Indie electro outfit AXOLOTL hail from Melbourne and have just released their new EP ‘Autonomy’. We caught of with lead singer Ella Thompson to find out more about AXOLOTL, its members, and what ‘Autonomy’ has in store for its listeners. Here is what she had to say…
Who are AXOLOTL? What universal events unfolded that meant you guys ended up playing music together?
AXOLOTL is a five-piece band from Melbourne’s northern suburbs we all went to the same uni studying music at various times. James (bass player) and I have been friends since high school and ABLE who does some production is originally from Perth, I heard his music through a friend and wanted to get him involved in the project. It’s great to be in a band where we all have a pretty similar idea about when we like and don’t like but are also creatively independent.
Who owns the pet axolotl? Or did you band name come from other non-pet related inspiration?
Well funnily enough both Dustin and James have had pet axolotls but personally I like what axolotls stand for. Did you know if they loose a limb they could completely regenerate it? They are resilient and adorable in a slightly abnormal way.
What other bands and musical acts have you played in?
We are all currently playing with other people and I like the way it keeps this band fresh. Our drummer Leigh plays with heaps of band like Gypsy and the Cat and DUNE, James plays with The Rescue Ships, Natasha was playing with Francolin for a long time, Dustin does a lot production and has played with TZU and I also play also play with The Bamboos and The South Seas.
You recently toured with the Bamboos. Their recent album was awesome, was touring with them just as cool?
It was definitely a fun tour! Some of the most fun shows of my life. I was doing both sets with AXOLOTL and The Bamboos so was pretty wrecked by the end of it all but worth every bit the audiences were great.
What do your record collections look like? Which bands have had the biggest influence on your sound?
Dustin probably has the biggest vinyl collection it’s HUGE, he does some sweet DJing around the traps. I think for AXOLOTL we have been listening to Thom Yorke’s ‘Eraser’ a lot, all the St Vincent albums, everything Feist has ever done, Portishead, some Debussy, Little Dragon, Joni Mitchell, Leonard Cohen, Dirty Projectors, Nancy Sinatra and Goldfrapp’s earlier albums. I really like somewhere in the middle of orchestral, electronic and folk songwriters.
Your bio says AXOLOTL are spearheaded by Ella and Dustin. Do they dominate the song writing aspect of the band, or is it still a group effort?
Yes Dustin and I do spend a lot of time working on the songs in the studio, usually I bring a song I’ve been working on and then we produce it together and show the band when we rehearse or record their parts. The final product is definitely a group effort.
When you’re writing music, how do write your songs? Is there a method behind it?
I think my process is always changing, at the moment I am writing for the Axolotl album and I’m really enjoying the production side of things, I’m finding that the sound palette is informing the song and then both lyrics and melody have been coming simultaneously.
You just released a new single ‘Electricity’ featuring a good dose of heavy electronica with a touch of pop. What is the story behind this song?
I wrote the original sketch of this song over two and half years ago when I was traveling Europe mainly on my own. It’s interesting to see how this song has developed over the years. I remember we had a version recorded and then one day Dustin and I decided something wasn’t working and started from scratch on the production again, from then on it stuck. Lyrically it’s about the adrenaline of two egos fighting for power over each other and how in the end it doesn’t really get you anywhere.
You just released a new EP ‘Autonomy’ on October 5th, what can we expect to hear?
Yes we are very excited to release our first EP ‘Autonomy’ there are six songs. I am curious to see what people think of it, it’s hard for me to put it in a genre category but sounds wise I think it’s kind of electronic, ambient rock.
What will be the biggest things to happen for AXOLOTL in 2013?
I have a good feeling about 2013. We plan to record the album in the first bit of the year and hopefully play a lot more shows to new audiences.