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Eliza and the Bear are embarking a new headline tour to promote their latest ep ‘Light it Up’. Back by the uplifting lead title track, Eliza and the Bear surround their music with delicious pop melodies and stirring, tinged guitar patterns. It can all be very inspirational indeed.
Quenched Music caught up with Eliza and the Bear’s frontman James Kellegher to discuss the new release, the inspiration behind their music as well as shedding new light on the myth of where their name actually came from. And no folks, it wasn’t from an ITV cartoon.
Have you any fond memories of leaving London and coming up North?
“Well I live in Essex, but it’s probably just easier to say I come from London but a lot of our earlier days were spent up North around Manchester as our keyboard player Callie did a degree at Salford University so a lot of our time was split between here and there. Manchester has always been good for us because that’s where we started playing a lot of our shows. We played our biggest show to date there at the Phones 4 U supporting Paramore. It felt like we were thrown completely in the deep end as we had just come back from our headline tour. It was nerve wracking and nothing like that we had done before because before then we had only really supported Imagine Dragon so going from perfoming in front of 2000 people to 10000 people felt like a baptism of fire. We learnt a lot from that tour and it was overly beneficial for learning our live performances but if we could do that again we would in a heartbeat.”
How did the name Eliza and the Bear come to fruition? The only thing I can think of was a programme called the Wild Thornberries, btu Im certain they only had a talking monkey..
“We have heard people say it sounds like The Wild Thornberries before and I remember them, but when we first started out we had no real intention of playing shows. It was a case of hanging out with your mates and making music. One of us was in San Franciso and just saw this book of poems outside a shop and it was called Eliza and the Bear. Reading through them we realised some of the scenes from the poems were coincidentially similar to the music we were writing at the point so it stuck with us. The author of the book lives in Liverpool, so we made contact and she was happy to let us use the name.”
What is the message behind Light it up?
“At the time of writing Light it Up, I had been having a tough time with writers block and that song turned it around for me and I used a line in the chorus about it. So the line “when the weight of the world falls on your shoulders, light it up,” kind of explains it for me. Its breaks down the barrier and I guess when that came to me it was a bit like a light it up moment. I just got it.”
From the video I get the sense of escapism with people trying to obviously move on from their borning lives and get out their and experience new things. Was this the main thing you wanted to display in the video?
“For me the song had a different meaning, but for the video I wanted to leave the meaning open. It can be seen as someone in their boring 9-5 job and the video just says you need to turn it around. Pretend it’s the best job in the world. Make a positive change and your outlook on life will. Don’t go beating yourself up.”
Where was it filmed?
“We filmed our section in an all white studio on Caledonian Road in North London for about five hours just before went on tour. But the office that we used looked mental. We have had a hand looking at some of the other videos like Big Brother saying that maybe we needed a bit more live performance, but when this video was put forward we sat back and just thought this is great. Originally there was supposed to be a fishmonger who was singing with maybe everyone around him joining in but probably had difficulty finding a place for it to go. But we opted to follow two characters because its only a 3 and a half minute tune.”
The first record I was ever given was Robbie Williams’ ‘Sing When Your Winning’…what was yours and do you still play it today?
“Right, I think the first I was ever given was a tape of Rickie Martin’s ‘She Bangs’ and I’ll be honest I have no clue where that is..but the first vynll given was Arcade Fire’s ‘Funeral’ and that is definitely there. Came at a good point too because it came after I got out of my emo phase.”
The indie pop quartet will be pulling into Manchester’s The Ruby Lounge on October 6.
Questions by Clive K Hammond