elijah-wolfFollowing on from last week's interview with Jinder, Bridport Radio's roving reporter Dannie Carter had the opportunity to meet with the enigmatic and ever so talented Elijah Wolf, for an ice cold cider at the Lord Nelson, to talk Bridport and find out a little more about his future projects.

D: I'm imagining many of the readers will have heard of you from either your solo stuff or the Howl Open Mic Nights, so how about we start by discussing some of your upcoming projects?

E: Okay, well I'm currently in a band called The Gravity Drive, which is myself, my wife, and a laptop and we're working our debut album right now, which is very exciting; we're about two thirds of the way through it and its a different sound.

D: How would you say it differs from your solo stuff?

E: It's more groove based, more electronic and dance based...

D: Perhaps not what people are expecting from you?

E: Maybe not, the Elijah Wolf stuff has been quite folkish, and this is very different from that. It's still my songs, my voice and harmonies, but it has a harder edge. We're taking some influences from some different areas.

D: Do you feel that's a result of working with your wife so closely on it?

E: Yeah definitely; I write the songs and she very much arranges the sounds and we edit it together. Her influence is very much on this new album, perhaps more than on any other stuff.

D: Obviously you have the Open Mic nights, and you perform at a lot of local venues... if there are any local acts, or young performers who want to have a go and are feeling a bit apprehensive, what would you say to them?

E: I've been in your shoes as a singer-songwriter, and I know how hard it is to go up on stage and play your own songs, in front of people who don't know you. I've had years of doing that at different venues, so my whole take on the Open Mic thing is to try and make them feel comfortable, to help them out and get over those first few steps of performing live. It's very important to me that people are able to express themselves musically, and so I try to help make that easy. I've played lots of gigs where you feel isolated, and you don't feel you're getting support, so my ethos is to try and create a nice encouraging atmosphere where they can feel at ease. If they want to come do it, Open Mic nights are there for you to come and enjoy yourself.

D: I imagine its important for the audience to be encouraging as well.

E: Yeah, I try to create an encouraging atmosphere by including the audience in it, show their support and clap after each act. I think the Bridport town have that ethos; when they come out and support something, they do it really well.

D: Is there anyone local you feel is an act to look out for, one to watch?

E: There's a young local singer-songwriter called Abi Rich who I feel has something quite unique going on, who I rate highly.

D: With the internet and things like that now, I suppose its much easier for acts to get their work out there...

E: It’s amazing, I mean we’ve got people in places like Austria and America who regularly talk about our music and I’ve never met them, it’s just across the airwaves, its so good to get stuff out there; its essential for artists.

D: What sort of musicians, local or not, do you find yourself inspired by?

E: Thom Yorke and  Radiohead, I find the Beatles still very inspiring - John Lennon particularly; I’m quite weird with my music, there are people I love, who I will always love and I listen to them a lot to relax, people who push the boundaries, write interesting lyrics and create different worlds. I like music that mystifies me a bit and excites me.

D: As this is Bridport Radio - some questions on that particular subject are called for! Obviously the big news at the moment is the planned developments on the St Michael’s Trading Estate, where do you stand on that?

E: Well, that’s my favourite part of Bridport, that whole area, every time a friend comes to Bridport that’s the first place I’ll take them, because it’s fantastic down there - all the vintage shops and the artist’s quarter, I think this whole town artistically has become what it is because of a few key players who have pushed the arts, music and the clothing and for me, that’s what makes Bridport special. It’s nuts really, because all of the people who move here from London or wherever, come here because of the art and music, so to take that away is madness.

D: Is there anything you feel could however, improve the town.

E: It’s a tough question really, but I feel there’s an argument for a nightclub or something like that... I guess a really good club would be good, take some trouble of the streets. Whether it could sustain a nightclub, I don’t know - but I suppose it worked with DiVinchies! I never went there, but I’ve always heard all these wild stories about DiVinchies! I’d also like to see something happen to the old library too, something should happen in there, it just looks so interesting....

D: Do you feel you draw a lot of inspiration from the area?

E: I don’t necessarily write a lot of songs about the natural area, but I suppose its good for my mindset to be surrounded by such beautiful nature, but I don’t sing songs necessarily about the west country, but its a good place to be as a musician. For instance, I go running everyday, and its a beautiful area where I live, so its a good place to relax and draw in some inspiration from somewhere.

D: You said you didn’t grow up here, so what was it that brought you to Bridport?

E: I got a management deal with a guy you owned a studio down the road from where I lived, so I moved down from Winchester, and I met my wife so...

D: You stayed! It’s always interesting to get an outside view as why people would move here, especially as someone young who perhaps finds a small town a little claustrophobic.

E: Well our daughter was born at home, and she is a proper Dorset lass and I think about what it will be like for to grow up as a teenager in this area, but she has completely fallen in love with the landscape, and it’s wonderful to see. The thing I like about Bridport is that you can walk down the street and meet lots of interesting people and have a chat, so I know she’ll always people keeping an eye out for her.

D: What do you feel is the next step for you now?

E: Well, we’ve been releasing records independently, so I guess the next step is to get somebody behind that, and get our music out to more people, which is what I hope we’ll be doing with this next album.

D: Do you feel you get a lot of support from the town?

E: Yeah, especially as I’ve not been brought up here, I’ve quite often been stopped by people saying nice things about my music, which is obviously the most important thing to me.

D: Do you feel you’ve changed quite a lot since moving here?

E: When I first moved here, I struggled with the pace of life here; you always hear people say that the pace of life in Dorset is slower, and I always thought it was a load of rubbish, but now I enjoy that fact. People aren’t uptight about getting things done to a deadline, its a lot more relaxed. There’s always an argument about moving somewhere like London to help your music but I think if you really love your music or art, if you work really hard I don’t think location is going to make that much difference; its about how much you put into it and how you make your own luck.

D: Do you find there's a community of musicians here, if so, would you say you're all quite close?

E: Definitely, I guess through the Open Mic nights I've met a lot of musicians and there is a lot of respect for each other because we're all in the same boat, we all know the ups and downs, we can relate to each other quite well, which is important.

D: I've found it really surprising, the age range and diversity of the people who attend the local gigs...

E: They do love their live music around here and especially in the south west there's a lot of love for it. Where I grew up in Winchester, they had a few venues that did it, but within five miles of here there's so many pubs that do live music and it is a big thing, which is great for us because we can really get our songs out there. Each little pub and venue is different, so you get to meet so many interesting characters.

D: Well, thank-you so much for taking time out to talk to me, I'm really looking forward to hearing The Gravity Drive, and seeing what 2012 brings for you guys!

Dannie Carter



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