ELLEH is a Disco pop duo from Tokyo, who are made up of Satoru Teshima (founder of the Japan-based music blog Lights + Music) and Bob Wiley (part of the band Ice Cream Shout and behind the project Cloudy Busey, both of which have received attention from music publications such as Stadiums And Shrines and Altered Zones), who have been producing songs together since 2012.
Thanks to ELLEH
Bonjour Satoru <3
interview : Thierry Jaussaud
Great to meet you too Thierry. Everything is well. It’s cherry blossom season now in Japan and everyone is very excited.
Where does your name come from?
We had difficulties finding the right name for our band. We had many names but none of it seemed to make sense. Last December I had a plan to visit L.A. When I spelt out its pronunciation in a funny way as ELLEH, I realised how beautiful it looks aesthetically. When I arrived in L.A. and listened to some music in the car in the dry, hot air, it felt very romantic, psychedelic and magical. That moment I realised that the name ELLEH had everything we wanted to express through music. It’s a perfect fit.
What’s it like to be a new act in general? What’s the most challenging bit about it?
I love how challenging it is to be heard. I run a music blog myself and I receive a ton of email every day from artists and publicists, so I’m very much aware of how competitive it is now to stand out, however great the music you are making because there are millions of artists in the world dying to get featured! It’s ironic how now I’m the one finding this blog game frustrating, but I’m enjoying it at the same time.
Describe each other’s personality in a sentence…
Teshi: Bob’s passion for music is a light that never goes out.
Bob: Teshi is a rebel at heart, he walks in through the out door.
Who is your other favourite duo, musical or otherwise?
Pet Shop Boys, Suicide & Moloko.
How would you describe your first single « American Lover »?
The theme of American Lover is regret. It’s about letting go of someone/something that was more precious than anything else in the world and what it might do to your heart after that. It shows how fragile love can be.
And that brings us to your upcoming debut EP! What was the process like while creating it – and how would you describe it to everyone who hasn’t heard it yet?
Anthems is a trilogy. Through a course of three EPs, we will explore one person’s bargaining with heartbreak and turning to music as salvation.
When Bob and I started making music again last year, we wanted to make an album. So we came up with a concept called Sad Boy Disco. It is a mental zone you would find yourself at 4 am at a disco. You’d be a little tipsy, tired and prone to reflecting on the mistakes and failed relationships of recent times. But there’s still a music to keep you dancing, despite all this. We wanted to make the soundtrack for the people who once lived that feeling.
Have you thought of doing some covers?
Hell yeah. We have been wanting to do some funk covers, as well as some Radiohead and Depeche Mode.
As a matter of fact, what are you listening to at the moment?
I think the new Peter Silberman (off The Antlers) album is so beautiful. Bob is listening to a lot of Haruomi Hosono produced albums lately.
You just have to tell me what first comes into your mind when I tell you the following key words. Ready? Let’s go…
Éclair au chocolat
L’Atlier de l’eclair, it’s a luxury eclair shop I went in Paris.
What can we find in your pocket/bag right now?
I have a bad habit of putting everything in my pocket. Right now there’s an age-old used tissue paper, a candy wrapper my house key, some 10 yen coins, a receipt and iPhone. I know. It’s gross.
To finish, a song that may be on your mind right now.
Elbow – Firebrand & Angels. I especially love the part where Guy Garvey sings ’Dopey and Hopeless’.