11 February 2010

Community Service #2 - Elba Sessions

Week two of 'Community Service' and it gives me great pleasure to present to you with the multi-talented beast that is Elba Sessions. I first came across Elba after they launched their blog back in September of last year, to be honest I can't fully remember exactly how or what it was that lead me to stumbling across these guys. All that I know is that I am very glad I did. Now over to a lovely fella who goes by the name of Phil to introduce you to the wonderful world of Elba....

In your own words describe what Elba Sessions is:

It's evolved so much it's hard to describe! The Elba Sessions started as a monthly podcast showcasing a particular artist. We record them playing a couple of tracks and have a chat to them about their process behind writing songs and anything else that we think may be of interest. Now, the Elba Sessions incorporate a monthly residency at The Liquid Ship in Glasgow as well as having our own blog.

Please introduce the Elba team;

Three people make up the Elba team, Stephen, Chris (Knoxy) and myself, Phil. We all knew each other from uni. Chris and Stephen shared the same halls of residence (on Elba Street no less), and myself and Chris already knew each other from school in Aberdeen. Stephen runs Elba Studios in the West End so I suppose we'll call him our gaffer! Knoxy presents the podcasts and organises the gigs along with myself. I'm pretty hands on with the blog so it's me to blame for the content slump over New Year!! We also have a few extra bodies that we wheel in to help out. Steph Mulligan does photos for us and Kim Higgins will be starting to write for us on a more regular basis.

What was it that motivated you to start (1) doing the Elba Sessions (2) writing a blog (3) recording Podcasts?

Stephen started the Elba sessions as a podcast last July really as a supplement to the work he was doing in the studio. A lot of good bands/artists were recording in the studio and a podcast was a good bit of promo for both the musicians and the studio. Chris was soon drafted in to present the podcasts and I followed soon after to help out translating the Elba Sessions to gig form. We all muck in and help out with the gigs now because there are so many good bands we want to put on! The blog came as an extra. It was something that I'd wanted to start up for a while and this gave me the perfect excuse to do it. We've got the design and all that in place, it's just starting to fill up with content now and like I said before, I've got a bit of help with some writing on it and we're planning to having much more regular reviews and features.

What would you say has been the best thing to happen since you started it?

I suppose we would all have different answers for that. Personally when we put on the first elba gig I felt pretty proud. It was a busy night and we had a really good line up. The podcasts getting more listens is also good and I know that my two colleagues would probably count the Martin John Henry podcast as a high point being massive De Rosa fans!

For you personally what artist/band has excited you most over the past 12 months?

Doing the Elba Sessions and reading other blogs there are loads of bands to get excited about! I could probably make a huge list but notable ones would be Julia and The Doogans, The Scottish Enlightenment and Maple Leaves. I'm looking forward to hearing a lot more from them all this year.

For all the folk out there that haven’t heard an Elba Sessions podcast, why should they give you a listen?

I think when you are really into music, you like hearing new things or you like to hear a bit more about a band or artist. The podcast gives a bit more background to how the musician works as well as having some nice acoustic versions of their tracks.

Lastly, what can we expect to see/hear from Elba this year?

A lot more of the same. We've had a bit of hibernation over the big freeze but we've got a few gigs coming up, we're starting to record the podcasts again and we're going to get quite busy on the blog. January was the first month we had put the podcast on the blog so it feels like its really moving forward! We've become good friends with a couple of local labels, Antimatter and Armellodie, and are looking forward to doing some things with them over the next few months. We have plans...let's just see if we can put them into practice!

'Elba Sessions Presents' #4 takes place at The Liquid Ship in Glasgow on Friday 19th February. Heading up the bill for their first gig of 2010 are King James, personally I've never heard of them, but they're made up of The Diamond Family Archive and Thirty Pounds of Bone (Phil swears by this guy, and he seems to have taste, so I'd trust him on this one). Support on the evening comes from Maple Leaves, Craig Davidson and Cuddly Shark who will be playing an acoustic set, something which really has to be seen to be believed!
For further information head on over to their Homepage, where a plethora of interesting articles awaits you. Once you've finished having a snoop about on their head on over to their Myspace and listen to a stream of all of their Podcasts (the Martin John Henry one is my personal favourite in case you are interested. What do you mean you don't care. Fine then, be like that). Finally go and follow them on Twitter as that's what all the cool kids do.

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