Interview: Only Girl
We spent a great deal of yesterday evening moaning both externally to those who care enough to listen (a grand total of two people, thanks for asking) and internally (if our perpetual monologuing annoys you, imagine what its like to be us for a second. Can you? Imagine us just going on? And on? And on? And oonnnnnnnnnnnnnuh?) about a certain article that cropped up in relevance to certain professional and de facto social circles we more often than not find ourselves engaged in. What admittedly started off as a mild annoyance in the morning had grown, rather unchecked admittedly, into a significant bogging down and required immediate discussion with the aforementioned upon our daily “switching off” phase that we’ve conditioned ourselves into over the last year or so. Given that we’ve never felt more comfortable living in our own skin, both literally and metaphorically, in the past few months than we have over the last ten years (seriously, one’s 20’s these days are a right pain in the A in terms of ascertaining the limits of one’s own self-determination), we found even the arrival of a reminder of how things used to be a rather significant threat to our relatively-newfound well-being. In that albeit cryptic context, perhaps in the same way that we are left longing for a degree of empathy for our own circumstances, one can imagine what Only Girl has been through in recent years. We met Ellen, pka Only Girl, several years ago when she was fronting a very different band and when we had a very different agenda in addressing the music business in general. We have since witnessed the transition into the present day manifestation of her artistry – from writing up her first offering to the world under this moniker in February 2011, to certain events surrounding her personally in various tabloid media – and, indeed, personally speaking it has been rather remarkable to observe the conditions, events and experiences that have culminated into what she is today. And just what the heck is she? Well, we thought we’d just ask her. Party on.[youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bwzJ1UYXh0k]
Could you introduce yourselves for the hi-brow readership of the Killing Moon blog?
Hi, I’m a singer from South East London called Only Girl, but you can call me Ellen.
KM: Already have mate, but ta.
I write soulful pop music to help get me navigate through the heartbreak of life and I LOVE layers of gospel-like vocal harmonies, so expect to find my songs full of them! I love to perform live and always put everything into my shows. I’ve recently been working with London Contemporary Voices choir, which almost brings me to tears every time, hearing them bring my harmonies to life. I’ve just released my debut EP Young Blood, which features four tracks written about my experiences over the last couple of years with my husband Jamie, who is my biggest inspiration.
KM: We bet your rehearsals are bare emo, especially if you start sobbing each time ya choir starts piping up. Also congratulations for being the first interviewee who has been bold enough to answer the opening question in separate paragraphs.
Only Girl – Young Blood
Favourite release of the last 12 months, and why?
There have been so many amazing releases in the last 12 months, but one album that I literally listened to on repeat for a good few months was Sound & Colour by Alabama Shakes. I just love the emotional force in Brittany Howard’s voice, and the way she can jump from beautiful fragility to a gravelly blues powerhouse in an instant in tracks like Miss you & Over my Head. Each song is memorable in its own right, with the band creating a smooth and effortless backing for Brittany’s timeless vocal, which she delivers every time with total conviction.
KM: Weirdly (or perhaps not, considering the kinda shit we listen to on the reg) we have never listened to ’em. May as well start now huh. This better be good, Ellen…[youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=faG8RiaANek]
Favourite show of the last 12 months, and why?
My favourite show would have to be seeing Leon Bridges play an in-store at Rough Trade East, and realising that it was probably the last time I’d get to see him in such an intimate venue, as it was clear he was going to be huge. It was a pleasure to watch such a tight band of amazing musicians, creating such a genuine, classic sound – I could have easily walked into a gig the 1960s.
The highlight of the show was at the end of the gig when Leon came down right into the centre of the crowd and played River, just alone on his acoustic guitar and you could really hear the pureness in his voice. It was one of those really special moments at a gig when it was absolutely silent, as everyone was transfixed.
KM: More paragraphs? Also, review shows for us please.[youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MTrKkqE9p1o]
If you could moon anyone, or anything, who or what would it be?
I’d probably moon the Daily Mail because some of their articles are so silly, that’s the only reasonable response you can give.
KM: Yeah, fuck those guys. Here’s a gnome with it’s arse hanging out. Observe how the Daily Mail make out that this is an affront to our sovereignty, and that the immigrants are to blame for it all.
You’re about to be killed. You get to pick one song to hear before your inevitable demise. What’s it gonna be?
MAPS by Yeah Yeah Yeahs.
KM: An emo-tinged plea for a stay of execution. Dig your style.[youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oIIxlgcuQRU]
Killing In The Name Of, or Dark Side Of The Moon?
Killing In The Name Of – that song brings back fond memories of questionable dancing in indie clubs in my teens.
Young Blood EP is out now via Akira Records.
Thanks to Milly Stockton at WMA.