Over the last 6 weeks, the life of a musician has been flipped upside down. With all gigs, tours and live events cancelled and lots of album releases pushed back, the new single from Ella Janes was a welcome injection of comfort and tranquility.
‘Earth & Moon’ is the first single from Ella Janes‘ forthcoming album. It’s a deeply moving, delicate song about the difficulties of loving someone from afar. Ella hopes that in sharing it now it’ll bring some peace and reassurance to those isolating alone or missing loved ones due to the lockdown. The track is accompanied by a beautiful video from the Lithuanian animation studio, Indeform and although not created for the track specifically, you’d never know as it goes so perfectly.
I wanted to catch up with Ella to find out a little but more about how the collaboration with Indeform came to be, what’s been keeping her busy in lockdown and how she’s changed as a musician since she first started.
The new single is called Earth & Moon, can you tell us what it’s about?
‘Earth and Moon’ is about loving someone from far away when you can’t be there for them in person, whether you’re in a long distance relationship or missing a close friend or family member who lives abroad. It’s about being there for them nonetheless, something that is currently relevant to many self-isolating people all around the world.
Who worked on the music video and how did that collaboration happen?
I came across Lithuanian animator Indeform’s beautiful children’s animation online and thought it suited the song perfectly. I loved their personification of the sun, the moon and the earth, which is something I wanted to capture in my song. The animation charmingly expresses the notion of loving someone from afar and watching them grow, which deeply resonates with the song’s story.
How would you describe your sound?
I’m often compared to singers such as Dolores O’Riordan (The Cranberries), Katie Melua and Françoise Hardy. I would probably describe my sound as wistful alternative folk. The upcoming album is a journey through the heartache of having to leave people and places behind, finding its way to eventual acceptance through a deeply evocative narrative and charmingly simplistic soundscapes.
Do you have certain routines when you need to get into songwriting mode?
I collect ideas in notebooks and in the notes app on my phone as I go about my day to day life (mostly on work commutes or when driving, in which case I make little voice notes) and go through them all routinely to highlight anything worth keeping. If there’s a strong enough idea in there the song will eventually start to write itself.
How has your music changed since you first started?
I was 13 when I first started writing and performing, so my influences have changed a great deal since then. I started out in a girl rock band and we liked to play pop-rock songs. Then I discovered folk artists from the 60s and realised I could be more poetic with the lyrics I was writing. Further life experience certainly provided richer material for this and my songwriting became much deeper and the music naturally mellowed as it matured.
Is there an area of music you’d like to explore but haven’t yet delved into?
A few years back I experimented with a more electronic production, using a MiniNova synth and vocoder on my vocals to take my music in a different direction. I enjoyed the new energy this added to my live set but eventually found myself drifting back towards my folk roots, especially when I was touring solo around Europe with just a guitar. I think it’s important to be creative and to try new things, but find that the truer I am to the style I love, the more genuine I am as a musician.
Would you say songwriting is your way of processing things you’re thinking and feeling?
Absolutely – making music has been an emotional outlet for me and an important means of expression: through my songs I have been able to communicate feelings in a way that I couldn’t through words alone.
If you could work with any alive or dead artist, who would it be and why?
Very tough question as there are many, but off the top of my head I’d love to work with Melody Gardot, an incredibly gifted singer/songwriter living in Paris whose work feels very much in the same creative headspace as my own.
Do you have any hidden talents?
I speak fluent French.
You’re big into books, what have you been reading during lockdown?
I like to alternate between fiction and non-fiction and have been particularly interested in learning more about psychology lately. I recently finished ‘Love’s Executioner’ by Irvin D. Yalom, which is collection of psychotherapy tales from sessions with ten of his most interesting patients. Fiction-wise I’ve just reread ‘The Master and Magarita’, which is brilliant and one of my favourite Russian classics.
Will this single be on the album and when can we expect the release?
It will indeed, along with a second single I am releasing next month! I am still waiting on updates from the pressing plant but it’s looking like the album will be out in July.
Did you work with a band to create it?
I worked with a very talented one-man band, Thomas White, who produced the record and played everything on it expect for my guitar.
Which 3 albums would you take to a desert island with you?
Paul Simon – Graceland
Leonard Cohen – Song of Leonard Cohen
Phoebe Bridgers – Stranger in the Alps
Photos by Iona Taberham