Interview: Eliza and The Bear

Music Editor, Dominique Daly caught up with Martin and Chris from Eliza and the Bear to chat about their new album, upcoming tour, Martin's impressive Uno abilities and a spot of bear wrestling.

NUSU
29th September 2015

So we’ve had a sneak peak of the upcoming album(out in Feb 2016) with the insanely catchy ‘Lions Heart’, were loving it and want to know what else we can expect from your debut?

Well I mean with ‘Lions Heart’, we’ve released a lot of similar material so far. But the tracks that are on the album, I don’t know, they show a different side to us I guess and there’s a couple of slower numbers on there, a couple of darker numbers. I just think, like an album that was sort of just the material we’ve released, it’d be cool but I think it might get a little bit sickly. So, you know it just feels like a really well rounded album that’s got a bit of a flow to it. We’re just really excited to get it out there now and show a different side to the band.

You got to head out to Nashville to record the record- what was that like, Nashville is like the spiritual home of passionate/energetic music- did its energy imprint your process at all?

Oh Nashville! Yeah! Well, the reason we selected to go there was kind of to get out of London. We’d recorded a lot in the studios in London and they’re great, but I think it was just kind of thinking: get away, no distractions, so it’s just like 100% focus on the album. The place in unbelievable, it’s full of great musicians and a lot of people say it’s like the land of music in America. So being out there sort of made us step up our game. I mean we were going to bars and seeing cover bands and everyone in the band was probably a thousand times better musicians than we were. So, we feel like we stepped it up and the producer we worked with was fantastic, studio was unbelievable. It was just the perfect setting to get the material we had done and we’re all just really proud of it.

Did anyone don a cowboy hat for the occasion?

To be fair like, going over there you do have those sort of cliché thoughts about how it’s going to be and ….it is! It is like that, you know there is boot cut jeans, cow boy hats, sweet home Alabama. It is very much rich in that sort of culture. But yeah we went out and explored and did the whole of Nashville – it is the sort of cliché you imagine but the place is really nice and the people are nice. So yeah I recommend to try and go at some point.

What was working with Grammy-Award winner Jacquire King like? Did he have any pearls of wisdom for you?

Well yeah he’s massively experienced, he’s done some of my favourite records. Going over there we knew he was going to be a good choice. We went into preproduction and he’s just got a great ear for improvement in the songs and to be fair, he’s just a massive part of the record. He did take a lot of the songs from 80% to 100%, you know just putting a lot of those decorations on really enhance a song and I’m just really glad that we ended up managing to make it work. He was really chuffed with the record as well. So, you know for both parties to walk away from it with something they're proud of is the goal. Yeah, everyone was really in a good mood about it.

You’re heading out on tour next week, were very excited to see you hit Newcastle’s THINK TANK- how do you prepare for a tour – do you have any tour essentials?

I don’t know, like personally I still get really nervous before any show. I think everyone does, the nerves are a sign of good energy, and that you’re pumped up to play the show. We kind of just go into our own world of silence, there’s no huddles or secret handshakes or anything. We know it’s our favourite part of being in a band, you know that half hour of being on stage is the reason why we do it. We just be a little bit silent and mentally prepare ourselves…Sometimes Callie’s (vocals) sick, I don’t think that’s much of a ritual though.

Oh god, someone being sick would be quite stressful pre-show, you’d need a swift t-shirt change to deal.

It makes me more nervous sometimes. It kind of reminds me of like, do you know that scene in Saving Private Ryan when they're on their way to the beach and their all being sick.

There’s 5 of you? That must get pretty cramped on the bus – whose has the one person you don’t want to sit beside on the bus?

Well we've got the five of us and then the crew too, so it’s tight. But without the risk of sounding corny we are all mates, we’ve been mates for a long period before this band. We kind of know what makes each other tick off and we kind of don’t push those buttons. But I can say quite comfortable that you don’t want to end up sat beside, or sleeping near Callie. His snoring is atrocious, he eats smelly food a lot too, which is well annoying. To be fair on the journeys we end up playing a lot of UNO, so the little habits get ignored and we just focus on an intense game of UNO. Which 90% of the time I'm the champion of.

That leads me pretty well to my next question…You may be UNO champ but, who would win out of a 5 man fight to the death with you all?

Probably me.

Modest.

I’m pretty tough I guess. Nah, we’re all wimps. It would probably last for hours. Chris (bass) would be killed first – I’d finish him off and then I don’t know. It depends what sort of weapons we were aloud!

What would be your weapon of choice?

Em, probably the ray gun. I don’t know if you play Call of Duty, if you do you’d get that reference. But yeah, powerful little weapon, have that in the back pocket, next thing you know if exterminated everyone.

We have fresher’s starting Uni this week – what is the most embarrassing thing that happened to you at school/college?

Jesus Christ – I was only at college for a year. Me and Chris met at college and he was a punk back in the day and had a leopard print Mohawk. That was pretty special… There was a big emo/punk culture when I was at college. I wasn't into that though, I was wearing massively baggie jeans and rubbish DC trainers. I think the most embarrassing thing was probably the fashion sense to be fair.

What would you do if you were confronted by a real bear?

Well apparently you’re meant to lay and play dead ain’t ya? I’d probably just give it a right hander. No only joking though I don’t know if I’d take the advice of the seasoned professionals or just think I’m going to get killed here, might as well go for it, try to wrestle it and at least people watching me die would think I was a bad ass. Yeah, get it in a sleeper hold.

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