Exposure: Absent Elk
Absent Elk: Cannibals
With their brooding melodies, Brighton contingent Absent Elk have been busy making a debut album worth shouting about. Their Youtube excursions have gained the band a following, most notably including Girls Aloud, who were so bowled over by the band’s cover of one of their hit singles that they’ve invited them along for their UK tour this spring. We had a chat with bassist James Penhallow.
With your singer, Kjetil Morland, coming from Norway and the rest of you coming from Brighton, how exactly did the band begin?
Me, Mike, Ross and Ric have played together since school, since we were around twelve. We met Kjetil at a beer festival in our hometown when we were looking for a singer; his girlfriend is from there and she mentioned him when the subject came up. So we met for a jam and it worked so we stuck together.
What music has influenced the band’s sound?
We’ve all got different tastes. I’m more into my funk-based music, stuff like the Red Hot Chilli Peppers, and also heavier stuff such as Incubus. The rest of the band are more into the chilled out stuff, so when we write together it’s a mash of these sounds; we’re not trying to fit into any genre or anything when we write, just let it take shape naturally.
How’s the debut album coming along?
We’ve finished it now; we can’t wait to get it out now. I’m really excited about it, we’ve got twelve tracks on it and five of them are the singles we’ve already put out. The first single, “Sun & Water”, will be out on 18th May.
Is this lead single a good indication of the album’s sound?
We do have songs that are more pop than this but we thought that it was more mature to go with a proper album song rather than a pop song. We don’t want to be known as a pop song, because like I said, our songs don’t fit a specific genre. Our songs have lots of different elements.
Your biggest tour dates are soon coming up, supporting Girls Aloud. Is it true they picked you because of your cover of 'The Loving Kind'? How’s it feel to be supporting them?
We did the video and needed clearance to put it up on our website and they obviously saw it through that and were interested in hiring us. We’re really excited about it, the dates are in some massive venues and a tour with one of the most prominent girl bands in the country so we couldn’t ask for more really.
There’s five of them, five of you, I make that Pimm’s O’clock.
[Laughs] There’s only one single person in the band unfortunately! But obviously it’s going to be great getting a close-up view of Girls Aloud.
Was the video all your own doing?
Yeah, we recorded on a handheld camera and Kjetil is a trained graphic designer, so did all the editing. It was a lot of fun and a way of getting the band known out there but once we release our single then the real videos will be out there.
Can you explain the band in five words?
Fun. Dynamic. Melodic…I don’t know, I can’t think of five words to describe it…Rock pop. There!
What does the future hold for Absent Elk?
We’re doing the iTunes festival and also the Napster sessions and then the Girls Aloud dates. Then we’ll have our single out and hopefully our own tour and hopefully visit Europe too.
Absent Elk’s single 'Sun & Water' will be out 18 May. They play with Girls Aloud, SECC, May 8