Interview with Ellen Cox

Ellen Cox

It gives me great pleasure to introduce you to Ellen Cox, a very talented and unique sounding, Welsh singer/songwriter. Described as folk/punk, Ellen’s songs are acoustic, edgy and very compelling and her live shows are powerful and moving.

Her latest EP, the self released ‘Wolves’ is 5 tracks of catchy, well written songs. Ellen has just released a Live EP via Soundcloud so we caught up with her to ask her some questions.

Can you please introduce yourself to our readers?
I’m Ellen Cox – I’m a Swing and Blues influenced Folk-Punk Singer/Songwriter from mid Wales.

Where did the bands name come from?
…Let’s just say I was born with it!

How did you get started?
I’ve been singing as long as I can remember. I spent years performing in choirs, by myself, and in various projects with friends. After taking a break from music to get a degree from Dartington College of Arts I got involved in a few bands down in Plymouth. I moved back to live with my parents in 2008, due to illness and ended up picking up my acoustic guitar again, and using songwriting to find my creative voice again.

What have you got going on at the moment?
At the moment I’m mainly booking shows and trying to get as much experience playing live as I possibly can under my belt.

For 2013 I’m booking gigs and festivals for the UK and Europe. I have a new Live EP on the way at the start of the year, videos, new photos and merchandise in the pipeline and I’m hoping at some point to get over to the States to work with a few different people and maybe play some shows there as well. I’ve got a few projects and collaborations in mind with some friends, separate from my own music. 2013 is looking like a busy year for me and I can’t wait!

Favourite music and why?
My dad used to sit on my bed and play me songs at bedtime on his acoustic guitar. I was raised on folk, country and singer/songwriters – music that I still love with all my heart.

In my teenage years I found punk, rock and metal and haven’t really looked back. These days, if I’m not playing a show, it’s likely I’ll be out at one. I love loud, riffy music. There’s nothing like the primal rhythms and cathartic nature of a good solid rock song or a bouncy gig.

That said, I’m super passionate about blues, swing, Americana, bluegrass and country. I like music that has passion, soul, a good story or a strong sentiment.

Whats your Favourite book and why?
The Little White Horse by Elizabeth Goudge – It’s a children’s fantasy novel set in Victorian England, and just captured my imagination so perfectly as a child I’ve loved it ever since. It’s simple, elegant and wonderfully written, and very much of its time. It has love, adventure, magic, fear and intrigue woven beautifully throughout.

Favourite film and why?
I think maybe Fight Club  – based on the novel by Chuck Palahniuk. To me, it’s a cry for people to realize they are more than their possessions and their physical body, to break out of the ordinary, dreary, mundane world they live in and do something different and unique, and be the person they secretly always wanted to be. It’s also about realizing you have to destroy negative thinking from within, and build yourself into a strong person, rather than just attacking the fundamental problems with society as a whole.  Plus, Ed Norton is rad.

Whats your best experience in the business?
Every time I play a good show, I see people singing along to words I’ve written, meet someone inspiring, or reach and convert a person who I would consider an unlikely fan, I deem it a good experience. I can’t name ‘the best’ as yet, each little moment is almost more important to me than the big moments.

Why should Soundscape readers care?
I’m not about ‘barriers’ between artists and people, we’re all human at the end of the day and I think people need reminding of that sometimes. We all need love and support and nurturing in order to grow and flourish!

Tell our readers an interesting fact about yourself?
I’m a passionate Swing and Blues dancer! I love to dance, though I don’t get the chance very often these days being so busy all the time.

What are the best and worst things about touring?
The best things are playing new songs live, getting positive reactions, meeting inspiring people and seeing new musicians, bands and places. The worst is the loneliness of solo touring.

Most embarrassing thing to happen to you?
I could write a book! Mainly I tend to burn up when I’ve made a monumental mistake onstage – There’s nowhere to hide and no-one to blame when it’s just you and your guitar!

Ellen Cox

What’s your writing and recording process like?

It’s pretty organic – melody shapes words and rhythms. If I start a song with one idea in mind, it’s usually completely different by the time it’s written and the result can often be quite surprising. It’s like my subconscious takes over to vent what’s really on my mind.

Generally, if a song is going to get written, it will basically get written in one sitting. I’m not much of a recording artist at the moment, I prefer to play my songs live, and this goes for recent recording sessions that generally get done live as well.

What inspires you?
Life, the Universe and Everything. I tend to use music as a cathartic release for those pesky inner demons I can’t seem to shake.

Best thing about coming from Wales?
Wales is a stunningly beautiful country, steeped in history, mythology and culture.  It is an endlessly inspiring, soul-enriching place to live.

Who are your role models or idols?
I don’t really believe in having idols as such but I have a deep respect for a lot of different people from all walks of life. Some of the most unsung heroes in our society are the people who keep our country running on the ground level.

With regards to music, at the moment some of my favorite songwriters are people like William Elliott Whitmore, The White Buffalo, Tom Waits, Chuck Ragan, Gillian Welch, Frank Turner, Johnny Cash, Ben Nichols and Eliza Gilkyson. I like a voice and a writer that has seen a ton of life, love and loss.

What do you think is the hardest thing about the current business?
For me, the best and worst thing is trying to promote yourself via the Internet. It’s an amazing tool, but at the same time can leave you a bit lost at sea, with so many different platforms vying for attention. Learning about the music business and how to find my place in it is proving to be a very steep learning curve!

Finally, one question we ask everyone, who is your favourite Batman actor?
Michael Keaton, or maybe Adam West. I like the less ‘serious’ Batman actors!

You can listen to the new live EP here – https://soundcloud.com/ellencoxmusic/sets/live-at-chase-studio and check out http://www.ellencoxmusic.com for Ellen’s upcoming tour dates, including her first show in London on the 8th of Jan at The Wheelbarrow in Camden and her first show in Manchester on Jan 10th at The Retro Bar, so try to head down and check her out.

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