Eliza and the Bear are a 5 piece rock band from London, their eponymous debut album lands on April 1st and to whet the appetites of folk up and down this fine land, they are on tour from January 21st until mid February. They play an album launch party in London at the Islington Assembly Hall on April 7th.
Before the tour kicked off, we chatted to Martin Dukelow from the band about cowboy hats, christmas presents and why they're NOT called Jemima and the Warthog, read on for more....
You’re from London which is a proper melting pot for bands, genres and styles, what do you do in order to stand out from the rest?
We don't really think about it to much. I think that if you stick to just writing music you enjoy and playing lots of shows the rest will fall into place for you.
How did you settle on the band name? Did you consider alternatives such as Jemima and the Warthog? Amelia and the Aardvark?
We just come across a book of poems, which happened to be in a shop window that our drummer passed. It seemed to fit the music we were writing and it just stuck!
Tell us a fascinating fact about the band or one member?
Our bass player Chris Brand actually has a degree in history. Specifically Egyptian studies. Don't ask me what made him select it!
You release your eponymous album in April, I see that it was recorded in Nashville, why here and who produced it?
We selected a guy called Jacquire King because he had produced a lot of music that we all personally were fans of. He usually works out of his studio over in Nashville (Blackbird Studios). It just made sense to head over there and lose all home distractions. Ended up being the best studio that we've ever recorded in.
Do you still have the cowboy hats?
We went into a shopping centre to pick one up as a little memento. Turns out they are crazy expensive! It didn't stop us trying them on much to the annoyance of the "Boot Barn" staff. We did manage to go and watch the Titans American Football game and I managed to bring home this huge foam finger that is currently in my bedroom.
Any funny tales you can tell us about the recording process?
So we were basically working 7 day weeks but we all set aside an hour a day to play this game that our recording team taught us. It's pretty much like handball but with some alternate rules. We seriously must have become almost semi-pro with the amount we played it.
I’m confused, your album release party is planned for the Islington Assembly Hall, London on April 7th, but the album is released in February? Do I have my dates wrong?
Our album is actually out on April 1st but all the best things are worth waiting for!
Do you find that you are received better by fans at certain places in the UK? If so, why do you think this is?
We do seem to go down well in certain places although i think this is down to the fact that we just happened to play there the most, be it festivals or one of our shows.
How do you ‘go down’ overseas?
A lot of our streaming plays do actually come from abroad but we've not managed to play that many shows outside of the UK. We played a couple of shows in Germany that were amazing. Hopefully this year we will get to find out!
I just watched a video to ‘It Get’s Cold’, your live shows look great fun, can you describe a ‘typical’ live show (if there is such a thing)?
I guess 'fun' is the key word. We just get up play our songs, have loads of fun doing it and hope that other people do to.
I assume that you were all good boys in 2015, what did Santa bring you for Christmas?
I managed to get some jogging bottoms, aftershave and some money. I went on a big shopping trip boxing day and got myself some clothes, which is always my favourite bit of Christmas! Sales! Sales! Sales!
How did your '12 Days of Christmas’ go? Will you be doing something similar for 2016?
Yeah it was fun. It was just a cool way to keep in touch with people while we wasn't playing that many shows. I feel that 2016 will be a little busier on the live front so who knows!
You’re all on a night out together, who is the first band member to throw in the towel and call it a night?
Callie Noakes. 100%
Have anyone in the band ever been arrested, if so, what for?
Our bassist Chris got caught taking a piss in the street somewhere. I don't think he got arrested but I think he got a hefty fine.
Any guilty pleasures that I can share amongst my followers? Taylor Swift/Backstreet Boys etc….
I'm a big Justin Beiber fan and we've got a couple of big Taylor Swift fans! I think were all into pop and have been from a young age so we don't even feel that guilty about it.
Your video for ‘Lions Heart’ has people with clouds on their heads playing badminton in a maze….a surreal idea, was this the result of a dream or something you cooked up after taking hallucinogenic drugs?
No drugs for this one. It was a bit of a collaboration with the director that filmed this video and 'It Gets Cold', he literally has the craziest ideas and that's what attracted us to him.
You’re on tour in January & February, which towns or cities are you most excited about playing and why?
Without sounding cliche, I'm looking forward to all of them. Theres some places we've never been to before let alone played, which is always exciting. Then there's places like Liverpool and Nottingham that we've played loads which are great fun to go back to.
What has been the strangest thing a fan has ever sent/given to you?
I received a key ring that had a picture of a cow on it. I literally have no idea why.
Lastly, are you setting yourselves any new years resolutions for 2016? if so, how long do you plan to continue them?
PLAY MORE SHOWS!
We'd like to thank Martin for taking the time to chat to us, we wish the band every success for their forthcoming tour of the UK that kicks off on January 21st in Norwich, we're going to do what we can to make the Exeter show and see what all the fuss is about!
For tickets and venue information, please see below....