Faith Eliott on OK PAL Records: 'We want it to be something that is very inclusive and has a collective energy'

Faith Elliott on OK PAL Records: 'We want it to be something that is very inclusive and has a collective energy'

With exciting plans for the label and a new EP on the way, the folk musician and artist discusses what lies ahead

Faith Eliott is one of those rare people whose inherent creativity appears paramount to both their character and their life. They move seamlessly across medium and form, both uninhibited, and undoubtedly talented. Having explored everything from puppetry to poetry, sculpture to animation – alongside slowly developing a quiet but powerful songwriting and vocal ability – Faith is perhaps best described simply: as an 'artist'.

With an EP due for release in April on Faith's co-founded label, OK PAL Records, and a heart wrenching, hypnotising performance from the musician in recently released single 'Lilith's accompanying video, Faith is demonstrating to Edinburgh, and Scotland, a competent independence when it comes to artistic output. (And some serious costume and beading skills, set to be the envy of many!)

Faith's folky, often hauntingly beautiful, lo-fi music has drawn comparisons to Kimya Dawson of The Moldy Peaches, and it's clear why. There is a similar simplicity and authenticity in the purity of Faith's vocals.

Impossible Bodies, Faith's new EP, is inspired by medieval animal compendiums, with each song based around a different creature.

'Bestiary's are really cool. A lot of medieval scribes had never seen the animals they were describing and drawing. Some of the entries about, say, hedgehogs are really accurate, because they're like, around. But the entries for panthers are these multi-coloured beasts with sweet smelling breath … there's loads of really weird stuff!

'Both my parents were historians, and I guess I was always around old stuff. Whenever I'd write, I would always use creatures. It feels so innate that I don't have any explanation for it.'

Having grown up in Minnesota, Faith was moved to the UK aged 13, and left home to come to Edinburgh at just 16. Completing an art foundation, before sculpture at ECA, Faith speaks fondly of community spaces such as the old Forest Café near Bristo Square.

'It was amazing. I still pine for that as an art space because it was really incredible. It was just an amazing building. I hung out there constantly and a lot of my friends now, I met there. It was a really DIY art space. It didn't feel like there was a lot of individualistic art going on. Instead, it felt like everyone was involved with this constantly evolving collaborative installation. I really love community spaces and feel like they're important.'

With friend, fellow musician and now co-label founder Hailey Beavis, Faith launched OK PAL Records in November in Leith. Enhancing the same DIY, multi-medium aesthetic that Faith associates with community art from the past, OK PAL Records encompasses more than music.

'We are putting on a lot of events and we are releasing zines and we've got a lot of artists contributing to the zines. We want it to be quite a multimedia thing, maybe podcasts … however it evolves really. We want it to be something that is very inclusive and has a collective energy.

'Our next event is called 'My Big Day'. It's my birthday, so we'd been referring to it as that and thought we couldn't really call it anything else now!'

This anti-Valentine's celebration takes place on Friday 15 February at Henry's Cellar Bar, and alongside a variety of performances, Faith promises the release of their second zine, 'IS LOVE A CONSTRUCT?'!

Scotland has played its part on Faith's relationship with music, and having lived here since childhood, that is unsurprising.

'I don't want to write songs that are just emoting. I want to write something that is about something. I like the way that folk music tells stories and is about particular things.

'When I was doing animation, we had a tutor who said that we always needed to be able to sum something up in a sentence. If you can't explain what your film or your song is about in one sentence, then it is probably too complicated. I really rely on that. Being able to communicate something clearly is a really tricky thing to do.'

There is something unassuming and genuine about this artist, who's place in the heart of Scotland's DIY music and art industry suggests promising things could be about to happen for Faith, and deservedly so.

'I'll do a tour with this album. And then I'd really like to … write some more stuff I suppose! I need to go back to my cave and write some more. I really want to focus on the label as well, and on supporting other artists.'

OK PAL Presents My Big Day, Henry's Cellar Bar, Fri 15 Feb. Impossible Bodies is out on OK PAL Records on Fri 19 Apr.


Celebrate Valentine's day with a club night to remember, featuring Kits, Housekind, Faith Eliott and more.