The Elephant Trees, Music, TotalNtertainment, New EP, Interview

10 Questions with …. The Elephant Trees

One of the most explosive live bands around, Martha Phillips’ incredible vocals and song-writing ability is matched by Sam Hugh-Jones’ versatile guitar work, they chatted to us about their EP, their upcoming tour and more.

1. Thanks for your time, just to kick us off, could you tell us a little bit about the band to readers who might not be aware of you ?

Martha / Sam: We formed in high school in 2015. 4 years later and we’re still just a couple of friends who can’t cope with life unless we make music.  

2. You’ve got a single out this week, Idiot, is the title aimed at anyone in particular?

Martha: It’s more aimed at myself.. I’m telling myself not to be an idiot and fall in love.. 

3. The track is taken from your upcoming EP, what can you tell us about the EP?

Martha / Sam: We’ve been working on it for a while, it’s going to be our first full body of work, no two songs sound the same, but they are all very Elephant Trees. It’s called Monachopsis – so it’s all about feeling out of place in some way. We wanted to have something that people could listen to and really understand who we are. The aim was to capture a lot of the different sides of us on there, in the space of just a few tracks, which is really exciting.

4. You’ve had a busy few months playing some massive gigs, what have you learned about the business side of the industry from doing bigger gigs like Isle of Wight ?

Martha / Sam: We think everyone is making it up as we go along, everyone has a different opinion on how to make it big, We’ve learnt that the music should be at the centre of our journey and the business has to work around it, not the other way round. In saying that we’re constantly learning about this industry in which we have found ourselves, and getting to do bigger stuff is always a great experience. Bigger festivals are good places to meet and learn from other artists, especially ones that you look up to.

5. You’ve been described as flying the flag for LGBTQ bands along with bands like Bang Bang Romeo, are their any other up and coming bands from the scene that we should be watching out for ?

Martha / Sam: Manchester has an incredible amount of LGBTQ+ artists – we’re good friends with the likes of Sequin Sally and Sugar -check them out. But we think there’s also bands that maybe don’t identify as LGBTQ+, but are subverting perceptions and challenging the ‘Lads, lads, lads’ culture around a lot of bands, such as our friends Faux Pas – it can be as much about creating a safe, inclusive, expressive environment for everyone, including the LGBTQ+ community, as being part of it.

6. You’ve described your shows as a safe place for anyone regardless of their sexuality. Do you feel peoples attitudes are changing especially in the rock scene to bands like The Elephant Trees ?

Martha / Sam: We’re not sure whether attitudes are changing or it’s just our visibility is expanding. People have always wanted to express themselves and let go, the queer scene isn’t just a gimmick, it’s a real space to accommodate that. The music scene has always been more inclusive, perhaps, than society as a whole, but we still have a long way to go. In a scene dominated by straight white male bands, representation is key – so seeing bands like Bang Bang Romeo going from strength to strength just paves the way for other bands that don’t fit that normal model to feel more visible and accepted. The more non-standard bands that we see ‘making it’ or at least having successes, the more attitudes will change. People just need to see more bands that aren’t four guys that sound like Oasis.

7. Have you experienced any prejudices towards the band because of your sexuality 

Martha: If we have, it hasn’t been to my face so I’m not certain. The jeering comments have mostly been because I’m a woman. 

8. You’ve just announced The Depressed Kids Disco Party tour. What is your favourite disco memory from school / college ?

Martha: Haha! The first time I heard Donna Summers’ “I Feel Love,” I’d never heard music like it that made me just want to move. 

9. Elephant related curveball question – if you walked out of your back door and somebody had left an elephant on your door step, how would you spend the day with it ? 

Martha: I’d maybe write it a song and see if it had any rhythm. Grab some sushi and relax.

10. Thanks for your time, just to finish, do you have any message to fans who are still uncertain about coming to see and LGBTQ bands 

Martha / Sam: Music is for everyone, it touches people in different ways. If you want to immerse yourself in sound and let go of the world for a bit, come to our gigs. Our shows are all about having fun and feeling safe and being able to be your most authentic self. I think it’s important that people come and express themselves and populate these kinds of shows, so we can show people, and the industry, that there is a place for it, and that these kinds of acts are connecting with people. That’s how we’ll be able to move forward