Razgovori ugodni

Elizabeth Morris (Allo Darlin'): Thank god for songs and love, eh?

Ivana Miholčić & Andrija Škare utorak, 27. svibnja 2014

Posljednji Žur u sezoni označit će prava indie pop poslastica. U Klub. nam 7. lipnja dolazi Elizabeth Morris, pjevačica grupe Allo Darlin'. Povodom tog nenadanog gostovanja donosimo vam intervju s autoricom kojeg su u paru vodili Ivana i Andrija

Let's start with the obvious: what's a British Aussie doing in Florence? If we got it right, you went from Australia to England and then from England to Italy. When, how, why?

This question reminds me a little of the Talking Heads song, Once in a Lifetime. How did I get here? First of all, I don't really think of myself as a British Australian. I suppose I still think of myself as Australian, but now that I am married to a Norwegian, and I live in Italy, and I have a long history of living in Britain, I really don't feel like I belong to any country in particular. It's a strange feeling, but I think it is perhaps better than feeling like you can only exist in one particular place. The short story is, I moved to London when I finished university and I lived there for 8 years. I then had the opportunity to move to Italy because my husband got a job here at a university, so we're here for now.

What’s it like for you to live in Italy and what exactly do you do in Florence? Do you miss your home? What is home?

Life in Italy is wonderful and exciting and strange and different. There is a lot to love about living here. I work as an English teacher, and I have a natural curiosity about people, so really it's a wonderful job for me. Tonight, for example, I am going to have dinner at one of my student's houses, and apparently she is a wonderful cook. I am extremely excited about this, because really the best food you have in Italy is the one you have in people's homes. Food is very important here, which is fantastic for me because I love to cook and to eat.

Are you a nomad at heart and is that something that made it easier for you to be in a band or did making music make a nomad out of you?

I don't think I'm a nomad at all, it's just that I've lived in a few different countries now. Only three in fact, which is not so many I think. I am actually quite a home-person, hopefully not in a boring way, I just love to be home and to cook and to play music in the house and so on. I often struggle on tour with moving from place to place, at least in the beginning, then you kind of get used to sleeping in a different room every night. I've learned to deal with it and to enjoy it.

Do you miss your band and all the playing, rehearsing, drinking and just fooling around? How hard is it and is it even possible to keep up having a band over Skype? What are the guys doing while you're away?

I miss my boys, but mainly for them rather than the playing, although we've been taking the longest break since we started the band, we haven't played a show together since October, so we are all looking forward to getting together again in the summer and playing some shows. We have been recording in that time though, so we have actually played a bit. It is harder with me in Italy, but Mike had already moved out of London to the seaside, so it was already a little more difficult. Also Bill has two kids, and Paul is always doing a million things, so we're quite a hard bunch to get in a room anyway. But it definitely is a bit more challenging now, but then again we're not 26 anymore, we have other lives too.

Paul is recording with Tigercats at the moment, Mike has just opened up a studio for recording bands at the seaside in Ramsgate, and Bill is always busy being a dad, so there are lots of other projects happening all the time.

What's happening with Allo Darlin'? We know that a new album is in the works. When does it come out and what can we expect?

We have finished our new album, and it will be released in October this year. I'm not quite sure what to tell you about it, it's called We Come From the Same Place, and the idea was to try and be as honest and open as possible, both with the songwriting and the recording. So for example it's just us on all of the tracks, there are limited overdubs. We love it, and we hope you guys will too. It feels different from the other two albums individually, but maybe it is more of a mix of them. With Europe we were really aiming for higher production values, and a bigger sound, and with the first album we were just having a party most of the time! This time we tried to capture more of our live sound, with good songs played really well, that was the idea anyway.

Do you feel any difference between the songs that you recorded under your own name and those recorded as Allo Darlin'? How do you decide which song to record under which name?

Well I've only recorded under my own name once, and that was a special thing, in that I'd written some piano songs and I wanted to record them for posterity, but piano songs aren't really AD songs. So I decided to record them in one day, at my friend Darren's house, and release them the same day. I'm pretty proud of that!

Why ukulele? Was it the sound that you fell in love with or were reasons for choosing it of more practical nature?

It was a practical thing, I found it easy to write songs on a ukulele and my friend runs a ukulele shop in London, so I started playing just at the time that the shop started. There was a nice culture around the shop for some years, as the studio where we recorded our first album was underneath it. And a lot of people who have become my close friends, Darren Hayman, the guys in the Wave Pictures, they recorded there and hung out there, so it's where I first got to know them. All through this little instrument. Although I don't play it so much anymore, Ola (husband, op.a.) gave me a beautiful guitar for Christmas so I have been playing that a lot and trying to get better. I think I will only be playing guitar for these gigs.

Your songs are full of references to bands, films and pop culture in general. It is something that’s thought through or does it just naturally flow into your songs?

Hmm, I'm not so sure. I guess you haven't heard the new album yet, and I don't think there's  a single reference on it! Anyway in the past I did reference things, yes. Although I think in our style of indie pop, it's quite common to do that. Maybe we're a bit too self-aware, a bit too clever, we've seen too many Woody Allen films. I think my style has definitely drifted from that now, now I try to have my own references for things. It's just growing and learning I suppose.

There's a questions we've been meaning to ask you, how do you feel about Europe?

I feel a bit concerned to be honest! There are a lot of problems here in Italy, and in the UK where I lived before, it seems like every state is dealing with the rise of racism and inequality and growing discontent. I don't know what will happen. In Italy, like in other places in Southern Europe, youth unemployment is very high, and the people here say it's not a place for the young. Ageism has gone in reverse. I think I am an optimist at heart, and I like to think the future is colourful and bright, but I am worried about where all of this is heading. We just need to try to appeal to the good in people and not the bad. Thank god for songs and love, eh?

Fotka: Nik Vestberg

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