely, keyboardist and vocalist about the highlights, success and the Capitol of Culture.
Things have rocketed at a phenomenal pace for Elle S’Appelle, just ten months after starting the band, Moshi Moshi released their first single ‘Little Flame’ which sold out from 9am till “dinner time when I checked to see whether there were any left!” says Lucy.
If Elle S’Appelle makes it through the Left Field in Liverpool event in May, they will achieve their “biggest honour” as a band by being able to play Left Field stage at Glastonbury. Lucy concluded that this thought “makes [her] stomach do flips and have all sorts of daydreams about prancing about on a huge stage in a vintage dress and polka dot wellies! Oh and one of those massive sun hats with the big rims…” Admittedly, this is Lucy “getting carried away thinking about it,” but why not?!
Liverpool itself is getting quite a lot of press attention with the opening of Capitol of Culture, Ringo’s song and The Wombats being constantly played on Radio One.
The Left Field of Liverpool event is raising money for Anti-Slavery International. Apart from that the involvement that Elle S’Appelle have had with the Liverpool 08 has been limited to “research projects that are taking place mostly co-ordinated by my university but hopefully more things will come along.”
When asked about The Wombats, Lucy remembers when “they were a local band that kept trying to add [her] on MySpace and the next thing they were massive!” Elle S’Appelle are, undoubtably, inspired and “given confidence that maybe the same thing could happen for [them.]”
Andy once described Elle S’Appelle as not being a “smelly boy band” but being “two smelly boys and girl band,” this is the last thought that comes to mind when you see them onstage, with Lucy’s vintage dresses becoming a major topic of discussion.
Like most girls, Lucy wants an all vintage wardrobe so that no-one will have the same outfits as her. The comparisons to Kate Nash were inevitable, especially with the first single out on Moshi Moshi and the new ginger hair for Lucy. Lucy only “objects to it when people incinuate that [she has] copied her because [she has] dressed this way for years!” Alas, unfortunately, no vintage shop has yet offered to sponsor the band!
Most bands popping up at the moment are generally the Arctic Monkeys set up of four boys, with a girl in the band, Elle S’Appelle stand out from the masses of NME boys. Andy has been quoted in saying “when demoing acoustically, [he] sang falsetto where [he] knew [he] wanted a girl to sing.”
The songs themselves have a innocence that is hard to capture, taking inspirations from Roald Dahl, Tim Burton’s poetry and Hans Christian Anderson. ‘Little Flame’ itself is taken from a short story about a boy and a little flame, Lucy sings as the boy and Andy sings the little flame’s lyrics.
When asked about the “boss pop” scene, Lucy says “It was our manager who came up with it as a marketing venture type thing… I kind of like it! I think it's a good recognition of the fact that we fully love the pop music that we are playing – I really hate it when bands that are playing blatant pop try to pass it off as something else just to make it seem more “underground” or indie… pop is great, it needs to be embraced! If we didn't put a name on it ourselves then the NME or some other cool and kooky kids would (and it probably wouldn't be as good!)”
With bands such as Hot Club De Paris and The Wombats as company, it seems like a relatively good place to be in the market. Lucy enthuses about other “boss pop” bands, saying “My Amiga, goFASTER>> are among my favourites as we share our practice room with them and we're going on tour with them..” The best thing about “boss pop” is the pure admiration that all of these bands have for each other, bouncing off each other creatively and organising tours to spend time with friends in the other bands.
Having been championed by Steve Lamacq, the future looks bright for Elle S’Appelle. Although that hasn’t been the bands highlight to date. Lucy says “playing the big Carling Academy with the Wombats whilst dressed as Minnie Mouse was definitely amazing…” but also describes the surrealness of doing a session in Maida Vale as “such a honour.” The studios is where they used to do the John Peel sessions and is situated next to Radio One’s Live Lounge with “all these huge names written on the walls of bands that'd been there before!”
Despite all of this, it’s hard to imagine that normal life is much fun for Elle S’Appelle. Lucy is still finishing her Popular Music degree at Liverpool University and can’t wait until it’s over so her main concentration can be on the album and the imminent festivals that will take over her Summer 2008.
I asked Lucy who she would recommend listening to by the way of up and coming bands. Having made friends with these bands on the road, Lucy chose Sky Larkin and Emmy The Great. Also discussed were Slow Club, a Sheffield two-piece who “have also released a single with Moshi Moshi… great band and lovely people too.”
Although Elle S’Appelle are doing mini tours now, there’ll be a short break whilst the band are recording their first album. It’s amazing the progress that Elle S’Appelle have made in such a short time and will no doubt be back bigger and better with a record deal behind them.
You can see Elle S’Appelle on the Boss Pop tour with goFASTER>> from 15th Feb.